Press Release

Senti Bio Announces Key Leadership Appointments

- Deborah Knobelman, PhD, appointed Chief Financial Officer -

- Curt Herberts, MBS, promoted to Chief Operating Officer and Philip Lee, PhD, promoted to Chief Technology Officer -


South San Francisco, Calif., May 19, 2021 — Senti Bio, a leading gene circuit company, today announced three executive leadership appointments. Effective yesterday, Deborah Knobelman, PhD, was appointed Chief Financial Officer. Effective January 1, 2021, Curt Herberts, MBS, was promoted to Chief Operating Officer, and Philip Lee, PhD, was promoted to Chief Technology Officer.


“Deb is a proven life science executive with broad financial experience spanning senior leadership roles in biopharma companies, Wall Street and, over the past decade as an interim CFO for early-stage biopharma companies. It is a genuine pleasure to welcome Deb to the Senti Bio team as we pursue a new generation of smarter medicines through gene circuit-enabled cell and gene therapies,” said Tim Lu, MD, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of Senti Bio. 


Dr. Knobelman brings over 20 years of experience on Wall Street and in the biopharma industry.  Most recently, Dr. Knobelman served in interim C-Suite roles for numerous life sciences companies and, prior to that, as CFO for GeneriCo Pharmaceuticals and CBO for Ampio Pharmaceuticals. In these positions, she led a wide range of public and private financing efforts, corporate strategy and finance, and investor relations activities. Earlier in her career, within Pfizer’s Primary Care business, she focused on commercial strategies for Primary Care products, and was involved in operational planning and budgeting. Dr. Knobelman began her career on Wall Street as an Equity Research Analyst covering Specialty Pharmaceuticals and Biotech for JPMorgan and Piper Jaffray, where she was named to Institutional Investor’s list of “Next Generation Analysts”. She earned a PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Pennsylvania, and an AB with Distinction in Chemistry from Duke University.


“I am thrilled to join the Senti Bio team,” said Dr. Knobelman. “The caliber of leadership within the organization is only matched by the Company’s cutting-edge science. I believe that Senti Bio’s approach to programming gene circuits is broadly applicable toward engineering optimal efficacy, precision and control into many cell or gene based therapies—I look forward to contributing to the pursuit of gene circuit platform technologies that may enhance the risk benefit paradigm of cell and gene therapy products.”


As Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Herberts will be broadly responsible for leading the overall business operations of the Company including, but not limited to, corporate strategy, business development, people operations, legal/IP and facilities operations. Since joining the Company in 2018 and prior to becoming COO, Mr. Herberts held the key leadership positions of Chief Financial Officer and Chief Business Officer. At Senti Bio, he has overseen a successful Series B financing ($105 million), the execution of a gene therapy AAV deal with Spark Therapeutics (a member of the Roche Group), and has been deeply involved in building critical systems and culture to support a thriving company. Prior to Senti Bio, Mr. Herberts was SVP and Chief Business Officer of Sangamo Therapeutics, where he led business development, new product planning, legal, intellectual property and alliance management. During his tenure at Sangamo, Mr. Herberts spearheaded several collaborations, including a blood disorder-focused partnership with Biogen, two AAV gene therapy-focused partnerships with Pfizer, and an allogeneic genome editing immuno-oncology-focused partnership with Kite (a Gilead Company). Prior to Sangamo Therapeutics, Mr. Herberts served in various positions at Campbell Alliance Group (acquired by inVentiv Health), a management consulting firm specializing in the biopharmaceutical industry. He earned a BA in Human Biology from Stanford University and a Master of Business and Science (MBS) from the Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences.


“Curt is a strategic, results-driven and effective leader with experience building and leading high-performing biopharma organizations. We believe Curt’s successful track record in executive and operational roles will be invaluable to leading the organization through its next stage of growth and positioning us for clinical and commercial success. As we advance our proprietary portfolio of allogeneic CAR-NK cell product candidates toward the clinic, and strive to maximize the potential of our gene circuit platform technologies through strategic collaborations, I am confident that Curt’s leadership will result in continued progress towards our goal of becoming an industry leader in the emerging synthetic biology and cell and gene therapy landscape,” commented Dr. Lu.


As Chief Technology Officer, Dr. Lee will be responsible for technical operations including process and analytical development, quality assurance/quality control and GMP manufacturing. Since co-founding Senti Bio in 2016, Dr. Lee has held several key leadership positions including Chief Operating Officer, President and member of the board of directors. Prior to Senti Bio, Dr. Lee held various positions at MilliporeSigma, a division of Merck KGaA, including as the Head of Cell Culture Systems, Senior Manager of Science & Technology, and New Business Initiatives Lead. Dr. Lee co-founded CellASIC (acquired by Merck KGaA) and served as its Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Lee earned his PhD in Bioengineering from the University of California, Berkeley and the University of California, San Francisco. He earned BS degrees in Chemical Engineering and Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Dr. Lu added, “Philip has an extensive background in cell engineering that has enabled him to build out advanced technology platforms—including cell processing and synthetic biology. This year, we plan to expand our gene circuit technology platform and to begin expanding our manufacturing capabilities related to allogeneic CAR-NK cell product candidates. Philip’s ability to merge complex disciplines combined with his success building technical operations—especially in cellular systems—will be instrumental as we strive to make our cell therapies broadly accessible in an off-the-shelf manner to cancer patients.”


About Senti Bio

Our mission is to create a new generation of smarter medicines that outmaneuver complex diseases in ways previously inconceivable. To accomplish this mission, we are building a synthetic biology platform that could enable us to program next-generation cell and gene therapies with what we refer to as “gene circuits”. These gene circuits, which are created from novel and proprietary combinations of DNA sequences, are intended to reprogram cells with biological logic to sense inputs, compute decisions and respond to their cellular environments. We are designing gene circuits to improve the “intelligence” of cell and gene therapies in order to enhance their therapeutic effectiveness against a broad range of diseases that conventional medicines do not readily address. For more information, please visit the Senti Bio website at


Contact Senti Bio:

Curt Herberts, Chief Operating Officer                         Denise Powell (Media)

Email:                                        Email:


Find more information at

Follow us on Linkedin: Senti Biosciences

Follow us on Twitter: @SentiBio