PASADENA, Calif., June 3, 2024 – AcuraStem, a patient-based biotechnology company pioneering how treatments are developed for neurodegenerative diseases, announced the expansion of its team with three new team members, bringing a fresh influx of expertise to its pioneering platform.

Stepping into the role of Principal Scientist, Program Lead, Zhihua Feng, Ph.D., brings an extensive research portfolio in biological sciences to AcuraStem. Her significant contributions to understanding spinal muscular atrophy and neuromuscular junction interactions were instrumental in advancing a new drug application (NDA) for Evrysdi®, offering a promising therapeutic avenue for SMA treatment. Dr. Feng's numerous accolades and publications underscore her dedication to the field and are expected to enhance the company's research capabilities.

Newly promoted as Scientist II and Program Lead, Shu-Ting “Michelle” Hung, Ph.D., brings a potent blend of academic excellence and specialized knowledge to AcuraStem. Michelle was a key member of AcuraStem co-founder, Dr. Justin Ichida’s lab, where she laid a strong foundation in disease modeling by discovering novel phenotypes using various CNS cell types, and identifying novel therapeutic mechanisms. Michelle's notable achievements include leading the groundbreaking research for the prominent Cell paper on PIKFYVE, which has opened new avenues in ALS therapeutic strategies, and co-authoring AcuraStem’s influential Cell Stem Cell SYF2 paper. Coupled with leading publications and significant fellowships, her work reflects a deep commitment to advancing treatments for neurodegenerative diseases.

Assuming the role of Scientist II, Chang Tong, Ph.D., has unparalleled expertise and a commendable track record in stem cell science. With a Ph.D. in molecular biology from Fudan University, China, Chang boasts over a decade of specialized experience in enhancing stem cell self-renewal culture conditions at the USC Stem Cell Center. Chang is a renowned authority on embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells, with a particular focus on refining cell culture practices, laboratory management, and compliance adherence. His professional achievements are highlighted by leadership in bespoke genome editing initiatives, creating patient-derived disease models, and authoring pivotal research published in leading scientific journals that have made invaluable contributions to the advancement of therapeutic strategies.

"We are thrilled to promote Michelle and Zhihua, and welcome Chang to our team," said Sam Alworth, CEO and AcuraStem Co-founder. "Their collective expertise will be invaluable as we continue to develop groundbreaking approaches to combat neurodegenerative diseases. We are confident that their contributions will not only advance our research but will also resonate throughout the scientific community."

AcuraStem remains committed to integrating leading scientific talent to its team, cementing its place at the forefront of neurodegenerative disease research.



About AcuraStem

AcuraStem is a patient-based biotechnology company pioneering treatments for neurodegenerative diseases including sporadic ALS and FTD. AcuraStem’s best-in-class disease modeling platform, iNeuroRx®, enables the discovery of innovative, effective, and broadly acting treatments. The team’s strong expertise in ASO technology provides for the rapid advancement of treatments to the clinic. AcuraStem’s research is funded in part by support from the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, Harrington Discovery Institute, Alzheimer’s Association, Rainwater Charitable FoundationDepartment of Defense and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.


Kissy Black
Director of Communications, AcuraStem