a citizen-scientist speculating on the future

Mickey Pentecost is a biologist, engineer and cat enthusiast with a passion for science, technology and exploration. Mickey was born and raised in the Lower East Side of New York City. He attended LaGuardia High School of Music and Art & Performing Arts, where he studied painting daily, wrote poetry for the student literary magazine and played piano in the talent showcase occasionally, served as senior class Vice President and then Salutatorian, and courted his future wife, theater/film/TV actress Tina Huang. Mickey studied Engineering at The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art on a full-tuition academic scholarship and received a Ph.D. in Microbiology & Immunology from Stanford University School of Medicine. As a Postdoctoral Fellow in the department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Mickey continued to research infectious diseases, funded by a National Research Service Award from the NIH, and taught a unique and lively course entitled Contagion: The Science Behind The Film. He was Principal Scientist and then Director of R&D at Cell Care Therapeutics in Los Angeles, CA. He is currently launching Diadem Biotherapeutics to address unmet needs in pulmonary medicine with engineered stem cell derived extracellular vesicles.

Curriculum Vitae


Postdoctoral Fellowship, UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine - Department of Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics. Advisor: Dr. Benhur Lee

Ph.D., Stanford University School of Medicine - Department of Microbiology & Immunology. Thesis: Molecular mechanisms of Listeria monocytogenes invasion of the intestinal epithelium. Thesis Advisor: Dr. Manuel Amieva. Thesis Committee: Dr. Stanley Falkow, Dr. Julie A. Theriot, and Dr. W. James Nelson.

B.S., The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art - Albert Nerken School of Engineering.

LaGuardia H.S. of Music and Art & Performing Arts - Fine Arts major

Other Work & Training

Principal Scientist - Cell Care Therapeutics. Los Angeles, CA.

Elected Campus Chair and Joint Council member - UC Postdoctoral Scholars Union, UAW Local 5810, UCLA unit.

Elected Head Steward - UC Postdoctoral Scholars Union, UAW Local 5810, UCLA unit.

Biosafety Level 3 Research Certification -Registered with NIH, CDC, FBI and DoD. On-site BSL3 Science and Safety Training. 

Level 1 Entertainment industry Hosting Workshop, Sena Series - Carolyne Barry Studios.

Undergraduate Researcher - Public Health Research Institute. Research Advisors: Dr. Ben Gold and Dr. Issar Smith.

Summer Undergraduate Research Program - The Sackler Institute at NYU School of Medicine

Awards and Honors

Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award - NIAID, NIH F32.

Virology and Gene Therapy Postdoctoral Training Grant - UCLA, NIH T32.

The Professor Sidney Raffel Award in Recognition of Outstanding Academic Achievement - Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Stanford University School of Medicine.

Green Prize, Entrepreneurship Week Innovation Challenge - Stanford University School of Business.

Cell and Molecular Biology Training Grant - Stanford University, NIH T32.

Elected, Tau Beta Pi - Engineering Honor Society.

ASM Travel Grant - American Society for Microbiology General Meeting.

Undergraduate Research Fellowship - American Society for Microbiology.

Academic Honor List - Albert Nerken School of Engineering, The Cooper Union.

Full-Tuition Academic Scholarship - Albert Nerken School of Engineering, The Cooper Union.

Murray Braunstein Leadership Award - Alumni & Friends of LaGuardia High School.

Research Publications

Pentecost M, Vashist AA, Lester T, Voros T, Beaty SM, Park A, Wang YE, Yun, TE, Freiberg, AN, Wohlschlegel JA, Lee B. Evidence for Ubiquitin-Regulated Nuclear And Subnuclear Trafficking Among Paramyxovirinae Matrix Proteins. PLoS Pathog. 2015 Mar 17;11(3):e1004739.

Park A, Won ST, Pentecost M, Bartkowski W, Lee B. CRISPR/Cas9 allows efficient and complete knock-in of a destabilization domain-tagged essential protein in a human cell line, allowing rapid knockdown of protein function. PLoS One. 2014 Apr 17;9(4):e95101.

Wang YE, Park A, Lake M, Pentecost M, Torres B, Yun TE, Wolf MC, Holbrook MR, 
Freiberg AN, Lee B. Ubiquitin-regulated nuclear-cytoplasmic trafficking of the Nipah virus matrix protein is important for viral budding. PLoS Pathog. 2010 Nov 11;6(11):e1001186.

Pentecost M, Kumaran J, Ghosh P, Amieva MR. Listeria monocytogenes internalin B activates junctional endocytosis to accelerate intestinal invasion. PLoS Pathog. 2010 May 13;6(5):e1000900.

Pentecost M, Otto G, Theriot JA, Amieva MR. Listeria monocytogenes invades the epithelial junctions at sites of cell extrusion. PLoS Pathog. 2006 Jan; 2(1):e3.

Gold B, Rodriguez GM, Marras SA, Pentecost M, Smith I. The Mycobacterium
tuberculosis IdeR is a dual functional regulator that controls transcription of
genes involved in iron acquisition, iron storage and survival in macrophages.
Mol Microbiol. 2001 Nov; 42(3):851-65.

Selected Abstracts and Presentations

June 2014. Pentecost M, Vashisht A, Lester T, Voros T, Park A, Wohlschlegel J, Lee B.  “Comparative Analysis of Matrix Ubiquitination and Nuclear-Cytoplasmic Trafficking across the Paramyxovirinae Genera.” American Society for Virology (ASV) 33rd Annual Meeting. Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado.

June 2013. Pentecost M, Lester T, Park A, Wang Y, Vashisht A, Wohlschlegel J, Lee B.  “Comparative Analysis of Matrix Ubiquitination and Nuclear-cytoplasmic Trafficking Across the Paramyxovirinae Genera.” Poster. Negative Strand Virus (NSV) meeting. Granada, Spain.

March 2012. Pentecost M, Lester T, Wang Y, Park A, Vashisht A, Wohlschlegel J, Lee B.  “SUMO and Ubiquitin Modifications in the Subnuclear Trafficking and Function of Nipah virus Matrix.” Poster and talk. Keystone Symposium: Cell Biology of Virus Entry & Frontiers in HIV Pathogenesis. Whistler, B.C., Canada.

July 2010. Pentecost M, Wang Y, Freiberg AN, Park A. Lee B. “Trafficking Between Subnuclear Compartments is Important for Matrix Function.” Poster. PSWRCE Annual Meeting, Palo Alto, CA

March  2008.  Pentecost M, Amieva MR. “Internalin B Promotes Listeria monocytogenes Invasion of the Epithelium.” Poster. Bay Area Microbial Pathogenesis Symposium. UCSF, San Francisco, CA.

March 2006. Pentecost M, Otto G, Theriot JA, Amieva MR.  Listeria monocytogenes Invades the Epithelial Junctions at Sites of Cell Extrusion.” Talk. Bay Area Microbial Pathogenesis Symposium. UCSF, San Francisco, CA.

May 2005. Pentecost M, Theriot JA, Amieva MR.  Listeria monocytogenes Invades the Epithelial Junctions at Sites of Cell Extrusion.” Talk. Cell and Molecular Biology Symposium. Stanford University, Stanford, CA.

May 2002.  Pentecost M, Gold B, Smith I. “Structure-Function Relationships of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis IdeR.” Poster and talk. American Society for Microbiology General Meeting. Salt Lake City, UT. 

Teaching and Mentoring

Spring 2013. UCLA. MIMG 19: Contagion: The Science Behind the Movie. Course Instructor with guest lectures by Natasha K. Griffith, UCLA’s Director of High Containment Facilities and actor Dimitri Martin.

2012 – 2014. UCLA. Research Mentor to undergraduate Research Honors student Tim Voros. His research was supported by the Amgen Scholars program. Tim currently works in healthcare IT at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.

2010 – 2012. UCLA. Research Mentor to undergraduate Research Honors student Talia Lester. Talia’s research earned a UCLA Research Fellowship (URFP) and an ASM Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship. Her research was presented at the ASM general meeting in June 2012. Talia is currently a medical student at UCLA.

Spring 2007.  Stanford University. Biosci 129A: Cell Motility and Adhesion (Undergraduate  Level.) Teaching Assistant to Dr. W. James Nelson, Discussion Section Leader.

Winter 2006Stanford University. MI210: Pathogenesis of Bacteria, Viruses and Eukaryotic Parasites (Graduate Level). Teaching Assistant to Dr. Peter Sarnow. Lecture: “Breaking into the Epithelial Apical-Junctional Complex.”