G. Wesley Hatfield, Ph.D.
Chairman of the Board
Dr. Hatfield has extensive academic and entrepreneurial experience. Throughout his professional career, he has been a strong advocate in support of technology transfer from the academic to the commercial sector and served on many UCI campus, UC system-wide, and state and national committees,. He has been a founder and investor in several biotechnology companies and served as a consultant to biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies and venture capital firms. Most recently, in 2013, he co-founded Actavalon Inc. where he served as CEO for four years and remains a member of the Board of Directors. Dr. Hatfield received his B.A. from UC Santa Barbara, his PH.D. from Purdue, and postdoctoral training at Duke, In 1970, he accepted a faculty position in the School of Medicine at UC Irvine. In 2012, he retired from UCI to spend full time on his entrepreneurial activities.
Christopher C.W. Hughes, Ph.D.
Co-Founder & Chief Scientific Officer
Dr. Hughes is a professor in the Departments of Molecular Biology & Biochemistry and Biomedical Engineering at UC Irvine. His recent appointments have included Department Chair, Director of the Edwards Lifesciences Center for Advanced Cardiovascular Technology, and co-director of the Onco-Imaging and Biotechnology (OIB) Program, part of the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center at UCI. The work in his lab spans multiple scales – from understanding the basic molecular mechanisms of angiogenesis (the growth of new blood vessels), to engineering of artificial tissues. Recently his lab has been pioneering “Body-on-Chip” technology, which allows for human micro-organs – heart, pancreas, tumor, etc. – to be grown in the lab with their own blood vessel network. Professor Hughes has published over 90 peer-reviewed research manuscripts, and in recognition of his outstanding research and publication record he was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in 2014. In addition to his research, Professor Hughes works extensively with the non-profit organization, cureHHT, which provides patient support and research advocacy on behalf of those suffering from the rare vascular disorder Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia. Professor Hughes serves as Chair of the foundation’s North American Scientific and Medical Advisory Council.
Steven C. George, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. George is Chair of the department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of California, Davis. His work currently focuses on creating tissue engineered models of the cardiac, pancreas, and cancer microenvironments using induced pluripotent stem cell and microfabrication technology. He was on the faculty at the University of California, Irvine for 19 years (1995-2014) where he pursued a range of research interests including pulmonary gas exchange, lung mechanics, vascularizing engineered tissues, and microphysiological systems. The NIH FIRST award in 1998 and the CAREER and Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE) from the National Science Foundation in 1999 have previously recognized his work. In 2014 he transitioned to become the Elvera and William Stuckenberg Professor and Chair of Biomedical Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis. He was elected a fellow in the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) in 2007, a fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society in 2017, has published more than 125 peer-reviewed manuscripts, and co-founded two early start-up companies. Dr. George received his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 1987 from Northwestern University, M.D. from the University of Missouri School of Medicine in 1991, and Ph.D. from the University of Washington in chemical engineering in 1995.
Abraham P. Lee, Ph.D.
Dr. Lee is Professor of the Biomedical Engineering (BME) Department with a courtesy appointment in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) at the University of California, Irvine. Dr. Lee’s lab focuses on microfluidic platforms applied to point-of-care and molecular diagnostics, sample preparation and liquid biopsy, artificial cell vesicles for theranostics, cell engineering, single cell processing and analysis, and vascularized organ-on-a-chips. His research has contributed to the founding of several start-up companies and he serves as an advisor to companies and government agencies. He is founding Director of the NSF I/UCRC “Center for Advanced Design & Manufacturing of Integrated Microfluidics” (CADMIM) and also was PI for a DARPA-Industry supported Micro/nano Fluidics Fundamentals Focus (MF3) Center (2006-2013). Dr. Lee is the Editor-in-Chief for the Lab on a Chip journal since January 2017 (leading journal in the field of microfluidics). He owns more than 45 issued US patents and has published more than 100 journal articles. Professor Lee was awarded the 2009 Pioneers of Miniaturization Prize and is an elected fellow of the American Institute of and Medical and Biological Engineering, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the National Academy of Inventors, and the Biomedical Engineering Society. Dr. Lee received his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley and his B.S. degree from National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan.
Chief Executive Officer
Ming-I Huang is a seasoned finance and risk management executive. She has been a partner and co-founder of Grenian Energy Finance, providing risk management for renewable energy projects. She has also been a partner at Strategic Risk Partners LLC with a focus on digitizing underwriting platforms for casualty insurance businesses. Previously she was the Finance Director for AIG’s multi-billion Global Casualty business unit and Senior Managing Director of its Global Actuarial and Value Management department. Other leadership roles she held include Chief Risk Officer for various QBE America business units, Clarendon Insurance Group, a subsidiary of Hannover Re and Vice President of Treaty Casualty Underwriting at Everest Re Group. Ming-I Huang received her M.A. degree in Mathematical Statistics from University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Hugh Bender, Ph.D.
Dr. Bender serves as Lead Scientist at the Company. He oversees the commercial development of the Vascularized Micro-Organ (VMO) platform, including designing, managing, and executing scientific studies using this platform for pharmaceutical clients. Dr. Bender has published in multiple peer-reviewed journals in both the stem cell and micro physiological systems (MPS) fields. Dr. Bender brings expertise in generating new organ-on-a-chip platforms, having leveraged the core VMO technology to develop a novel, biomimetic islet-on-a-chip platform for ex vivo diabetes studies. Dr. Bender received his B.S. in Biology from Wake Forest University in 2007, M.S. in Cell Biology from Wake Forest University in 2009, and Ph.D. in Developmental, Regenerative, and Stem Cell Biology from Washington University in St. Louis in 2015.
Duc Phan, Ph.D.
Dr. Phan serves as Research Scientist. He has pioneered engineering efforts to standardize and scale up the Vascularized Micro-Organ (VMO) technology for commercial use. A highly motivated bioengineer with extensive experience in vascular biology, microphysiological systems (MPS), and drug discovery, Dr. Phan has a proven track record and capability of leading high-risk, high-reward multidisciplinary projects and effectively adapting to new challenges. Together with his colleagues, he has published multiple highly-cited research articles in the fields of MPS and vascular biology. Dr. Phan received his B.S. degree in Biomedical Engineering from UC Irvine in 2012, and his Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from UC Irvine in 2018.
Sandra Lam, Ph.D.
Dr. Lam serves as Research Scientist. With a background in designing microphysiological systems (MPS) to investigate biological questions, Dr. Lam has published multiple peer-reviewed articles in the microfluidic and biological fields. She currently works to utilize the Vascularized Micro-Organ (VMO) platform to best suit the needs for pharmaceutical clients. Dr. Lam received her B.S. degree in Bioengineering from Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering in 2011 and her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis in 2018.
Allison Sam serves as Research Technician. She is integral to our model’s development and works hands-on to design and implement quality control standards to ensure the high-quality fabrication of our platforms. She brings prior knowledge and experience from the medical device field to our team, offering a fresh, industry-level perspective to Aracari’s pipeline. Prior to working in industry, Allison received her B.S. in Biochemistry and Cell Biology from UC San Diego in 2018.
Aracari Biosciences’ VMOTM and VMTTM technology has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals.
A modular microfluidic system based on a multilayered configuration to generate large-scale perfusable microvascular networks. Tao Yue, Da Zhao, Duc T. T. Phan, Xiaolin Wang, Joshua Jonghyun Park, Zayn Biviji, Christopher C. W. Hughes and Abraham P. Lee. Nature Microsystems & Nanoengineering 7, Article number: 4 (2021).
Human in vitro vascularized micro-organ and micro-tumor models are reproducible organ-on-a-chip platforms for studies of anticancer drugs. Liu Y, Sakolish C, Chen Z, Phan DTT, Bender RHF, Hughes CCW, Rusyn I. 2020. Toxicology. Vol:445 Art:152601.
Tumor-on-a-chip platform to investigate progression and drug sensitivity in cell lines and patient-derived organoids. Shirure VS, Bi Y, Curtis MB, Lezia A, Goedegebuure MM, Goedegebuure SP, Aft R, Fields RC, George SC. 2018. Lab on a Chip. 18: 3687-3702.
A vascularized and perfused organ-on-a-chip platform for large-scale drug screening applications. Phan DT, Wang X, Craver BM, Sobrino A, Zhao D, Chen JC, Lee LY, George SC, Lee AP, and Hughes CCW. 2017. Lab on a Chip. 17: 511-520.
3D microtumors in vitro supported by perfused vascular networks. Sobrino A, Phan DTT Datta R, Wang X, Hachey SJ, Romero-López M, Gratton E, Lee AP, George SC and Hughes CCW. 2016. Scientific Reports. 6: 31589.
An on-chip microfluidic pressure regulator that facilitates reproducible loading of cells and hydrogels into microphysiological system platforms. Wang X, Phan DT, Zhao D, George SC, Hughes CCW, Lee AP. 2016. Lab on a Chip. 16(5): 868-76.
Engineering anastomosis between living capillary networks and endothelial cell-lined microfluidic channels. Wang X, Phan DT, Sobrino A, George SC, Hughes CCW, Lee AP. 2016. Lab on a Chip. 16 (2): 282-290.
A microfluidic platform for generating large-scale nearly identical human microphysiological system arrays. Hsu YH, Moya ML, Hughes CCW, George SC and Lee AP. 2013 Lab on a Chip 13: 2990-2998.
In vitro perfused human capillaries. Moya ML, Hsu, YH, Lee AP, Hughes CCW, and George SC. 2013. Tissue Engineering. 19: 730-737.
Full range physiological mass transport control in 3D tissue cultures. Hsu YH, Moya ML, Abiri P, Hughes CCW, George SC, and Lee AP. 2012. Lab on a Chip. 13: 81-89.
Aracari Biosciences welcomes qualified individuals to apply to our growing team and join us in our mission of improving the drug discovery pipeline. Currently open positions are posted below; click on a job title below to see its description. If you are interested in applying for any job, please email us your CV and a Statement of Interest to firstname.lastname@example.org.