Henry J. Klassen, MD, PhD, Founder – Chairman
Doctor Klassen is a full-time neural stem cell biologist; he is also trained as an ophthalmologist with specialization in retinal degenerative disease. He received his B.A. in neurobiology from the University of California, Berkeley with Distinction in General Scholarship. He obtained an M.S. from the University of California Santa Cruz, based on psychophysical research, before entering the MD/PhD program at the University of Pittsburgh, where he began his work in the laboratory of Professor Raymond Lund. There, he obtained a PhD in neurobiology in 1989 and his MD two years later. His doctoral research on retinal transplantation represented a landmark in the field of neural regeneration, demonstrating for the first time that a neuronal relay pathway could be reconstructed in the mammalian central nervous system. After graduation, he returned to full time clinical training and completed an internship at The Cambridge Hospital of Harvard Medical School and residency in Ophthalmology at the Yale Eye Center.
Jing Yang, MD, PhD, Founder – Secretary
Doctor Yang received attention early in her career as a stand-out resident in the ophthalmology program at the Eye Center of Third Hospital of Peking University, among the most prestigious eye centers in China. She was the first resident selected to do a research project as part of an exchange program with the Panum Institute at the University of Copenhagen. There, she taught herself to isolate and grow retinal progenitor cells from rats and designed and performed groundbreaking experiments that resulted in two referred publications in respected Western journals. For this work, she was recognized as a leading young physician-scientist in China, but rather than accept a clinical faculty position there, she elected to move to California to pursue the development of human retinal progenitor cells for clinical application.
Terry O’Neal, Executive Director
Terry O’Neal brings more than twenty-five years of senior operational management experience in multiple industries. He started his career at The Walt Disney Company and was recruited to McDonnell Douglas to restructure their transportation subsidiary which he transformed into a profitable division after several years of significant losses. In 1995, Terry became a co-founder of Lowestfare.com Inc. with a position as Director and Chief Operating Officer, directly reporting to Carl Icahn. In fewer than five years, he grew the company from an initial seed investment of $100,000 to annual revenues of more than $300 million and a market valuation of $900 million. Lowestfare.com was later sold to Priceline.com. Since selling to Priceline.com, Terry has held senior level positions with the Omnisent, Canadian Diabetes Association and American SPCC (ASPCC), where he has been responsible for starting and restructuring for-profit and non-profit organizations. Terry is recognized in Whose Who of Professionals