Coupled with AstraZeneca’s ambitions in the cell therapy space, my role is to lead the Bioscience Cell Therapy section within BioPharmaceuticals R&D. In this role, I am responsible for the discovery and development of cell therapy based projects focusing on cardiovascular, renal, metabolic, respiratory and immunological diseases.

A major part of my role is to collaborate closely with internal and external experts in the cell therapy field and related disciplines. Within AstraZeneca, this goes across all BioPharmaceuticals R&D disease areas, as well as Oncology R&D, to leverage the existing and emerging platforms in stem cell technologies, new modalities, universal cell lines and CRISPR-mediated genome editing. Externally, I work with existing collaborators as well as establish new partnerships, to develop technologies and cellular therapeutic projects that will discover novel treatments for serious diseases and advance these towards patients.

I joined AstraZeneca in the UK in 2001 and have been based in Sweden since 2010.  Throughout this time I have led a variety of cell and molecular focused groups across several global functions and therapy areas. Prior to joining the Cell Therapy Department, I held the role of Associate Director for the Stem and Primary Cell group, focusing on the generation of primary and stem cell models for target identification, validation and cell therapy applications across our therapeutic areas. This included the co-leadership of cell therapy projects in the preclinical stage as well as driving cell therapy capability initiatives.

I obtained my PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Leeds, UK, in 2001 and have published more than 25 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters.

The promise of what cell therapy may mean to patients affected by some of the most devastating diseases continues to drive my motivation, curiosity and commitment.

Ryan Hicks Head of Bioscience Cell Therapy, BioPharmaceuticals R&D

2021 CEO Awards

Accelerate Innovative Science – Cell Therapy Team - Winner

2021 BioPharmaceuticals R&D Awards

Therapy Area Leadership – Discovery - Winner

2020 BioPharmaceuticals R&D Awards

Scientific Breakthrough – Discovery - Winner


Director - Head of Bioscience Cell Therapy, BioPharmaceuticals R&D


Great to be part of the newly formed BioPharma Cell Therapy Department within BioPharmaceuticals R&D


Proud to see two of my PhD students successfully defend their Thesis


Part of the team initiating and driving AstraZeneca’s first cardiovascular stem cell therapy project

Featured publications

Umbilical cord tissue as a source of young cells for the derivation of induced pluripotent stem cells using non-integrating episomal vectors and feeder-free conditions.

Mohamed A, Chow T, Whiteley J et al. Cells. 2021; 10(1): 49. Link:

Optimised generation of iPSC-derived macrophages and dendritic cells that are functionally and transcriptionally similar to their primary counterparts.

Monkley S, Krishnaswamy JK, Göransson M et al. PLoS ONE. 2020; Link:


In vivo genome and base editing of a human PCSK9 knock-in hypercholesterolemic mouse model.

Carreras A, Pane LS, Nitsch R et al. BMC Biol. 2019; 17(1). Link:


A CRISP(e)R view on kidney organoids allows generation of an induced pluripotent stem cell-derived kidney model for drug discovery.

Humanizing miniature hearts through 4-flow cannulation perfusion decellularization and recellularization.

Nguyen DT, O'Hara M, Graneli C et al. Sci Rep. 2018; 10;8(1): 7458. Link:

3D-models of insulin-producing β-cells: From primary islet cells to stem cell-derived islets.

Ribeiro D, Kvist AJ, Wittung-Stafshede P, et al. Stem Cell Rev. 2018; 14(2):177-188. Link: