Our Team


Dr. Jogin Desai

Founder & Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Desai brings more than 15 years of experience in growing and nurturing businesses to his newest venture. Prior to Eyestem, he was part of the global leadership team at Quintiles and headed up their cardiac safety business from 2001 to 2007. more recently, he was the ceo of cenduit, the world’s largest standalone randomization company with offices in bangalore, basel , philadelphia and north carolina and a joint venture of and ThermoFisher Scientific.


    Dr. Mahendra Rao

    Member of the Board and Chairman of Scientific Board

    Dr. Rao is internationally renowned for his research in stem cells and regenerative medicine. He has worked in the stem cell field for more than 2 decades, with positions in academia, government, regulatory affairs and industry, and he has authored more than 300 publications. . Following postdoctoral training at Case Western Reserve University, he established his research laboratory in neural development at the University of Utah. He next joined the National Institute on Aging as Chief of the Neurosciences Section where he studied neural progenitor cells. In 2011, Rao was appointed Director of the National Institutes of Health, Centre for Regenerative Medicine. He has also participated on committees including Chairman of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Cellular Tissue and Gene Therapies Advisory Committee, the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine, International Society for Stem Cell Research and as the liaison to the International Society for Cellular Therapy.


      Dr. Dhruv Sareen

      Co-founder & Science Officer

      Dhruv Sareen, PhD, is the founding director of the Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (iPSC) Core at the Cedars-Sinai BOG-RMI. Dr. Sareen’s lab at Cedars-Sinai is currently developing personalized stem cell disease models for patients with neurodegenerative and metabolic diseases. Dr. Sareen received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where he discovered novel pathways to eliminate cancer cells using the natural red wine product (resveratrol) and participated in its pre-clinical drug-development. He collaborates with many laboratories interested in applying stem cells that his lab generates for repairing and regenerating many vision disorders of the cornea and retina.


        Dr. Rajani Battu

        Co-founder & Chief Medical Officer

        Dr Rajani Battu is the Chief of Ophthalmology at Aster CMI Hospital, Bangalore. Following her MBBS from Bangalore Medical College, she did her Master’s at St. John’s Medical College, Bangalore. She obtained her fellowship from the Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh. She underwent fellowship training in vitreo-retinal surgery at Sankara Nethralaya, Chennai. She subsequently was awarded an ICO fellowship with Prof Anthony Moore at Moorfields Eye Hospital in ‘Inherited retinal dystrophies’. She was a senior consultant in the Vitreoretinal department at Narayana Nethralaya, Bangalore till February 2015.


          Dr. Rajarshi Pal

          Chief Scientist

          Dr. Rajarshi Pal has a unique blend of experience in the field of pluripotent stem cells in drug screening and regenerative medicine for 10+ years across industry and academia in India and abroad. From 2010-2017 he was associated with the School of Regenerative Medicine, Manipal University as Assistant Professor and Principal Investigator. Currently he is an Adjunct Faculty to the Transdisciplinary University, Bangalore. He has undergone training with Prof. Harry Moore in 2007 at the Centre for Stem Cell Biology, University of Sheffield, UK on embryonic stem cells and completed a INDO-US fellowship in 2014 with Dr. Kapil Bharti at the NIH, Bethesda, MD, USA on induced pluripotent stem cells and high throughput screening. In 2013, he was also the recipient of ICMR award for Young Biomedical Scientists. Dr. Pal has 40 international publications, 4 patents and 6 book chapters to his credit.


            Dr. Reena Rathod

            Research Scientist

            Reena did her M.Sc from MS University, Baroda and a certificate course from University of East London. She then went abroad to pursue her Ph.D with Prof. Micheal Sendtner at the University of Wuerzburg, Germany studying neurodegenerative disease using mouse ES cell- derived motor neurons. She further gained valuable experience in culturing and differentiating human ESC and iPSC at the University of Edinburgh, UK and Instem-CBDR, Bangalore towards modeling neurodevelopmental disorders and genome editing. Currently at Eyestem, she takes care of the ongoing work on differentiation, characterization and enrichment of neural retina including organoids targeted for Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP).


              Vijay Bhaskar Reddy Konala

              Senior Research Associate

              Vijay completed his masters in Microbiology from Andhra University, Visakhapatnam and started his career as an Embryologist in Satya IVF clinic where he gained expertise in IVF & micromanipulation techniques. He further gained valuable experience on isolation, culturing and differentiating human embryonic stem cells while at Reliance Life Sciences, Mumbai. At Lonza, Hyderabad he was involved in developing 3D cornea and tissue engineered skin for drug toxicity and penetration studies. Between 2015 to 2017 he was associated with OvaScience, Abu Dhabi working on cutting-edge treatments for infertility. Currently at Eyestem he is handling the project on creating a biobank for patient-specific iPSC lines.


                Sushma Nanjunda Swamy

                Research Fellow

                Sushma did her BSc from Jyoti Nivas College, Bangalore and holds an MS degree from University of Sheffield, UK. She started her career in stem cell biology by assisting Prof. Harry Moore, Centre for Stem Cell Biology, Sheffield, UK. After her return in 2015, she worked briefly at the St. John’s Research Institute, Bangalore in the Department of Molecular Medicine on nephrotic diseases. Currently at Eyestem she is involved in developing 3D retinal organoids (optic cup-like) for the treatment of Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD).