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Conference Details - Speakers

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2019 MIT Increased Productivity in the Biopharmaceutical Industry Conference

December 10, 2019
 
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Allison Ackerman
CEO
Resolute Bio
Allison Ackerman is CEO of Resolute Bio, a peptide therapeutics company which leverages novel synthetic and computational technologies, developed by Brad Pentelute of MIT and Philip Kim of the University of Toronto, in order to tackle the burden of unmet patient needs in chronic neurologic and metabolic disorders. Prior to Resolute Bio, Ackerman served in a variety of roles in healthcare commercialization and regulatory science as an entrepreneur, consultant, clinical trialist, and CMO. She trained as a physician in Internal Medicine and Medical Oncology/Hematology and graduated from Harvard Medical School and Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in chemistry, following Princeton University.
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Atray Dixit
Founder & CEO
Coral Genomics
Atray Dixit cofounded Coral after finishing his graduate work in 2018 with a mission of understanding and reducing variability in therapeutic response for all patients. In his role, he works with a diverse team and key external stakeholders in the healthcare system. Coral’s team of five based is based in San Francisco and has received funding from 8VC, Y Combinator, and an NIH SBIR grant.

In Aviv Regev’s lab at the Broad Institute, Dixit focused on developing novel methods for high throughput genetic screening. In 2016, he led a team to develop Perturb-seq, a technology which allows genetically encoded perturbations (like CRISPR edits) to be screened using single cell RNA-seq. He also developed new methods to enable large combinatorial screens called Shuffle-seq. He translated the big data skills learned through these projects during a brief externship at Apple’s Applied Machine Learning division.

Dixit received a BSE in mechanical and aerospace engineering from Princeton University in 2012 and his PhD in health sciences and technology from MIT in 2018.
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617-324-1895

Sheryl Greenberg
Program Director
MIT Corporate Relations/Industrial Liaison Program
Session 3
Day 1, 1:25
Sheryl Greenberg initiates and promotes the interactions and development of relationships between academic and industrial entities to facilitate the transfer of new ideas and technologies between MIT and companies, and has created numerous successful partnerships. By understanding the business, technology, and commercial problems within a company, and understanding the technologies and expertise of MIT researchers, Greenberg identifies appropriate resources and expertise to foster new technology applications and collaborative opportunities.

Prior to MIT, Greenberg created and directed the Office of Technology Transfer at Brandeis University. In the process of managing intellectual property protection, marketing, and licensing, she has promoted the successful commercialization of technologies as diverse as new chemicals and manufacturing, biotechnology, food compositions, software, and medical devices. She facilitated the founding and funding of new companies, as well as creating a profitable technology transfer program. She also facilitated the patenting, marketing, and licensing of Massachusetts General Hospital technologies. In addition to her cellular, biochemical, and genetic research experience in academic and corporate environments, she has also created intellectual property for medical uses. Greenberg has been an independent intellectual property and business development consultant, is a U.S. Patent Agent, and has previously served the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation as Co-Chair of the Islet Research Program Advisory Committee and grant reviewer. She currently also mentors startup companies and facilitates partnering them with large life science and healthcare companies.
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Expertise Link
617-253-0013

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Linda Griffith
School of Engineering Professor of Teaching Innovation
Professor of Biological and Mechanical Engineering
Director, Center for Gynepathology Research (CGR)
Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellow
MIT Department of Biological Engineering
Linda Griffith is a Biological Engineering and Mechanical Engineering at MIT. Professor Griffith joined MIT as a postdoctoral associate. She was appointed assistant professor of health sciences and technology and chemical engineering (1991-93), assistant professor of chemical engineering (1993-96), associate professor of chemical engineering without tenure (1996), and was tenured in 1998, and full professor in 2002.

She is director of the new Director, Center for Gynepathology Research (CGR) launched in the fall of 2009 and centered in the MIT School of Engineering with the aim of bringing new frontiers of engineering to bear on understanding the basic biology, physiology, and pathophysiology of the female reproductive tract, in collaboration with biologists and clinicians. CGR also includes research efforts focused on developing new technologies for diagnosis and treatment of these diseases, and fosters liaisons with industry.

Griffith received a bachelor's degree from Georgia Tech. in 1982 and a Ph.D. degree from the University of California at Berkeley in 1988, both in chemical engineering. Following a postdoc with Robert Langer and Joseph Vacand at MIT and Children's Hospital, she joined the faculty at MIT in 1991, teaching at MIT and Harvard Medical School. Griffith conducts research in the field of biornaterials and devices for tissue and organ regeneration. Her research combines molecular design and synthesis of biornaterials as well as design and synthesis of macroscopic 3-D devices for therapeutic and in vitro use. Several of her patents are in commercial development. More than 30 masters students, doctoral students, and postdoctoral associates have completed training under her supervision or co-supervision. Griffith is a co-founder of Therics, Inc. and has served as consultant or scientific advisory board member for Advanced Tissue Sciences, AstraZeneca, Biohybrid Technologies, Corning, Cytotherapeuctics (Stem Cells, Inc.), DuPont, Schroeder Ventures, Therics, The Whitaker Foundation, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, and the Illinois Institute of Technology Pritzker Institute of Medical Engineering. Her work has been featured on several television documentary shows including Scientific American Frontiers hosted by Alan Alda. Her awards include the Popular Science Brilliant 10 award, NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award, MIT Class of '60 Teaching Innovation Award, along with named lectures at academic institutions and societies. She is a Fellow in the Cambridge-MIT Institute. She has served as co-chair of the Materials Research Society Annual Spring Meeting, the Keystone Tissue Engineering Meeting, and the joint NSF-NIH Workshop on Bioengineering and Bioinformatics Training and Education, and is a member of the Advisory Council for the National Institute for Dental and Cramofacial Research at NIH.
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Expertise Link
617-253-8892

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Jonathan Gruber
Ford Professor of Economics
MIT Department of Economics
Dr. Jonathan Gruber is the Ford Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he has taught since 1992. He is also the Director of the Health Care Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and the former President of the American Society of Health Economists. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Social Insurance, and the Econometric Society. He has published more than 175 research articles, has edited six research volumes, and is the author of Public Finance and Public Policy, a leading undergraduate text, Health Care Reform, a graphic novel, and Jump-Starting America: How Breakthrough Science Can Revived Economic Growth and the American Dream (with Simon Johnson). In 2006 he received the American Society of Health Economists Inaugural Medal for the best health economist in the nation aged 40 and under.

During the 1997-1998 academic year, Dr. Gruber was on leave as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy at the Treasury Department. From 2003-2006 he was a key architect of Massachusetts’ ambitious health reform effort, and in 2006 became an inaugural member of the Health Connector Board, the main implementing body for that effort. During 2009-2010 he served as a technical consultant to the Obama Administration and worked with both the Administration and Congress to help craft the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In 2011 he was named “One of the Top 25 Most Innovative and Practical Thinkers of Our Time” by Slate Magazine. In both 2006 and 2012 he was rated as one of the top 100 most powerful people in health care in the United States by Modern Healthcare Magazine.
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617-253-4533

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Klavs Jensen
Warren K Lewis Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering
MIT Department of Chemical Engineering
lavs F. Jensen is Warren K. Lewis Professor in Chemical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research interests revolve around reaction and separation techniques for on-demand multistep synthesis, methods for automated synthesis, and machine learning for chemical development. Professor Jensen is a member of the US National Academies of Sciences and Engineering as well as the American Academy of Arts and Science. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, and the Royal Society of Chemistry.
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Anne Kim
Cofounder & CEO
Secure AI Labs
Anne Kim is cofounder and CEO of Secure AI Labs, which is based on her Media Lab graduate work at MIT with Professor Alex "Sandy" Pentland of the Human Dynamics Group. Secure AI offers a federated learning and blockchain solution for accessing siloed data from genomic and clinical trial data to corporate databases. Kim's experience in computer science and molecular biology include genome-wide association studies, natural language processing for EHR, machine learning, and cyberbiosecurity work with the EFF, ACLU, and DEFCON. She sees accessibility to healthcare as a right, and believes that the interface between biology, healthcare policy, and technology is a promising way to achieve that mission.
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617-714-7364

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Angela Koehler
Associate Professor of Biological Engineering
Intramural Faculty, Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research (KIICR)
Associate Member, Broad Institute
MIT Department of Biological Engineering
Angela Koehler is an Associate Professor of Biological Engineering at MIT. She received her B.A. in biochemistry and molecular biology from Reed College in 1997 and her Ph.D. in chemistry from Harvard University in 2003. Previously, Koehler was an Institute Fellow at the Broad Institute where she served as the Director of Transcriptional Chemical Biology in the Chemical Biology Program. She was also a Project Leader in the NCI Cancer Target Discovery and Development Center at the Broad Institute aimed at targeting causal cancer genes with small molecules.
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Expertise Link
617-253-0439

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Karl Koster
Executive Director, MIT Corporate Relations
Director, Alliance Management
MIT Office of Strategic Alliances & Technology Transfer
Welcome Remark
Day 1, 9:00
Karl Koster is the executive director of MIT Corporate Relations. MIT Corporate Relations includes the MIT Industrial Liaison Program and MIT Startup Exchange.

In that capacity, Koster and his staff work with the leadership of MIT and senior corporate executives to design and implement strategies for fostering corporate partnerships with the Institute. Koster and his team have also worked to identify and design a number of major international programs for MIT, which have been characterized by the establishment of strong, programmatic linkages among universities, industry, and governments. Most recently these efforts have been extended to engage the surrounding innovation ecosystem, including its vibrant startup and small company community, into MIT's global corporate and university networks.

Koster is also the director of alliance management in the Office of Strategic Alliances and Technology Transfer (OSATT). OSATT was launched in Fall 2019 as part of a plan to reinvent MIT’s research administration infrastructure. OSATT develops agreements that facilitate MIT projects, programs, and consortia with industrial, nonprofit, and international sponsors, partners, and collaborators.

Koster is past chairman of the University-Industry Demonstration Partnership (UIDP), an organization that seeks to enhance the value of collaborative partnerships between universities and corporations.

Koster graduated from Brown University with a BA in geology and economics and received an MS from MIT Sloan School of Management. Prior to returning to MIT, Koster worked as a management consultant in Europe, Latin America, and the United States on projects for private and public sector organizations.
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Expertise Link
617-253-0920

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Andrew W. Lo
Charles E and Susan T Harris Professor of Finance
Director, Laboratory for Financial Engineering
MIT Sloan School of Management
Andrew W. Lo is the Charles E. and Susan T. Harris Professor, a Professor of Finance, and the Director of the Laboratory for Financial Engineering at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

His current research spans five areas: evolutionary models of investor behavior and adaptive markets, systemic risk and financial regulation, quantitative models of financial markets, financial applications of machine-learning techniques and secure multi-party computation, and healthcare finance. Recent projects include: deriving risk aversion, loss aversion, probability matching, and other behaviors as emergent properties of evolution in stochastic environments; constructing new measures of systemic risk and comparing them across time and systemic events; applying spectral analysis to investment strategies to decompose returns into fundamental frequencies; and developing new statistical tools for predicting clinical trial outcomes, incorporating patient preferences into the drug approval process, and accelerating biomedical innovation via novel financing structures.

Lo has published extensively in academic journals (see http://alo.mit.edu) and his most recent book is Adaptive Markets: Financial Evolution at the Speed of Thought. His awards include Batterymarch, Guggenheim, and Sloan Fellowships; the Paul A. Samuelson Award; the Eugene Fama Prize; the IAFE-SunGard Financial Engineer of the Year; the Global Association of Risk Professionals Risk Manager of the Year; the Harry M. Markowitz Award; the Managed Futures Pinnacle Achievement Award; one of TIME’s “100 most influential people in the world”; and awards for teaching excellence from both Wharton and MIT. His book Adaptive Markets has also received a number of awards, listed here. He is a Fellow of Academia Sinica; the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; the Econometric Society; and the Society of Financial Econometrics.

Lo is also a principal investigator at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, an affiliated faculty member of the MIT Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, an external faculty member of the Santa Fe Institute, and a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research. He is a member of the New York Federal Reserve Board’s Financial Advisory Roundtable, FINRA’s Economic Advisory Committee, the National Academy of Sciences Board on Mathematical Sciences and Their Applications, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center’s Board of Overseers, and the boards of Roivant Sciences and the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research.

Lo holds a BA in economics from Yale University and an AM and PhD in economics from Harvard University.
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617-852-6691

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Peter Lohse
Program Director
MIT Corporate Relations Industrial Liaison Program
Dr. Peter Lohse joined the Office of Corporate Relations (OCR) in October 2018 as Program Director.

Lohse comes to OCR with deep and broad knowledge and expertise in the pharma, biotech, and other life sciences-driven industries including agro, nutrition, chemical, and consumer products. As a scientist and entrepreneur, he has an extensive background developing business and managing partnerships with large corporations, early-stage companies, academia, and non-profit organizations. Most recently, Lohse was V.P, Operations and Business Development for InnovaTID Pharmaceuticals in Cambridge. Before that, he was a Strategy Consultant for Eutropics Pharmaceuticals, an emerging biotech company in Cambridge.

Prior to this, Dr. Lohse was Director, Scientific Operations & Innovation Program Director for Eli-Lilly’s open innovation platform, InnoCentive, Inc. in Waltham. Earlier in his career, he held positions with increasing responsibility at ArQule of Woburn, Phylos in Lexington, and Novartis Pharma in Switzerland.

Lohse earned his M.S., Chemistry & Applied Sciences and his Ph.D., Organic Chemistry at Federal institute of Technology (ETH) in Switzerland. He earned his M.B.A., Strategy, Finance, Marketing as a Sloan Fellow at MIT. He also held the position Research Fellow, Molecular Biology at Harvard Medical School - Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston (with Professor J. Szostak, Nobel Prize 2009), This was a Swiss National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship -- In vitro selection of functional RNAs.
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617-444-9923

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J Christopher Love
Professor of Chemical Engineering
Associate Member, Broad Institute
Graduate Admissions Officer (Chem-E)
MIT Department of Chemical Engineering
J. Christopher Love is the Raymond A. (1921) and Helen E. St. Laurent Professor of Chemical Engineering and a member of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT. He is also an Associate Member of the Broad Institute, and an Associate Member at the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard. Love earned a BS in chemistry from the University of Virginia and a PhD in physical chemistry at Harvard University under the supervision of George Whitesides. Following completion of his doctoral studies, he extended his research into immunology at Harvard Medical School with Hidde Ploegh from 2004-2005, and at the Immune Disease Institute from 2005-2007. Dr. Love has been named a W.M. Keck Distinguished Young Scholar for Medical Research (2009), a Dana Scholar for Human Immunology (2009), and a Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar. Prof. Love served as a Distinguished Engineer in Residence at Biogen from 2015-2016. He has co-authored more than 100 manuscripts and is an inventor on multiple patents.

Professor Love is co-founder of OneCyte Biotechnologies, HoneyComb Biotechnologies, and Sunflower Therapeutics. He serves as an advisor to SQZ Biotechnologies, Repligen, QuantrumCyte, and other companies.

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Bernard Munos
Senior Fellow, FasterCures
Founder, InnoThink Center for Research in Biomedical Innovation
Bernard Munos is a Senior Fellow at FasterCures, a center of the Milken Institute, and the founder of the InnoThink Center for Research in Biomedical Innovation, a consultancy that helps biomedical research organizations become better innovators. Before that, he served as an advisor for corporate strategy at Eli Lilly, where he focused on disruptive innovation and the radical redesign of R&D. Several of Munos’ research papers — published in Nature and Science — have helped stimulate a broad rethinking of the pharmaceutical business model by industry, investors, policymakers, regulators and patient advocates. His work has been profiled by Forbes magazine, and the popular industry publication FiercePharma has named him one of the 25 most influential people in biopharma. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine’s Drug Forum; a member of the Advisory Board of Science Translational Medicine; a non-executive Director of Glenmark Pharmaceuticals; a Board member or Advisor to a dozen other companies or publicly-financed research organizations; and a former member of the Advisory Council of the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Translational Sciences (NCATS). He received his MBA from Stanford University, and holds other graduate degrees in animal science and agricultural economics from the Paris Institute of Technology for Life, Food and Environmental Sciences and the University of California, Davis. He blogs about biomedical innovation on the Forbes website.
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Kevin O'Handley
Cofounder & VP of Business Development
Javelin Biotech
Kevin O'Handley is a cofounder and VP of Business Development at Javelin Biotech. His responsibilities include corporate strategy and execution for financing, sales & marketing, and general corporate activities. Prior to Javelin, O'Handley worked with the MIT Venture Mentoring Services office in the Innovation Corps program (I-Corps). He previously co-founded Ferro Solutions, an MIT spin-out that developed wireless power systems for use in medical devices and research systems. Ferro Solutions secured over $10 million in government grants from NIH and DoD. O'Handley earned his MBA from the Wharton School of Business and his BA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
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Matthew Osman
Cofounder & CEO
Legit
Before cofounding Legit, Matthew Osman was the youngest Vice President at a $1 billion structured credit hedge fund in London, where he specialized in credit strategies and tax structuring. He was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 2015 and has a degree in philosophy, politics, and economics from the University of Oxford.
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Brad Pentelute
Associate Professor of Chemistry
MIT Department of Chemistry
Brad Pentelute, Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry, modifies naturally occurring proteins to enhance their therapeutic properties for human medicine, focusing on the use of cysteine arylation to generate abiotic macromolecular proteins, the precision delivery of biomolecules into cells, and the development of fast flow platforms to rapidly produce polypeptides.

Pentelute earned a B.S. in chemistry and a BA in psychology at the University of Southern California, followed by a Ph.D. in organic chemistry at the University of Chicago. After a postdoc fellowship at Harvard Medical School, Pentelute joined the MIT faculty in 2011. His awards and honors include an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, a Novartis Early Career Award, and an Amgen Young Investigator Award.

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Andrew A. Radin
Cofounder & CEO
twoXAR
Andrew A. Radin is cofounder and CEO of twoXAR, a pharmaceutical company dedicated to drug discovery and development by harnessing the power of Artificial Intelligence to transform the traditional R&D approach. Prior to twoXAR, Radin held CTO roles at several early-stage companies. He studied biomedical informatics at Stanford University’s SCPD graduate program and holds MS and BS degrees in computer science from Rochester Institute of Technology.
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617-253-0412

John Roberts
Director, Corporate Relations
MIT Industrial Liaison Program
Session 4
Day 1, 3:15
John Roberts joined the Office of Corporate Relations in September, 2013 as Senior Industrial Liaison Officer. He was promoted to Associate Director, Corporate Relations in September 2016.

Roberts comes to OCR with many years of experience as an expert process chemist, a project manager, an alliance manager, and with cross-functional leadership experience in large pharmaceutical companies and biotech companies. In the five years prior to joining the OCR, he worked at Sirtris (a division of GlaxoSmithKline) in Cambridge as VP Pharmaceutics & Strategy. Prior to that, he spent nine years in various roles including four years as Scientific Manager, Outsourced Projects US for GlaxoSmithKline in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Before that, he was at Eisai Research Institute in Andover as Senior Scientist and at Procept Inc. in Cambridge as Principal Investigator, Medicinal Chemistry.

Roberts holds a B.A. Chemistry from Clark University in Worcester, MA and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from MIT where his advisor was the late Professor Satoru Masamune. His Thesis title was "Total Synthesis of Bryostatin 7." Roberts is fluent in Portuguese and has co-authored many publications and patents.
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Gregory Ryslik
Chief Data Officeres
Celsius Therapeutics
Gregory Ryslik is a statistician, data scientist, and artificial intelligence researcher with experience building and leading data initiatives in companies ranging across the biotech, autotech, healthtech, and fintech domains. Prior to Celsius Therapeutics, he was vice president of data science at Mindstrong Health, a healthcare company transforming mental health treatment through measurement science and artificial intelligence. Previously, Ryslik was the senior director and head of data science at Faraday Future, an electric vehicle startup in Los Angeles as well as the leader of the service data science group at Tesla Motors in Palo Alto. Earlier in his career, he performed machine learning research and nonclinical biostatistics research at Genentech.

Concurrently, Ryslik holds an adjunct assistant professor position at Pennsylvania State University and has lectured on statistics for artificial intelligence and machine learning at Stanford University Continuing Studies. He is also a fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society, as well as a member of the American Academy of Actuaries. His research has been published in journals ranging from Nature to BMC Bioinformatics and has led to several software packages on mutational clustering.

Ryslik holds a PhD from Yale University in biostatistics, where he researched oncogenic mutation clustering embedded within protein structure. He also holds a master’s degree in statistics from Columbia University and an undergraduate degree in mathematics, computer science, and finance from Rutgers University.
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Nabiha Saklayen
Cofounder and CEO
Cellino
Dr. Nabiha Saklayen is a bio-inspired physicist and entrepreneur developing technologies to redefine how we engineer cells. She made significant scientific contributions to the field of pulsed-laser delivery to cells, with several peer-reviewed publications, patents pending, and grants awarded. Dr. Saklayen launched Cellino as CEO and cofounder with the vision of converging physics, biology, and computation to enable paradigm shifts in regenerative medicine with a world-class team. Cellino is building the next generation of retinal cell-based therapies.

Dr. Saklayen was recognized as a "Pioneer" in MIT Tech Review's 35 Innovators under 35 list for her inventions in laser-based delivery methods and is on the 2019 Forbes 30 under 30 List for Healthcare. She received her BS summa cum laude in physics from Emory University as a Robert Woodruff Scholar, and her PhD in Physics from Harvard University as an HHMI International Fellow.
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Meijie Tang
President & CEO
Nirmidas Biotech
Dr. Meijie Tang attended MIT in 1990 to study and conduct research in materials science and graduated with a PhD from MIT in 1995. Before MIT, she studied physics in Tsinghua University, Beijing China. After she left MIT, she joined the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for a long career. She was first a postdoc, then a staff scientist, and later became a multidisciplinary project manager. Tang co-founded Nirmidas Biotech, Inc. in late 2013 and has been the CEO and President since then. She currently oversees the company’s strategic development, early business development, and research and development directions. Under her leadership, Nirmidas has raised VC funding, launched novel diagnostics and imaging instrument and consumable products with over million dollar revenues by selling products for research use and clinical applications. Tang is a Stanford StartX accelerator alumni and is an active member of the JLabs incubator community.
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Dale A. Thomas III
Cofounder
Mytide Therapeutics
Dale Thomas III earned his PhD in automated continuous drug synthesis, where he spanned both mechanical engineering and chemical engineering at MIT. He also completed his MEngM at MIT and BS at Maine Maritime Academy. In his research, he developed an array of flow chemistry platforms for the advanced synthesis of pharmaceuticals and advanced materials. At Mytide Therapeutics, Thomas is leading a cross-disciplinary team of scientists, and engineers to overcome decades-long bottlenecks in peptide manufacturing. Increasing the speed, purity, and length of peptides promises to increase the rate of drug discovery and access to revolutionary biological treatment with the goal of positively impacting patients lives.
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Siping Wang
Cofounder, COO, & CEO
TetraScience
Siping "Spin" Wang is the Cofounder and CEO of TetraScience, a Boston-based cloud technology company that provides a Data Integration Platform for Life Sciences R&D Labs. He earned an MS in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT, where he was awarded the Lockheed Martin Energy Fellowship. He also holds a BS in applied physics and electrical engineering from Cornell University. In 2017, Wang was selected to Forbes Magazine’s 30 Under 30 in Science. He is currently on the board of Pistoia Alliance, a global life science pre-competitive collaboration organization.
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617-803-3650

Rebecca Xiong
Program Director, MIT Startup Exchange
Dr. Rebecca Xiong joined Corporate Relations as Program Director, Startup Exchange in October 2018.

Dr. Xiong comes to Corporate Relations with more than 15 years of experience in the MIT Startup Ecosystem, having co-founded and worked at multiple MIT startups. Most recently, as Co-founder and Chief Scientist at SocMetrics, she leads product management, data science, and machine learning for SocMetric’s personalization and marketing campaign products. Before SocMetrics, Xiong co-founded Going.com. Going.com connected people via local events to enhance their offline social life, and through Rebecca’s leadership grew to 1M members, tens of millions of monthly pageviews, and finally its acquisition by AOL. Before these two entrepreneurial endeavors, Xiong held positions as Product Marketing Manager (DataPower, acquired by IBM), Senior Program Manager (Performaworks, acquired by Workscape), and Team Lead (Akamai Technologies). She also has research experience at Microsoft, Silicon Graphics, and Xerox Palo Alto Research Center.

Dr. Xiong earned her B.S. in Computer Science at the University of California at Berkeley, and her Ph.D. in Computer Science at the Media Lab at MIT with her thesis “Visualizing Information Spaces to Enhance Social Interaction." She was a National Science Foundation (NSF) Fellowship Recipient. She holds multiple patents and is very involved in the community, as the Lead Organizer of the Cambridge Parent Summit.
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617-452-2103

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Michael Yaffe
Director, MIT Center for Precision Cancer Medicine
David H. Koch Professor of Science
Director of Clinical Outreach
Prof. of Biology and Biological Engineering
Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research
Senior Associate Member, Broad Institute
Dr. Yaffe is Professor of Biological Engineering and Biology at MIT, and the Director of the MIT Center for Precision Cancer Medicine. His laboratory uses a combination of experimental and computational approaches to study cellular responses to injury at the systems level, including tumor cell and innate immune responses to anti-cancer treatment. His work has led to the discovery of new signaling pathways that control tumor cell responses to DNA damage, the identification of new molecular targets that control cell cycle progression for drug development, and the identification of novel anti-cancer combination treatments based on tumor-specific vulnerabilities and time-staggered drug administration. In addition to his MIT position, Dr. Yaffe is also an attending surgeon in the Divisions of Acute Care Surgery, Trauma and Critical Care, and Surgical Oncology at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School. He is a founder of Consensus Pharmaceuticals, Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, and ThromboTherapeutics.

Dr. Yaffe received his B.S. degree in Materials Science and Engineering from Cornell University in 1981, his Ph.D. degree in Biophysical Chemistry in 1987, and his M.D. in 1989 from Case Western Reserve University.
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Deborah Zanforlin
Cofounder & CEO
ConquerX
Deborah Zanforlin is currently CEO and cofounder of ConquerX. ConquerX is developing a poly-analyte cancer test (PACT) that combines biosensing technology and artificial intelligence to provide simultaneous early diagnosis of esophageal, stomach, pancreatic, liver, colorectal, kidney, and bladder cancer. ConquerX aims to revolutionize early-stage cancer detection, making it affordable and available to all. The technology was ideated by Deborah Zanforlin after she made a key discovery that enabled the development of a new type of blood test to detect cancers in early stages. Born and raised in Recife, Brazil, she understands first-hand basic healthcare needs common in developing countries. The company was founded by Zanforlin, Jakub Chudik, Jorge Sanchez, and To-Nhu Huynh who were selected to participate in the MIT Entrepreneurship Bootcamp in 2015.

Zanforlin currently serves as Global-Entrepreneur-in-residence (GEIR) in the Venture Development Center at the University of Massachusetts Boston. There, she helps students and faculty with their entrepreneurial journeys, assisting with ideation, business plan development, and the first steps to start a company. She is passionate about the development of solutions for early diagnostics and tools that enable precision medicine, especially in developing countries.

Zanforlin has extensive knowledge of biosensing gained through the combination of five years of research in the field of clinically relevant biosensors at the Federal University of Pernambuco in Brazil and almost four years leading ConquerX’s scientific development. During her time in Brazil, she taught biochemistry and molecular biology at the Wyden University in Pernambuco, Brazil. She holds a BS and MSc in biomedicine and biology applied to health from the Federal University of Pernambuco.
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