Our Team

Program Director

Mark Walters, MD

Mark Walters, MD
Program Director, Blood & Marrow Transplantation (BMT)
Program Director, Cord Blood Program
Medical Director, Jordan Family Center for BMT & Cellular Therapies Research
UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital of Oakland 


Dr. Walters is the Jordan Family Director of Bone Marrow Transplantation at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland. He has been the director of stem cell therapy and a division leader since 1999. He has devoted his research career to pursuing curative therapies for hemoglobin disorders with an overarching goal of expanding this treatment more broadly to affected individuals. With NIH and industry support, Dr. Walters has conducted a number of multicenter clinical trials for sickle cell disease and thalassemia. He is currently focused on initiating early phase clinical trials to test novel genomic editing techniques in hematopoietic stem cells (HCT) from individuals affected by hemoglobin disorders, starting with a high-profile trial in sickle cell disease.


Co-Program Director

Dr. Michael Matthay

Michael A. Matthay, MD
Professor, Medicine & Anesthesia
Associate Director, Intensive Care Unit
Senior Associate, Cardiovascular Research Institute
University of California, San Francisco


Dr. Matthay is a Professor of Medicine and Anesthesia and a senior associate at the Cardiovascular Research Institute. He is director of the Critical Care Medicine Training in the Department of Medicine and associate director of the Intensive Care Unit. Dr. Matthay’s research focus is on developing cell-based therapies that he hopes will make a major difference in reducing mortality in patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome, a major cause of acute respiratory failure in critically ill patients. Among Dr. Matthay’s funded research is a NIH/NHLBI-sponsored phase 1/2 clinical trial of mesenchymal stem (stromal) cells for the treatment of Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (START) and a new DOD study “Mesenchymal Stem Cells for Treatment of ARDS Following Trauma.”


Steering Committee

Dr. Kathleen Liu

Kathleen Liu, MD, PhD, MAS 
Professor of Medicine
University of California, San Francisco


Dr. Liu’s areas of interest focus on the predictive and pathogenetic role of biomarkers for both acute and chronic disease states. Her long-term goal is to identify and validate novel biomarkers of organ injury (specifically the kidney and lung) that may have predictive value for disease outcomes as well as shed important insight into disease pathogenesis. She also has a major interest in clinical trials in the intensive care unit, with a particular focus on acute lung injury and acute kidney injury.


Dr. Dvorak

Christopher Dvorak, MD
Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, 
Chief, Division of Pediatric Allergy, Immunology, and Blood and Marrow Transplantation 
Medical Director, Pediatric Cellular Therapy Laboratory
UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital of San Francisco


Dr. Dvorak is a pediatric bone marrow transplant specialist in the Bone Marrow Transplantation Program at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco. His research foci are: 1) the supportive care aspects of pediatric hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT), with a goal of decreasing treatment-related morbidity and mortality, especially infections; and 2) novel transplant strategies for patients with severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID). He is the past chair of the international Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Consortium’s (PBMTC) Supportive Care Strategy Group and current chair of the Cancer Control & Supportive Care Committee of the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), where he has led several trials and oversees the design and implementation of new trials in this field. Dr. Dvorak is also the national principal investigator of the prospective SCID study for the Primary Immune Deficiency Treatment Consortium.


Dr. Tippi Mackenzie

Tippi Mackenzie, MD
Associate Professor of Surgery
UCSF Health
UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital of San Francisco


Dr. Tippi MacKenzie, a pediatric surgeon at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital and its Fetal Treatment Center, has a special interest in fetal surgery, advanced laparoscopy and endocrine and biliary surgery. MacKenzie is a member of the Biomedical Sciences Program and the Institute for Regeneration Medicine, with a research focus in in utero stem cell transplantation to treat genetic disease and establishing immunological tolerance across the MHC barrier in pediatric hereditary disorders.


Qizhi Tang, PhD

Qizhi Tang, PhD
Associate Professor of Surgery
University of California, San Francisco


Dr. Tang is an immunologist and translational researcher with expertise in immune tolerance and islet transplantation. The Tang lab focuses on translating knowledge on mechanisms of immune tolerance into novel therapeutics for treating autoimmune diabetes and preventing transplant rejection. Currently, two major areas of work are on therapeutic application of regulatory T cell therapy in type 1 diabetes, and transplantation and immune modulation to enable immune suppression-free transplant of stem-cell-derived beta cells for treatment of type 1 diabetes.


Michelle Hermiston, MD, PhD

Michelle Hermiston, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital of San Francisco


Dr. Hermiston is a specialist in pediatric cancer and blood diseases at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital. She has a particular interest in defining the underlying mechanisms in the development of lymphoid malignancies, including leukemia and lymphoma. Dr. Hermiston directs the Pediatric Immunotherapy Program at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco, and has CAR-T clinical trial expertise in pediatric cancers. She is a member of the Children’s Oncology Group NHL Steering Committee and participates in the design of pediatric clinical trials for these diseases.



Christina Chun, MPH, Research Compliance Manager

Ms. Chun brings over 13 years of research experience, most recently in clinical trials administration and compliance management for phase 1 and 2 protocols. She works with investigators and central startup specialists to streamline compliance processes and accelerate clinical trial activation.




  Allyson Beaulieu, MPH, Clinical Research and Regulatory Analyst


  Ms. Beaulieu brings over 11 years of research experience, most recently as a clinical trial start-up specialist and regulatory analyst for phase 1       protocols. She works with investigators and central startup specialists to hasten trial activation. 


  Abigail Hansen, Clinical Research Coordinator


Ms. Hansen has experience with both Industry and Academic research settings, working in different phases of clinical trial management. She works mostly with study teams in the Department of Pediatrics at UCSF to accelerate clinical trials startup.



Julie Decaris, BS,  Study Coordinator
Cyrus Bascon, BS,  Study Coordinator
Marci Moriarty, RN BSN, Clinical Research Nurse


Marci, Julie and Cyrus bring many years of clinical experience combined with research work to create a team approach for facilitating and executing various forms of clinical research in the inpatient hospital setting. The team specializes in pediatric blood and marrow transplant, including early phase gene therapy and gene editing for hemoglobinopathies. They are responsible for all aspects of the study from beginning to end, and work closely with the multiple subspecialties involved in direct patient care throughout the study timeline.