Dr Iona Weir is a scientist with extensive research experience in New Zealand and overseas including the US, Canada and Australia. She has undertaken over thirty years’ scientific research in both the academic and commercial arenas. She gained her PhD from Auckland University Medical School, proving differences between plant, human and microbial apoptosis (programmed cell death) and then how this affects immunology pathways.
She has received a number of international awards for her work, including awards in cell biology for Outstanding PhD and Young Scientist. She publishes regularly in prestigious international scientific journals, and has had over 40 peer-reviewed international publications such as PNAS, and the front cover of The Plant Journal. Dr Weir frequents International conferences, often as an invited speaker at such as the Cold Spring Harbor Programmed Cell Death Symposium (a key international conference for this field). She also has had eight international patents granted for her ground-breaking work in this area.
She worked as a Senior Scientist and Team Leader for Plant and Food Research Institute for 12 years across a range of plant and human health research projects specialising in cell biology and biochemistry. Dr Weir undertook a Marsden-funded sabbatical at the renowned Ontario Cancer Institute/Toronto University, and was Chief Scientist and founder for Aegis BioActives developing a pine bark extract as an adjunct for chemotherapy. Subsequently, she became Research Director for BioDiscovery NZ, a privately owned company focused on high throughput molecular compounds screening for pharmaceutical and agricultural applications.
Dr Weir was the Chief Scientific Officer managing the research for the gut health products Phloe (IBS) and KiwiCrush (constipation) which were exited to Nestle and Mundipharma. Phloe is a synbiotic kiwifruit product with patented prebiotic and probiotics. She was also Principal Scientist for BioActives Research focused on microencapsulation and manufacture of novel probiotics.
Furthermore, Iona has successfully turned a nutraceutical company into a pharmaceutical company, including opening an IND (Investigative New Drug) with the USFDA for an oral eczema drug LYP-010 which progressed to Phase IIB, and exiting to an European Pharmaceutical Company.
Combining her ample scientific knowledge with her desire to help people with a range of all-too-common skin issues, Dr Weir founded Atopis skincare in 2017.