Mahendra S. Rao, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Rao is the co-founder of a neural stem cell company, Q Therapeutics, based in Salt Lake City (Utah) and, more recently, NxCell based in California. Dr. Rao is internationally known for his research involving human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and other somatic stem cells.

Dr. Rao received his M.D. (MBBS) from Bombay University in India and his Ph.D. in Developmental Neurobiology from the California Institute of Technology. Dr. Rao has an extensive background teaching medical and graduate students, as well as postdoctoral fellows at institutions including The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, The National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bangalore, India, and the University of Utah School of Medicine. Dr. Rao was the founding Director of the NIH Center of Regenerative Medicine and, until recently, was the Chief of the Laboratory of Stem Cell Biology at the NIH. Dr. Rao’s laboratory was focused on translational work related to Parkinson’s disease and glial cell pathology. Before joining the NIH, Dr. Rao led the Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine division at Life Technologies.

Dr. Rao serves on several scientific advisory boards to Pharma, journal editorial boards and oversight committees, and advisory panels on large scale projects related to stem cell biology. Dr. Rao has served on the Boards of companies such Thermogenesis, Aastrom, Stempeutics, and Q Therapeutics. Dr. Rao also served as the Chair of the CBER (FDA) advisory committee (CTGTAC) and on advisory panels to the governments of the U.S., Singapore, and India on hESC and iPSC policy. He continues to work with the FDA and other regulatory authorities on PSC related issues, most recently as the CIRM and ISSCR liaison to the ISCT.