About Us

We set out to develop tools and reagents that provide reproducible cell based assays.

Defined began its journey to transform the stem cell media by understanding the most critical stem cell research needs - cell growth quality, cost, and ease of use. To meet the growing demands of various customer segments, we realized that we would have to optimize all of the fundamental ingredients of defined growth media: growth factors, proteins, buffers, and growth/differentiation analysis.

We have developed innovative reagents across traditional recipes, leveraging published and optimized recipes from leaders in the field. The result is exceptional reagents, media, and protocols that will materially improve quality and reduce the cost of growing stem cells and iPSC derived cells, organoids, and their applications.

Our team

We are dedicated to making a positive impact in life science and our environment.


Steve Rees, PhD

Co-Founder, CEO

Jerome Karpiak, PhD

Co-Founder, VP of R&D

Fiona Chou, MBA

VP of Finance

Rebecca Pierce

Research Technician

Jose M. Morachis PhD

Founder and Board Chairman

Will Alaynick, PhD

Founder and Board Member

Advisory Board

Alysson Muotri, PhD Co-Founder, Scientific Advisor

Dr. Muotri is a Professor and Director of the Stem Cell Program at the University of California, San Diego. His research focuses on human brain development and evolution, exploring mobile elements as generators of neuronal diversity. Dr. Muotri’s lab is also interested on modeling neurological diseases, such as Autism Spectrum Disorders, using human induced pluripotent stem cells. He received several awards, including the prestigious NIH Director’s New Innovator Award and the Emerald Foundation Young Investigator Award. Dr. Muotri earned a BSc in Biological Sciences from the State University of Campinas in 1995 and a Ph.D. in Genetics in 2001 from University of Sao Paulo, in Brazil. He moved to the Salk institute as Pew Latin America Fellow in 2002 for a postdoctoral training on the fields of Neuroscience and Stem Cell Biology. He became an Assistant Professor at University of California in San Diego in 2008.

Mark Nowakowski, MS Scientific Advisor

Mr. Nowakowski is the Chief Technology Officer at Argonaut Manufacturing Services Inc and former CEO and/or founder of LyoGen LLC and BioMatrix Engineering. Mr. Nowakowski brings expertise and guidance in the cryodessication, cryopreservation, and commercial spaces. He has expertise in product design and patenting, in vitro diagnostics devices, microfluidic cartridges, lyophilization techniques and process flows, and manufacturing automation spanning three decades. His previous employment includes Hybritech Incorporated, Biosite Diagnostics, FMC BioProducts, and Mesa Tech International. Mr. Nowakowski earned his MS degree in R&D Systems Management at the University of Southern California.

Jiwu Wang, PhD Scientific Advisor

Dr. Wang is the Founder, President and CEO of Allele Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals Inc. and the Scintillon Institute for Biomedical and Bioenergy Research. Over the years Dr. Wang and his team at Allele have worked on biological advancements that have been at the forefront of molecular biology research, including RNA interference, fluorescent proteins, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), genome editing, and camelid single domain antibodies. In 2015, Allele established a cGMP facility in San Diego to further the clinical development of iPSC-based cell therapy. His research is the foundation for Allele Biotechnology’s cellular reprogramming platform for iPSCs. Dr. Wang obtained a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from Peking University and earned his Ph.D. degree in Molecular Biology at the University of Southern California.

Geoffrey Chang, PhD Scientific Advisor

Dr. Chang is a professor of Pharmacology at the University of California, San Diego’s Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. His research spans nearly 30 years in the area of structural biology of integral membrane proteins, using X-ray crystallography and cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) to elucidate the structures of multidrug resistance transporters, among others. Dr. Chang additionally leads efforts at UCSD to incubate novel scientific ideas and technologies for eventual commercialization. Dr. Chang is an Era of Hope Scholar, recipient of the Beckman Young Investigators and Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, and recipient of the EUREKA and PSI grant awards through the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Chang earned his B.A. and M.S. in Biophysics and his PhD in Molecular Biophysics at the University of Pennsylvania.

Aline M. Betancourt, PhD Scientific Advisor

Dr. Betancourt is a recognized expert in the field of stem cells, cancer, and cell-based therapies. She has greatly contributed to the understanding of many aspects of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) over the last two decades. Her laboratory was the first to show that Toll-like receptors (TLRs) on MSCs affects their stress responses and immune modulation. She was also first to describe paradigm-shifting evidence that MSCs can be induced into both the accepted immunosuppressive MSC2 phenotype and a new pro-inflammatory MSC1 phenotype. Most recently, she cofounded Vitabolus to develope the first orally delivered cell therapy for inflammatory bowel disease funded in part by a Discovery-Quest award from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).

She is on the scientific advisory board for CARB-X Boston Univ and Validus Therapeutics in CO.

Dr. Betancourt received her PhD degree from Georgetown Univ. Her postdoctoral training in cancer research began at the NIH-NCI. She has been a faculty member of Tulane Univ School of Medicine since 1994-and an Adjunct Associate Professor since 2014.