About Us

Universal Cells is a Seattle-based company that is producing engineered stem cell lines that can avoid rejection and be used in allogeneic cell therapy treatments for the people who need them. One Cell, Many Therapies.

U Cells Assets About Intro Hero 01

Leadership Team

President, Chief Intelligence and Liaison Officer

Noboru Yamaji,
Ph.D

President, Chief Intelligence and Liaison Officer
Associate Director, NK Cell Biology and Pharmacology

Tamar Boursalian
Ph.D

Associate Director, NK Cell Biology and Pharmacology
Executive Director, Clinical Gene Editing & Strategy

Kim Clary,
Ph.D

Executive Director, Clinical Gene Editing & Strategy
Director of Research

Ryan Davis
Ph.D

Director of Research
Director, Cell Editing and Process Development

Akina Hoshino
Ph.D

Director, Cell Editing and Process Development
Director of Operations & Facility Engineering

Rebecca Johnson

Director of Operations & Facility Engineering
Associate Director, Human Resources

George Padilla,
SHRM-SCP

Associate Director, Human Resources
Director, Core Technologies

Lisa Petek

Director, Core Technologies
Executive Director, Head of Research & Development

Mary Prieve,
Ph.D

Executive Director, Head of Research & Development

Our History

Universal Cells was established to commercialize gene-editing, stem cell engineering and immune rejection technologies for the treatment of human diseases.


The technologies were developed by Dr. David Russell, Founder of Universal Cells and a Professor Emeritus of Medicine at the University of Washington. He received his BS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an MD from Cornell University, and a PhD from Rockefeller University.


Dr. Russell has made major contributions in the fields of gene therapy, viral vectors, vector integration, gene editing, insertional mutagenesis, and the genetic manipulation of human stem cells. He published the original report of AAV-mediated gene editing in 1998, which was the first example of gene editing in normal human cells, for which he received a Presidential Early Career Award from the White House. Dr. Russell has been recognized for his contributions by election to the American Society of Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians, and he served as President of the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy. Over the last decade, he has focused on the creation of gene-edited universal donor stem cells that escape allogeneic rejection. He founded Universal Cells to develop and commercialize universal donor stem cells for the treatment of human diseases.

Astellas - Our Parent Company Image

Astellas - Our Parent Company

Astellas Pharma Inc purchased Universal Cells in February 2018 and we are now a wholly owned subsidiary. Astellas is committed to bringing value to their patients by becoming a leader in Cell Therapy, with a particular emphasis on allogeneic, pluripotent stem cell-derived products. Our relationship with Astellas provides us with unparalleled support for our programs, allowing us to focus entirely on the development of safe and effective cell therapy products.

Visit AstellasArrow Button Link Image
Timeline Image