Dr Sullivan earned his PhD at the Roslin Institute (Edinburgh) under Professor Ian Wilmut and Dr Jim McWhir, becoming one of the first researchers in Europe to culture human embryonic stem cells. His work focused on pluripotency induction in human somatic cells.
Thereafter, Dr Sullivan worked as a Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge, Harvard University, and UCSD deepening his expertise of other human stem cell types and their applications for human medicine.
While at Harvard, he read ‘How Economics Shapes Science’ by Paula Stefan, which stimulated his interest in the economic, as well as the scientific and medical, hurdles that must be surmounted to bring stem cell therapies to the clinic. He also worked for Novartis, dealing with clinical trial management and compliance. Thereafter, he earned an MBA at Trinity College Dublin focusing on economic risk mitigation in the developing and manufacture of cellular therapies.
From 2008-2017, Dr Sullivan was the Chief Scientific Officer of the Irish Stem Cell Foundation, where working with others, he facilitated the introduction of stem cell legislation into the Irish Program for Government. He is an honorary associate of the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service, a member of Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Advisory Committee at University College Cork, and Chief Editor of ‘Human Embryonic Stem Cells – The Practical Handbook’ published by Wiley & Sons.
In June 2017, Dr Sullivan joined GAiT (www.gait.global), an initiative supporting implementation and clinical application of therapies derived from pluripotent stem cells for the benefit of patients globally. GAiT is supported by an international consortium of organisations including the Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult (London, UK), the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (Toronto, Canada), the Korea HLA-Typed iPSC Banking Initiative (Seoul, Korea) and the New York Stem Cell Foundation (New York, USA).