• Leadership

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Our Management Team

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Kim Hulett (47)

Founder & Chief Executive Officer

Bachelor of Computer Science (Rhodes University), Higher Diploma in Accounting, CA (SA), Certificate in International Tax.

After graduating from Rhodes University with a Bachelor of Computer Science Degree, Kim Hulett completed a Higher Diploma in Accounting. She qualified as a chartered accountant after completing her articles with Price Waterhouse in Johannesburg. Kim joined Hambros Bank in London, focusing on cross border corporate finance. After returning to South Africa, Kim set-up her own consulting business in corporate finance, structured finance, tax, and black economic empowerment transactions, and was actively involved in the incubation of a number of businesses in the media, entertainment, technology, security and medical industries. Kim is a trustee of the Oliver & Adelaide Tambo Foundation and also a member of Abundance 360, an international entrepreneurial programme set-up by Peter Diamandis, which aims to turn success into significance using disruptive exponential technologies.

Kim founded Next Biosciences together with Netcare Limited in 2005 and is responsible for the overall strategy and management of the business.

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Dr. Yvonne Holt (43)

Chief Medical Officer

MBBCh (Wits), Diploma in Child Healthcare, Diploma in Transfusion Medicine.

Yvonne Holt graduated from the University of the Witwatersrand 1997 with a Bachelor in Medicine and Surgery (MBBCH Wits). Yvonne worked as a Medical Officer in the departments of Paediatrics and Obstetrics and Gynaecology for 4 years after graduation, and obtained a Diploma in Child Health (DCH) during this time.

In 2006, Yvonne’s interest in the fields of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Paediatrics and stem cell technology brought her to a new career path when she joined Next Biosciences as Medical Director. In this capacity, Yvonne is responsible for the medical development of the stem cell program at Next Biosciences and highlighting the benefits of this new technology. In 2011, Yvonne completed a 2 year, internationally recognised Diploma in Transfusion Medicine through the University of Bloemfontein.

With Next Biosciences expanding services, Yvonne remains responsible and oversees all medical development and laboratory management of the new services.

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Spencer James (42)

Chief Operating & Technology Officer

Bachelor of Commerce (Rhodes), Accounting Honours (University of South Africa), CA (SA).

Spencer James completed his Bachelor of Commerce degree, majoring in Accountancy and Commercial law, from Rhodes University in 1995. He then joined Hambros Bank as a research assistant, and in 1998, joined Pricewaterhouse (now PwC) as an article clerk. In 2000, Spencer graduated with a BCompt Honours from the University of South Africa, and in January 2001, qualified as a Chartered Accountant (SA). Spencer’s passion for technology lead him from Audit into Business Technology Management where he was responsible for the conceptualisation and implementation of numerous systems, business process improvement and innovation projects, and the overall business intelligence strategy. In 2014,

Spencer was appointed as the Chief Information Officer of PwC Africa where, under his leadership, he restructured the IT function of the South African organisation and led the rejuvenation of the firm’s operational infrastructure.

Spencer joined Next Biosciences in January 2016 as the head of operations and technology where he is jointly responsible for the overall strategic direction of the company and associated enabling technologies.

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Andre Crawford-Brunt (45)

Director

Bachelor of Commerce (Rhodes University).

After matriculating from St John’s College, Andre graduated from Rhodes University with a Bachelor Degree in Commerce. He started his career at Ivor Jones Roy & Co (IJR) on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in 1994. In 1998 he became a partner before IJR was sold to Deutsche Morgan Grenfell and subsequently moved to the UK in 2002, where he ran numerous businesses for the bank including a European proprietary fund as well as the Emerging market and European Equity trading businesses. Andre relocated to New York in 2010 to run the bank’s US trading business. In 2012, he became the Global Head of Equity Trading for Deutsche Bank.

Andre is a member of Abundance 360, an international entrepreneurial programme set-up by Peter Diamandis of Singularity University.

Andre has investments and interests spanning artificial intelligence, computational finance, disruptive ecommerce start-ups and biosciences.

 

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Carina Neophytou (30)

Chief Financial Officer

Bachelor of Commerce, Accounting Honours (University of Johannesburg), CA (SA).

After completing her Bachelor of Commerce, Carina obtained a Bachelor of Accounting Honours Degree from The University of Johannesburg in 2007. She then joined RSM Betty & Dickson (Johannesburg) in 2008 under a training contract and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in January 2011. Carina has audit experience in retail, manufacturing, property and investment companies and also gained extensive experience in the audit of retirement funds. Carina joined Next Biosciences as Financial Manager in October 2010 and is responsible for the financial management, accounting and related taxation and administration functions of Next Biosciences’ operations.

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Catherine Brazier (29)

Managing Director of Netcells

Bachelor of Business Science, Marketing Honours (University of Cape Town).

Catherine matriculated from St Mary’s D.S.G in Kwa-Zulu Natal in 2004, and then graduated from the University of Cape Town in June 2009 with a Bachelor of Business Science and Honours in Marketing.

Catherine joined Next Biosciencesin June 2010 as Marketing and Communications Manager, where she is responsible for all aspects of client-related marketing and communications. To date, Catherine has been instrumental in a number of exciting projects: implementation of an e-commerce platform for clients to register on-line, a lead management system, an on-line gift registry, an on-line client feedback survey as well as a number of successful marketing campaigns.

Catherine has a passion for social media marketing as well as digitizing the consumer decision journey and client interaction with Next Biosciences.

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Celeste Smith (30)

Laboratory and Quality Manager

Bachelor of Science Honours – Cell Biology (University of Pretoria).

After obtaining her BSc in Medical Sciences (2008), Celeste completed her Honours degree in Human Anatomy with specialization in Cell Biology (2009) and was awarded academic honorary colours by the University of Pretoria. During this time, she had the privilege of interning at Dundee University’s Welcome Trust Biocentre in Scotland, working on cellular signalling and inhibition.

Celeste started as an intern at Medika SA, and worked her way up to the position of Head of Research and Development developing products for use in large scale burn wounds and chronic wound care, including biologicals and tissue engineered products. Celeste joined Next Biosciences in 2013 as a Medical Scientist, and currently holds the position of Laboratory and Quality Manager.

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Dr Nick Walker (27)

Innovation Scientist

PhD Biochemistry.

Nick completed his BSc, BSc (Hons, Cum Laude) and PhD at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Pietermaritzburg. In his PhD work, he focussed on the role of the extracellular matrix (ECM) on various aspects of myogenesis. This work culminated in the publication of “Dose-dependent modulation of myogenesis by HGF: implications for c-Met expression and downstream signalling pathways” in the journal Growth Factors. Furthermore, “Collagen IV promotes myoblast fusion in a CD9-dependent manner” is currently in preparation. Nick started work for Next Biosciences in 2016 as the Innovation Scientist, developing existing technologies and services as well as investigating possible new avenues in the health/technology space.

In April, Nick won the first Global Impact Competition in South Africa, sponsored by Rand Merchant Bank. The prize was to attend Singularity’ University’s 10-week Global Solutions Program (GSP) in Silicon Valley.

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Fikile Muriel Mnisi [35]

Biologics Manager

National Diploma: Biotechnology, Bachelor’s degree in Technology: Biotechnology, Master’s degree in Technology: Biomedical Sciences [TUT]

Fikile has recently joined the Next Biosciences team as the Biologics Manager.

Her interests are in the field of medical biotechnology, bioethics, policy matters, social justice and harmony of biotechnology research and developments and patents.

She has been instrumental in a number of research projects: Chloroform residual in bone as well as bioburden analysis of cadaveric tissue in 2007-2008; Ethics Educator Course presenter (October 2016) and organising member for the 6th Conference of The International Association of Education in Ethics (IAEE) for 2018 in South Africa.

Our Scientific Advisers

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Dr. Carola Niesler (42)

Senior Lecturer (Biochemistry)

Bachelor of Science Honours, PhD (Cambridge, UK).

Senior Lecturer (Biochemistry), University of KwaZulu-Natal, SA, Carola Niesler is an established NRF-rated scientist who leads a Stem Cell Research laboratory in the Department of Biochemistry, University of KwaZulu-Natal. She started her stem cell research career analysing adipose-derived stem cells during her PhD at the Department of Clinical Biochemistry, University of Cambridge, UK, and subsequently spent two years in a Centre of Excellence for wound healing research at the School of Biological Sciences, University of Manchester.

In 2001 Carola joined Stellenbosch University to establish a Stem Cell Biology Group in the Department of Physiological Sciences. During this time, she also acted as a Director of Virtus Clinical Development, a clinical research organization based in Cape Town.

In her current position as Senior Lecturer at UKZN, her research area centers on understanding how the extracellular environment influences stem cell activities such as proliferation, migration and differentiation. She has published 27 papers in international peer-reviewed journals and has graduated 15 PhD/MSc students over the last 10 years.

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Dr. Musa Mhlanga (42)

International Scientific Adviser

BS (Georgetown University), PhD (NYU School of Medicine).

Dr. Musa Mhlanga is a cell biologist who holds a PhD in cell biology & molecular genetics from the New York University School of Medicine (2003). He began his PhD at Rockefeller University and upon completion of his doctoral work he was awarded a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellowship at the Institut Pasteur in Paris to work in the laboratory of nuclear cell biology.

In June 2008 he joined the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CISR) in Pretoria, South Africa where he headed the Synthetic Biology Program, and was the research group leader of the Laboratory of Gene Expression and Biophysics. He currently leads a major translational research initiative at the University of Cape Town.

Dr. Mhlanga also holds a visiting faculty appointment to Harvard Medical School and to the Institute of Molecular Medicine in Lisbon, Portugal. He is the founder of three early stage Biotech start-up companies in France, United States and South Africa.

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Prof. Marco Weinberg (40)

International Scientific Adviser

BSc Honours in Medical Biochemistry (Wits), PhD in Molecular Biology (Wits).

Prof. Marco Weinberg is a biochemist and molecular biologist whose research career has focused on the study of gene regulation and the role of engineered nucleic acids as novel therapeutics. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Molecular Medicine at the University of the Witwatersrand Medical School, South Africa and concurrently an Assistant Professor at the Scripps Research Institute, California, USA.

He has pioneered the use of fast-cleaving hammerhead ribozymes, short hairpin RNAs, long hairpin RNAs, mirtrons, aptamers and CRISPR tools as powerful gene silencing agents against viral diseases and cancer. His work on antisense non-coding RNAs as epigenetic modulators of gene expression has opened-up several new avenues for translational research using novel strategies to silence (and activate) viral genes. Prof. Weinberg has published over 55 papers with several in prestigious international journals and is rated by the National Research Foundation (NRF) as a leading international scholar.

He has successfully graduated 20 doctoral/masters students and several postdoctoral fellows and is on the editorial board of Molecular Therapy and the South African Journal of Science. Lastly, Prof. Weinberg is an inventor on 6 international patents and co-founder/director of Zetta Genomics International, a start-up company involved in clinical next generation sequencing analytics.

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Prof. Jeffrey M. Gimble (59)

International Scientific Adviser

B.A. in Biology (Dartmouth College, Hanover), MD and PhD in Cell Biology (Yale University).

After an internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Barnes Hospital, Washington University in St. Louis (1982-84), Dr Gimble completed a Medical Staff Fellowship in the Laboratory of Immunogenetics, NIAID, NIH (1984-87). Dr. Gimble began studying the differentiation properties of bone marrow stromal cells, now known as mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), in 1987 as a faculty member at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. His laboratory was among the first to investigate the molecular biology of bone marrow stromal adipogenesis.

In 1999, Dr. Gimble left academia to join Zen-Bio as its Director of Tissue Engineering. In 2000, Dr Gimble co-founded Artecel Sciences, where he served as Chief Scientific Officer and whose mission was to develop tissue engineering products based on the use of human adipose-derived stem cells. After the sale of the company in 2003, Dr. Gimble joined the Pennington Biomedical Research Center where he remained on faculty until 2013 as a tenured Professor developing methods for the isolation and characterization of adipose derived stem cells for regenerative medicine. In 2010, he co-founded LaCell, a biotech company delivering premium quality human stem cell products to research laboratories.

Dr. Gimble currently serves as LaCell’s Chief Scientific Officer whilst continuing to serve as an Adjunct Professor in the Center for Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Medicine at Tulane University School of Medicine.