FACULTY - Scintillon Institute 

Rajesh Ambasudhan, PhD

Rajesh Ambasudhan, PhD

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Dr. Ambasudhan is a stem cell biologist working in the field of neurological diseases, including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, Autism Spectrum Disorders and Stroke. His lab has established patient specific disease-in-a-dish models of these diseases using novel cell-reprogramming technologies, and has been using them a) to understand disease mechanisms, and b) for developing effective therapies.

Prior to joining Scintillon he was a neuroscience and stem cell research faculty at the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute. He received his post-doctoral training in stem cell biology and drug discovery at the Scripps Research Institute and training in functional genomics relating to neurodegenerative conditions from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Al Kellner, PhD

Al Kellner, PhD

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Dr. Kellner’s research is focused on the development of automated high-resolution imaging cytometers for high-throughput biomedical screening.

Prior to joining Scintillon he was a Senior Scientist at the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, an assistant researcher and lecturer in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of California San Diego, and a research engineer at the Westinghouse Electric Corporation Advanced Technology Laboratories.

Stuart Lipton, MD PhD

Stuart Lipton, MD, PhD

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Neurologist and neuroscientist Stuart Lipton, MD PhD, is a renowned expert in dementia, running a large basic-science laboratory, and an active clinical neurology practice at the University of California, San Diego. He is best known for discovering the mechanism of action and contributing to the clinical development of the latest FDA-approved treatment for Alzheimer’s disease (memantine/Namenda®, an uncompetitive antagonist at the NMDA receptor). Lipton and collaborator Jonathan Stamler discovered the chemical reaction termed S-nitrosylation as a ubiquitous redox-regulator of protein function and have recently combined memantine with S-nitrosylation technology to produce a new drug, NitroMemantine, that displays disease-modifying activity in animal models of Alzheimer’s disease. Lipton’s group also discovered the GluN3 family of modulatory NMDA receptor subunits, characterized the molecular pathways for protecting neurons with erythropoietin, and discovered the transcription factor MEF2C. Recently, his group showed MEF2C serves as a master switch for neurogenesis from human neural stem cells and is regulated by S-nitrosylation. They found that dysregulated MEF2C is involved in the pathogenesis of autism spectrum disorders, vascular dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Lipton is a recipient of the Ernst Jung Prize in Medicine, is an elected a fellow of the AAAS Neuroscience section, and a recent awardee of the Alzheimer’s Disease Association.

Educated at three Ivy League universities (Cornell, University of Pennsylvania, Harvard), Dr. Lipton completed scientific training as a postdoctoral fellow with Torsten Wiesel when Wiesel won the Nobel Prize. Dr. Lipton then spent 25 years on the faculty at Harvard before moving to La Jolla 15 years ago as founding director of a new neuroscience center.

TomoNakamura_bw.jpgTomohiro Nakamura, PhD

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Research Focus

Dr. Nakamura’s research is focused on redox biology with specific expertise in the area of nitric oxide (NO) signaling in the nervous system. The group is extensively studying an NO-mediated posttranslational modification called S-nitrosylation and its pathophysiological roles under neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.


He obtained his PhD from University of Tsukuba, Japan in the research field of oxidative stress. Prior to joining the Scintillon Institute, he was a research assistant professor at Sanford-Burnham-Prebys Medical Discovery Institute. 


John Nolan, PhD

John P. Nolan, PhD

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The Nolan lab develops new tools for quantitative cell and molecular analysis and applying these to important biomedical problems. We apply these new tools to a range of biomedical problems, including analysis of host-pathogen interactions and the immune response, cancer susceptibility, diagnosis, and treatment, and thrombosis and hemostasis.

Prior to joining the Scintillon Institute, Dr. Nolan was a Professor at the La Jolla Bioengineering Institute and Director of the National Flow Cytometry Resource at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Jeffrey Price, MD PhD

Jeffrey Price, MD, PhD

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Dr. Price's research is focused on high performance image cytometry instrumentation and algorithms and its application to genomics; kinetics of fast cellular events; tracking of cell migration, development/ differentiation and cancer progression; ultra-rare circulating tumor cell biology; and histology of cancer biomarkers.

Prior to joining the Scintillon team, Dr. Price was an Associate Professor at Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, where he was a member of the Signal Transduction and Stem Cells and Regeneration Research Programs. He also co-founded Vala Sciences Inc, which develops and markets software and kits for cell-image based assays.

Nathan C. Shaner, PhD

Nathan C. Shaner, PhD

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Dr. Shaner is a founding investigator of the Scintillon Institute. Dr. Shaner has built a research program centered on the development of genetically-encoded optical tools for biological research and other biotechnological applications.

His widely-cited work on coral-derived fluorescent proteins in Dr. Roger Y. Tsien's lab at the University of California, San Diego, led to the development of monomeric fluorescent proteins still in use by thousands of researchers. His postdoctoral projects included investigations into fluorescent biosensor development in plants with Dr. Joanne Chory at the Salk Institute and the biosynthetic pathway of the luciferin coelenterazine with Dr. Steven Haddock at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.


Iustin V. Tabarean, PhDIustin V. Tabarean, PhD

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Dr. Tabarean's research examines the cellular physiology, pharmacology, and neurocircuitry controlling sympathetic outflow to the tissues involved in energy homeostasis.  

Prior to joining the Scintillon team, Dr. Tabarean was an Assistant Professor at The Scripps Research Institute in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience.

Jiwu Wang, PhD

Jiwu Wang, PhD

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Dr. Wang is the Scientific Director and founder of the Scintillon Institute. His research focuses on pre-mRNA splicing, one of the most important molecular biology mechanisms related to many diseases, including cancer.

Dr. Wang is an inventor of more than 10 patents in the fields of RNA interference, imaging, diagnostics, skin protection, and human stem cell production. He is also the founder of Allele Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals, Inc.,  a research-based company specializing in the fields of RNAi, stem cells, viral expression, camelid antibodies, and fluorescent sensors.