Leadership Team

Eric Olson, PhD Founder and Chief Science Advisor

Eric Olson, PhD, is Professor and Chair of the Department of Molecular Biology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, where he also holds the Robert A. Welch Distinguished Chair in Science, the Annie and Willie Nelson Professorship in Stem Cell Research, and the Pogue Distinguished Chair in Research on Cardiac Birth Defects. Dr. Olson has dedicated his career to deciphering the mechanisms that control development and disease of the heart, cardiovascular system and skeletal muscle tissue. Dr. Olson has co-founded multiple biotechnology companies to translate basic discoveries into new therapeutics for muscle disease, and is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

John Ripple Chief Executive Officer

John Ripple joined Exonics Therapeutics as Chief Executive Officer in 2017. Prior to Exonics, John served as CEO of Ensemble Therapeutics, Permeon Biologics, Virdante Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Momenta Pharmaceuticals), and Syntonix Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Biogen). He also founded Ripple Biotech to advise biopharmaceutical companies on strategy, business development and capital fundraising activities. John previously held positions as entrepreneur-in-residence at the venture capital arm of Partners Healthcare as well as positions in business development at Genetics Institute and Wyeth (now Pfizer), medical device marketing, and management consulting. He started his career as an aerospace engineer at NASA. John currently serves as a member on the Board of Overseers at the Marine Biological Laboratory (Woods Hole, MA), on the Board of Directors and Treasurer of the Children’s Melanoma Prevention Foundation, and as an advisor to the MIT Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation. John received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Bucknell University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Leonela Amoasii, PhD Director, Gene Editing

Leonela Amoasii, PhD, has worked in the laboratory of Dr. Eric Olson at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas since 2012. Dr. Amoasii obtained her undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry and master degree in Molecular and Cellular Physiopathology at the Louis Pasteur University in Strasbourg, France. Dr. Amoasii pursued her graduate studies at the Institut de Génétique Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire (IGBMC) at the University of Strasbourg in France. During her doctoral studies, she identified the mechanistic basis of myotubular centronuclear myopathy and acquired expertise in the use of adeno-associated virus (AAV) for manipulation of gene expression in muscle. Over the last years Dr. Amoasii has been involved in developing a new therapeutic approach for correction of Duchenne muscular dystrophy using CRISPR/Cas9 genomic editing. Dr. Amoasii pursued the in vivo optimization of the CRISPR/Cas9 genomic editing, her recent work reveals promising results for translation of the genome editing technology to human patients.

Cristina Csimma, PharmD, MHP Senior Advisor

Cristina Csimma, PharmD, MHP, is a biopharmaceutical executive with fund raising, new company formation and drug development expertise in the biopharmaceutical industry, venture capital and academic settings. She serves on the Board of Directors of Juniper Pharmaceuticals and Neuralstem, Inc.; the Muscular Dystrophy Association Venture Philanthropy Scientific Advisory Committee; the Executive Oversight Board to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) NeuroNext Network; the External Oversight Committee of NIH Blueprint Neurotherapeutics Network; and the Harvard and Brigham and Women’s Hospital MRCT Center External Advisory Board. She was previously Executive Chair of the Board of Directors of Exonics, Board Director at Vtesse Inc. (acquired by Sucampo Pharmaceuticals) and Cydan, where she was also President and founding CEO. Prior appointments include Vice President of Drug Development at Virdante Pharmaceuticals Inc., Principal at Clarus Ventures LLC, program leadership in Clinical Development and Translational Research at Wyeth (now Pfizer), Genetics Institute, Inc., and clinical pharmacist at Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Dr. Csimma received her Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Pharmacy degrees from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and a Master of Health Professions from Northeastern University.