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.

Jesper Gromada, PhD Chief Scientific Officer

Jesper Gromada joined Exonics Therapeutics as Chief Scientific Officer in 2018. He brings to the company more than 20 years of experience working in various roles at Novo Nordisk, Eli Lilly, Novartis and most recently at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, where he served as Vice President. A major focus of Jesper’s work has been the development of therapeutics for patients with metabolic and skeletal muscle diseases. He has published more than 140 peer-reviewed manuscripts, including in high impact journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, Cell, Science and Cell Metabolism, and has given numerous invited lectures nationally and internationally. Jesper holds a Ph.D. from University of Copenhagen, Denmark.



Nathan Jones, PhD Vice President, Process Development and Manufacturing

Nathan Jones, PhD, joined Exonics Therapeutics as Vice President of Process Development and Manufacturing in 2018. Prior to this role, Dr. Jones was head of the Gene Therapy Skill Center at Sanofi, where his team developed manufacturing processes for early phase gene therapy programs and was responsible for platform innovation. Nathan earned a B.S. in Biology-Genetics from the University of Kansas and a PhD from the Biochemistry Department of Purdue University.




Alison McVie-Wylie, PhD Vice President, Preclinical Development

Alison McVie-Wylie joined Exonics Therapeutics as Vice President of Preclinical Development in 2018. Prior to Exonics, Alison served as the Head of Gene Therapy and Biologics Pharmacology in the Rare Disease Research group at Sanofi. Alison was previously at Genzyme where she gained extensive experience advancing innovative novel biotherapeutics from preclinical research into clinical development in multiple disease areas, including neuromuscular, metabolic, ocular, immunology and multiple sclerosis. She has supported numerous global regulatory submissions and was the lead Scientist responsible for the nonclinical development of Myozyme® and Lumizyme® from early concept to IND and worldwide licensure. Prior to Sanofi/Genzyme, Alison worked in the laboratory of Dr. Y.T. Chen at Duke University on the early development of enzyme replacement therapy as a treatment for Pompe Disease. At Duke University, Alison became board certified in Clinical Molecular Genetics. Alison obtained her Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics from the University of Glasgow, Scotland, and a B.Sc. (1st class) in Biochemistry and Immunology from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland.

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 repairing 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.