Our Team

Cellaria unites scientific thought leaders and innovators from diverse backgrounds who share a passion for empowering the cancer research community—and accelerating the search for a cure. Through strategic collaborations, we work towards changing the landscape of cancer treatment with more personalized therapeutics. As cancer research is ever-changing and ever-evolving, we know we must remain nimble, relentless, and aligned with both the challenges of researchers and the needs of patients.

Management Team


David Deems, CEO

Mr. Deems is a senior executive with a proven ability to commercialize and successfully launch novel technology products for the life sciences and diagnostic markets. During his career, he has developed and launched over 100 new products, in regulated and research markets, and for large public and small venture backed companies. Most recently, Mr. Deems was the President and CEO of Xceed Molecular (now part of Axela), a Canadian company with a novel gene expression platform used by clinical laboratories for testing novel biomarkers.

He joined Xceed from Predicant Biosciences, an early-stage proteomics company working to identify protein patterns in blood for the early detection of cancer, where he was responsible for managing Predicant’s product and commercial development efforts. Prior to Predicant, David held senior management positions with several companies focused on bringing novel products successfully into the marketplace. He served as Vice President of Product Development at EXACT Sciences; CEO of Union Biometrica prior to that company’s acquisition by Harvard Biosciences; and Vice President at BD Biosciences, a division of Becton, Dickinson and Company. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Boston University.

Dr.  Elin Agoston, Principal  Scientist & Founder

Dr. Agoston holds a BA in Chemistry from Vassar College and a Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She completed her post-doctoral training at Harvard University, Brigham and Women’s Hospital in the Department of Pathology in clinical research and pre-clinical model system development.

Dr. Agoston has dedicated a significant amount of her post-doctoral work to researching and developing methods for the primary culture of tumor tissues, including ovarian, breast, and other cancers. Her work has led to the development of a novel cell culture media that sustains a higher percentage of the original tumor’s genotypic, proteomic and phenotypic characteristics. She continued developing the media into a product while a scientist at Stemgent and her continued research efforts have created the foundation for Cellaria’s product portfolio.


Philip Manos

Passionate about technology and business development, Philip D. Manos is a stem cell scientist with over a decade of experience across academic, biotech and pharma settings. His career began at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, training stem cell techniques, developing screening platforms and establishing novel methods for reprogramming and characterization of human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC). In addition to developing multiple hiPSC service platforms, disease models and screening assays, Mr. Manos, has also created innovative reagents for stem cell applications.

Pamela Shaw, Director of Laboratory Services

Pamela S. Shaw is a molecular biologist with over 20 years of experience developing diagnostic and biomarker assays. Her experience includes the development and optimization of new clinical tests for Exact Sciences, including validation of assays that were implemented in a CLIA laboratory. After EXACT Sciences, Ms. Shaw moved to Sequenom to provide application support to customers, performing assay designs to demonstrate feasibility of novel platforms and troubleshooting customers’ unique assay challenges.  Most recently, Ms. Shaw joined Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research , in the Assay Research Laboratory to develop assays for translational medicine applications and to evaluate and characterize the feasibility of new technology platforms for future assays.

Abigail Witt, Scientist

Abigail Witt is a Ph.D. scientist with 20+ years of research experience involving cell culture techniques, cancer biology, oncogenes, epigenetic mechanisms, cancer stem cells, epithelial cell adhesion, and cell signaling pathways.  She received her doctorate from Johns Hopkins University for research examining the role of Methyl-CpG-Binding proteins and methylation in breast cancer invasion and progression.  Her post-doctoral work focused on the role of specific Histone Deacetylases in the functional phenotype of cancer stem cells (CSCs) in breast and ovarian cancer.  She has extensive experience in general biochemical analysis techniques, novel cell line derivation, culture media creation and optimization, 3D cell culture techniques (morphogenesis, sphere/soft agar assays), functional assays (invasion/migration, proliferation, cell adhesion/anchorage dependence, apoptosis), gene modulation, and drug screen development.

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