Meet the Team

CCT Team
Front row (left to right) Hongjun Wang, Wenyu Gou, Zi’Asia Jackson-Rose, Connor Klee Back row (left to right) Prabhakar Baliga, Philip Heidt, Norma Bradley, Tara Duke, Shikhar Mehrotra

We provide access to highly trained and dedicated staff with expertise in all aspects of cellular therapy and cGMP phase I/II clinical trials. In addition to technical experience, we have extensive QA/QC knowledge to secure FDA compliance during the development of each cellular product. For more information, contact Tara Duke, MLS (ASCP)cm,  QA Director, at duket@musc.edu or 843-792-6468.

Meet Our Directors

Dr. Prabhakar Baliga, chairman of the Department of Surgery  

Prabhakar Baliga, M.D.

Chair and Medical Director

William Lancaster MD 

William Lancaster, M.D.

Associate Medical Director

Hongjun Wang PhD 

Hongjun Wang, Ph.D.

Co-Scientific Director Islet Processing and Stem Cell Therapy Programs: The Wang Laboratory focuses on pancreatic islet cell biology and transplantation immunology in the treatment of type 1 and type 2 diabetes and chronic pancreatitis. 

Shikhar Mehrotra PhD 

Shikhar Mehrotra , Ph.D.

Co-Scientific Director Oncology and Immunotherapy Programs: Research interests include T cell biology, Activation Induced Cell Death of a T cell (AICD), T cell development in immunity and tolerance, identification of high-affinity TCR for prostate cancer, the role of cytokines in T cell persistence. 

Meet the Research Staff

 

Tara Duke 

Tara Duke, MLS (ASCP)CM

Tara Duke is a Research Instructor in the Department of Surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina.  She is the Director of Regulatory Affairs and Quality Assurance, experienced in providing oversight in the areas of quality control, quality assurance, and quality improvement as it applies to the Center for Cellular Therapy (CCT). Tara’s responsibilities include ensuring all procedures/polices are in compliance with the regulatory requirements of all applicable agencies and followed by staff.  One of the agencies includes FACT accreditation indicating the CCT lab has met the most rigorous standards in the aspect of cellular therapy processing. Continuous monitoring of all regulatory/accreditation updates to ensure full compliance with changes, addition, deletions, and version updates.  Tara will ensure the quality of all products and services provided by the CCT. Education: Biology, University of South Carolina, Medical Technology, Medical University of South Carolina

Norma Bradley 

Norma Bradley

Norma Bradley is currently the Program Manager of The Center for Cellular Therapy at the Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC.  She obtained her B.S. degree in Microbiology at American University, Washington, D.C.  She has >40 years’ experience in immunology research focused on B cell and T cell immunology. In addition, experienced with endothelial cells, dendritic cells, and mesenchymal stem cells in both human and mouse models.  Her research has included vaccine development for malaria, melanoma, prostate, and breast cancer. 

Wenyu Gou 

Wenyu Gou, Ph.D.

Project: Islet transplantation and islet cell biology. Islet transplantation is an ideal treatment to cure diabetes and total pancreatectomy with auto-islet transplantation patients. Most islet cells die immediately post transplantation due to hypoxia and innate inflammatory responses. By preventing the islet cell death after transplantation, the patient will have more chance to get insulin-free. Even though taking exogenous insulin can help to control the blood glucose level, the metabolic disorder still can’t improve. My current research is studying the mechanism of clinical therapies and islet cell biology.

PHILIP HEIDT 

Philip Heidt 

Philip Heidt is a Research Specialist at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC. He obtained a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics-Economics with an emphasis in Pre-Medical Studies at Furman University. He previously conducted research in Pulmonary Medicine at MUSC, and is currently collaborating with the Mehrotra Lab to establish new therapeutic techniques.

Connor Klee 

Connor Klee

Connor Klee is a Research Specialist at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC. He obtained a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC, where he gained laboratory experience in cell and molecular biology, bacteriology, physiology, ecology, and comparative vertebrate anatomy. In the Center for Cellular Therapy, he performs Autologous Islet Transplantation, Autologous Hematopoietic Progenitor Cell Apheresis, Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cell Isolation, antibody staining, flow cytometry, and Mesenchymal Stem Cell culturing.