who we are

Dedicated to results

NellOne Therapeutics is passionate about its work to pioneer advances in the field of tissue regeneration, developed over the course of many years of scientific research and exploration. Our highly experienced team is committed to improving outcomes for millions of patients across the world, and creating a successful business that truly makes a difference.



Bill Malkes

Serial entrepreneur Bill Malkes was appointed Chief Executive Officer of NellOne Therapeutics in April 2020. He previously co-founded and led GRIDSMART Technologies Inc, a global intelligent transportation solutions business, which was sold for $87 million in 2019. Under Malkes’ leadership, the business grew to be the second largest in its space, and expanded to 22 countries around the world. Prior to GRIDSMART, Malkes held a number of senior leadership and advisory roles in technology and healthcare businesses including Health Care Solutions, ASIC International, Tradewind Technologies and Learning Technology Systems.

A servant leader at heart and builder of all things, Bill strives to leave things bigger and better than when he found them. To learn more about our CEO, visit billmalkes.com



Dr. Cymbeline Culiat

Dr. Cymbeline (Bem) Culiat studied the genetic and molecular basis of early mammalian development for a decade as a senior scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (1999-2009). Her research elucidated the role of the NELL1 protein in promoting growth and maturation of the musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems. This discovery is the foundation on which NellOne Therapeutics (NellOne) was established in 2008. Dr. Culiat is the inventor on 21 patents issued in eight countries, on the veterinary and human applications of NELL1 as a novel therapeutic for soft tissue regeneration. These patents are exclusively licensed worldwide to NellOne, which Dr. Culiat co-founded with former CEO Tracy Warren (General Partner, Battelle Ventures and Astarte Ventures). Bem currently serves as President and Chief Science Officer.

Dr. Culiat is also the co-author of Designed to Heal, where she utilizes her research insights to demonstrate how to heal relational and emotional wounds by exploring the restorative processes of the body.


Tracy Warren

An investor, executive, and entrepreneur, Ms. Warren co-founded NellOne Therapeutics, a soft-tissue regenerative medicine company based on the NELL1 gene based on work initiated at Oak Ridge National Laboratory by her co-founder, Dr. Cymbeline Culiat. As founding CEO, she leads the company’s efforts with respect to strategy, fundraising, business development and licensing for its equine and human therapies.

Having spent over a decade commercializing technologies from nation’s leading institutions, Tracy serves on the Boards of Children’s Research Institute (CRI) at Children’s National Medical Center (Washington, DC) and Clemson University Research Foundation, and is a member of the Business Advisory Council to the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation. In addition to her investment activities, she also provides early-stage leadership to other businesses, currently serving as a general partner of Astarte Ventures, an early stage venture firm focused exclusively on women’s and children’s health and wellbeing.

Chief Science Advisor

Shannon Eaker

Shannon received his PhD from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology. His expertise is around T-cell, HSC, and ES/iPSC cell biology, and has been with Cytiva (formerly GE Healthcare) Cell and Gene Therapy for over 10 years. He is a member of the International Society for Cell Therapy (ISCT) Process and Product Development (PPD) committee, and has authored numerous papers within the field of cell biology and manufacturing. He is currently the Technical Leader within Cytiva’s Cell and Gene Therapy Enterprise Solutions group. Shannon lives with his wife and 2 kids in Knoxville, TN.


Robert Cox

Robert has over 25 years of experience in financial leadership across the technology, manufacturing, distribution and commercial real estate industries. He has capital raising as well as M&A experience with multiple organizations ranging from startups to exit transactions. Robert holds a Master of Accountancy (MAcc) degree concentrating in financial auditing from the University of Tennessee, is a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and also holds Certified Management Account (CMA) and Certified Financial Manager (CFM) certifications.  Robert also serves as an officer and board member of GIVESMART, a 501(c)3 focused on serving vulnerable people without limitations.

Marketing Director

Christie Knapper

Christie Knapper brings nearly 20 years of marketing experience to the NellOne team. She is driven by serving the greater community and helping organizations thrive. Christie has worked in the professional services, education, and healthcare industries and is skilled in event management, team building, media relations, strategy development, corporate communications, and project management. She is a graduate of the Leadership Knoxville Class of 2018 and currently serves on the Board of Directors for YWCA Knoxville and the Tennessee Valley. Christie met her husband, Wade, while attending Maryville College and now resides in Knoxville with their three children.

Partner with us

Join us in plotting a new future for regenerative medicine, and help us in our work to revolutionize the treatment of major traumatic wounds in soft tissue.