Leslie J. Williams

Co-Founder, Director, President & CEO

Leslie J Williams, a 25-year biopharmaceutical industry veteran, is an experienced biotech CEO and board of directors’ member with demonstrated expertise in building companies, raising funds, and negotiating strategic collaborations.  

Leslie is founding CEO, President & Director of hC Bioscience, Inc. an innovator and leader in protein editing with tRNA based therapeutics. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Ocular Therapeutix (OCUL), Windtree Therapeutics (WINT), and CSCRI (Coral Sea Clinical Research Institute).  In addition, she serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of Life Science Leader, the Advisory Board of Life Science Cares and serves as an EIR at UVA and University of Iowa.  Ms. Williams was formerly the founder and CEO of ImmusanT, developing immunotherapies for autoimmune diseases and was CEO at Ventaira Pharmaceuticals developing therapies using the lung as a portal for delivery.   Williams prior pharmaceutical experience includes INO Therapeutics, Merck and GSK.  She was also a venture partner at Battelle Ventures where she sourced and evaluated deals and assisted early-stage technology companies with strategy, management, business development and M&A.

Williams holds an MBA from Washington University, John Olin School of Business, and a B.S. degree with honors in nursing from the University of Iowa. Before entering the industry, she was a critical-care nurse at Duke University, Medical College of Virginia and at the University of Iowa.

David H. Altreuter

Chief Technology Officer

Since 2001 Dave has specialized in the design, translation, and development of novel drug products wherein innovative delivery has a central or critically-enabling role. 

Most recently VP of Product Design and Characterization at Lyndra Therapeutics, Dave’s career has spanned primary contributor and leadership responsibilities across a spectrum of pharmaceutical science and CMC roles from drug substance design, formulation and process development to manufacturing at Acusphere, Alnylam, Selecta Biosciences, Quiet Therapeutics and Lyndra Therapeutics.  

This journey has led to more than 40 patents and patent applications and has advanced programs through more than two dozen clinical trials across 18 unique new medical entities or drug substances.  Dave has helped bring both parenteral and oral modalities into the clinic for therapeutic, prophylactic or diagnostics use.  While these programs have included small molecules, natural products, contrast agents, peptides, proteins, oligonucleotides, and plasmids, Dave’s role at hC Bioscience returns him to his passion for developing nucleic-acid based drugs that have the potential for transformative impact on the lives of patients.  

Dr. Altreuter is trained as a chemical engineer. He received his PhD at UC Berkeley and his BSE from Princeton University.

Gautam Goel

Chief Data Science Officer

Gautam is a leader in translational computational biology and a seasoned professional with an impactful 20-year track record in biotech, academia and tech industry.

Most recently, Gautam built and headed an inter-disciplinary R&D/Consulting practice of five Ph.D. computational biologists to implement pipelines for analysis of multi-omics datasets including single-cell RNA-seq, CyTOF, proteomics and metabolomics from cross-sectional/longitudinal observation/intervention studies. Gautam advised biotech and pharmaceutical companies on challenges in early-stage target discovery, biomarker analysis and patient stratification for clinical development, and identification of mechanisms of action and resistance to treatments. Prior to that, he spearheaded biomarker research and platform development as Director of Precision Medicine at ImmusanT to accelerate clinical development of Antigen-specific Immunotherapies. He led the biomarker discovery program in Celiac Disease which resulted in the 1st blood-based diagnostic and an immune response monitoring toolkit to support Phase 2 clinical trials.

Gautam trained as a Research Fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital and The Broad Institute with Dr. Ramnik J. Xavier, where he investigated mechanisms of IBD pathogenesis to discover druggable targets and drug candidates. Gautam’s technical expertise includes Antigen-specific Immunotherapy, Systems Immunology, Dynamical Systems Theory, Machine Learning, and Systems Biology. Gautam’s work has led to over 45 publications in disease areas including Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Celiac Disease, Chronic Inflammation and Infectious diseases. Gautam holds a PhD and MS in Bioengineering from Georgia Institute of Technology, a MS in Computer Science from National Center for Software Technology, and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from University of Pune. 

Christine Foster, D.Phil.

Chief Business Officer

Christine Foster is a seasoned business leader with more than 30 years of experience in large pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.  Prior to joining hC Bioscience, she developed and executed strategic partnerships in the transformative field of genome editing with Intellia Therapeutics and Metagenomi where she guided acquisitions; played a critical role in the execution of deals with Affini-T Therapeutics, Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and Novartis; and established novel co-development and co-commercialization relationships with Onk Therapeutics, SparingVision, Kyverna Therapeutics and Avencell. Christine has led business development, alliance management and corporate development activities through key phases of growth at Acceleron Pharma, Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Teva Pharmaceuticals, Wyeth (now Pfizer) and GlaxoSmithKline, among others.  Christine originally trained as a scientist and graduated from the University of Oxford with a D.Phil in pharmacology.  She completed postdoctoral fellowships at Brandeis University in Neuroscience and at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in cardiovascular disease.


Jose Lora, Ph.D

Chief Scientific Officer

Jose M. Lora is a seasoned biopharmaceutical leader who brings 20+ years’ experience in Research and Development across multiple modalities and therapeutic areas. Most recently, Jose served as Chief Scientific Officer at Intergalactic Therapeutics, a non-viral gene therapy company focusing on multiple areas with a major emphasis in Ophthalmology. At Intergalactic, Jose was responsible for all aspects of Research, Preclinical Development and Manufacturing, and his team was able to demonstrate unprecedented safe and durable expression in the retina of a very large gene, ABCA4. Prior to Intergalactic, Jose was Chief Scientific Officer at enGene, a clinical-stage non-viral gene therapy company focused on gene delivery to mucosal surfaces. At enGene, he and his team contributed to the conception, development and advancement of EG-70, a plasmid-based nanoparticle therapeutic for the treatment of bladder cancer, to Ph1/Ph2 clinical trials. Prior to enGene, Jose was Vice President of Research at Synlogic, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the application of synthetic biology to the discovery and development of therapies for metabolic and immune-mediated diseases, and cancer. At Synlogic, Jose built and led the Immunomodulation therapy area, and he led a multidisciplinary team to conceive, develop and advance SYNB1891, an engineered bacterial cell therapy designed to engage the STING pathway in solid tumors, to Ph1 clinical trials. Prior to Synlogic, he served in several biotech and pharmaceutical companies in positions of increasing impact and responsibility (Constellation -acquired by MorphoSys-, GlaxoSmithKline, Roche and Millennium -acquired by Takeda). Jose received his PhD from the University of Seville, Spain, and was a postdoctoral researcher at Brown University and The University of Utah. He has authored numerous patent applications, as well as publications including papers in Journal of Experimental Medicine, PNAS, Nature, Nature Immunology, Nature Communications and Nature Reviews.

Heather Hirsch

Heather Hirsch, Ph.D.

SVP of Translational Science and Cancer Biology

Heather brings more than 10 years of expertise in translational sciences in academia having worked at Merck, Jounce Therapeutics, CRISPR Therapeutics and most recently IMV Inc. She has a strong background in immune-oncology, tumor microenvironment, and integrative translational analyses designed to inform indication selection, mechanism of action, and responder identification. Heather also brings strong expertise in computational biology and ‘omics level analyses. Throughout her career, Heather has been involved in many preclinical and clinical stage small molecule, biologics (including Keytruda), cancer vaccines and cell therapy based programs. She has led translational efforts across drug development stages from Target Identification through to phase III trials including driving companion diagnostic development. Heather holds a PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology from Michigan State University and completed post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School with much of her research focus on gene expression regulation in cancer.

Cindy Driscoll

Senior Vice President, Finance

Prior to joining hC, Driscoll served as Senior Vice President-Finance for Magenta Therapeutics, Inc., Vice President-Finance for Tokai Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Controller roles at Gloucester Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (acquried by Celgene Corporation) and Transmolecular (acquired by Morphotek), among other financial and accounting roles. Ms. Driscoll received an MBA from Suffolk University and an undergraduate degree from State University of New York College at Oswego.

Christopher Katanski, Ph.D.

Director of Discovery Platform

Chris is an RNA biochemist and expert in protein translation.
Prior to joining hC Bioscience, Chris was cofounder and CEO of 4SR Biosciences where he focused on tRNA therapeutics to treat missense mutations. Chris was previously a postdoctoral scholar with Prof. Tao Pan at the University of Chicago where he developed new technologies to study tRNA and developed tRNA-tools to correct missense substitutions.
Chris obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in biochemistry and molecular biophysics. He studied regulation of translation during stress, showing adaptive benefits of protein aggregation.

Conlin O’Neil

Senior Director, Drug Product Development

Prior to joining hc Bioscience, Dr. O’Neil was Director of Formulations at Codiak BioSciences, and worked as part of the CMC team developing programs in oncology/immuno-oncology, including exoIL-12™ and exoSTING™, and as CMC team leader for exoASO™-STAT6.  At Codiak he also supported the manufacturing and quality teams in building a fit-for-purpose dedicated GMP exosome manufacturing facility.  Prior to joining Codiak, he was head of formulations at Selecta Biosciences developing PLA/PLGA nanoparticle therapeutics.  This included leading development of a novel transmission blocking malaria vaccine targeting the Pfs25 antigen with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and discovery of immunomodulatory formulations to induce tolerance to adeno-associated virus for repeat dosing without neutralizing anti-drug antibodies.  

Dr. O’Neil completed his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland with a thesis focused on drug delivery applications of block copolymer self-assembling nanoparticles. 

Suchul Jang

Director, In Vivo Pharmacology

Prior to joining hC Bioscience, Dr. Jang was Director of Preclinical & Biomarkers and head of In Vivo Pharmacology at Codiak BioSciences. He has organized and oversighted operations of the preclinical group and collaborations within the company as well as external partners. In addition, he led and participated in multiple programs including exoSTING, exoIL-12, exoASO-STAT6, and exoVACC, testing efficacy, pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic properties as well as mechanism of actions of therapeutic candidates.

His research career was focused on how to utilize exosomes for therapeutics and diagnostics. He first invented exosome-mimetic nanovesicles to deliver anti-cancer therapeutics during his Ph. D. and co-invented the first clinical candidate of Codiak Biosciences, exoSTING. During his research career, he has invented about 20 patents and published 36 peer-reviewed articles.

Dr. Jang finished B.S. and Ph.D. degree at Pohang University of Science Technology in Republic of Korea and then did post-doctoral training at Dr. Jan Lötvall’s group at University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Seyed Alireza ('Ali") Zammi dahaj

Senior Computational Biologist

Ali received his Ph.D. in Quantitative Biosciences from the Georgia Institute of Technology. His research was focused on the evolution of nascent multicellularity and the role of biophysical mechanisms such as cell branch entanglement in increasing the size of cell clusters. 

Prior to joining hC Biosciences, he was a senior scientist at GenoTwin Inc where he was developing machine learning models to understand immune system responses to different pathogens. 

Ali has extensive experience developing quantitative models and data analyses of various types of biological data such as microscopy images and NGS data.

Monika Tasak

Scientist II, tRNA biology

Dr. Tasak received her Ph.D. in biochemistry from University of Rochester. Monika’s thesis was focused on tRNA decay caused by lack of tRNA post-transcriptional modifications in evolutionarily distant yeast species and on the role of tRNA modifications in human disease. She has extensive experience investigating tRNA molecular biology in yeast and in humans using both genetic and biochemical approaches.

Philip McGilvray, Ph.D.

Associate Director of Discovery Platform

Phil is an expert biochemist and cell biologist, with a decade of experience exploring fundamental biological processes.
Phil obtained his Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biophysics from the University of Chicago. His research focused on the characterization of a novel membrane protein complex involved in co-translational membrane protein biogenesis in human cells.
Prior to joining hC Biosciences Phil was the Lead Scientist at 4SR Biosciences, where he led efforts to identify novel therapeutic tRNAs to treat missense mutations in rare diseases. Additionally, Phil was previously a Principal Scientist at Nanoimaging Services where he managed programs to characterize a broad range of biologics, nanomaterials, and small molecules using electron microscopy.

Alan Leggett

Scientist II

Alan received his Bachelors of Science from the University of Vermont in Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology where he completed his thesis on asbestos induced Malignant Mesothelioma. Upon completion, he worked at The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Nathanael Gray’s lab. During this time he focused on the development of small molecule kinase inhibitors and degraders (PROTACS). He also worked to help develop the ‘dTAG system’ for targeted protein degradation.


Prior to joining hC Bioscience he worked at Skyhawk Therapeutics to develop small molecules that modify RNA expression. 

Lingyue Yan

Scientist I, Drug Development

Dr. Lingyue Yan received her PhD in biomedical engineering from State University of New York at Buffalo. During her PhD, she successfully developed various nanoscale drug delivery platforms, including liposomes, polymers and exosomes for various therapeutics, especially RNA molecules.

In addition to drug delivery, Lingyue has experience in molecular biology, bioinformatics and analytical methods.

Alysia Cox

Associate Director, Drug Development

Dr. Cox obtained her PhD in translational and molecular medicine from the University of Milano-Bicocca, funded by a Marie Sklodowska-Curie fellowship as part of the NABBA project. As part of this work, she collaborated with Enviroinvest, Hungary, and Nerviano Medical Sciences, Italy.

Alysia received her postdoctoral training Cedars Sinai Medical Center and the University of Southern California.  Her postdoctoral research, funded by a fellowship from the PKD Foundation, focused on developing nanoparticles for drug delivery to treat Alzheimer’s disease, glioblastoma, and chronic kidney disease.  She has extensive experience in lipid and polymeric nanoparticle formulation, along with characterization and analysis in vitro and in vivo.

Ruan Zhang

Associate Director, Biology/Immunology

Dr. Zhang obtained his PhD in Immunology from University of Minnesota and had postdoctoral training at University of Pennsylvania and Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. Most recently Dr. Zhang was Laboratory Director in the Transplant Immunology Laboratory at Cedars-Sinai Medica Center. While there he led translational studies in novel treatments. Dr. Zhang has extensive research experience in murine and human immune regulation in tolerance, autoimmunity, and tumorigenicity.

Dr. Zhang has worked at FloDesign Sonics, ImmusanT, and TScan. Prior to joining hC Bioscience, he was a Principal Scientist at Garuda Therapeutics.

Sagi Ravid

Research Associate, Drug Development

Sagi obtained his B.S. in chemical engineering from Northeastern University, while being trained as a Research Assistant on translational medicine and immunology in labs at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston Children’s Hospital, and Harvard Medical School. During his training, he worked on formulating and characterizing amphiphilic hydrogels, and lipid and polymeric nanoparticles for transplantations, colorectal cancer, and glioblastoma.

Prior to joining hC Bioscience, Sagi was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to lead investigations on lipid-coated iron oxide nanoparticles for simultaneous PET/MRI diagnostics of glioblastoma in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.


Janice Conlon

Executive Assistant/Office Manager

Janice has 20+ years in the biotech industry with a sales & marketing background and was most recently focused on small, start-up clinical stage biopharma project management for buildouts of new spaces and supporting Sr. Leadership teams’ general administration, onboarding of new personnel and has mastered the dynamics of supporting an organization through expansion – moving it from a clinical stage through the pre-launch phase, approval by the FDA, and finally into a commercialized organization. 

Janice has strong administrative and commercial operations biotech experience having worked at Albireo Pharma, Aegerion Pharmaceuticals, Novartis and EMD Serono.  She also has a background working for a life-science transaction firm having previously worked at Locust Walk Partners and enjoys the work associated with contract management and Business Development & Licensing.