Dr. Elizabeth Corbin, Founder and CEO of PurCell Bio
Dr. Elizabeth “Tess” Corbin founded PurCell Bio as a result of her mission to improve methods for stem cell based therapies. While completing an undergraduate degree in chemistry with an emphasis on organic chemistry at Montana State University, Tess discovered that her son had a genetic enzyme disorder for which there was no effective treatment. In response, she turned her attention to the study of metabolism and metabolic pathways, then to the culture of stem cells, and her doctoral candidacy in genetics; MSU’s department of chemistry and biochemistry supported her doctoral work. Tess was awarded a PhD in 2019 for her effort in developing a line of chemically-defined supplements for cell culture. These supplements were quickly recognized as the solution to several major issues in cell culture, cell-based research, drug testing, cell-based therapies, bioproduction and stem cell technologies. This catalyzed the creation of PurCell Bio.
Bozeman, Montana is Tess Corbin’s hometown. After many years as an entrepreneur and musician, she returned to Bozeman to raise her two boys here while completing her undergraduate and graduate programs. During that time, she was supported by numerous awards and scholarships including two Hach Scientific Foundation scholarships, a Harlan Byker research scholarship, a Paul and Marie Davidson scholarship, and a National Academies of Sciences and Engineering Ford Foundation Fellowship. Throughout the course of her graduate program, she was able to complete two hands-on courses at the National Institutes of Health and worked under the renowned Dr Renee Reijo-Pera during her tenure as MSU’s Vice President of Research and Economic Development.
During the course of her studies, she developed a nutrient regimen that completely eliminated the effects of the enzyme disorder suffered by her eldest. She has been greatly blessed with supportive colleagues and talented friends who believe in her work, and enjoys breeding pugs in her spare time. She hopes the success of PurCell Bio will support further research into stem cell technologies, and produce therapies and cures for many.
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Clay Stirling, COO
Clayton Stirling hails from Casper Wyoming, and came to Bozeman to study Cell Biology and Neuroscience in preparation for medical school. Clay began work on Tess’s project as a requirement for graduation, and stayed on two years after his credits were gained. Clay earned his degree in Cell Biology and Neuroscience and decided to apply for a masters in Innovation and Management to improve his understanding of startups.
Clay is an accomplished Cell Culture Scientist, a terrific organizer, and an integral part of the science and management team. He has used the PurCell Bio journey in his graduate studies, and continues to apply his skills, both in the lab and in the office, to benefit the company. Clay brings an intimate understanding of the work, and huge enthusiasm and energy to the project.
Clay is currently active in ministry in the Bozeman area, enhanced by his minor in Hispanic studies. He enjoys the outdoor beauty of Bozeman and his many friends, as well as pushing the envelope of science in the lab.
Cynthia Tsai, Board
Cynthia Ekberg Tsai, the CEO of Healthquest, is adept in providing insights to such rising entrepreneurs. Healthquest is known as a prominent global biotechnology and medical technologies advisory firm. According to Cynthia, only a great setting can support the best business ideas, effective strategies, and relationships with the potential to ensure lasting bonds. She delves deep into her clients’ challenges and unearth opportunities.
Cynthia spent 13 years on Wall St. and then brought that experience to collaborations with some of the brilliant minds from MIT. Some of those companies are still in the market, after almost two and a half decades.
Cynthia’s collaborations now cover many different technologies including AI, biotechnology, therapeutic, and medtech spaces. Such a diverse range of connections proves her capability to penetrate many sectors well and understand their requirements. Her association with PurCell Bio has been pivotal and her ongoing input has been game-changing as we move forward.
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Ramon Parmenter, Lab Technician
Prior to joining PurCell Bio, Ramon Parmenter enjoyed international acclaim as a sculptor and artist by rendering highly collectible bronze sculptures and oil paintings. During the market crash of 2008, Ray felt called into the healing arts, becoming a Certified Nurse Assistant and providing care for his elderly father for his final two years. After his father’s passing, he stayed in the medical field and became a dialysis technician in 2012.
Ray came to Bozeman at the request of a friend and former art student who owns a bronze gallery in the area. While assisting in the business, and producing sculptures and paintings, Ray met Dr. Elizabeth Corbin and was intrigued by her work. They discovered a strong spiritual bond and he decided to bring his lab tech skills, as well as his creative mind and gift, to the PurCell project.
Today, Ray resides in Bozeman and has assisted in the creation of PurCell Bio in many diverse ways — anything from painting the clean room to running experiments. He continues to produce great art in his spare time, and enjoys music, organic gardening and the study of the Bible.
Madi is a recent graduate from Montana State University where she graduated with a Bachelors degree in Biological Engineering and a minor in Biomedical Engineering. She found her love for science at a young age, always questioning her surroundings and how things were made. Biology courses in high school confirmed this passion for science, leading her to pursue a career in the biotechnology field. Before coming to PurCell, she worked in multiple labs at MSU on topics from genome sequencing to exploring microbial communities. She brings an outside perspective with these previous experiences and contributes to out of the box thinking on projects.
When she’s not at work, she enjoys being outside whether she is climbing, running, or enjoying a book in the sun. Madison’s passion for science is only made stronger by her love of learning, no matter the subject; different languages, instruments, and skills are constantly being built upon in her own home.