Meet Our Team
- Christopher D. Hillyer, MD President and CEO
Christopher D. Hillyer, MD, is President and CEO of New York Blood Center and Professor, Department of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, New York. Previously, he was the tenured, endowed Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine and served as director of the Emory Center for Transfusion and Cellular Therapies with responsibility for all aspects of clinical and academic transfusion medicine at Emory's seven principle hospitals.
Dr. Hillyer is an editor of 12 textbooks in transfusion medicine including the 16-I8th editions of the AABB Technical Manual, author of over 150 articles pertaining to transfusion, human immunodeficiency virus, and herpes viruses, most notably cytomegalovirus. Nationally recognized as an expert in hematology and blood transfusion, Dr. Hillyer is also a past- president, board of directors of AABB and a former trustee of the National Blood Foundation. Dr. Hillyer has been awarded many million dollars in research funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other agencies. He is an associate editor of Transfusion and serves on several other editorial boards.
Dr. Hillyer was formally recognized for his work in Africa as part of the AABB/Emory cooperative agreement from the President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and is a recipient of two Tiffany Awards from the American Red Cross where he also served as a medical director and a member of their national Medical Advisory Board. He is a co-founder of Transfusion & Transplantation Technologies, Inc. (3Ti) and holds over 20 patents or patents pending.
Dr. Hillyer is board certified in transfusion medicine, hematology, medical oncology and internal medicine. He received his BS from Trinity College, and his MD from the University of Rochester School of Medicine, with postgraduate training and fellowships in hematology- oncology, transfusion medicine and bone marrow transplantation at Tufts-New England Medical Center.
- Beth Shaz, MD Executive Vice President, Chief Medical and Scientific Officer
Dr. Shaz has 15 years of experience in transfusion medicine and cellular therapies, and is passionate about creating new products to improve patient care. Dr. Shaz is the chief medical and scientific officer of New York Blood Center and an adjunct assistant professor in the department of pathology and cell biology at Columbia University Medical Center. Previously, she was an associate professor at Emory University School of Medicine and director of the transfusion service at Grady Memorial Hospital. She also held positions as an instructor at Harvard Medical School and was the associate director of the transfusion service at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Beth received her medical degree with research distinction from the University of Michigan and her Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering with distinction from Cornell University. She completed a general surgery internship at Georgetown University, an anatomic & clinical pathology residency at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and a transfusion medicine fellowship at Harvard Medical School.
- Rona S. Weinberg, PhD Executive Director of Comprehensive Cell Solutions & Director, Cellular Therapy
Dr. Rona Singer Weinberg earned her Bachelor of Science degree in biology at Brooklyn College in New York and her PhD in biomedical science at CUNY Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Dr. Weinberg is the director of the cellular therapy and regenerative medicine laboratories and is the PI of the Myeloproliferative Disorders Research Consortium’s tissue bank, which is the largest repository of tissues from myeloproliferative neoplasm patients. Dr. Weinberg’s research interests include bone marrow transplantation, myeloproliferative neoplasms, hemoglobinopathies, and bone marrow failure syndromes.
- Manlio Narici, MBA Executive Director, Medical Programs and Services
Manlio brings 17 years of experience at New York Blood Center to Comprehensive Cell Solutions™ contracting, budgeting, and customer engagement. He manages several business lines including apheresis operations and cellular therapy laboratory activities. He focuses on bringing together research activities and clinical implementation with the aim of creating a bench to bedside continuum that addresses the needs of research institutions and biotech companies alike.
- Debra Kessler, RN, MS Vice President, Medical Programs and Services
Debra Kessler is an internationally known expert in blood donor management, transfusion transmitted infectious diseases, blood center operations, and regulatory issues. She has authored 6 book chapters, over 85 articles and abstracts, and has served as faculty, moderator, and director for numerous professional meetings. Ms. Kessler has 30 years of experience with research studies involving laboratory and survey studies; follow up studies of individuals tested using blood screening assays under IND; recruiting and enrolling subjects for studies; and analyzing data on return of behavioral theories related to blood donor motivation. Ms. Kessler received her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing at Lehman College and her Masters of Science degree in nursing administration at Mercy College.
- Barry Greene, MPA Executive Director, Research Administration
Barry Greene has over 30 years of experience with grants and contracts within non-profits, higher education institutions, medical institutions, foundations, governmental entities, and for profit companies. Mr. Greene has extensive experience working with the federal regulations and guidelines governing grants and contracts issued by the Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Services, the Office of Navel Research, Department of Education, Department of Defense, National Science Foundation, as well as various corporations, foreign governments and private foundations. He has assisted numerous colleges and universities, not-for-profits, and hospitals in the evaluation of government audit reports and the interpretation of public laws and procurement regulations related to government grants and contracts. Prior to assuming his current position at Comprehensive Cell Solutions Mr. Greene was a manager at Ernst & Young's Health Science Global Investigation & Dispute Advisory practice and assistant director of research administration at The Research Foundation of SUNY at Downstate Medical.
- Elisabeth M. Scaffidi, MBA Marketing Manager, Comprehensive Cell Solutions
Elisabeth M. Scaffidi serves as the Marketing Manager for Comprehensive Cell Solutions at New York Blood Center, focusing on the creation of strategic communication programs, brand development, and customer retention. Elisabeth joins the New York Blood Center with over fourteen years of healthcare experience, specifically in the commercial diagnostic laboratory sector. She has earned her MBA degree in Organizational Leadership from Ramapo College. Her mission is to communicate the organization’s extensive and long-term experience, expertise, products so the organization can continue to advance regenerative medicine, cell and gene therapy.
- Fakhrul Alam, MBA Project Manager, Comprehensive Cell Solutions
Fakhrul Alam serves as the project manager for Comprehensive Cell Solutions, coalescing the business goals and scientific challenges to ensure seamless onboarding of new clients and tactical allocation of key resources to internal projects. Fakhrul works closely with the executive director on a variety of key strategic and financial reports, including budgeting, risk analysis and business performance evaluation across the New York Blood Center Enterprise. Joining the Blood Center with nearly five years of non-profit experience, Fakhrul brings with him the leadership and capacity to overcome unique, project-based obstacles and synergize efforts of multiple work clusters. Fakhrul earned his MBA from Baruch College Zicklin School of Business in 2014, with a focus on management and entrepreneurship. He strives to use his communication skills, technical knowledge and management dexterity to advance the growth of Comprehensive Cell Solutions.