Dr. Jason Acker

President & CEO

Dr. Jason Acker is the Senior Research Scientist with the Canadian Blood Services’ Centre for Innovation and a Professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada. His research focuses on understanding the response of cells and tissues to ex vivo storage and the development of methods for their preservation and use as therapeutic products. Dr. Acker’s blood services laboratory has responsibility for developing scientific and technical evidence to support innovative changes in blood product manufacturing, storage and utilization at Canadian Blood Services.

Dr. Acker is author of more than 200 publications, 10 book chapters and holds 12 patents in the area of cell preservation and microfabrication. Dr. Acker serves as an editorial board member for 4 journals and invited reviewer for more than 35 scientific publications. He is actively involved in consulting with and advising companies and organizations developing biobanking and cell therapy programs and is co-founder of two University start-up companies.

Dr. Robert Ben

Chief Scientific Officer

Professor Ben obtained his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from Laurentian University (Sudbury, ON) in 1990.  He undertook graduate studies in synthetic organic chemistry at the University of Ottawa under the supervision of Professor Tony Durst and obtained his PhD in 1994.  After a postdoctoral position at the University of Toronto from 1994-1996 he accepted a Research Associate position at the Steacie Institute of Molecular Sciences (SIMS) at the National Research Council of Canada in Ottawa.  In 1998, he started his independent research career as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Binghamton.  During the summer of 2003, he joined the Chemistry Department at the University of Ottawa with a Canada Research Chair in Medicinal Chemistry. In 2013, he became Director for the Biopharmaceutical Science (BPS) and Biomedical Science (BMS) programs at the University of Ottawa and was promoted to Full Professor in 2015.  Professor Ben’s research interests are interdisciplinary in nature (organic synthesis, bioorganic chemistry, carbohydrates, peptides, cell biology) with the main focus being the rational design and synthesis of new cryoprotectants that function by inhibiting ice recrystallization during cryopreservation or vitrification.  These cryoprotectants are used to cryopreserve progenitor cells and tissues for emerging cellular therapies.

Ana Clementin, MPH, PhD

Executive Director

Ana has a scientific background in bacteriology and immunology. She is also trained in business development, management, and the basics of accounting, finances and patent law. Ana has held senior management roles and has been responsible for the operational aspects of most of the public health, healthcare and biotech non-for-profit and private organizations she has worked at. She also has experience in managing scientific programs, especially for projects in the manufacturing stage.

Laura Gabler Pizarro, MSc


Laura Gabler Pizarro is the cryobiologist at PanTHERA CryoSolutions Inc., where she is conducting different types of cryopreservation optimization experiments. She recently obtained her Master of Science in Chemical Engineering at the University of Alberta with a focus in the field of cryobiology. Her research experience includes culturing mammalian cells, designing experimental procedures, and thermodynamic modelling of changing cell volumes during cryopreservation. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering at Florida State University.

Odile Pressoir, Bsc

Organic Chemist

Odile Pressoir works as an Organic Chemist for PanTHERA CryoSolutions Inc. She obtained her BSc in Biopharmaceutical Science Option Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Ottawa. She took part in a research project on the synthesis of small molecules as potential ice recrystallization inhibitors with Professor Robert Ben’s group. Now she is involved in product development, manufacture, and quality control.

Jasper Quartus, MSc

Synthetic Organic Chemist

Jasper has an educational background in organic chemistry and biopharmaceutical science. His practical experience with organic synthesis is particularly comprised of heterocycle synthesis and catalysis. He developed conditions for the synthesis of sultams via ruthenium catalyzed C-H amination of N-hydroxysulfonamide derivatives for completion of his master’s degree. He also synthesized and isolated the proposed aminimide intermediates derived from [3+2] cycloaddition reactions of N-substituted isocyanates and alkenes (aminocarbonylation reactions) in his honour’s research project.

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