Executive Team


President and CEO, Board Member

Emile Nuwaysir, PhD, is the current President and CEO of BlueRock Therapeutics. Prior to BlueRock, Emile was the President of a regenerative medicine division of Fujifilm (Cellular Dynamics International, Inc. – a Fujifilm Company) and President of Opsis Therapeutics, a biotech developing cell therapies for the retina. Previously, Emile has been the Chief Operating Officer of Cellular Dynamics International (CDI), Chief Technical Officer and SVP at Roche NimbleGen, a division of Roche Diagnostics, VP of Business Development at NimbleGen Systems. He currently holds the positions of Vice-Chairman of the Board for the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine, and Founder and Vice‐Chairman of Invenra, Inc.  

Seth Ettenberg, Ph.D.

Chief Scientific Officer

Seth Ettenberg, PhD, serves as Chief Scientific Officer at BlueRock Therapeutics. Prior to joining BlueRock, Seth was a founding member of the Unum Therapeutics team, where he served as Chief Scientific Officer. Previously, Seth headed the Cambridge Site of Novartis’ Oncology Biotherapeutics, leading strategy, innovation, and implementation of drug development projects of Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research (NIBR). In addition, Seth was responsible for building and leading the Novartis Cell and Gene Therapy research team in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania to develop chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapeutics. Seth received his formal scientific training at the Genetics Branch of the National Cancer Institute. 

Joachim Fruebis, Ph.D.

Chief Development Officer

Joachim Fruebis, PhD, serves as BlueRock’s Chief Development Officer. Prior to joining BlueRock, he was Senior Vice President, Clinical Development at Bioverativ (acquired by Sanofi) where he established the function and successfully advanced a portfolio of FIH to commercialized programs. Previously, Joachim served as Vice President, Senior Global Program Head for multiple disease areas, including hematology and ophthalmology at Bayer, and Vice President, External R&D Innovation and Head of Hematology R&D at Pfizer.    

Derek Hei, Ph.D.

Chief Manufacturing and Technical Operations Officer

Derek Hei, PhD, oversees the entire manufacturing function, which includes developing and producing BlueRock’s induced pluripotent stem cell platform, maintaining its state-of-the-art cleanroom facility under cGMP, and leading the CMC regulatory efforts for the submission of investigational new drug applications. Prior to joining BlueRock, Derek served as Vice President of Clinical Manufacture, Quality and Regulatory at Cellular Dynamics International. Derek also served as an adjunct professor, master in biotechnology program at UW-Madison. Previously, Derek held various roles at Waisman Biomanufacturing, Cerus Corp, and Genentech.  

Ainslie Little, Ph.D.

SVP, Corporate Strategy

Ainslie Little, PhD, leads BlueRock’s strategy functions, including Portfolio Strategy, New Product Planning, and Alliance Management. Ainslie joined BlueRock in 2017 to build BlueRock’s Intellectual Property portfolio and team and has since served as a leading member of business deal teams, partnerships, and strategic initiatives.  Previously, Ainslie practiced at law firms in the United States and Canada with a focus on patent drafting, prosecution and portfolio strategy. Ainslie contributed to protecting some of the foundational IP in cell therapy, including iPSC reprogramming, PSC manufacturing, and generation of authentic neural, cardiac, and immune cells.

G. Michael Palladino, J.D.

Chief Operating Officer

G. Michael (Mike) Palladino, JD, serves as BlueRock’s Chief Operating Officer and Board Secretary, overseeing all operational functions, including Legal/Intellectual Property, Finance & Accounting, Human Resources, Communications, Program Management, Information Technology, Facilities Operations, and Administration. Mike was previously Head of Global Litigation and Employment Law, and then Senior Vice President and Head of Global Human Resources at Vertex Pharmaceuticals. Mike also has extensive prior experience advising life sciences and other industry companies while in private law practice and management consulting, focusing on employment and labor law, commercial and general litigation, leadership development, and human resources.