The Velius Team

Our team has vast and varied industry experience.  Successful in his or her own field, each member’s pursuit of and reputation for excellence results in a whole that is greater than its parts.

Scientific Advisory Team


Richard D. Granstein, M.D.
Richard D. Granstein, M.D. is the George W. Hambrick, Jr. Professor and Chairman of the Department of Dermatology at the New York Weill Cornell Medical Center of New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Granstein obtained his undergraduate education at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his medical education at the UCLA School of Medicine. After completing his internship in 1979, he trained in dermatology at the Massachusetts General Hospital. As a Research Fellow, Dr. Granstein studied immunology and tumor biology at the National Cancer Institute-Frederick Cancer Research Facility and at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Granstein joined the faculty of the Department of Dermatology at Harvard Medical School and the Massachusetts General Hospital in 1984. In 1995 he left Harvard to become Chairman of the Department of Dermatology at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University and Dermatologist-in-Chief at the New York Weill Cornell Medical Center of New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Granstein’s research interests center on the regulation of immunity within the skin and the relationship of the skin’s immune system to the development of skin cancers. He also has a special research interest in the regulation of the immune system by stress and the nervous system. He was the first to demonstrate that certain immune cells within the skin are capable of initiating an immune response against a malignant tumor and that immune cells within the epidermis (the upper layer of the skin) have an anatomic relationship with nerves and can be regulated by proteins produced by those nerves. His clinical interests include autoimmune disorders of the skin, skin cancer, and psoriasis.
James G. Kreuger, M.D., PH.D. 
Dr. Krueger received his bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in 1979, his Ph.D. from The Rockefeller University in 1984 and his M.D. from Cornell University Medical College in 1985. He came to Rockefeller as a guest investigator in the Laboratory for Investigative Dermatology, was appointed assistant professor in 1990, associate professor and head of lab in 1995 and professor in 2003. Dr. Krueger has held positions at The Rockefeller University Hospital since 1989. In 2006 he became codirector of the Center for Clinical and Translational Science, established by a Clinical and Translational Science Award from the National Center for Research Resources of the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Krueger was medical director and program director of the General Clinical Research Center from 1996 to 2006 and currently directs the Milstein Medical Research Program, which conducts new clinical studies of the pathogenesis of melanoma and other pigmentory diseases.   In 2010 Dr. Krueger won the Astellas Award in Public Health from the American Academy of Dermatology as well as the Farber Award from the Society of Investigative Dermatology. In 2006 Dr. Krueger received the E.H. Ahrens Jr. Award for clinical research from the Association for Patient-Oriented Research. He is also a recipient of two awards from the American Skin Association: the Distinguished Achievement Award and the Psoriasis Research Achievement Award, both granted in 2001. Dr. Krueger is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians. Dr. Krueger uses histological and genomic approaches to study psoriasis as a model type 1 inflammatory disease. His work has implications for other common T cell mediated inflammatory diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease, which have similar immunological phenotypes. Dr. Krueger focuses on the study of cutaneous inflammation and autoimmune mechanisms in human skin. His research is fundamentally rooted in “bench-to-bedside” science, combining the clinical study of new medical therapeutics with laboratory study of relevant immunopathogenic mechanisms in human cells and tissues. The Krueger laboratory conducts clinical research on patients with psoriasis vulgaris within The Rockefeller University Hospital. They treat patients with a wide variety of engineered immune agonists or antagonists in order to stimulate or inhibit molecular control points for the restoration of normal immune responses. By combining novel immune-directed therapeutics with large-scale study of gene expression (using gene chips and real-time RT-PCR reactions), an approach called pharmacogenetics, they seek to elucidate the molecular pathways that cause pathogenic inflammation and regulate normal human immune responses.More experimental immunotherapeutics have been assessed in clinical studies in psoriasis than any other human inflammatory disease. Dr. Krueger’s group has pioneered a number of successful treatments, including some that act on T cells, one that antagonizes specific inflammatory cytokines and one that utilizes a type of ultraviolet light with immunomodulatory properties.The lab-based research accompanying Dr. Krueger’s clinical trials includes the study of T cell, dendritic cell and keratinocyte activation responses using techniques including cell culture, flow cytometry and biochemical analysis. His group is also studying expression of a defined set of proinflammatory genes through real-time PCR and many other genes through genome-wide statement studies using DNA arrays. They defined the first disease classification set for psoriasis using chip-based approaches and recently determined a specific genetic and immunological signature that differentiates psoriasis from the closely related skin disorder called atopic eczema.Dr. Krueger’s research in healthy skin showed that a previously unknown population of dendritic cells exists alongside macrophages in the skin. Other recent work by members of the Krueger lab showed that a newly discovered immune cell, Th17, plays a central role in psoriasis and could serve as a target for future therapies. And by investigating the contribution of activated T lymphocytes, Dr. Krueger has found that psoriasis may be induced by tissue-infiltrating T lymphocytes, which trigger keratinocytes into a physiologically regulated wound repair pathway of hyperplasia and altered differentiation. 
Professor Roger Smith MA, VetMB, PhD, DEO, DipECVS, MRCVS 
Dr. Smith is Professor of Equine Orthopaedics at the Royal Veterinary College at The University of London.  He currently divides his time equally between running the orthopaedic service within the RVC and continuing to direct research into equine tendon disease. He qualified as a veterinary surgeon from Cambridge University in 1987 and, after 2 years in practice, returned to academia to undertake further clinical training as a Resident in Equine Studies at the Royal Veterinary College. Following his residency, he undertook a 3 year research project culminating in the award of a PhD for his studies on the extracellular matrix of equine tendon. He remained at the Royal Veterinary College, first as a Lecturer in Equine Surgery, then as Senior Lecturer in Equine Surgery before his appointment to a Professorship in December 2003. 
Dr. Robert K. Prud’homme 
Dr. Prud’homme is a Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering and Director of the Program in Engineering Biology at Princeton University. He received his Bachelor’s of Science at Stanford University in 1969 completed Special Studies in Environmental Science and Public Policy at Harvard University in 1973 and received his Ph.D. at The University of Wisconsin in 1978. Dr. Prud’homme’s work focuses on how weak forces at the molecular level determine macroscopic properties at larger length scales. He  spends equal time understanding the details of molecular-level interactions using NMR, neutron scattering, x-ray scattering, or electron microscopy and making measurements of bulk properties such as rheology, diffusion of proteins in gels, drop sizes of sprays, or pressure drop measurements in porous media. Areas of concentration also include concentrated surfactant phases, polymer-surfactant phases, vesicles and liposomes, polymer assembly for control of wax, polymer-drug nano particle formation, biopolymers and emulsions. His work is highly interdisciplinary; many of the projects involve joint advisors and collaborations with researchers at NIH, Argonne National Labs, CNRS in France, and major corporate research teams. 
Daniel C. Baker, MD, FACS 
Dr. Daniel Baker is one of the most exclusive and renowned plastic surgeons in the world. He is a Professor of Surgery at New York University Medical School and The Institute for Reconstructive Plastic Surgery. He has been teaching plastic surgeons for over 30 years, and has been invited to lecture and perform surgical demonstrations for plastic surgeons in over 30 countries around the world. Every year he lectures and teaches at numerous National Meetings in the United States and International Meetings around the world. He is a recognized figure in the field of surgical facial rejuvenation, and was the first to popularize the short-scar facelift procedure. He received his medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, his plastic surgery training at NYU Medical Center and then completed a fellowship in Head and Neck Cancer and Reconstructive Surgery at Columbia University.  
Sherrell J. Aston, MD, FACS 
Dr. Sherrell J. Aston is a board-certified plastic surgeon and is considered one of the foremost international experts in aesthetic plastic surgery. He is a past President of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. He is currently the Surgeon Director and Chairman of the Department of Plastic Surgery at the Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital in New York. He also serves as a Professor of Plastic Surgery at the New York University School of Medicine and Institute of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery. Dr. Aston received his Medical Degree from the University of Virginia, in Charlottesville, Virginia. His post-doctoral training included a surgical internship and residency at the University California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Medical Center. Prior to being Chief Resident at UCLA, he was a Halsted Fellow in Surgery at John Hopkins Hospital. Dr. Aston continued his training as a Plastic Surgery Resident and Chief Resident at the Institute of Reconstructive Plastic Surgery, New York University Medical Center. Dr. Aston has been recognized with numerous awards and honors.

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