Mitokine Team

Brooke LigonBrooke Ligon, CEO and Founder, received her Bachelor of Arts from Southern Methodist University with Departmental Distinction. After working in student personnel at Hendrix College, she went back for a medical degree at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. There she was honored with the Winston K. Shorey Award for Outstanding Achievement, Compassionate Medical Care and Humanitarian Values. She received residency training in Neurology at Tufts Medical Center and was a clinical neurologist at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Boston. She is Board Certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. She returned to Tufts University for a Ph.D. in Neuroscience, receiving a Mentored Clinical Science Development Award from the National Institute of Neurologic Disease and Stroke at the NIH and a Lillian Shore Post-Doctoral Fellowship. Her Ph.D. thesis and post-doctoral research were focused on the neuronal characteristics of the cells that make insulin, pancreatic beta cells. That research led to a treatment for diabetes which is the current focus of her company. Dr. Ligon has published articles in peer-reviewed journals and co-authored book chapters on insulin producing cells. Recently she has been the recipient of funding from the Maine Technology Institute, the Kyle Family Foundation and was the Principal Investigator for a Phase I Small Business Innovative Research grant from the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Disease to test the diabetes treatment efficacy. Dr. Ligon was a participant in Maine’s Top Gun program for entrepreneurial development in 2012. For 2013 Dr. Ligon is facilitating collaborations to move a highly effective diabetes treatment to the clinic.


Steven SjobergSteven Sjoberg, Director of Operations.  B.A. in Political Science from the University of Minnesota.  Steve has 30 years of administrative experience directing the International Office at Wentworth Institute of Technology and the education services department at the World Affairs Council of Boston. He has used this experience to build Mitokine’s clinical study operations and financial recordkeeping systems.

Steve has been with Mitokine since its inception.



Dr. GeeDr. Gee joined Mitokine in 2010 as Vice President, Process Development and Quality after serving as an independent consultant on drug projects in the U.S. and Europe. Previously, he was Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Senior Director of Vaccine Manufacturing.  In this capacity, he was responsible for managing the bulk production of Tetanus-Diphtheria vaccine licensed by the FDA for distribution in the U.S. Prior to this role, he was Senior Director of Protein Process Engineering at Transkaryotic Therapies (now Shire Genetic Therapies, Inc.) and Associate Director of BioProcess Development at Genzyme (now Sanofi-Aventis).  He has expertise in cGMP manufacturing,  process sciences, technology transfer and scale-up into commercial operations. In addition, he has previously held positions as Scientist II at Chiron Corp. (now Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics) and Plasma Derivative Manager at the American Red Cross.  Dr. Gee received his B. S. and Ph. D. in Biochemistry from University of California, Riverside, CA and a Masters in Business Administration from Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA.


Business Advisors:


katrinaKatrina Pugh, MBA, a graduate of the MIT Sloan School is a business advisor for Mitokine and  President of Align Consulting. She has 15 years of management consulting and 7 years of industry experience in the healthcare, energy, and financial services sectors. She specializes in business and operations planning for entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial organizations.  Formerly in leadership positions with IBM, Fidelity, JPMorgan, and Intel Corporation, Kate facilitates multi-stakeholder alignment and organizational change during periods of rapid growth and transformation. She provides Board-operations consulting, a nd is a member of the Board of Trustees for Concord Academy, in Concord, Massachusetts. Kate has an MS/MBA in Information Technology and Business Transfo rmation from the MIT Sloan School of Management, a BA in Economics from Williams College, and has certificates in project management, mediation, and LEAN Six Sigma.


Jason HarkinsJason Harkins, Mitokine’s Business Advisor received his Ph. D. from the Price College of Business at the University of Oklahoma.  He earned a B.S. in Management from Truman State University and an MBA from the University of Missouri.  Jason has a wide range of teaching and research interests including: agency costs within entrepreneurial teams, the effects of corporate governance on corporate disclosure, small business strategy, and signaling by pre- and post-IPO firms.  His work is under review at Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal and he has presented papers at multiple Academy of Management Annual Meetings. He consults in the areas of entrepreneurship and strategic management.



Paul MyerPaul J. Myer, business advisor and former Mitokine CEO, currently serves as the Executive-in-Residence at the University of Maine Business School and Entrepreneur-in-Residence for Maine Technology Institute. He consults with a broad range of businesses on strategic marketing and international business issues. Myer worked in Washington, DC for 25 years holding positions in both public policy and business, and was appointed by President Gerald R. Ford to serve as Assistant Director of the White House Domestic Council. Myer was appointed Vice President, Government Relations of Capital Cities/ABC, directing government affairs activities and regulatory matters affecting the diversified media interests of the corporation. Later Myer was Vice President for Integrated Marketing Communications of the NORTEL’s U.S. subsidiary leading the development and management of a communications organization. He was then recruited to join Lucent Technologies, where he served as a senior marketing Vice President in both the Optical Networking Group and Global Business Providers business units. Myer was instrumental in the formation of the company being created with a former Lucent business unit, Avaya––a leading global provider of voice and data networks as well as communications solutions and services. Myer served as Chief Marketing Officer of Avaya, where he led the team that established the branding and other marketing elements to launch Avaya as an independent public company. After the launch, Myer was responsible for the management of Avaya’s global marketing communications functions, including support for the corporation’s direct selling organization and an extensive business partner distribution and selling network.


Science Advisors:

Allan J. TobinAllan J. Tobin, Ph.D., Scientific Advisor for Mitokine and Senior Scientific Advisor to the CHDI Foundation, a private, not-for-profit research organization whose goal is to discover drugs that slow the progression or delay the onset of Huntington’s disease.  Tobin is Professor Emeritus at UCLA, where he was Director of the Brain Research Institute from 1995 to 2003 and the Eleanor Leslie Chair in Neuroscience.

Tobin’s research laboratory at UCLA used molecular and cellular techniques to study the function, regulation, and degeneration of GABA-producing neurons in the brain and spinal cord, in order to address basic mechanistic questions important for Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, and spinal cord injury. In addition to publishing over one hundred scientific papers, he is the coauthor of Asking About Life, a prize-winning university biology textbook whose three editions sold more than 150,000 copies.

Tobin received his S.B. from MIT in 1963, in Humanities and Science, and his Ph.D. from Harvard in 1969, in Biophysics. After postdoctoral training at the Weizmann Institute and at MIT, he became Assistant Professor of Biology at Harvard from 1971 to 1975. In 1975, he moved to UCLA, where he later became Professor of Physiological Science and Professor of Neurology. He was a visiting scientist at the Institut Pasteur in 1982 and at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in 2002-2003. At UCLA, he was Chair of the Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program from 1989-1995, Director of the Brain Research Institute from 1995-2003, cofounder of the NeuroEngineering Training Program, and, from 1996, the Eleanor Leslie Chair in Neuroscience.


  Dr. Rob Jackson, Mitokine Scientific Advisor, is currently Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Neuroscience at Tufts University School of Medicine. Dr. Jackson received his B.A. from Sonoma State College and his Ph.D. in Biology and Genetics from UCLA. His Post  Doctoral training was in Neurogenetics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and in  Molecular Biology at Rockefeller University. Before arriving at Tufts, Dr. Jackson was a Senior  Scientist at Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research. Dr. Jackson has received numerous  awards for his scholarship, research achievements and contribution to science education  including: California State Scholar, NINDS (NIH) Postdoctoral Fellow, McKnight Foundation Scholar Award, Tufts University Faculty Honor Award, Tufts Dean’s Outstanding Mentor Award, and Tufts Neuroscience Faculty Award. He currently is Co-Director, Tufts Imaging Facility, Associate Editor of the Journal of Neurogenetics and Director, NINDS-funded Tufts Center for Neuroscience Research.


Dr. Joseph Dillon is currently an Associate Professor of Medicine at the  University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine.  After graduating from  medical school in Dublin, he trained in medicine and endocrinology at the  University of British Columbia and McGill University in Canada. His first  faculty appointment was at Tufts University School of Medicine after post- doctoral fellowships in physiology at the University of Alabama at  Birmingham and Tufts University. He was the founding director of the DNA Sequencing Core at Tufts Medical Center campus.  Dr. Dillon’s research in beta cell biology and mechanisms of steroid hormone action has been funded by NIH, VA and various research foundations. He is the recipient of the Florence Lindsay Investigator award of the University of Iowa. Besides his basic research, Dr. Dillon is a clinical investigator in the pivotal Phase 3, NIH-sponsored, international multicenter trial of islet cell transplantation in type 1 diabetes.  He also conducts pharmaceutical trials and other clinical research in diabetes and vascular function at the University of Iowa.  He has served on various NIH and research foundation study sections related to diabetes, vascular disease, and complementary medicine and has served as moderator at American Diabetes Association and Endocrine Society symposia. Dr. Dillon is a Board Certified endocrinologist and his clinical expertise is focused on diabetes and obesity.  He has directed the Obesity Clinic at the Iowa City VA since its inception. Under his leadership, this clinic received a VA Directors Award. He has also directed the University of Iowa Obesity Clinic.  He is the director of the Diabetes and Endocrinology Training Program at the University of Iowa.

 Philip Raskin, M.D. received his medical degree  from the University of Pittsburgh, School of  Medicine and completed a residency in Internal  Medicine there.  He did a Fellowship in  Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at UT  Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.  He is  board certified in Internal Medicine and  Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism.  He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and the American College of Endocrinology, and is a Certified Diabetes Educator.

He is presently Professor of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine and holds the Clifton and Betsy Robinson Chair in Biomedical Research at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.  He is the Director of the University Diabetes Treatment Center and the Diabetes Clinic at Parkland Health and Hospital Systems.  He is the Principal Investigator in two NIH funded multicenter diabetes trials: The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial/Epidemiology of Diabetes Interventions and Complications (DCCT/EDIC) and TrialNet.

Dr. Raskin is a clinical researcher widely renowned for his work in diabetes, diabetes complications and diabetes management.  He was the Editor of The Journal of Diabetes and Its Complications from 1990 to 2011 and has served as a past Editor of Clinical Diabetes.

He is widely published in such peer reviewed journals, such as the New England Journal of Medicine, The Journal of Clinical Investigation, Diabetes, Diabetes Care, the Annals of Internal Medicine, and The Journal of Diabetes and Its Complications.   He has also authored numerous chapters in clinical text books.


Peter van Walsum , Mitokine Science Advisor, is Associate Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Maine. Prior to coming to U. Maine, van Walsum was Assistant and then Associate Professor of Environmental Science at Baylor University, TX, where he served as graduate program director. Van Walsum is a professional chemical engineer and has also worked in process engineering for AMEC Americas and Shell Canada. Peter holds a PhD in Biochemical Engineering from Dartmouth College, as well as Masters and Bachelor degrees in Chemical Engineering from McGill University and a BA in Geology from Williams College, MA.



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