Board of Directors
Nicholas Muzyczka, PhD
Chairman & Co-founder
Dr. Muzyczka received his PhD in biochemistry from Johns Hopkins in 1973 and joined Dan Nathans' laboratory as a postdoctoral fellow where he began his work on gene therapy. In 1980 his lab initiated the development of AAV vectors for gene therapy. His lab invented a way of doing genetics on AAV, and then invented the first AAV vectors as well as the AAV vectors that are in use today. In 1994, he founded the Powell Gene Therapy Center at the University of Florida where he served as Director for six years. In 1995 he was awarded the American Cancer Society Edward R. Koger chair. His laboratory went on to develop many of the techniques currently used in AAV technology, including standard methods for vector production, purification and quality control. His laboratory also participated in experiments that demonstrated the first long term AAV mediated expression in the eye and CNS. To enable these animal studies, his lab helped humanize the small marker gene GFP and his lab participated in the first demonstration of using rAAV to create an animal disease model. His basic research in AAV biology includes mapping of the TR sequences that are recognized by the Rep protein for replication, the identification of the cellular proteins required for replication and the complete reconstitution of AAV DNA replication in vitro, the identification of the transcription control elements in all three AAV promoters, the characterization of more than a 100 AAV capsid mutants that control capsid assembly, cell entry and trafficking. His laboratory has also developed novel vectors for targeting AAV to specific tissues. In 1999 he founded Applied Genetic Technologies Corp (AGTC) with the help of four fellow scientists at UF and UNC. He served as the company’s first CEO and COB and served as a Director on the Board until 2012, shortly before the company went public. I n 2015 he founded Lacerta Therapeutics, whose mission is to develop therapies for central nervous system and lysosomal storage diseases, and he currently serve as its COB. In 2017, he was inducted into the National Academy of Inventors.
Kenneth Berns, MD, PhD
Dr. Berns recently retired as Director of the Genetics Institute at the University of Florida. Previously he served as Dean of the College of Medicine and Vice President for Health Affairs. Dr. Berns has devoted most of his scientific research career to the study of the molecular basis of replication of the human parvovirus, adeno-associated virus. His work has been instrumental in providing the basis for the current interest in the use of this virus as a vector for gene therapy. He also has had a longstanding interest in medical education and has served as a member of the Liaison Committee on Medical Education. He is a past member of the Composite Committee of the United States Medical Licensing Examination and is a past Chair of the Association of American Medical Colleges. Dr. Berns has served on many scientific advisory committees including the Genetic Biology Panel of the NSF, the Virology Study Section of the NIH, the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the Virology-Microbiology panel of the American Cancer Society (Chair), the Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (Chair) of the NIH and the National Advisory Research Resources Council (NARRC) of the NIH. He has also served similar roles for the EPA, the U.S. Army (NRC) and the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences.Dr. Berns chairs the American Society for Microbiology Committee on Biodefense and is a member of the Cellular, Tissue and Gene Therapies advisory committee of the FDA.
Matt is currently Vice President, Head of Business Development and Treasurer at Sarepta Therapeutics where he has played an integral role in assembling Sarepta’s gene therapy pipeline. Matt has also directed multiple capital raises providing well over $1billion in proceeds. Prior to joining Sarepta in 2013, Matt held positions in business development and finance at Celgene Corporation and Gilead Sciences. Matt holds a BSBA from Bowling Green State University and an MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Barry Byrne, MD, PhD
Director & Co-founder
Dr. Byrne is a Professor of Pediatrics and the Director of the Powell Gene Therapy Center at the University of Florida and his research is aimed at understanding types of inherited muscle disease, which lead to heart and skeletal muscle dysfunction. His current research focus is aimed to help those affected by Pompe Disease, an autosomal recessive lysosomal storage disease, and Barth Syndrome, an chromosomal X-linked defect. Dr. Byrne has participated in multiple gene therapy clinical trials and has made many contributions to AAV technology.
Joseph Reddy, PhD
President, Chief Executive Officer, & Director