Marsha Roach is President of Vesta Biotherapeutics, leading a scientific team to develop stem cells for therapeutics and stem cell-derived model systems. Stem cells were isolated and banked from multiple human tissues, such as biliary tree, liver, brain, etc. for therapeutics and also differentiated into functionally mature cell types for research, drug discovery.
During her 14 -year tenure at Pfizer, she pioneered the use of stem cell-derived cell types in drug discovery. Ms. Roach developed a stem cell-derived neural model that was used in an industry-first high throughput screen that screened 2.4 million compounds which resulted in the discovery of novel small molecule AMPA type glutamate receptor potentiators. In addition, Ms. Roach developed ES cell-derived hepatocytes that were functionally indistinguishable from primary hepatocytes in drug metabolism assays.
While at Pfizer, Ms. Roach also had an Adjunct Faculty position with the late Dr. Jerry Yang at the Center for Regenerative Biology, University of Connecticut teaching stem cell technology to graduate students, post doctoral fellows and faculty. Embryonic stem cell lines were isolated from mouse, rabbit and bovine blastocyst stage embryos.
Ms. Roach earned her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from the University of Illinois in the area of Animal Science, Molecular Embryology and Developmental Biology. While earning her Master’s degree, she also worked as a Research Specialist managing an embryology laboratory.