Meet the NECBB Team

The NECBB team is composed of exceptional clinical, technical, and customer service professionals with an array of backgrounds.

New England Cryogenic Center, Inc. (NECC), affiliate of New England Cord Blood Bank, Inc., was founded in 1971 and is considered one of the pioneers in processing and cryopreservation of human cells and tissue. Our goal is to continue to be a premiere worldwide leader in cryopreservation of human cells, tissue, and cellular therapies. In addition, we aim to educate the public and medical communities on the availability of cryogenic storage of cells and tissue, along with their current and potential benefits for future use in treating disease and injury. 

Owners/Founders

Catherine and John Rizza have devoted their lives to the science of helping people keep their families healthy.

As the business manager for Dr. Robert Newton, a pioneer in reproductive therapy, Mrs. Rizza was a first-hand witness to the beginning of assisted reproductive technology and helped to establish one of the world’s first sperm banks in 1971. As president of New England Cryogenic Center, Inc., since 1993, she has helped to build NECC into one of the largest full-service cryobanks in the world.

In 1997, in order to offer families a greater chance to fight disease, Mrs. Rizza and her husband John founded a second company, the New England Cord Blood Bank, Inc., where families can store the stem cells found in umbilical cord blood and tissue for future use in treating diseases.

Laboratory Director

Dr. Grace Centola has served as Laboratory Director at NECC since 2001. With a rich background in reproductive medicine, Dr. Centola was on the faculty of the University of Rochester for more than 15 years, where she started the first Andrology Laboratory and Sperm Bank in Rochester in 1987. Dr. Centola has also served as director of the ART Laboratory at the Center for Reproductive Medicine at Bryn Mawr Hospital; Director of the Andrology and Endocrinology Laboratory for the Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York and New Jersey; and Assistant Laboratory Director at Offices for Fertility and Reproductive Medicine in New York City and Maze Laboratories in New York.

Dr. Centola received a B.S. in Biology from Utica College of Syracuse University and a Ph.D. in Anatomy from Georgetown University. She has served on the faculty at the Michener Institute for Applied Sciences, University of Rochester Medical Center, SUNY Health Sciences Center, Uniformed Services University, and the University of Maryland. She is the author of numerous articles in leading medical and scientific journals.

Medical Director

Dr. Klingemann received his M.D. from the University of Würzburg Medical School, Germany, and his Ph.D. from the University of Marburg, Germany. He then had further training as a stem cell transplant physician at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and since then has led nationally recognized Transplant Programs in Chicago and Boston. In addition to his clinical expertise, Dr. Klingemann has been involved in research with cord blood stem cells. He has authored over 150 scientific papers and several books. Dr. Klingemann has also been selected as Boston Top Doctor for the past several years and was named by US News and World Report as one of the leading physicians in the country.

Cell Biologist

Matthew Wilgo is a Cell Biology Scientist at NECBB. This means he is the lead on projects outside the scope of normal NECBB processing operations (such as Process Validations, new equipment validation, assay/protocol development, scientific collaborations). Additionally, he assists in training on critical laboratory skills, maintains state-of-the-art knowledge, and presents scientific seminars to raise general awareness of adult stem cells. His work ethic and integrity are crucial to the organization.

Matthew received his Bachelor of Science in Microbiology at the University of New Hampshire, and is a member of AABB. Outside of work, he enjoys walking, home improvement projects, and (best of all) making his wife laugh.

Laboratory Manager

Angela Dexter is the Laboratory Manager of New England Cord Blood Bank, Inc. She started with the company in 2002 as a cord blood processing technician and over the years has been promoted multiple times. She is responsible for the overall operation of the day-to-day functions of the cord blood processing laboratory, which includes supervising laboratory personnel, as well as providing them with training and guidance. She also assists the Quality Department with internal audits.

For Angela, the most important part of her job is knowing that the work she does could potentially help save a life.

She is an active member of AABB as well as an AABB Cord Blood Assessor.  She holds a B.S. in Biology. She loves to read, watch movies, cook, and spend time with family and friends.

Manager of Cryogenic Services

As Manager of Cryogenic Services, Mike maintains all cryogenic tanks and the specimens coming to or leaving the facility. Additionally, he monitors all temperatures of the specimens in cold storage. He believes in hard work and dedication, and this shows through every day at NECBB. His passion for the job is evident, and is based on the importance of his role: making sure all specimens (cord blood or otherwise) are kept safe, secure, and at the correct temperature for cryopreservation.

He received his Bachelors in Biochemistry at Northeastern. When he’s not at work, Michael enjoys kayaking, traveling, hanging out with friends and family, concerts, and gaming.