McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Cecelia Yates, PhD is the recipient of the 2020 Emerging Innovator Award. Dr. Yates will be presented with this prestigious honor during the pre-recorded awards ceremony being held virtually by the Innovation Institute on April 22 at 4:30 p.m.
The Innovation Institute established the Emerging Innovator Award in recognition of the potential difference developers can make on people’s lives through commercial translation. The Emerging Innovator Award was established three years ago to recognize Pitt innovators in mid-career who have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to achieving impact for their research through commercialization.
Dr. Yates is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Promotion & Development, School of Nursing at the University of Pittsburgh, with secondary appointments in the Department of Pathology, School of Medicine, and the Department of Bioengineering, School of Engineering. Additionally, she is co-director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute’s TL1 Predoctoral Fellowship sponsored by NIH Clinical and Translational Science Awards (CTSA) Program. Dr. Yates attended Tuskegee University, Tuskegee, Alabama, where she earned her BS in Biology/Chemistry and her PhD in Integrative Biomedical Science and Pathology in conjunction with the University of Pittsburgh. Upon completing her education, she participated in a Fellowship in Pathology at Pitt’s School of Medicine.
Dr. Yates has over 15 years of experience in fibroblast, chemokine, and extracellular matrix biology and the pathogenesis of organ fibrosis. She has a continuous track record of innovative research and therapeutic development in the field of tissue repair. Her research focuses are on understanding immune cell and stromal cell mediated interactions that contribute to the pathogenesis of fibrotic diseases such as systemic sclerosis (Scleroderma) and IPF. Her research group combines both translational and clinical models to develop therapeutics including biometric peptides, cellular transplantation, and bioreactive scaffolds to promote tissue regeneration. Dr. Yates’ research has been supported externally by the National Institute of Nursing Research, National Institute of General Medical Sciences, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, and internally by the Chancellor’s Innovation Award, the Center for Medical Innovation, and the University of Pittsburgh Genomic Hub. Dr. Yates’ entrepreneurial activities include more than eight issued US patents, several international patents, and pending applications associated with her work. She is the co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Fibrokine Inc., a Pittsburgh-based start-up developing a broad spectrum of anti‐fibrotic chemokine peptides to treat organ fibrosis. She is also the co-founder and member of the Scientific Advisory Board of a Pittsburgh-based start-up, Ocugenix, focused on ocular therapeutic development. In addition, she is involved with several ongoing therapeutic commercialization ventures.
Congratulations, Dr. Yates!