Speakers and Panelists


  • Sara Jane Demy established Demy-Colton in 2008 to develop high value-added events and help reposition existing events in the life sciences industry.

    She has taken her formidable experience and expertise to craft effective investor and CEO events that further business objectives. Her impressive background in supporting biotech’s growth includes being the founder of Biotech Showcase and the Biotech CEO Summits that are held in Napa and Europe. In addition, Sara was Vice President, Business Development & Investor Relations, and Head of the New York Office for the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO). Sara understood the problems facing biotech companies and developed solutions to help advance the sector. She launched and developed the BIO CEO & Investor Conference, BIO Investor Forum, BIO’s regional venture conferences, CEO boot-camps, the Business Forum at BIO’s Annual Meeting, BioEurope, BioEurope Spring, and BIO Asia. Sara also built the prototype for “the partnering system,” which is used throughout the biopharmaceutical sector today.


  • Jeremy A. Abbate is the VP & Publisher of Scientific American and its related titles. He is responsible for developing and executing new media programs, brand extensions and collaborative ventures serving the international opinion leadership that turns to Scientific American for the best views of the future.

    He appears regularly at conferences and events to facilitate high-level discussions on healthcare, innovative science and technology. He has spearheaded co-branded partnerships with several international organizations including TEDMED, CES, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The Carter Center. Working to bring important scientific ideas into a dynamic media environment, he has led projects serving some of the world’s largest corporate organizations, including Colgate Palmolive, Johnson& Johnson, Procter & Gamble, Philips, Amgen, BMS and others.

    is writing has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Psychology Today and other national publications. Abbate penned the forward to the popular medical travel guide, Patients Beyond Borders. He serves on several advisory committees in the life science and healthcare space.


  • Ralph Snyderman, MD, Chancellor for Health Affairs at Duke University from 1989 to July 2004 led the transition of an excellent medical center into an internationally recognized leader of academic medicine. He oversaw the development of the Duke University Health System, one of the most successful integrated academic health systems in the country, and served as its first President and Chief Executive Officer. Dr. Snyderman has played a leading role in the conception and development of personalized health care, an evolving model of national health care delivery. He was among the first to describe personalized health care -- a personalized, proactive, patient-driven approach to care that is recognized as a dominant force to improve health and minimize the burdens of disease. The Association of American Medical Colleges has referred to Dr. Snyderman as the “father of personalized medicine.”  He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and is the recipient of numerous scientific and leadership awards.



  • Dr. Robert Schneider is a leading biomedical investigator and has been a biotech entrepreneur for more than 30 years. He combines innovative biomedical scientific research with disruptive models of business development to pioneer new therapies in for the benefit of patients. Dr. Schneider is a co-founding scientist of six biotechnology/small pharmaceutical companies: ImClone Systems (New York); PTC Therapeutics (New Jersey); Canji (San Diego); GenCell (Paris); Charterhouse Pharmaceuticals (London); and ENB Therapeutics (New York). Dr. Schneider is the Albert Sabin Professor of Molecular Pathogenesis and for seven years until 1/2020, the Associate Dean for NYU Technology Ventures and Partnerships (TVP) at NYU Langone Health/NYU School of Medicine. He oversaw the integration and transformation of NYU technology transfer that launched over 100 startup companies during that time. Dr. Schneider is a research scientist and maintains a productive lab performing basic and translational research on metastatic breast cancer, regulation of the immune response, and regulation of adult tissue stem cells for tissue regeneration. He is the author of more than 180 peer-reviewed publications in leading journals and has been continuously funded by the NIH for more than 30 years.


  • Dr. Abraham Heifets is CEO and Co-Founder of Atomwise, where he and Co-Founder Dr. Izhar Wallach invented the use of deep convolutional neural networks for drug discovery. Dr. Heifets was a Massey Fellow at the University of Toronto—a center for AI innovation—and a Fellow of the Ontario Brain Institute. His doctoral work applied machine learning and classical AI techniques to organic synthesis planning, a long-standing challenge in chemistry. His vision of AI bringing better, safer and more potent drugs to patients was recently featured in the July 2019 Moonshot issue of Newsweek. Dr. Heifets is a thought-leader on the use of AI for drug discovery and is an author on 24 papers, patents and patent applications. Dr. Heifets has presented his work to the U.S. GAO, the National Institutes of Health, the American Chemical Society, and the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence.


  • Marian Nakada PhD, VP Venture Investments for Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, has almost 30 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, starting her career at the laboratory bench at Centocor and moving to a research leadership role before Centocor’s acquisition by Johnson & Johnson in 1999.  She transitioned to Janssen Business Development where she executed deals to support the expansion of the Biologics portfolio.  She joined JJDC, Johnson & Johnson’s corporate venture group in 2013.   She is passionate about leveraging Johnson & Johnson’s capabilities to help her portfolio companies succeed.  Marian has a BA in Biology from Harvard College and a PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Pennsylvania.  She is currently on the Boards of Navitor Pharmaceuticals, Twenty-eight Seven Therapeutics, Ribon Therapeutics, Artizan Biosciences as well as the New England Venture Capital Association where she is working to champion change as an active contributor to its Diversity & Inclusion Committee. 


  • Noam Solomon is the CEO and Co-Founder at immunai, the first and only company to map the entire immune system for better detection, diagnosis, and treatment of disease. Leveraging single-cell technologies and machine learning algorithms, immunai has mapped out thousands of immune cells and their functions, building the largest proprietary data set in the world for clinical immunological data. Prior to co-founding immunai, Noam had a dual career in both the industry and academia. Noam is a double PhD, and served as a post-doctoral researcher in the Mathematics department at MIT, and in the center of mathematical sciences and applications at Harvard University. In his research, he developed and applied tools from algebra and Algebraic Geometry in the study of classical problems in combinatorics. Noam also worked as an algorithms developer in the Israeli defense forces and subsequently as a data scientist, consultant and head of data science in several hi-tech companies in Israel.


  • Alice Zhang is the CEO and Co-Founder of Verge Genomics. Alice has been named a Forbes 30 Under 30 Featured Honoree, MIT Technology Review’s Innovator Under 35, and SF Business Times’ 40 Under 40. Prior to Verge, she spent seven years at the forefront of systems biology research at the National Cancer Institute, the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics at Princeton University, and UCLA. She spent five years in the UCLA-Caltech MD/PhD program, where she helped author several papers on gene networks involved in neuroregeneration.  Alice received her bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in Molecular Biology and was a recipient of the prestigious Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans. In her spare time, Alice also is an angel investor and advisor for startups at the intersection of technology and biology.



  • Phyllis Barkman Ferrell is the Global Head of External Engagement for Alzheimer’s disease and Neurodegeneration at Eli Lilly & Company, where she previously served as the leader of the Global Alzheimer’s disease development team. Ferrell’s most recent prior position was Vice President of the Chief Commercial Services Officer for Eli Lilly and Company.

    Ferrell has been with Lilly for more than 25 years and has held many leadership roles throughout the organization. She has led efforts in medical affairs, medical development, commercial capabilities, sales, marketing, recruiting, business development, strategy, transformation, Six Sigma, and corporate financial planning. 

    Ferrell received a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics and management with minors in computational mathematics and Asian studies from DePauw University. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa and with Magna Cum Laude honors in 1994. She received an MBA in general management and a certificate in public management from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business in 2001 and graduated with both Arjay Miller Scholar honors and as the Arbuckle Award recipient.


  • Dr. Mylea Charvat became interested in the brain at age 13 when her grandmother began to suffer cognitive problems. A clinician with a business background, she was an early employee with Travelocity in the 1990s and went on to train as a clinical neuropsychologist and neuroscientist and in 2015 founded Savonix. At Savonix, Mylea drives strategy to address dementia globally with business and clinical leaders and works as a domain expert in digital cognitive assessment with partners from Boston University to Fortune 50 CEOs seeking to detect and prevent cognitive decline and dementias.

    Mylea has authored several peer review publications in mental health and neuroimaging. She completed her fellowship in clinical neuroscience at Stanford and has been a lecturer at Stanford, The University of San Francisco and San Francisco State University. She is a contributor for Psychology Today, has written for Tech Crunch and Huffington Post and appeared as a subject matter expert at many conferences including MedTech Showcase, The Atlantic Council, the NIH and NIA and with the Duke Leadership Program.

    Mylea is committed to advancing the integration of cognitive health data into mainstream healthcare. The inspiration for Savonix came when her husband was severely injured in an accident and she experienced, first-hand, the difficulty in attaining vital health data needed to achieve recovery – including cognitive screening. She realized that if access was difficult for her with all her connections, that it must be virtually nonexistent for most people. She got to know the spouses and parents of other patients. What she learned in these conversations was a wake-up call. With a blossoming career ahead of her in academic medicine, Dr. Charvat left over a decade of work and a prestigious career path toward professorship to found Savonix.

  • Howard Fillit, MD, Founding Executive Director and Chief Science Officer of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation, is an internationally recognized geriatrician, neuroscientist, expert in Alzheimer's disease and an innovative philanthropy executive.The Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation is a nonprofit whose mission is to rapidly accelerate the discovery and development of drugs to prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Fillit has had a distinguished academic medicine career and is currently a clinical professor of geriatric medicine and palliative care, medicine and neurosciences at The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. Throughout his career, Dr. Fillit has maintained a limited private practice in consultative geriatric medicine with a focus on Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Fillit has received numerous awards and honors including the Rita Hayworth Award from the Alzheimer’s Association, and has authored or co-authored more than 350 scientific and clinical publications.


  • Professor Ritchie is a world-leading authority on dementia and has been a senior investigator on more than 30 drug trials of both disease-modifying and symptomatic agents for the condition. Professor Ritchie is leading the PREVENT project to identify mid-life risks for dementia, and the European Prevention of Alzheimer’s Dementia (EPAD) consortium, to understand early aspects of Alzheimer’s disease before dementia develops.

    Professor Ritchie has extensive knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry, having sat on advisory boards of numerous pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology companies, and clinical research organizations, all with an interest in developing drugs and clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease. Professor Ritchie is the Chair of the Scottish Dementia Research Consortium, Professor of the Psychiatry of Ageing and Director of the Centre for Dementia Prevention at the University of Edinburgh, Director of Brain Health Scotland, Associate Director of the Wellcome Trust Clinical Research Facility and Co Coordinator at IMI-EPAD.


  • Michael C. Rice, MS, MBA Mike leads Cello Health BioConsulting’s Gene and Cell Therapeutics and Rare Diseases practices. He also co-heads the oncology practice focusing on hematologic malignancies and genetically defined cancers. Prior to Cello Health BioConsulting, Mike gained over a decade of experience creating new biotech ventures from academic inventions pertaining to nucleic acids and cellular platforms applied across monogenetic diseases and oncology. Industry positions involved translational research, strategic planning, technology transfer, finance and business development.

    Mike holds an MBA, with a concentration in Biotechnology from the Alfred Lerner School of Business and Economics, at the University of Delaware, an MS in Molecular Pharmacology from Thomas Jefferson University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Delaware. Mike studied the molecular basis of cancer at the Kimmel Cancer Institute and is recognized for his extensive intellectual property and publication portfolio pertaining to cancer genetics, recombinational DNA repair, gene therapy, diagnostics, and agricultural trait improvement.

    Mike is a member of the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (ASGCT), the Alliance for Regenerative Medicine (ARM), the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC), the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the American Society of Hematology (ASH), the Licensing Executives Society (LES), and the American Heart Association (AHA).


  • Sapan Shah, PhD joined StrideBio as Chief Executive Officer in January 2019, and has led efforts to expand the company’s scientific platform, operations, and external partnerships to support an innovative pipeline of engineered adeno-associated virus vectors and gene therapy products targeting rare disorders. Dr. Shah has spent the past 20 years as an advisor, entrepreneur, founder and chief executive working with innovative companies advancing novel therapeutics for areas of unmet medical need. Prior roles have included CEO of ARMGO Pharma, CEO of Shionogi Inc., Co-founder and Chairman of Ezose Sciences, Founder and CEO of Novatherx, Entrepreneur in Residence at Yale University and Associate Principal at McKinsey & Company. Dr. Shah holds a PhD in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale University and BA degrees in Mathematics, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Cell Biology from the Integrated Science Program at Northwestern University.


  • Faraz Ali has been the Chief Executive Officer at Tenaya Therapeutics since 2018.  Tenaya has a mission to discover, develop, and deliver curative therapies that target the underlying causes of heart disease, and that advance innovative science derived from three multi-modality product platforms: Regeneration, Gene Therapy, and Precision Medicine.  Mr. Ali was previously Chief Business Officer at REGENXBIO, a leading in vivo AAV gene therapy company. Prior to that, he was a Vice President at bluebird bio, a leading ex vivo LVV gene therapy company. Mr. Ali also had roles of increasing global commercial leadership at Genzyme Corporation, where he helped launch multiple first-in-class enzyme replacement therapies for rare (orphan) diseases. He started his career at General Electric, including technical roles at GE Healthcare and business assignments at GE Corporate. Mr. Ali received his MBA from Harvard Business School and his BS from Stanford University. He is the proud father of three little girls – including identical twins – who teach him more about nature vs nurture than can be gained from any biology textbook.


  • Geoff McDonough, MD is the president and CEO of Generation Bio, which is developing a new class of gene therapy – redosable, titratable, and manufacturable at scale, with the potential for wide therapeutic reach in both rare and prevalent indications. Geoff formerly served as president and chief executive officer of Swedish Orphan Biovitrum AB (Sobi) from 2011– 2017. Prior to Sobi, he held a variety of senior roles at Genzyme Corporation, including president of Genzyme Europe and senior vice president and general manager of the global lysosomal storage disease business. Geoff has a Bachelor of Science in biology and a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, graduating summa cum laude in both. He obtained his doctor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and completed his residency training in internal medicine and pediatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston Children's Hospital.


  • Jeffrey Bockman is EVP, Oncology Practice Head at Cello Health BioConsulting (Previously Defined Health). Jeff has extensive commercial and strategic perspective on the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. He has directed hundreds of in-depth licensing opportunity, valuation and strategy assessments during his tenure at DH.  

    He often speaks at conferences on scientific and commercial issues in cancer, especially immuno-oncology. For example, Jeff recently chaired one of the main IO panels at BIO 2019.

    He was a Senior Research Scientist developing oligonucleotide therapeutics for viral diseases and cancer at Innovir Laboratories in collaboration with Sidney Altman at Yale. Prior to this, Jeff was Assistant Research Professor at The George Washington University School of Medicine. He received a BA from University of California at San Diego, a PhD from the University of California at Berkeley on prions in collaboration with Stan Prusiner at UCSF, and an MA in Creative Writing from New York University. 

    Jeff is a member of the Licensing Executives Society (LES), the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), the American Society of Hematology (ASH), the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (ASGCT), the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) and the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS).  

    Jeff is on the advisory boards of ABL Bio, a Korean-based biologics platform company, and the Swiss-based immunotherapy company ImmunOS.


  • Jake Becraft is a synthetic biologist and entrepreneur. He is the co-founder and CEO of Strand Therapeutics, and serves on its Board of Directors. Together with colleagues at MIT’s renowned Synthetic Biology Center, he led the development of the world’s first synthetic biology programming language for mRNA. Jake has been featured in Fierce Biotech, Bloomberg, the Boston Business Journal, and BioCentury, among others, for his vision and mission at Strand of applying this unique platform for real world disease applications. He has also been the recipient of prestigious national and international awards for his scientific and entrepreneurial achievements, including the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Award, the Andrew Viterbi Fellowship of MIT, Amgen Fellowship, and the Bristol-Myers Squibb 2018 Golden Ticket for recognition of Strand as an innovative startup. Beyond his work at Strand, Jake’s broader interests span synthetic biology, biologically engineered organism-machine interfaces, and the intersection of tech and biotech methodologies. He is an advocate among the life science entrepreneurial ecosystem for supporting young founders in biotech entrepreneurship. Currently, he serves on the advisory board of Starlight Ventures, an early stage venture firm, and also serves on the Executive Board of Public Health United, a non-profit focused on helping scientists better communicate their research for maximum impact. Previously, he served as a Science and Technology advisor to legislators in the Massachusetts State Legislature. Jake received his PhD in Biological Engineering and Synthetic Biology from MIT and his BS in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, graduating Magna cum Laude with distinction. He is an author or inventor on numerous high profile publications, patents and white papers, including in top tier journals such as Nature Chemical Biology and PNAS.


  • Jennifer C Petter, PhD is the Founder and CSO of Arrakis Therapeutics.  Previously she was Vice President of Chemistry at Celgene, Vice President of Drug Discovery at Avila Therapeutics, Vice President of Research at Mersana Therapeutics, Director of Small Molecule Drug Discovery at Biogen, Section Head in Oncology Chemistry at Sandoz/Novartis, and Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh.  Dr. Petter graduated from Dartmouth College with an AB in chemistry, earned her PhD in organic chemistry at Duke University with Ned Porter, and was a post-doctoral fellow in Ron Breslow’s group at Columbia University.  She has ushered multiple compounds into the clinic for the treatment of cancer, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disorders, and sepsis.


  • Arthur T. Sands, MD, PhD, has served as the Chief Executive Officer at Nurix and a member of the company’s board of directors since September 2014. Prior to joining Nurix, Dr. Sands was the co-founder and served as President, Chief Executive Officer, and as a member of the board of directors of Lexicon Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on target validation and pharmaceutical development, from 1995 to July 2014. Before founding Lexicon Pharmaceuticals, Dr. Sands was an American Cancer Society postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Human and Molecular Genetics at Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Sands holds a BA in Economics and Political Science from Yale University and an MD and a PhD in Cell Biology from Baylor College of Medicine.


  • Jeffrey C Laurence, MD is a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology at Weill Cornell Medical College, Attending Physician at New York Presbyterian Hospital, and Director of the Laboratory for AIDS Virus Research at those institutions. He is the Senior Scientist for Programs at amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, co-founded by Dr. Mathilde Krim and Dame Elizabeth Taylor. He is also Editor-in-Chief of Translational Research (the J of Lab and Clinical Medicine), now in its 105th year, and AIDS Patient Care and STDs, now in its 34th year. His current research focuses on mechanisms of HIV and HIV-treatment-associated cardiovascular and renal disease, and the thrombotic microangiopathies associated with complement activation and microvascular endothelial cell injury in HIV and other disorders including, most recently, COVID-19.

    Dr. Laurence received his BA summa cum laude from Columbia University in 1972, and his MD with honors from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine in 1976. He was elected a Rhodes Scholar to Oxford University in 1973, and was a Henry Luce Scholar at the Institute for Cancer Research in Osaka, Japan from 1974-1975. He completed a residency in internal medicine, followed by fellowships in hematology and oncology at The New York Hospital, and a research fellowship in immunology at The Rockefeller University, where he first became involved in AIDS.

    Dr. Laurence is a recipient of the Clinician-Scientist Award of the American Heart Association, the William S. Paley Fellowship in Academic Medicine, and an “Award of Vision” from the Red Ribbon AIDS Foundation. He is an elected Fellow of the New York Academy of Sciences and a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation. He was featured prominently in the oral history “AIDS Doctors: Voices from the Epidemic” (Bayer and Oppenheimer, Oxford University Press, 2000) and in a documentary film, “The Battle of amfAR,” describing the early days of AIDS, which premiered at Robert Redford’s Sundance Film Festival (2013), was presented at Robert DeNiro’s Tribeca Film Festival, and shown on HBO. Dr. Laurence has three children, Auden, Galen, and Luca, and lives in Greenwich, CT.


  • Miguel-Angel Perales, MD is the Chief of the Adult Bone Marrow Transplantation Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, as well as an Associate Professor of Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. He is an internationally recognized leader in the field of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and cellular therapy, and serves as Chair of the Alliance for Clinical Trials in Oncology Transplantation and Cell Based Therapies Committee, and as a current member of the Board of Directors of Be The Match (National Marrow Donor Program - NMDP). From 2017 to 2020, he served as Secretary and member of the executive committee of the American Society for Transplantation and Cellular Therapy (ASTCT, former ASBMT). He also holds leadership positions and has been extensively involved in activities of the Center for International Blood and Marrow Transplant Research (CIBMTR) and Blood and Marrow Transplantation Clinical Trials Network (BMT CTN). Dr. Perales has over 200 publications including peer-reviewed articles, position papers, guidelines, book chapters, editorials and invited reviews, and has been an invited speaker at numerous national and international meetings over the past twenty years. Dr. Perales received his MD from the Free University of Brussels, and completed postdoctoral training at the Tufts Medical Center and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.


  • Alessandro Rambaldi, MD began his career at the Bergamo Hospital as a Medical Assistant in Hematology, in 1996, before moving to the position of Medical Director and Head of the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit. Since 2004, he has been the Director of the Bone Marrow Transplant Program of the Bergamo Hospital. He is also Director of the Hematology Unit and the Department of Oncology and Hematology. He is also professor of hematology at the State University of Milan.


  • Dennis Purcell is the original Founder of Aisling Capital LLC. Previously, he served as the Senior Managing Partner. Prior to Aisling Capital, Mr. Purcell served as Managing Director of the Life Sciences Investment Banking Group at Chase H&Q (formerly Hambrecht & Quist, “H&Q”). While at H&Q, he was directly involved with over two hundred completed transactions and supervised over $10 billion of financing and advisory assignments in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical products industries.

    Mr. Purcell is a frequent commentator on the industry and has been honored in the “Biotech Hall of Fame” by Genetic Engineering News, named to the Biotechnology All-Stars list by Forbes ASAP, honored as one of the top 50 Irish-American businessmen and cited as one of the top 100 contributors to the biotechnology industry.

    In the past, Mr. Purcell has served on numerous private and public healthcare company boards.  He currently sits on the Boards of Real Endpoints, Summus Global, Inc., BioScience Managers Pty Ltd., and Ichnos Sciences. He sits on the Editorial Advisory Board at Life Science Leader Magazine; Member of the Board at NYBIO Association; Board Member at The University of Delaware Investment Visiting Committee as well as a member of the Biopharmaceutical Innovation Board at the University of Delaware.

    Mr. Purcell received his MBA from Harvard Business School and his BS in Accounting from the University of Delaware.


  • Michael Gaito is the Global Head of J.P. Morgan's Healthcare Investment Banking Group. Over the course of his 24 years with the firm, Mr. Gaito has advised clients on transactions representing over $95 billion, primarily involving strategic advisory and financing assignments for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies worldwide. He has advised on some of the largest transactions in the history of the biotechnology industry, including advising Pharmacyclics on its $21 billion sale to AbbVie, and Medivation on its defense and ultimate $14 billion sale to Pfizer. Mr. Gaito originally joined J.P. Morgan as part of Hambrecht & Quist's Healthcare Investment Banking Group, working in the New York office. He received his undergraduate degree in English from Princeton University, and his Masters of Business Administration from Columbia University, and currently resides in San Francisco with his wife, two daughters and their dog.


  • Christina Jenkins, MD is a venture investor and strategic advisor with expertise spanning clinical medicine, venture capital, health systems, and managed care organizations. Her knowledge of healthcare providers, payers, and consumers enables successful innovation, growth, and improved outcomes. 

    As a Venture Partner for Portfolia’s FemTech and Active Aging and Longevity Funds, Dr. Jenkins invests in early-stage companies targeting women’s health, or that seek to leverage women’s role as primary health decision maker and caregiver.  

    She also serves as Executive Advisor for Lucania Partners, working alongside healthcare leaders to implement growth and redesign strategies in alignment with consumer and population needs. Previously, Dr. Jenkins was the founding CEO of OneCity Health Services, a subsidiary of NYC Health + Hospitals (H+H), built to establish value-based payment capabilities for 1M lives. There, she scaled new integrated care models and technology platforms across 200 hospital and community-based organizations. 

    Dr. Jenkins is a Board Director for Independence Health Group (parent of Independence Blue Cross), a member of Springboard’s Women’s Health Executive Committee, a Board Observer for Madorra, and an advisor to value-generating healthcare companies including Visiting Nurse Service of New York, Elektra, Incredible Health, Babyscripts, and Wellth. 


  • Mike Edelhart is Managing Partner for Social Starts and Joyance Partners. A pioneering media and startup executive, Mike was the original Executive Editor of PC Magazine, and later was Executive Vice President at Ziff Davis. Mike has been CEO at many startups, including Olive Software, Inman News, and Zinio. Mike was a partner at Redleaf, a VC fund. At SoftBank, Mike directed content for the Seybold, Interop, and Comdex conferences, and launched new businesses. Mike has consulted to Bloomberg, Reuters, and AARP; authored more than 20 books; and currently hosts a podcast called Inception.


  • Art Pappas has over 40 years of experience as a pharmaceutical industry executive and venture  capital investor in life science companies. Art founded Pappas Capital in 1994, and over the  past twenty-five years the firm has managed more than $540 million in capital and invested  in more than 85 companies. 

    Art currently serves as a director for Aura Biosciences, OrphoMed and Reneo  Pharmaceuticals, and as a board observer for Amplyx Pharmaceuticals, Balance  Therapeutics and Real Endpoints. Prior to founding Pappas Capital, Art held senior  leadership positions at Glaxo Holdings, Abbott International, Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals and the Dow Chemical Company. He previously served as Chairman for CoLucid  Pharmaceuticals, and on the boards of Afferent Pharmaceuticals, Arix Bioscience, Chimerix,  Quintiles Transnational Corp., TYRX, Syntonix Pharmaceuticals, LEAD Therapeutics and  Embrex; and board observer for Kezar Life Sciences, Milestone Pharmaceuticals and  Plexxikon. 

    Art serves on the boards of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, The Wistar Institute, the Duke Cancer Institute, and the Medical University of South Carolina. Art is a decorated  Vietnam veteran, having served as an officer in the US Army 101st Airborne Division and with 2nd PSYOP Airborne JFK Special Warfare. Art received a BS in biology from The Ohio State University and an MBA in finance from Xavier University.


  • Amy Abernethy, MD, PhD As the Principal Deputy Commissioner of Food and Drugs, Amy P. Abernethy, MD, PhD, helps oversee the agency’s day-to-day functioning and directs special and high-priority initiatives that cut across offices overseeing FDA’s regulation of drugs, medical devices, tobacco and food.  As acting Chief Information Officer, she oversees FDA’s data and technical vision, and its execution.

    Dr. Abernethy, a hematologist/oncologist and palliative medicine physician, is an internationally recognized clinical data expert and clinical researcher.  Her areas of expertise include cancer data, real world evidence, clinical trials, health services research, patient reported outcomes (PROs), clinical informatics, and patient-centered care. 

    Before coming to FDA, Dr. Abernethy served as chief medical officer, chief scientific officer, and senior vice president for oncology at Flatiron Health (a member of the Roche Group), where she led the research oncology, clinical operations and data science teams, and contributed to the overall strategic vision of the company, including directing their research vision on real world evidence. 

    Prior to that, Dr. Abernethy was professor of medicine at Duke University School of Medicine, where she ran the Center for Learning Health Care in the Duke Clinical Research Institute and the Duke Cancer Care Research Program in the Duke Cancer Institute. At Duke, she pioneered the development of technology platforms to spur novel advancements in the care of people with cancer and other serious life-limiting illnesses.


  • Beth Rogozinski is a serial entrepreneur, technology professional, and business strategist who has spent the last several years focused on digital medicine.  She has produced and published more than 30 games and apps, including over a dozen products for health and wellness.  As Chief Product Officer at Pear Therapeutics, she led the development of Pear’s first clinical products and the product team submission of the De Novo 510k to the FDA.  Pear’s ReSET™ was cleared by the FDA in 2017 as the first ever prescription digital therapeutic.  

    Beth is an advisor to many start-ups and accelerators and has consulted with international biopharma and venture groups around digital health investments.   Beth serves on the Biotechnology Innovation Organization’s committees for Digital Health and chairs the program for Brain Health.  She has written and published on digital therapeutics and tech innovations and is a frequent speaker at technology and healthcare events.


  • Emi Gonzalez is a Principal for Social Starts and Joyance Partners spearheading investments in Boston. Our focus is to help catalyze innovation by investing in the emerging science and technology of health and happiness as well as delightful moments. Her main areas of investments include healthcare, life sciences, and biotechnology. She is an entrepreneur, running-enthusiast, investor and world traveler. Prior to Joyance Partners and Social Starts, she founded a diabetes digital health company, consulted for Half Court Ventures, an early-stage VC firm, and was the Director for Harvard’s premier undergraduate competition, i3 Innovation Challenge. She holds a BA in Molecular Biology from Harvard College and is a co-author in two publications related to cardiovascular regeneration in Circulation Research and Nature Communications. Emi is passionate about health equity and helping founders accomplish their goals.


  • Patrick Jordan is CEO of Mycovia Pharmaceuticals and Partner at NovaQuest Capital Management.  Mycovia is advancing a novel oral therapy for the treatment of recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis, which affects 138 million women with significant physical, emotional, and financial consequence.  Owing to Mycovia’s progress in addressing a major global health concern, Mr. Jordan was named 2020 CEO of the Year by Triangle Business Journal.

    At NovaQuest, Mr. Jordan brings more than 25 years of healthcare leadership in corporate development, operations, and provider services to structure financing solutions for the biopharmaceutical industry.

    Previously Mr. Jordan held numerous leadership positions at IQVIA, from data solutions to operations management. An original member of NovaQuest at its founding at Quintiles, Mr. Jordan led the group’s investment partnership strategy in Europe.

    Mr. Jordan earned a BA from Duke University; an MA from the University of Durham, UK; and an MBA from Duke University.


  • Kate Ryder is the founder and CEO of Maven, the leading women’s and family digital health company. Maven offers virtual care and services across fertility, maternity, and pediatrics, and operates the largest women's and family health telehealth network. With Maven, employers and health plans can see improved maternal outcomes, lower costs, and attract and retain more parents in the workforce. Kate founded Maven in 2014, reimagining healthcare for women and families from the ground up after seeing first hand how the lack of access to care impacted those starting a family and returning to work as new parents.

    Prior to founding Maven, Kate worked in venture capital and as a journalist, writing for the Economist from Southeast Asia, New York and London and for the New Yorker. In 2009, she worked with former U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, helping him write his memoirs about the financial crisis.

    Named to Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Companies” list, Maven has raised more than $87 million in capital from top investors, including Sequoia Capital, Oak HC/FT, and Icon Ventures. Kate has been named to Crain’s New York Business 40 under 40 and to Fast Company’s “Most Creative People.” She has spoken on stage at industry events including the Forbes Healthcare Summit, Fortune Brainstorm Health, the Oliver Wyman Health Innovation Summit and HLTH. Kate received her BA from the University of Michigan and her MSc from the London School of Economics. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, son and daughter.


  • Surbhi Sarna, CEO and Founder of nVision Medical. When she was 13, Surbhi was a patient. It was then that she realized she wanted to fill the void in female-health related innovation. She attended UC Berkeley and then worked as an engineer. Finally, she decided to tackle some of the issues she witnessed in women’s health and became CEO and founder of nVision Medical. nVision developed a catheter based device for early detection of ovarian cancer. After raising $17M in venture funding, completing several clinical trials and obtaining FDA clearance, nVision was purchased by Boston Scientific for $275M in April of 2018. Surbhi has authored numerous patents, been an invited speaker at universities including UCSF and Harvard, and has been featured in publications such as Bloomberg, Entrepreneur Magazine, Inc Magazine and GigaOm.  She was named on the Forbes 30 under 30 list for 2014.


  • Mylene Yao, Cofounder and CEO, has led Univfy® from technology invention and platform development to commercialization. Mylene’s vision is to combine healthcare AI, scientific validation and fintech to power access to the most effective and safest fertility treatments for women and couples. Mylene has more than 20 years of experience in clinical and scientific research in reproductive medicine. Prior to Univfy, she was faculty at Stanford University where she led NIH-funded fertility and embryo genetics research and developed the Univfy technology with the academic founding team. Mylene is co-inventor on Univfy's global IP portfolio, comprising patents issued in the US and other countries.

    Mylene graduated from the University of Toronto Medical School and completed her OB/GYN residency training at McGill University. She received her clinical subspecialty training in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Brigham and Women’s Hospital at Harvard University. Mylene received awards for her research on pre-implantation embryo development and uterine receptivity. She is co-author of the Infertility chapter in Berek and Novak’s Gynecology, the top medical textbook for OB/GYNs.


  • Renee Ryan has 25 years of building category-creating healthcare companies. She led the medical technology investments for Johnson & Johnson Innovation (JJDC) on the West Coast and Asia Pacific for 8 years. While at J&J, she made over 15 new investments, including the Series A for Cala Health. Previously, she was a healthcare investment banker at RW Baird, Jefferies and Goldman Sachs.


  • Paolo Cassano is an Assistant Professor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and Director of Photobiomodulation at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Division of Neuropsychiatry and at the MGH Depression Clinical and Research Program.

    Since 2009, he has served as PI on multiple studies on Transcranial Photobiomodulation (tPBM) for several neuropsychiatric. These groundbreaking projects have demonstrated preliminary efficacy of near-infrared radiation for the treatment of mood disorders and for ameliorating cognition. Considerable press attention stemmed from these studies, with CNN and Washington Post coverage at the national level.

    At the MGH Neuropsychiatry and Neuromodulation lab, he is actively pursuing the identification of biological targets of the effects of tPBM.

    Dr. Cassano is particularly interested in studying tPBM, as a pro-cognitive intervention, in patients with cognitive impairment, and has reported with other groups on the use of tPBM to treat chronic traumatic brain injury and Down Syndrome, as well as to enhance cognition in healthy volunteers.

    In Nov 2016, he co-founded a neurotech, Niraxx Light Therapeutics Inc., to facilitate the technology transfer from translational research to readily available products for the general public.


  • Juan-Pablo is a Partner at Action Potential VC in Palo Alto, CA. He represents APVC on the Boards of Cala Health, CVRx, Exo Imaging, Neuspera Medical, Presidio Medical, Saluda Medical, and SetPoint Medical. He was previously an investor at Lightstone Ventures and Morgenthaler Ventures, where he was a Board observer at Ardian, Twelve, Nuvaira, Cabochon Aesthetics, and Miramar Labs.   

    Prior to investing, Juan-Pablo led efforts in R&D and Strategy in Medtronic’s CardioVascular Division, where he was named “Medtronic Inventor of The Year.” Subsequently, he was a member of the Global Brand Strategy team at Eli Lilly within the Cardiovascular business.

    Juan-Pablo earned an MBA and an MS in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, and a BS in EE from the University of Massachusetts. He now serves on the Oversight Committee for Stanford’s Neuroscience Institute (Wu Tsai), the Advisory Board for UCSF’s Rosenman Institute, and is a founding Board Member of LatinxVC.