Krystof Bankiewicz, M.D., Ph.D.Professor of Neurosurgery and Neurology
Kinetics Foundation Chair in Translational Research
Krystof Bankiewicz received his MD degree from Jagiellonian University in Crakow, his PhD and DSc degrees from the Institute of Neurology and Psychiatry in Warsaw, and the title of Professor from the President of the Republic of Poland. After his residency and an appointment as Assistant Professor with the Post-graduate Medical Center in Warsaw, he received a Fogarty Fellowship and became a Visiting Fellow and then Visiting Associate Scientist with the Surgical Neurology Branch of the NINDS at the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland. There, he became Chief of the Central Nervous System (CNS) Implantation Unit in 1991. Shortly afterward, he came to California to serve successively as Chief of Preclinical Studies with the Somatix Therapy Corporation in Alameda, the Director of the Division of CNS Implantation and Regeneration with The Parkinson's Institute in Sunnyvale, and from 1994-1998 a Visiting Scientist with the Laboratory for Functional Imaging of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. From 1997-2001 he returned to the NIH as Acting Chief of the Molecular Therapeutics Section of NINDS. Since 1998 he has been a Professor in Residence of Neurosurgery and Neurology, Principal Investigator with the Movement Disorders Research Program and the Brain Tumor Research Center at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). In 2009 Prof Bankiewicz was named the recipient of Kinetics Foundation Chair in Translational Research and in 2011 was appointed as a Vice Chairman for Research in Department of Neurological Surgery and Director of Translational NeuroTherapy Center at UCSF. Dr. Bankiewicz is an inventor of numerous patents, and has published more than 160 peer-reviewed research articles. Dr. Bankiewicz has considerable experience in supervising multi-investigator translational programs. He is a Principal Investigator on several multi-center, multi-investigator grants. He has supervised a total of 25 post-doctoral fellows, and manages a core research group of 20 individuals including technicians, post-doctoral fellows, and a senior scientists. Throughout his career, he has maintained a strong focus on the development of translational approaches to gene and cell replacement therapies, and has displayed a remarkable ability to synthesize several individual technologies into powerful new approaches to the treatment of such serious diseases as brain cancer and neurodegenerative disorders of the brain, including Parkinson's, Huntington’s, Alzheimer’s diseases and pediatric neurotransmitter deficiency and lysosomal storage disorders. Dr. Bankiewicz was instrumental at every stage of the Phase-1 clinical trials for AAV2-hAADC and AAV2-hGDNF gene therapy, resolving technical and scientific issues with respect to filing an IND applications with the FDA, and also in recruiting a clinical team to undertake the clinical trials. He continues to champion the development of novel therapeutic strategies to treat these important diseases. The recently established Translational NeuroTherapy Center at UCSF, of which he is the first Director, is a logical extension of Dr. Bankiewicz’s efforts to close the gap between bench and bed side by engaging academia, industry, NIH and non-for profit organizations in a joint effort in the clinical development of novel therapeutics for brain disorders.
John Forsayeth, Ph.D.Adjunct Professor
John Forsayeth, who obtained his PhD from Monash University in Melbourne, was a member of the faculty of the Department of Anesthesia at UCSF from 1994-1996 after emigrating to the United States for postdoctoral training at UCSF. He subsequently held a number of senior positions in several biotechnology companies with a neurological focus. He has a significant background in molecular neurobiology and in preclinical studies designed to lead to Investigational New Drug applications. He has been a member of the Bankiewicz Group since 2004, and plays a central role in the design of experiments and the writing and submission of grants and manuscripts. He is a named inventor on 4 patents, and has published more than 66 peer-reviewed research articles. He plays an important role in the coordination of basic translational research programs focused on neuro-inflammation and the role of the immune system in PD.
Piotr Hadaczek, Ph.D.Supervising Scientist and Laboratory Manager
Piotr Hadaczek joined the Department of Neurosurgery at UCSF in September 2001. He previously worked as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Genetics and Pathology of Pomeranian Academy of Medicine in Szczecin, Poland. Since his arrival at UCSF, he has been a key member of the Bankiewicz group, helping both to establish the lab and to introduce many essential methods and research techniques.
Dr. Hadaczek's contributions to the field of gene therapy for the central nervous system are already well recognized. His studies have focused on mechanisms for distributing gene therapy drugs within the brain. He evaluates different strategies that enhance the delivery of therapeutic genes and drugs for the treatment of a wide range of neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson's disease. His research is fundamental for pre-clinical studies and uses non-human primates to serve as the best models for human brain disorders. He has published more than 48 peer-reviewed research articles and 3 book chapters.
John Bringas, B.S.Research Specialist
John has been involved in all of the aspects of local brain delivery of therapeutics and neuroimaging experiments for more than 10 years as a member of the Bankiewicz laboratory. His training includes several years at toxicology research laboratories such as SBI. He is responsible for all aspects of the surgical protocols, including MRI and PET imaging and assisting PI in brain surgeries.
Agnieszka Ciesielska, Ph.D.Associate Researcher
Agnieszka received her Master of Science degree in Neurobiology from University of Lodz, Poland and her Ph.D. degree from Warsaw Medical University, Poland. Her Ph.D. thesis focused on the influence of age and gender on the neuroinflammatory processes in Parkinson’s disease. She then worked at the Institute of Neurology and Psychiatry in Warsaw before joining the Bankiewicz lab as a postdoctoral fellow in August 2009. She is involved in developing a novel LRRK2 model of Parkinson’s disease as well as projects related to vector gene transfer into the brain. Apart from work, flamenco dance is her passion.
Lluis Samaranch Gusi, Ph.D.Associate Researcher
Lluís received his PhD from University of Navarra, Spain, where he studied biomarkers of progression to Alzheimer disease in the Laboratory of Neurobiology and the Memory Disorders Unit. In 2006, he started his postdoctoral training in the Laboratory of Neurogenetics in the Center for Applied Medical Research, Spain, studying new candidate genes and genetic risk factors involved in familial and sporadic neurodegenerative disorders. To explore a functional approach of genetics, he joined the Bankiewicz Lab in 2011 to study the transport and expression levels of different serotypes of adeno-associated vectors carrying therapeutic transgenes after their delivery into the central nervous system.
Waldy San Sebastian Ramirez, Ph.D.
Waldy obtained her PhD in 2008 at the Center for Applied Medical Research of the University of Navarra, Spain. Her PhD project focused on autologous cell therapy in the non-human primate model of Parkinson's disease. She joined the Bankiewicz Lab in April 2010 as a postdoctoral scholar and works on projects related to gene transfer into the central nervous system with special emphasis on the role of putamenal AADC expression in L-DOPA induced dyskinesia.
Jaques Mallet, Ph.D.Visiting Adjunct Professor
Jaques is a distinguished research scientist who received his Ph.D. in Physical Organic Chemistry from Harvard University. He has held several faculty positions at the University of Paris and at the Brain and Spinal Cord Institute. He has co-authored more than 400 scientific articles related to the fields of neurotrasmitter molecular biology, psychiatric genetics, epigenetics and gene therapy. In the field of gene therapy, the work of his laboratory led to landmark breakthroughts with (i) the demonstration that viral vectors had the ability to transduce nerve cells, (ii) the first proof-in-principle that a trophic factor encoded by an adenoviral vector preserves dopaminergic cells in vivo and (iii) the demonstration that lentiviral vectors can be rendered non-integrative and still show long-term transgene expression. Dr. Mallet will continue investigating novel gene therapy approaches for treating neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease.
Marin Thompson, M.S.Lead Clinical Study Coordinator
Marin received her Master of Science Degree in Nutritional Biochemistry with a specialization in Epidemiology at Tuft’s University. She is new to Neurological Surgery Interventions but has been involved in coordinating clinical trials since 2004. She is extremely interested in translational science and has built her career to focus on it. She is fascinated by the brain and thrilled to be part of the Bankiewicz lab. She is the Lead Coordinator on the AADC Gene Therapy Phase I Clinical Trial in Parkinson’s Disease which will begin in the fall of 2013.
Bankiewicz Lab Alumni
Foad H. Green, B.S.
Staff Research Associate
Foad received his Bachelor's in Chemistry from University of California at Santa Cruz. Having completed a year-long biomedical internship at the University of Washington, he is now at the Bankiewicz Lab. His current research focus involves brain tumors and Parkinson's disease research, while developing novel methods of visualizing the brain.
Michael J. Macayan, B.S.Staff Research Associate II
Michael received his Bachelor’s degree in Biology graduating with a concentration in Physiology from San Francisco State University in 2009. Before arriving at the Bankiewicz Lab, Michael has worked as a histotechnician for a small urologic reference lab and gained clinical lab experience as a histotechnologist for UCSF in the Pathology Department at San Francisco General Hospital. With his skills and experience he is supporting both in vivo studies and immunohistology work at the Bankiewicz Lab.
Janine Beyer, B.S.Staff Research Associate
Originally from Long Island, New York, Janine graduated with a BS in Biochemistry from SUNY Stony Brook in 1994. After graduation she was offered a job in the Neurobiology and Behavior Department at Stony Brook University. Under the guidance of her mentor, Janine worked with experimental models where the lab identified corticotectal neurons in the parietal cortex, and determined whether depth related activity in the intraparietal sulcus is transmitted to the superior colliculus, a critical region in the visual pathway of mammals. In 2003 Janine moved to California and was offered a job at a laboratory in UC Berkeley specializing in the hearing pathway of mammals specifically focusing on the connections of the inferior colliculus. Currently Janine is a Staff Research Associate working in an experimental Parkinsonian model and conducting brain tumor experiments in rats, as well as managing many other administrative functions in the laboratory. Her hobby outside of the lab is riding her horse in the equestrian sport of Dressage.
Phil Pivirotto, B.S.Research Specialist
Phil is an expert in primate research and has been working with Krys for the last 20 years on projects involving MPTP-treated non-human primates. He is responsible for overseeing projects, including logistics of MRI, PET and surgical procedures. He performs clinical assessments and activity monitoring to document gross behavioral changes after gene therapy and nanoparticle administration into the brain. He has worked with Dr. Bankiewicz in various settings: private industry, academia and at the N.I.H. His main research interests include developing pre-clinical models of human disease, neurodegenerative diseases, movement disorders and gene therapy. Before being recruited by Krys, he worked at Yale University School of Medicine for 17 years in the laboratories of Patricia Goldman-Rakic and D. Eugene Redmond managing studies in schizophrenia, learning and memory, and PD. He participated in studies of fetal brain tissue transplantation for PD at the Yale-affiliated research field station in St. Kitts, West Indies.
Massimo Fiandaca, M.D., M.B.A.Associate Research Scientist
Dr. Massimo Fiandaca is a board-certified neurosurgeon with extensive research experience with non-human primate models of human neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease, having collaborated with colleagues at Emory University, the University of Rochester, University of Illinois, and UCSF. He has extensive clinical experience with stereotactic neurosurgery and radiosurgery, and neurosurgical oncology. Currently in private neurosurgical practice, Dr. Fiandaca was Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center (1988-1991) and the University of Maryland (1991-1993), and has served on the volunteer teaching faculty at both the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins (1993-2000). Dr. Fiandaca attended medical school at the Oregon Health Sciences University, and did his surgical internship and neurosurgical residency at the Emory University affilliated hospitals. Dr. Fiandaca received an MBA from Loyola College in Maryland. Drawn to the leadership in translational research in neurodegenerative diseases and neuro-oncology of the Bankiewicz laboratory and the UCSF Department of Neurosurgery, Dr. Fiandaca hopes to provide experience and perspective in the design and implementation of relevant preclinical studies that will lead to IDE and IND applications and clinical trials.