Omid Harandi

Omid is an innovation-driven Scientist designing and developing novel cell and gene therapy platforms with moonshot spirit. He is currently the Director of Cell and Gene Therapy at Flagship Labs (Cambridge, MA). Prior to that, he led the platform team at Rubius Therapeutics and developed the next generation of ex vivo stem cell production and cell engineering. Before that, he was a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Fellow at University of Massachusetts Medical School and Harvard Medical School, where he investigated the fundamental aspects of stem cell regulation such as cell fate decision and cell polarity by studying the intersection of microRNAs and cellular asymmetry pathways. He received his PhD in Genetics from Penn State University, where he developed in vivo and in vitro systems to study hematopoietic stem cell and discovered a novel class of stem cell population responsible for erythroid regeneration in acute anemia. After his graduation, the Genetics Graduate Program at Penn State established the OMID HARANDI Award to recognize PhD students who made an exceptional contribution to the Genetics Program and Omid was the first recipient of the award in 2008. Much earlier in his scientific career, he initiated the genetic studies of pistachios (nut) and received international awards including the Vavilov-Frankel Fellowship. As a fun fact, in 2002, the Penn State Research Magazine wrote an article about him, referring to him as “The Pistachio Man”, a title that he held onto ever since. (Google it to learn more!).