Elizabeth Figueroa, Ph.D.

Senior Consultant

Experienced in cell therapy manufacturing process development, non-viral gene therapy, and gene-modified cell therapy

About Elizabeth

Elizabeth began working in the cell and gene therapy field in 2012 during her Bioengineering Ph.D. thesis project at Rice University. During this time, she worked with Bellicum Pharmaceuticals to apply her novel non-viral gold nanoparticle gene therapy vector to gene-modified cell therapy applications such as CAR-T and dendritic cell vaccines, assessing the efficacy of these therapies in vitro and in animal models.

She joined Ziopharm Oncology in 2019 as the Associate Director of Process Development, where she headed the process development team developing CAR-T and TCR-T cell therapies for Phase I/II clinical trials. She guided technology transfers from Research and Development, and to internal and external Manufacturing groups, and led the implementation of process improvements resulting in reduction of COGS and process duration, closed system and automation processing improvements, and frozen drug product development.

Elizabeth also brings experience in CMO and vendor management, DOE and SPC, CMC regulatory authoring, Risk Management, and root cause investigations. In addition to her experience in cell and gene therapy, Elizabeth gained experience in reagent formulation, device development and analytical development from 2015 – 2019 at Abbott Laboratories as a Scientist and Senior Scientist.


  • E. Figueroa, P. Bugga, V. Asthana, A. Chen, J. Yan, E. Reiser, R. Drezek. “A mechanistic investigation exploring the differential transfection efficiencies between the easy-to-transfect SK-BR3 and difficult-to-transfect CT26 cell lines.” Journal of Nanobiotechnology. 2017.
  • E. Figueroa, S. Yan, N. Chamberlain-Simon, A. Lin, A. Foster, R. Drezek. “Systematically Probing the Bottom-Up Synthesis of AuPAMAM Conjugates for Enhanced Transfection Efficiency.” Journal of Nanobiotechnology. 2016.
  • J.P. Mattos, A. Lin, E. Figueroa, A. Foster, R. Drezek. “In Vivo Gold Nanoparticle Delivery of Peptide Vaccine Induces Anti-Tumor Immune Response in Prophylactic and Therapeutic Tumor Models.” Small. 2014.
  • E. Figueroa, A. Lin, S. Yan, L. Luo, A. Foster, R. Drezek. “Optimization of PAMAM-Gold Nanoparticle Conjugation for Gene Therapy.” Biomaterials. 2013.
  • E. Figueroa, J.P. Mattos, R. Drezek. “Gold Nanoparticle Mediated Cancer Immunotherapy.” Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine. 2013.


Ziopharm Oncology
Associate Director, Cell Therapy Tech Ops Process Development

Abbott Diagnostics
Senior Scientist, Technical Product Development
Scientist, Research and Development Reagents and Methods

Bellicum Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Cell Therapy Industry Collaboration


Rice University
Ph.D. in Bioengineering
B.S. in Bioengineering

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