Team

Joe Betts-LaCroix

Joe Betts-LaCroix

Cofounder, CEO

Joe Betts-LaCroix began as a scientist at Harvard, MIT, and Caltech. He was part of a three-person team at Caltech that first elucidated the factors governing electron-tunneling rates in proteins, which is published in journals such as Science and JACS, with over 1000 citations so far. His first venture-funded startup, OQO, created the world’s smallest windows computer (Guinness world record 2006) with a team of 110 people, more than 100 patents, and over 10,000 units sold; and was sold to Google. His second startup, Vium, automated animal research to accelerate medical research. Vium, as a team of 75 people, created thousands of advanced mouse cages that monitor environmental factors and HD video in each cage using computer vision + deep neural networks to determine whether experimental drugs are working against models of disease. Recursion Pharma acquired Vium in 2020 and IPO’d in 2021. Joe spent 2.5 years as a part-time partner at Y Combinator and has mentored and invested in numerous bio startups. Joe is presently CEO of his third venture-funded startup, Retro Biosciences, which is creating therapeutics against targets elucidated by its research in aging biology, with the mission of increasing healthy human lifespan by ten years.

Matt Buckley

Matt Buckley

Cofounder

Matt Buckley completed his PhD in the aging research lab of Dr. Anne Brunet at Stanford prior to co-founding Retro. He spent the last several years focused on scaling single-cell transcriptomics and applying machine learning techniques to quantify aging and the effects of age-related interventions. Prior to that he studied bioengineering at UC Berkeley and worked at Illumina. He believes that translating aging biology research into therapeutics is the most high-leverage way to improve the human condition, and that start-ups are a phenomenal way to do this. Outside of Retro, Matt enjoys reading broadly, with concentrations in history and science.

Sheng Ding

Sheng Ding

Cofounder

Sheng Ding is the Founding Dean and Bayer Distinguished Professor at the School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Tsinghua University. He is also Founding CEO/CSO of the Global Health Drug Discovery Institute, a Gates Foundation-funded institute finding medicines for the developing world. Prof Ding is also Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at UCSF and William K. Bowes, Jr. Distinguished Investigator at the Gladstone Institutes. He was previously Associate Professor at Scripps Research. Sheng is a scientific cofounder of 6 biotechs since 2007, with multiple IPOs.

ieva veya

ieva veya

VP of Operations

Trained in psychology, my work experience has been in Project and Operations management, specifically in onboarding complex R&D workflows. Before joining Retro I worked at Airbus R&D division (Acubed) where I wore a lot of different hats and learned that the more challenging the problem I have to solve, the more energy I feel. Building the operations team at Retro has so far been the most rewarding experience of my career, not only because of the complexity but also because of the sense of purpose toward Retro’s mission.

Simón Vidal

Simón Vidal

Head of T Cell Therapeutics

Simón is a stem cell biologist with a keen interest in developing gene and cell therapy methods for regenerative medicine and longevity. Before joining Retro, Simón was a scientist and group leader in the Department of Cell and Gene Therapy and a postdoctoral fellow in the department of Research Biology and Discovery Oncology at Genentech. There, his team helped start from scratch a new stem cell laboratory and stem cell-related programs with the goal of utilizing induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and iPSC-derived T cells for cell therapy applications. Simón conducted his undergraduate and master studies in Chile at the Universidad Andres Bello and received a PhD. from NYU School of Medicine in the laboratory of Matthias Standtfeld. While there, Simón studied the molecular mechanisms of cell reprogramming and discovered novel methods to increase the quality, kinetics, and efficiency of mouse iPSC reprogramming. In his free time, he likes to hike with his wife and dog, spend time with friends and family and go for MTB, gravel, and road bike rides.

Peng Liu

Peng Liu

Staff Scientist

Peng Liu, PhD, joined Retro in February 2022 with his passion on cellular reprogramming and tissue rejuvenation. Peng brings his 10+ years of research experience on cellular reprogramming to the group. Before joining Retro, Peng was a scientist at Fate Therapeutics leading the research and development of hiPSC quality platform. His postdoctoral training was done with Dr. Sheng Ding at Gladstone Institutes working on understanding the molecular mechanisms of cellular reprogramming with transcription factors, small molecules, and CRISPRa engineering.

Trained as a stem cell biologist, Peng deeply believes that mammalian aging is a developmental process dictated by genetics and also regulated by external factors. Peng’s current work is to investigate the cause of aging and age-related diseases in multiple tissues, and help advance a new era of being healthy and old, the redefined “young”.

Alex Trapp

Alex Trapp

Staff Scientist

Alex is building computational biology at Retro. He joined after spending time in Dr. Vadim Gladyshev’s systems aging research group at Harvard, where he developed the first framework for single-cell epigenetic age profiling. Alex studied computational biology at University of Rochester, where he worked with comparative biologist Dr. Vera Gorbunova on characterizing the hematopoietic and immune landscape of the long-lived naked mole-rat. Alex has contributed to a dozen scientific articles published in top journals, and is passionate about bridging experimental and computational biology. Originally from France, Alex enjoys reading, bouldering, and playing the piano.

Ben Ray

Ben Ray

Lab Automation Engineer

Ben is a generalist focusing on existential risk. While attending the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he founded vrtumind, an AI alignment startup building recommendation algorithms for meditation. He graduated magna cum laude in Molecular Biology, leaving college early to work on his startup full-time. After fighting with the AI cold-start problem, he ventured into hardware, engineering low-cost EEG sleep wearables and deploying products to beta users.

Prior to heading Automation at Retro, he built zero-knowledge circuits for coordination of trust between agents. He sees the translation of aging biology into therapeutics as a critical public interest and envisions open source tooling as the ultimate source of leverage on hard problems in aging therapeutics. At Retro, Ben hacks low-cost robots into performing skilled, highly replicable biological protocols.

Jon Young

Jon Young

Staff Scientist

Jon is a multidisciplinary scientist with research experience and training in medicine (MD), anatomic and clinical pathology (residency), intelligent systems (PhD), deep learning, molecular biology, and neuroscience. He aspires to increase maximal healthspan through computation-guided engineering of novel therapeutics. During his PhD, Jon explored the latent space of deep autoencoders and developed a deep neural network to model latent causal relationships representing cellular signaling pathways.

Jon enjoys searching for the ideas and technologies that have the most potential to create radical positive impact in the next 50 years. He also enjoys learning and thinking about how to best nurture revolutionary research in biology, medicine, and artificial intelligence. Given his name, many believe that working in longevity was inevitable.

Guoxian Wu

Guoxian Wu

Head of Chemistry and Early Drug Development

Guoxian (Greg) Wu brings 20+ years of global biopharmaceutical experience in leading R&D from discovery to the clinic. He enjoyed his journey in fields of medicinal chemistry and structure-based drug design (SBDD), where he gained expertise in hit and lead generation, optimization, preclinical studies in oncology and immuno-oncology. Before joining in Retro, Greg led a cross-functional team to advance multiple NCEs into the clinic at Nerviano Medical Sciences, and contributed to drugs garnering regulatory approval (Vemurafenib and Pexidartinib) at Plexxikon-a Daiichi Sankyo company. He is an inventor of over 50 patents and craves new challenges. Retro’s mission elates him to conquer a different kind of optimization: optimizing for quality of life. Greg earned his PhD in Organic Chemistry from Princeton University and a Chemistry degree from Fudan University in China. He likes hiking to experience nature in his spare time.

Jessica Dickerson

Jessica Dickerson

Safety and Facilities Coordinator

Jessica came to Retro in September 2021 to support the team as Operations Coordinator. She now specializes in facility and lab-related operational tasks, keeping Retro compliant in all matters OSHA and EHS.

Prior to working at Retro, Jessica earned her Bachelor’s degree from University of the Pacific in the field of Spanish. She then went on to teach Special Education for 7 years before making a career transition. She is passionate about her children, dogs, improvisational comedy, and spending time outside.

Bryan Macaraig

Bryan Macaraig

Operations Coordinator

Bryan Macaraig joined Retro as an Operations Coordinator after a career in fashion and retail. In his past life he worked at iconic companies including Gucci, Target, Sephora, and Pacsun. These past positions provided Bryan with experience across customer service, merchandising, operations, and supervisory roles. He earned a degree in Visual Communications and Merchandising at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in San Francisco, California. Bryan joined Retro for the team, the growth environment, and the opportunity to contribute to a new and meaningful industry.

Salma Helwa

Salma Helwa

Operations Generalist

Salma earned her Bachelors in Managerial Economics at the University of California, Davis. Her interest in startups sparked the summer of her junior year when she landed an internship and got the opportunity to work on projects in multiple industry sectors including political campaigns, real estate investing, and business development. She joined Retro in July of 2022 as an Operations Generalist with a passion to contribute to improving the human condition. Salma enjoys meditating, playing tennis, and painting in her free time. 

Shirley Telebrico

Shirley Telebrico

Accounting Manager

Shirley Telebrico has experience as a financial professional, accountant, controller, and everything in between. Throughout her time in Silicon Valley, she has worked for numerous companies specializing in technology hardware, software development, and biomedical innovation. She graduated cum laude from the University of the East with a Bachelors in Business Administration and earned an MBA at Ateneo Graduate School of Business, a top ranked university in the Philippines. In her free time, she enjoys going on walks, watching her daughter’s high school athletic games, and traveling with her family. Shirley is ecstatic to be a part of the cutting edge work being conducted at Retro, building upon nearly two decades of experience at bio and tech companies.

Rico Meinl

Rico Meinl

Bioinformatics Trainee

Rico’s background is in computer science with a focus on machine learning and data engineering. During his undergrad in Germany, he co-founded a startup that built highly accurate smartphone body measurement algorithms and created the largest AI meetups in Germany, attended by thousands.

Prior to Retro, Rico cultivated his passion for biotech at Talus Biosciences where he joined as the first employee. There he built computational pipelines and infrastructure from scratch to enable the discovery of drug candidates for gene regulatory proteins. 

Rico developed a vital interest in longevity and is eager to help tackle the underlying causes of aging and disease. At Retro, he contributes to the company’s mission by developing computational methods that play a fundamental role in developing new therapies and interpreting biological mechanisms.

Enora Le Borgne

Enora Le Borgne

Staff Scientist

Enora Le Borgne obtained her PhD at the Institute for Regenerative Medicine and Biotherapy in Dr. Lemaitre’s team after completing an engineering degree in her native France. Her work focused on the development of strategies based on cellular reprogramming to prevent age-related diseases and the understanding of the underlying cellular and molecular mechanisms. Bringing with her expertise in aging biology and regenerative medicine, she joined Retro in 2022 with the ambition to participate in the clinical translation of these therapies in humans. She has been passionate about ballet since childhood and enjoys spending time baking.

Ananya Chakraborty

Ananya Chakraborty

Imaging Scientist

Ananya is a vascular biologist with focus on how blood vessels change with age and disease. She earned her PhD in the Netherlands at VU Medisch Centrum as an Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctoral Fellow. Ananya subsequently completed her postdoc at Stanford in the lab of Dr. Vinicio de Jesus Perez, studying Wnt signaling and vessel development using various imaging platforms.

Ananya is driven to understand aging and the various factors that contribute to it. She’s excited to leverage her expertise in microscopy, vascular biology, and aging to help Retro advance human health. Outside Retro, Ananya is a voracious reader and an experimental cook.

Brandon Aguilar

Brandon Aguilar

Senior Research Associate

Brandon earned his Bachelors of Science in Cell and Molecular Biology at San Francisco State University. After graduating from SFSU, he joined the UCSF Division of Experimental Medicine, where he worked on developing novel in situ hybridization techniques and applying them to study HIV and tuberculosis. It was at UCSF where his passion for immunology and technology began. Brandon now joins Retro’s partial reprogramming program, to develop therapies to counter age-associated functional decline in the immune system. In his free time, Brandon enjoys oil painting, playing competitive chess, and going to sports-stadium games.

Yuuki Hosokawa

Yuuki Hosokawa

Molecular Biology Research Associate

Yuuki is a graduate of the University of Essex with a degree in Biology. He completed his dissertation with Dr. Vlad Teif on circulating cell-free DNA as a biomarker of age in extremely long-lived individuals. Prior to Retro, he was part of the Cavanaugh Lab responsible for recombinant protein expression of carbonic anhydrases in transgenic phaseolus vulgaris. He joined Retro in 2022 to build protein quantification and scRNA-seq capabilities for plasma-inspired therapeutics. In his free time, Yuuki likes exploring the bay, total immersion swimming, and flying planes.

Anastasia Shindyapina

Anastasia Shindyapina

Staff Scientist

Anastasia received her PhD from Lomonosov Moscow University with focus on both Molecular biology and Bioinformatics. She later joined Vadim Gladyshev’s lab at Harvard Medical School as a postdoc and laterthen as an Instructor in Medicine to work on aging. During her training she tested and discovered multiple longevity interventions in mice, including rapamycin given during postnatal development. Anastasia also researched how B cells spontaneously become cancerous in mice during aging and how longevity interventions affect this process. She joined Retro Biosciences with a goal to translate longevity therapies from preclinical models to patients. Anastasia enjoys playing volleyball, traveling to distant places (Nepal, Kenya, India, Thailand, etc), watching old movies, and learning new things (lately focusing on history and politics).

Jake Halady
Andrew Gray

Andrew Gray

Preclinical Model Technician

Andrew has experience with managerial and supervisory roles with a background of handling animals of all sorts. Throughout his time with SFO airport he received numerous training and assignments involving animals being transported throughout the country in cargo planes while maintaining a managerial position and overlooking the work of 12 employees. He joined Retro in July of 2022 with the ambition and confidence to assist in improving age related illnesses and decline. In his free time, Andrew enjoys golfing, camping, reading, and participating in family activities.

Jeremiah Pablo

Jeremiah Pablo

Preclinical Model Technician

Jeremiah, also known as “Miah,” is a graduate from San Francisco State University with a bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies. Prior to joining Retro, he worked at Petsmart as a Pet Care Specialist taking care of various fish, birds, small animals, and reptiles. Along with that, he also cares for his own hoard of animals at home as well as his plant collection. Aside from that, Jeremiah teaches as a contemporary dance choreographer for his old high school. When he’s not busy taking care of plants and animals, or dancing, Jeremiah can most likely be found at the gym, where he enjoys spending his free time.

Advisors

Alex Ocampo
Vadim Gladyshev
Jeff Kindler
Jörg Goronzy
Alex Wolf
Kristen Fortney

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