Donna Lynne Skerrett, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer
Mesoblast, New York, N.Y.
Donna Lynne Skerrett, M.D., likes to say that she never was “the type of person who thought a stoplight meant a permanent stop.” That’s a valuable asset in her role as chief medical officer of Mesoblast, a global leader in regenerative medicine. Dr. Skerrett oversees the clinical programs at the company, which develops cell-based therapies for heart failure, chronic low back pain, graft versus host disease, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetic kidney disease.
Her position is more a privilege than a job, she says, because it allows her “to be in a position where we are changing the landscape of medicine, and we are changing the way we think about what we can offer physicians who manage patients with serious diseases with high, unmet needs.”
Skerrett has nearly 20 years’ experience in stem cell procurement, manipulation and transplantation. She has worked on the design and execution of conventional and novel stem cell therapies in hematopoietic recovery, cardiac repair, skeletal repair, cartilage preservation, angiogenesis stabilization in eye disease and, most recently, inflammatory and metabolic diseases. Prior to Mesoblast, she was director of Transfusion Medicine and Cellular Therapy at Weill-Cornell Medical Center in New York, and before that associate director of Transfusion Medicine at Columbia University’s New York-Presbyterian Hospital. She is an adviser to the New York State Department of Health Progenitor Cell Committee, and has been the chair of the Governor’s Council on Blood and Transfusion Services for several years.
Skerrett has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, a medical degree from Temple University School of Medicine, and a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. She would like to be seen as an innovator in the field of transfusion medicine and cellular therapy — someone who is determined to develop novel ways to provide better outcomes for patients.