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Kenneth Adler, Ph.D.

Professor of Cell Biology, North Carolina State University

Kenneth Adler has spent more than three decades investigating respiratory airways and the problem of excess mucus production—a condition that ranges from annoying in a cold to deadly in cystic fibrosis.

In the process, Dr. Adler has become one of the world’s foremost researchers in the field of airway disease and a top-ranked biomedical scientist whose achievements have the potential to significantly improve the lives of people with severe respiratory diseases such as chronic bronchitis, asthma, and cystic fibrosis.


Thomas Caranasos, M.D.

Director of Adult Cardiac Surgery and Assistant Professor of Surgery, University of North Carolina School of Medicine

Thomas Caranasos is the Director of Adult Cardiac Surgery and Medical Director of UNC Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) program. Dr. Caranasos specializes in adult cardiac and thoracic surgery including heart and lung transplantation and ventricular assist device (VAD) implantation. With special interest in aortic surgery including the ascending, arch pathology, thoracic aorta, and aortic root, transcatheter aortic valve surgery, mitral and aortic valvular surgery, minimally invasive approaches to cardiac surgery; video-assisted thoracic surgery.


Jorge Mallea, M.D.

Critical Care Specialist, Pulmonologist, and Sleep Medicine Specialist, 

Mayo Clinic

Dr. Mallea is a consultant in the Departments of Transplantation and Medicine (Division of Pulmonary Diseases) at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. His interests include cell and cell-derived therapies in lung diseases, management of advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, organ preservation using ex-vivo lung perfusion, and diagnosis and treatment of rare lung diseases. He currently is a co-investigator in a trial to evaluate the safety and feasibility of bone-marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells in the management of rejection after lung transplantation. Dr. Mallea is the principal investigator in a trial to evaluate the safety and feasibility of administration of bone-marrow derived mesenchymal stem cells in patients with advanced COPD  (MCTAC).  The MCTAC trial is expected to start enrolling patients in the summer of 2019. 

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