UW Health: PACT names inaugural research and development associate director

Contact: Andrew Hellpap

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MADISON, Wis. – The Program for Advanced Cellular Therapy (PACT) at UW Health recently hired Andrea Pennati as its first associate director of research and development.

In this role, Pennati will enable treatments developed at PACT’s research laboratory to be used in its good manufacturing practice-compliant facility. The goal is to allow for first-in-human clinical trials of therapeutic innovations created at UW Health and the UW School of Medicine and Public Health.

With more than a decade of laboratory experience, Pennati leads translating cell-based research projects into clinical investigations by developing, standardized and establishing cellular processing protocols for use in cellular therapies.

Pennati has been with UW–Madison since September 2016. He transferred from Emory University where he worked in the laboratory of PACT Director Dr. Jacques Galipeau for five years.

His work in Galipeau’s lab has included investigating the role of novel engineered fusion cytokines as part of cancer vaccine and cellular immunotherapy strategies. Current studies are aimed at defining the possibility to generate and use regulatory B cells for the treatment of different neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis, ALS and Alzheimer’s disease.

Before joining the Galipeau lab, Pennati worked as a postdoctoral fellow with Giovanni Gadda at Georgia State University, in Atlanta, Georgia, in mechanistic enzymology of flavin-dependent enzymes.

Pennati completed a master’s degree in molecular biology and earned a Ph.D. in molecular cell biology at the University of Milan, Italy.