Professor Marcelo Rivolta
Founder and Chief Scientific Officer
Marcelo is a globally recognised Professor of Sensory Stem Cell Biology. He has been based at the University of Sheffield (UK) since 2001 and has written over 40 papers on the subject, many of which have been published in peer-reviewed journals. The Rivolta laboratory is dedicated to studying the biology and behaviour of auditory stem cells, and to exploring their potential to regenerate the damaged inner ear.
Marcelo has made key advances in the development of stem cell technologies to treat hearing loss and his programme of research has been supported by the MRC, the UK Regenerative Medicine Platform, the EU, the Wellcome Trust and charities such as the Royal National Institute for Deaf People. He has also led several UK and international collaborations with industry and academia.
Marcelo qualified in Medicine and Surgery in 1989 at the National University of Cordoba in Argentina, gained his Ph.D. at the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders in Maryland, USA.Read interview
Dr. Simon Chandler
Chief Executive Officer
Simon has been involved with Rinri since its inception, working closely with Marcelo Rivolta, Rinri’s founder and is responsible for the strategic direction and operation of the company.
Having spent most of his career within blue-chip biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, Simon has developed deep sector knowledge and experience of the biotech sector and the advanced therapeutics landscape. He joined Rinri from IP Group, a specialist deep-tech venture capital firm, where he worked in early-stage investment and venture building; creating spin outs from transformative opportunities. This gave him broad exposure to the life sciences market across therapeutics, medical diagnostics, medical devices, synthetic biology, and antimicrobials.
Simon believes that through its strong preclinical data, Rinri’s technology is at the forefront of otology and has enormous potential to succeed and make a real-world impact on patients and healthcare systems. He holds a BSc. (Hons.) from Leeds University and a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from the University of York.Read interview
Dr. Terri Gaskell
Chief Technology Officer
Terri has over 20 years of research and development experience within life sciences, in both academic and industry roles, with a focus on the development and translation of cell and gene-based therapies.
Terri joined Rinri from the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult where she worked for over seven years on the translation of a broad range of candidate therapies, alongside underpinning technologies and infrastructure. Her role at CGT Catapult also included advising academics and small companies on the development of advanced therapies.
Prior to this, Terri held senior roles in industry, focussed on the development of processes for the expansion and differentiation of pluripotent stem cells for therapeutic use and drug discovery. Terri received her BSc. (Hons) in Biochemistry from the University of Dundee and holds a PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Edinburgh.Read interview
Professor Doug Hartley
Chief Medical Officer
Doug is a Professor of Otology at Nottingham University and a consultant ENT surgeon at Nottingham University Hospital’s NHS Trust – Queen’s Medical Centre. He qualified, with distinction, from Newcastle Medical School in 1995, and was awarded a DPhil from Oxford University in the field of hearing research in 2001.
Doug worked as a Clinical Lecturer at the University of Oxford, and was the first recipient of a Wellcome Trust Clinician Scientist Fellowship in Otolaryngology. He spent time as a Surgical Fellow at the Sydney Cochlear Implant Centre, after becoming a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons and completing his higher surgical training at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford.
Specializing in Otology, including cochlear implantation, his research team at the NIHR Nottingham Hearing Biomedical Research Centre is interested in developing novel objective measures of hearing loss and communication impairments. He is also the lead surgeon for the Nottingham Auditory Implant Program and he serves on grant review panels for the RNID and the NIHR.Read interview
Director of Clinical Operations
Rachel Haines joined Rinri Therapeutics as Director of Clinical Operations in October 2022. She is a hearing scientist by training and has worked in translational research and clinical trials within both the domestic and international markets and public and private sectors since 2007.
Rachel specialises in audiology and otology and has a track record of leading clinical operations in this area. She has extensive experience managing large cross-functional teams and has organised multi-centre, multi-national, randomised, controlled drug, interventional and surgical trials. Rachel has also taught on internationally attended good clinical practice (GCP) and trials methodology courses, and published trial results in high-impact journals, leading to guideline changes.
She joins Rinri with an already broad portfolio of trials for hearing devices and traditional interventions and is passionate about the potential for stem cell technology for this therapeutic area. Successfully delivering the clinical operations strategy for Rinri, and contributing to the future of hearing therapeutics, will be the full-circle realisation of her early career ambitions.
Director of Finance
Ben has 25 years’ experience at board level finance and operational roles in the Pharma and Industrial sectors. For the last 10 years, Ben has worked in Pharma, drug development and licensing and then more recently in early-stage Biotech businesses. These include University spin outs from the UK’s leading institutions, with companies’ initial formation through to Clinical trial stages. Ben brings a range of Financial and Operational skill sets to Rinri, along with a passion for making new drug development succeed.
Dr. Leila Abbas
Leila has been working as a post-doctoral researcher in the field of auditory development and hearing restoration for nearly 20 years. She has a broad and in-depth knowledge of the auditory system and has published research in high-impact, well-renowned journals.
Leila is passionate about the journey from ‘bench to bedside’ and joined Rinri on secondment from the University of Sheffield in 2021 as Pre-Clinical Manager. She has worked in the Rivolta lab for over 12 years and is highly skilled in the in vitro and in vivo processes underlying the development of the therapies Rinri has to offer. She manages the pre-clinical programme and liaises with our manufacturing partners.
Leila holds an MA in Natural Sciences (Genetics) from the University of Cambridge and a PhD in Developmental Neuroscience from University College London.
Dr. Faizah Mushtaq
Faizah is a clinically qualified audiologist who has previously provided hearing care to patients within both NHS and private settings. Subsequent completion of an MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience and a PhD in translational hearing research facilitated her transition from a clinician into a researcher.
Faizah’s interests are embedded in research that addresses clinical needs, as demonstrated by her previous work, which aimed to develop an objective clinical measure of paediatric cochlear implant outcomes. As part of this project, Faizah led a national multi-centre study involving cochlear implant recipients.
At Rinri, Faizah focuses on working with our clinical partners to refine our clinical strategy, including the development of objective safety and efficacy measures and the surgical approach for Rinri’s upcoming clinical trial. She is also involved in Rinri’s patient and public involvement and engagement activities.
Efstratia (Tia) Papoutselou
Patient and Public Involvement Manager
Tia has over 5 five years’ experience of collaborating with patient groups, their families and members of the public to deliver research projects that are relevant to the needs of patients, carers and service users. Tia is currently completing her PhD in Otolaryngology at the University of Nottingham where she explored neural markers of language processing in children with Developmental Language Disorder. Tia worked closely with clinicians and parents and coordinated a multi-centre study in order to develop an objective diagnostic tool for the disorder.
She is also the PPI lead of a multicentre randomised controlled trial to evaluate the efficacy of a parent implemented therapy on language development in deaf children with cochlear implants conducted at the University of Nottingham.
Tia received her bachelor’s degree with first class (Hons) in Neuroscience from Kings College London in 2017 and subsequently graduated with Distinction from the MSc Experimental Neuroscience program at Imperial College London in 2018.
Clinical Trial Associate
Sophie joined the Rinri theraputics as a Clinical Trial Associate in March 2023. She comes from a clinical research background within the NHS focusing on lymphoma, this research involved complexities such as cellular therapy and first in human trials.
Before joining Rinri, Sophie was working in the NHS as a registered physician associate, this is healthcare professional with a broad scope of practice. This gives Sophie a perspective on how the NHS runs and the practicality of clinical research within the public sector.
Sophie has a BSc. (Hons) in Biomedical Science and a MSc. in Physician Associate studies from the University of Manchester - this combines a background of laboratory science with clinical medicine in the NHS. For Rinri, Sophie will be assisting in the set-up and running of the first in human trial.
Dr. Maryam Shariatzadeh
Maryam has over 15 years of translational research experience including 5 years within commercial projects on advanced therapies. These projects focused on the development of scalable manufacturing processes for T cell, stem cell and hPSC based technology, gaining expertise in the differentiation and expansion of cells, their scale up and transfer back to CDMO's.
She worked as a Post-doctoral Research Associate in Biomechanics groups at University of Sheffield and held roles as Senior Researcher and Project lead on various projects at Centre for Biological Engineering (Loughborough University), collaborating with several academic and industrial partners including I-Stem institute, Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering FhG-IBMT and NIBSC on development and optimisation of scalable bio-processes for the manufacturing of pluripotent stem cell products, product and process release criteria and cost-effective scalable banking and assessment of the comparability of these processes when executed at multiple sites.
Maryam received her PharmD from Tehran University of Medical Sciences and a Master’s degree in Biotechnology form University of Manchester and holds a PhD in Tissue Engineering and Biopharmaceutical Science from University of Sheffield.
Will has previously worked at several MHRA and HTA licensed cell therapy manufacturing facilities where he contributed to the development and manufacture of different cell therapies for administration on the UK Specials programme. He has extensive experience with the use of embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells in a GMP environment and has supported the establishment of a new GMP manufacturing facility in Cambridgeshire.
Before moving into the cell and gene therapy sector, Will held academic positions at University College London where his research focused on the development of the cerebral cortex and the transcriptional control of neuronal differentiation and migration. He holds a BSc in Genetics from University College Cork in Ireland, an MRes in Developmental and Stem Cell Biology from University College London and a PhD from the Wellcome Trust Programme in Developmental and Stem Cell Biology at University College London.
Dr. Aurelien Bunga
Aurelien has 10 years life science R&D experience gained from both academic and industry positions with a particular focus on stem cells and neuroscience. Aurelien graduated with a First class (Hons) in Biochemistry from the University of Leeds in 2013 and subsequently was awarded a Wellcome Trust PhD studentship at Cardiff University, where he pursued his interests in stem cell modelling and neuroscience, helping establish a protocol for the differentiation of iPSCs into microglia to study immune dysfunction in neurodegenerative diseases. He completed his PhD in 2018 and subsequently joined Charles River Laboratories as a neuroimmunologist, taking a leading role on assay development and a broad range of client studies. Having gained valuable CRO industry experience, Aurelien joined Rinri as a scientist in December 2021.
Gerry is Professor of Otology and Neurotology, and the Research Lead for Cochlear implantation at the University of Nottingham.
He is a Council Member of the British Association of Otolaryngologists and President-Elect of the Section of Otology at The Royal Society of Medicine, London. He has held a Hunterian Professorship at the Royal College of Surgeons of England and is founder member of the European Academy of Otology and Neurotology. He has delivered the Joseph Toynbee Memorial Lecture at the Royal Society of Medicine and was awarded an Honorary Professorship by the European Society of Paediatric Cochlear Implantation for outstanding contributions to the field.
Gerry’s principal interests lie in the field of cochlear implantation in children and adults. He has been involved in many outcomes studies and has written and lectured extensively in the field. He pioneered the development of minimally invasive surgery for paediatric cochlear implantation. Following the NICE approval of bilateral cochlear implantation for children, he has been actively involved in the national audit of the service. His work with the NIHR Nottingham Hearing BRU involves a multicentre pilot study which sets out to determine whether adults with profound hearing loss in one ear (and normal hearing in the other) can derive benefit from cochlear implantation. His interests also extend to the field of skull base surgery where he is currently exploring the concept of computer-aided shared decision making in acoustic neuroma management.Read interview
Prof. Dr. med Hubert Löwenheim is Medical Director of the Department of Otolaryngology at the Tübingen University in Germany and Principal Investigator of Translational Research Group. Hubert studied human medicine at the Goethe University in Frankfurt and Harvard University in Boston. After completing his doctorate in hearing research, he continued his training as a specialist in Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery – and continued his scientific work at the University of Tübingen. After research posts at the Universities of Virginia and Washington, he completed his residence at the University of Tübingen in the field of regenerative medicine of hearing. The focus of his clinical work lies in otology and neurotology including the supply of hearing implants and cochlear implants, oncological head and neck surgery and plastic reconstruction, as well as interdisciplinary skull base surgery.
Professor Dan Jiang PhD FRCSI FRCS(ORL-HNS) is a Professor of Otology and Auditory Implant Surgery at King’s College London and a Consultant Otologist and Skull Base Surgeon at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital, Evelina London Children’s Hospital and King’s College Hospital. He is the lead clinician at St. Thomas’ Hearing Implant Centre in London. Dan was trained in Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Hospital, King’s College Hospital and The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (Queen Square). He completed a prestigious fellowship in Skull Base Surgery and Advanced Neuro-Otology in Cambridge. Dan was one of the surgeons in Europe who pioneered hearing preservation techniques in cochlear implant surgery. His research interest is focused on the field of optimising cochlear implant outcomes and the regeneration of damaged inner ear structures. He works closely with the NIHR and has been the principal investigator and chief investigator of NIHR funded clinical trials. Dan is a board member of the European Academy of Otology and Neurotology and a Trustee of the British Cochlear Implant Group. He served the council of the Otology Section of the Royal Society of Medicine for seven years and was its Honorary Secretary and Vice President.
Dr. John Greinwald is a Professor of Otolaryngology and Paediatrics with over 20 years of experience in the genetic causes and treatment of deafness. Dr. Greinwald co-founded the Ear and Hearing Centre at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Centre . He has pioneered the establishment of diagnostic evaluation algorithms for children with sensorineural hearing loss and developed a next-generation sequencing platform to determine the genetic causes of hearing loss in children.
John has had 92 peer review articles published with the majority related to hearing loss. His research interests concentrate on identifying novel causes of genetic diseases, mitigating barriers to genetic counselling in underserved populations, developing innovative methods of providing complex genetic information to patients and physicians and helping to pioneer minimal access cochlear implant surgery. Clinically, he is the Medical Director of the Cochlear Implant Team and faculty in the Auditory Genetics Laboratory of the Ear and Hearing Centre.
Dr. Greinwald received his undergraduate B.S. degree from Wofford College and his M.D. degree from the Medical University of South Carolina. His Otolaryngology training was at the Naval Medical Centre Portsmouth Virginia and his paediatric otolaryngology fellowship at the University of Iowa. He is board certified in Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery.
Dr. Hans E. Mülder
Dr. Hans E. Mülder studied nuclear physics at the Free University in Amsterdam and medical physics and audiology at the University Hospital Utrecht. He practised audiology in the Netherlands, fitted the first multichannel cochlear implants, kickstarted the usage of oto-acoustic emissions as a hearing screening tool for newborns and was a teacher of audiology, politician, and researcher.
Hans joined Phonak, the global leading manufacturer of hearing aids, in 1999 as Marketing Director. There he oversaw the successful launch of Roger, the global standard for wireless communication for people with hearing loss, and several generations of the power hearing aid line Naída by Phonak.
In 2018 he joined Advanced Bionics, a US-based manufacturer of cochlear implants and like Phonak, part of the Sonova Group. He served as Director of Strategic Marketing until his early retirement in 2021. Hans has extensive experience in global marketing, scientific research, branding and communication strategy. He holds several patents in wireless microphones, hearing protection and sound . His prime interest is currently to help companies in the hearing health care field find their right strategy.