Chief Science Advisor
Dr. Culiat is a scientist, entrepreneur, and educator
As a biologist for the past 30 years, she is an expert in the genetic and molecular basis of mammalian development, diseases and disorders
From 1999-2009, she was a senior scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), a leading federal research institution in the United States. She discovered the role of the NELL1 signaling protein in tissue growth and maturation of the musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems.
In collaboration with the University of California (Los Angeles), using a mutant mouse model that her team characterized at ORNL, she contributed to the understanding of the NELL1 pathway in cartilage and bone regeneration (e.g. osteoporosis), and in controlling inflammation during injury and disease (e.g. osteoarthritis)
Dr. Culiat is the sole inventor on 19 patents on the applications of the NELL1 protein in soft tissue regeneration, 17 of which are issued in the USA, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia, Japan, and Israel
In 2008, Dr. Culiat began an entrepreneurial career by co-founding NellOne Therapeutics Inc. (NellOne), with Tracy Warren (CEO; General Partner Astarte Ventures). NellOne is a biotech company dedicated to translating NELL1 science and technology into human and veterinary products for tissue regeneration after severe injuries. NellOne is the exclusive worldwide licensee of intellectual property from UT-Battelle/ORNL.
In 2018, Dr. Culiat co-founded Liora, LLC (ZV) with Michelle French (former CEO and co-Founder of Animal Element Inc.). Liora is the exclusive licensee of an improved recombinant NELL1 protein technology owned by NellOne (patent pending). The company will focus on developing veterinary products for unmet clinical needs in the equine and companion animal markets (e.g. laminitis, severe muscle, and cartilage injuries)
Dr. Culiat is also a creative and dedicated teacher for the past 37 years. She taught genetics, cell and molecular biology at the University of the Philippines, Laguna (1981-1991), where she earned degrees in B.S. Cell Biology (cum laude; 1981) and M.S. Genetics (1988). Dr. Culiat received a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from ORNL-University of Tennessee (1994), as a full scholar of ORNL and the Hilton-Smith Fellowship, and a recipient of the Chancellor's Citation for Professional Promise. Dr. Culiat completed postdoctoral training in molecular genetics and genomics at ORNL during the Human Genome Project (1995-1999), as an awardee of the U.S. Department of Energy's prestigious Alexander Hollaender Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellowship.
She became an adjunct faculty member of the College of Arts and Sciences, Graduate School of Genome Sciences and Technology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville (1999-2009). She mentored young scientists from high school (TN Governors Academy), college and graduate levels (3 national science internship programs). At present, she still lectures as an invited speaker at selected private and public universities and supports K-12 STEM education in local public schools and non-profit organizations.
Dr. Culiat is widely recognized for her work with major awards, including:
Oak Ridge YWCA Woman of Distinction in Health, Science and Technology (2008)
Biosciences Division Individual Achievement and Significant Event Award
Federal Lab Consortium Excellence in Technology Transfer (Honorable Mention)
Technology Transfer Key Contributor Award
ORNL-DOE Office of Science Outstanding Mentor Award
Her birth country (the Philippines) recognized her various achievements.
Gawad Lagablab Outstanding Alumni Award for international achievements in genetics and genomics (Philippine Science High School)
> 2015 Philippine Dept. of Science and Technology Outstanding Filipina Scientist, “She for We: Highlighting the Role, Life and Achievement of Filipina Scientists in the Local and International Scientific Community”
Back to Top