FireCyte is an emerging biotechnology company that is developing novel treatment strategies focused on the role of microglia and neuroinflammation in progressive neurodegenerative diseases of the eye.

About Us

Bill Yelle

Co-Founder & CEO

With over 30 years in the biopharmaceutical industry, Bill’s experience ranges from large pharma to early-stage, venture-backed companies across a wide range of therapeutic areas.

Prior engagements include Entrepreneur in Residence at MGH-Brigham Ventures, Executive Chair at Envisia Therapeutics, and CEO of Aldea Pharmaceuticals. Bill was Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and Licensing for Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (formerly Sepracor Inc.) and responsible for the consummation of 30+ material transactions, including the company’s sale to Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma for $2.6 billion. He was also instrumental in Sepracor’s transition from an early-stage clinical organization into a fully integrated pharmaceutical company. Prior to Sepracor, he served in various positions in Pfizer’s U.S. Pharmaceuticals Group. In addition to FireCyte, Bill currently serves on the board of Violet Therapeutics.

Bill has an M.B.A. in Management/Marketing from Columbia University, an M.S. in Organic Chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley, and a B.S. Cum Laude from the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

Dong Feng Chen


Dr. Chen is an Associate Scientist at Schepens Eye Research/Massachusetts Eye and Ear. In addition, she is Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School and a member of the Ph.D. Program in Neuroscience.

Dr. Chen is focused on the study of mechanisms that control neurodegeneration and nerve regeneration in the retina and brain with the eventual goal of developing therapies for neural injuries and diseases, such as glaucoma, ischemic optic neuropathy, and Alzheimer’s Disease. Key discoveries include achieving full-length optic nerve regeneration from the eye in genetically engineered neonatal mice and uncovering the novel immune and T-cell mediated autoimmune mechanisms underlying neuron loss in glaucoma and ischemic optic neuropathy. Her work has broad implications beyond the eye.

Dr. Chen has an M.D. from Peking University Health Science Center, a Ph.D. in Anatomical Science and Neurobiology from the University of Louisville School of Medicine, and did her postdoctoral fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Department of Biology and Neuroscience. Dr. Chen is a Fellow of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (FARVO).

Jonathan Levenson

Chief Scientific Officer

​​A trained neuroscientist with over 16 years in neuropsychiatry, neurodegeneration, and neuroinflammation, Jonathan is the ideal scientific leader for our programs.

Prior to FireCyte, Jonathan was Vice President of Translational Medicine at Tiaki Therapeutics, where he helped develop an integrated neuroinflammatory translational platform that more faithfully recapitulated disease processes occurring in patients. Jonathan was the head of preclinical and nonclinical research and development at Proclara Biosciences, where he was key in moving two assets that targeted and remodeled amyloid aggregates from early research into the clinic – one for Alzheimer’s disease and one for systemic amyloidosis. Before that, Jonathan was Senior Scientist at Galenea. Jonathan has held academic appointments at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Baylor College of Medicine.

Jonathan has a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Houston and did his postdoctoral training at the Baylor College of Medicine in the Department of Neuroscience. He has authored or co-authored over 70 research publications focused on neuropharmacology, development of tools to model neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disease, and the treatment of neurological diseases.