Scientific Advisors


Dr. Mahendra Rao

Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board of Eyestem

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 .


Prof. Kapil Bharti

Stadtman Investigator at the National Eye Institute in Washington DC

Prof Bharti is one of the most eminent experts in the field of ocular stem cells and their translational applicablity. Prof Bharti won international recognition for his development of a three dimensional scaffold for retinal cells. Dr. Bharti has authored numerous publications and has won several awards, including, most recently, being named an Earl Stadtman Investigator at the prestigious National Eye Institute.


Prof. Deepak Lamba

Associate Professor at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in California.

Dr. Lamba earned his medical degree from the University of Mumbai, Mumbai, India, and practiced as a physician there. He received a master’s degree in bioengineering from University of Illinois at Chicago, where he worked on a chemically stimulating retinal prosthesis device, followed by a Ph.D. degree and post-doctoral fellowship from the University of Washington in Seattle, where he focused on generating and transplanting retinal cells derived from human embryonic stem cells and iPSCs in the lab of Dr. Thomas Reh. He has gained retinal and disease modeling relevant expertise and extensive and unique knowledge and skills working with stem cell technologies for over 14 years. Dr. Lamba’s research focuses on identifying new methods to treat degenerative vision disorders, including macular degeneration and retinitis pigmentosa, using stem cell technology. His lab is working on two broad areas: (a) feasibility of photoreceptor replacement therapy and hurdles to successful cellular integration and (b) modeling retinal degenerations in vitro using iPSCs as well as bioengineering technologies for biomarker and drug discovery.


Dr. Jyotsna Dhawan

Chief Scientist at CCMB and Professor, Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research and an Adjunct Professer at Institute of Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine, Bangalore.

Jyotsna Dhawan obtained a Ph.D. in cell biology and biochemistry from Boston University in 1991 and pursued postdoctoral work at Stanford University. Dr Dhawan joined the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad, India in 1996, where she started a group studying the biology of quiescence in muscle stem cells. From 2009-2014, Dr. Dhawan was deputed to help establish the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine (InStem) in Bangalore. . Her recent work probes the control of epigenetic networks in quiescent stem cells, highlighting the importance of chromatin mechanisms in maintaining self-renewal capacity.