Mahendra Rao

Mahendra Rao received his MD (MBBS) from Bombay University in India and his PhD in Developmental Neurobiology from the California Institute of Technology. Mahendra Rao is internationally known for his research involving human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and iPSC as well as other somatic stem cells and has worked in the stem cell field for more than twenty-five years with stints in academia, government and regulatory affairs and industry.

Dr. Rao’s contributions have been recognized my multiple groups. He was named one of the top ten influential people in the stem cell field and was honored by the Federation of Biologists (FABA) India for his achievements in the stem cell field . He was awarded the NBRI (National Brain Research Institute) medal (India) for his contributions to neuroscience research. More recently his achievements were recognized by the Pathfinder award that is awarded annually by the Regenerative Medicine Foundation.

Until 2010 Dr. Rao led the Stem Cell and Regnerative Medicine division at LiFE Technologies and also served as the Chair of the CBER (FDA) advisory committee (CTGTAC). Dr. Rao subsequently joined the NIH under the leadership of Dr. Francis Collins to serve as the founding Director of the NIH Center of Regenerative Medicine and as the Chief of the Laboratory of Stem cell Biology. Throughout his career Dr. Rao has provided advisory and consultancy services to Pharma, oversight committees, advisory panels on large scale projects related to stem cell biology. Advisory activities have included serving on advisory panels to the governments of the U.S., Singapore and India on hESC and iPSC policy and with the FDA and other regulatory authorities on PSC related issues most recently as the CIRM and ISSCR liaison to the ISCT.

Dr. Rao ongoing efforts are focused on translational work and he currently serves as the CSO for Vita Therapeutics and is on the Board of Directors at NKURE and Eyestem. He also is a SAB member Stellular Bio and Reprocell. Dr. Rao continues his focus on developing low-cost technologies for use in developing countries such as India and to provide consultant and advisory services to biotechnology companies in the regenerative medicine field.

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