Executive Team

Underdog’s principals comprise the founding CEO and V.P. Research of SENS Research Foundation, the nonprofit research organization dedicated to the development of comprehensive regenerative medicine solutions for the diseases of aging. They have devoted themselves over the last decade to the development of true rejuvenation biotechnologies.

Michael Kope

Co-Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder

Underdog Pharmaceuticals

Mr. Kope established SENS Research Foundation in 2009 with Aubrey de Grey, and was its founding CEO, serving until 2019. He received his J.D. from the University of Michigan in 1990. He has served as the University of Michigan’s Intellectual Property Counsel; Director of Corporate Development for Aviron/MedImmune, Inc.; and as CEO and officer of a number of biotechnology startups.

Dr. Matthew ‘Oki’ O’Connor

Co-Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder

Underdog Pharmaceuticals

Dr. O’Connor was awarded his master’s degree in neuroscience from Northwestern Medical in 1999 and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Baylor College of Medicine in 2005. His postdoctoral research includes work at UC Berkeley on muscle stem cells and aging. He is the author of 10 published manuscripts and lead inventor on the cyclodextrin patents. He is the outgoing VP of Research at SENS Research Foundation.

Advisory Board

Advisors include Aubrey de Grey, one of the most recognized names in the rejuvenation biotechnology industry (and with Mr. Kope, co‐founder of SRF), and Dr. Lajos Szente, a world‐leading expert in cyclodextrin development.

Dr. Aubrey de Grey

Chief Science Officer and Co-founder

SENS Research Foundation

Dr. de Grey is the biomedical gerontologist who devised the SENS platform, and established SENS Research Foundation to implement it. He received his Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Cambridge in 2000. He has served as CSO since SRF’s founding, and is also the VP of New Technology Development at AgeX Therapeutics, Editor-in-Chief of Rejuvenation Research, and a Fellow of both the Gerontological Society of America and the American Aging Association.

Dr. Lajos Szente

Scientific Advisor and Co-Founder

CycloLab

Dr. Szente, a world-renowned cyclodextrin expert, is the Scientific Advisor and co-founder of CycloLab. He has Ph.D. and D.Sc. degrees in organic chemistry, and has performed extensive post-doctoral research in the application of cyclodextrins in drug delivery and applied supramolecular chemistry. Lajos is an inventor of over 50 patents/patent applications, and is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of International Cyclodextrin Symposia.

Staff

Underdog’s growing team of technical, legal, and policy experts bring essential skills to assure a strong launch for the company.

Computational Chemist

Amelia Anderson

Amelia is an Underdog co-founder and computational chemist. She earned her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2018 and her Master’s in Theoretical Chemistry and Computational Modeling from Universidad de Santiago de Compostela in 2021. Amelia loves her dog, Bode, science jokes, and the great outdoors.

Director of Biology

Dr. Daniel M. Clemens

Dr. Clemens received his B.S. in biochemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2004 and Ph.D. in biomedical sciences from the University of California, Irvine in 2013. He has participated in every aspect of the biology side of drug development, from in vitro screening through IND-enabling toxicology and pharmacology and regulatory filing. Dr. Clemens is the author on 11 peer-reviewed scientific articles and has authored the Investigator’s Brochure for an anticoagulant currently in clinical trials.

Engineer

Anne Corwin

Anne earned her bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in 2002. Her work at SENS Research Foundation and Underdog Pharmaceuticals spans two areas: hardware engineer responsible for equipment optimization, troubleshooting, and repair, and content editor, supporting graphics, writing, and messaging efforts. Anne shares a home in Santa Clara with her partner and their three cats; she enjoys woodworking, painting, DIY home improvements, electronics repair, and gardening.

Associate Scientist

Dr. Prerna Bhargava

Dr. Bhargava received a B.A. in Biotechnology from Amity University, Uttar Pradesh, India, in 2011, and an M.S. and Ph.D. from Texas A&M University in Food Science & Technology in 2015 and 2019, respectively, researching the effect of bioactive compounds on inflammation and diabetic models in an in-vitro cell model system. She is an author on two journal publications, a book chapter, and has one patent application submitted. When she is not working, Prerna likes cooking, listening to music, playing badminton, and traveling.

Research Associate II

Darren Dinh

Darren earned his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from University of California, Davis in 2016. He enters Underdog as a research associate with a focus on designing and optimizing in-vitro assays to move potential drug candidates along the path towards the clinic.  Darren enjoys baking desserts, playing classic video games and going on long walks around town with his corgi. Occasionally, he spend his free time, designing modular origami structures.

Principal Scientist

Dr. Keivan Sadrerafi

Dr. Sadrerafi received his B.A. and M.S. in analytical chemistry from Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville in 2008 and 2010. He received his Ph.D. in synthetic medicinal chemistry from the University of Missouri, Columbia in 2015. He has experience in the pharmaceutical as well as agrochemical industry, with expertise in small molecules including cyclodextrins, bisphosphonates, and pheromones. He is the author/co-author of several publications as well as two patents. In his free time, he enjoys playing soccer, beach volleyball, photography, painting, and hiking.

Research Associate

Tamari Kirtadze

Tamari hails from the east coast with a BS and MS in Chemical Engineering from NYU Tandon School of Engineering. She entered the pharmaceutical industry to develop robust in-vitro assays to put drug candidates through their paces on their way to the clinic. Tamari loves her cat, rock climbing, ballroom dancing, long inclined walks, and participating in robot fighting competitions.

 

 

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