2019 Neurotech Leaders Forum

Embassy Suites, San Francisco Airport Waterfront, November 4-5, 2019

Keynote Speakers

Josh Makower, M.D., General Partner, New Enterprise Associates

Josh has worked closely with NEA since his time as an EIR back in 1995 and joined full-time as a General Partner on NEA's healthcare team leading the medtech/healthtech practice in 2015. Josh is also the Founder and Executive Chairman of ExploraMed, a medical device incubator that has created 8 companies over the past 20 years. Notable transactions from the ExploraMed portfolio include Acclarent, acquired by J&J in 2009. EndoMatrix, acquired by C.R. Bard in 1997, TransVascular, acquired by Medtronic in 2003 and Neotract acquired by Teleflex in 2017. On-going ExploraMed/NEA ventures include NeoTract, Moximed, Willow and ExploraMed V. In addition to his role at NEA, Josh serves on the faculty of the Stanford University Medical School as an Adjunct Professor of Medicine and is Co-Founder of Stanford’s Biodesign Innovation Program. Josh currently serves on the board of directors for DOTS Technology Corp., Eargo, ExploraMed, Intrinsic Therapeutics, Moximed, SetPoint Medical, Willow, and Coravin. Josh holds over 300 patents and patent applications for various medical devices in the fields of cardiology, ENT, general surgery, drug delivery, obesity, orthopedics, women’s health, and urology. He received an MBA from Columbia University, an M.D. from the NYU School of Medicine, and a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from MIT.

Robert Knight, M.D., Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, University of Califonia, Berkeley

Dr. Knight is Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at UC Berkeley and served as Director of the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute from 2001 to 2011. Dr. Knight has twice received the Jacob Javits Award from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke for distinguished contributions to neurological research, the IBM Cognitive Computing Award, the German Humboldt Prize in Neurobiology, and the Distinguished Career Contribution Award from the Cognitive Neuroscience Society. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His laboratory studies neurological patients with frontal lobe damage and also records electrical signals directly from the brain in neurosurgical patients to understand the role of prefrontal cortex in goal-directed behavior. He is also engaged in developing a speech prosthesis for use in patients with disabling neurological disorders.

Conference Moderators

James Cavuoto, Editor and Publisher, Neurotech Reports

James Cavuoto is editor and publisher of Neurotech Business Report and the founder of Neurotech Reports. He is the lead author of "The Market for Neurotechnology," and "The Market for Bioelectronic Medicine," two market research reports published by Neurotech Reports. Cavuoto was the founder of Micro Publishing Press, Inc., a publishing company that helped pioneer the market for electronic publishing, digital imaging, and computer graphics. He holds a degree in biomedical engineering from Case Western Reserve University, where he studied under pioneers in the field of functional electrical stimulation. He has also studied human factors engineering at University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Cavuoto spent three years as a member of the technical staff at Hughes Aircraft Company in Los Angeles, where he worked on simulation, training, and publication products produced for the U.S. Department of Defense. Cavuoto was an adjunct professor at Rochester Institute of Technology and the author of eight books on computer graphics, electronic publishing, and digital imaging. He is a member of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. He has authored a chapter in the textbook Neuromodulation (Elsevier, 2009), as well as articles in Neuromodulation, Journal of Neural Engineering, Medical Device Daily, IEEE Spectrum, MX magazine, and the International Journal of Medical Marketing. He is coauthor, with Jennifer French, of Bionic Pioneers: Brave Neurotech Users Blaze the Trail to New Therapies (Neurotech Press, 2014).

Jennifer French, Senior Editor and Associate Publisher, Neurotech Reports

Jennifer French is senior editor and associate publisher of Neurotech Reports. She is the founder of Neurotech Network, a nonprofit organization that focuses on education and advocacy for neurotechnology end users. Jennifer became a tetraplegic due to a spinal cord injury in 1998 and is an active user of a neuroprosthetic system. She is a silver medalist from the 2012 Paralympic Games and was named the 2012 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year; the first woman with a disability receive this distinction. She has helped launch successful programs, ventures, and divisions in such organizations as Bombardier Capital, PC Connection, and USMMA Sailing Foundation. Jennifer received her MBA from Wichita State University. She works with for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, large and small, to help them penetrate new markets, profile target customers, and create and build systems to support marketing and sales efforts. She is the author of On My Feet Again (Neurotech Press, 2012), her personal story of rehabilitation using neurotechnology and co-author of Bionic Pioneers: Brave Neurotech Users Blaze the Trail to New Therapies (Neurotech Press, 2014).

Jeremy Koff, Senior Contributing Editor, Neurotech Reports

Mr. Koff is senior contributing editor for Neurotech Reports and president of Colibri Partners Inc., a strategic and marketing consulting firm with a primary focus in the medical device sector. The company offers services related to market and risk analysis, clinical and technology assessments, business plan development, business/financial modeling, and market research. Mr. Koff has nearly 20 years of global experience in the medical device industry with companies including Advanced Bionics Corp., Boston Scientific, MiniMed Inc., Bioness Inc, and many others. His business plans have attracted tens of millions in start-up capital. Mr. Koff holds a Bachelor's degree in biology from Middlebury College, a Masters of Public Affairs from Indiana University, and an MBA from UCLA. He is an active classically-trained musician, supporter of the arts, and is a board member of the Fender Music Foundation.

Margot Puerta, Contributing Editor, Neurotech Reports

Margot Puerta is a contributing editor to Neurotech Reports and a coauthor of Neurotech Reports' new market study, "The Market for Bioelectronic Medicine." She was previously the Executive Editor of two journals published by the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research: Molecular Medicine and Bioelectronic Medicine. There, she was  responsible for strategically guiding the development of the journals, including web and multimedia content. Prior to assuming these roles, Margot worked as the laboratory manager for the Laboratory of Biomedical Science at the Feinstein Institute co-authoring papers describing neural control of the immune system. Margot holds a B.S. in biology from Fairfield University, an M.S. in biology from Hofstra University and an M.B.A. in finance from the Frank G. Zarb School of Business, Hofstra University.

James Childs, JD, MBA, Partner, Maynard Cooper & Gale

James serves as chairman of Maynard Venture Partners, a cross-disciplinary team of attorneys and other professionals that focuses on advising key participants in the innovation ecosystem. James represents a high volume of venture capital and strategic investors, emerging growth companies, and financial and strategic acquirers. Focusing his practice in this manner provides James with in-depth knowledge and insights into all aspects of the industries in which he operates, as well as up-to-date knowledge of investment and M&A terms and trends. He has been regularly recognized for his achievements in these areas by Chambers USA and Best Lawyers in America. James regularly speaks on the topics of raising capital, company acceleration, and preparing for liquidity, and he is the founder of one of the country’s earliest entrepreneurial accelerators. James serves on the boards of directors of several incubators, accelerators, venture clubs, and other organizations that cultivate investments, innovation economies, and entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Panelists and Presenters

John Kim, M.D., Principal, Aphelion Capital

John Hyung-Jun Kim completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Stanford University Medical Center. Dr. Kim completed his undergraduate studies in biochemistry from Harvard University, and is a graduate of Duke University’s School of Medicine and the Fuqua School of Business, where he concentrated on health sector management. Dr. Kim has worked as a medical consultant in biogenetics, and was previously with Bear Stearns & Company as an Equity Research Associate. Dr. Kim continues to practice part-time as a hospitalist, keeping Aphelion Capital current with medical trends. Dr. Kim sits on the Board of Directors at Siesta Medical. Board Observer on Palo Alto Health Science, Mercator Medsystems, Spencer Health Solutions.

Mike Edelhart, Managing Partner, Joyance Partners

Mike Edelhart is also the Managing Partner of Social Starts VC partnership. 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, he 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 Inception, a podcast about how startups are created, funded, and ultimately, win.

Stephanie Fertig, Director, NINDS Small Business Programs, NIH

Stephanie Fertig is the Director, NINDS Small Business Programs in the Office of Translational Research at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Ms. Fertig manages both the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs, which are congressionally mandated set-aside programs specifically for small business concerns. In addition, she also manages two translational device programs at NINDS: the Cooperative Research to Enable and Advance Translational Enterprises program for therapeutic devices and the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies Initiative Public-Private Partnership Program. Prior to her position in the Office of Translational Research, she was a member of the Repair and Plasticity group in the NINDS Division of Extramural Research. Before coming to NINDS, Ms. Fertig worked as a researcher in the Center for Bio/Molecular Science and Engineering at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC. Ms. Fertig has a B.S. degree in chemistry with a major in physics from the University of Virginia and an M.B.A. from the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business.

Robert Greenberg, M.D., Ph.D., Executive Chairman, Alfred Mann Foundation

Robert Greenberg is the executive chairman of the Alfred Mann Foundation. He was a co-founder and former CEO and chairman of the board of Second Sight Medical Products, Inc. in Los Angeles, CA. Dr. Greenberg is a leader in the field of neural prosthetics – having developed and brought to market the world’s most advanced implantable neural stimulator, the Argus II visual prosthesis, to treat retinitis pigmentosa, a form of blindness. Dr. Greenberg was also a medical reviewer at the FDA’s Office of Device Evaluation. Dr. Greenberg is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, has more than 260 issued US patents and more than 100 international patents, and has published more than 60 articles. He received M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD. Dr. Greenberg joined AMF in 2004 as chairman of the board of directors.

Jonathan Sackier, M.D., CMO, Helius Medical Technologies

Dr. Sackier joined Helius Medical in December of 2014 as chief medical officer and brings to his role extensive experience in new technologies and treatment methodologies gained over more than 30 years in the healthcare industry. He is widely recognized as one of the leaders of the laparoscopic surgery revolution. A trained surgeon, Jonathan  has collaborated with pharmaceutical and medical device technology partners including ConvaTec, Pfizer, Karl Storz, Applied Medical, Stryker, Siemens, Bayer, and Novartis. He helped build several companies, including medical technology, research, and product-design and medical contract sales organizations. In addition to his role as CMO, Dr. Sackier has been a visiting professor of surgery at the Nuffield department of surgical sciences at Oxford University since 2014. From 2005 to 2014, Dr. Sackier was a visiting professor of surgery at University of Virginia and prior to that a clinical professor at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. from 1995 to 1999 when he ceased clinical affiliation but retained his academic affiliation. Dr. Sackier founded and funded the Washington Institute of Surgical Endoscopy, a center for education, research, innovation, and technology transfer in 1995. Prior, he worked to develop and market the AESOP robot with Computer Motion from 1992 to 1998 when that company went through a successful IPO in 1997. Dr. Sackier currently sits on the board of directors of Kypha (since 2014 and was Chairman of that board from 2014 to 2016), Clinvue (since 2010), and Brandon Medical (since 2009), is a trustee of First Star, and previously chaired the Larry King Cardiac Foundation Board of Governors. Dr. Sackier was also director for Hemoshear from 2008 to 2015 and served as chairman of Adenosine Therapeutics which became part of Clinical Data and then Forest Laboratories from 2002 to 2008. He has also served as a board member of the American College of Surgeons Foundation, the Surgical Fellowship Foundation, and Rex Bionics, winner of London’s 2014 Aim Award for outstanding achievement for most successful growth market.

Jim Hamer, Senior Clinical Project Manager, DP Clinical

James Hamer has worked at DP Clinical, Inc., a full-service Contract Research Organization based in Rockville, MD, for more than 22 years. Jim started as a CRA in 1996 and monitored clinical trials in a variety of therapeutic areas. During this time, he also managed the largest acute spinal cord injury trial, the Sygen GM-1 study conducted at 32 neurotrauma centers in North America. Jim has also worked on chronic SCI investigational drug clinical trials. In 2004, Jim was promoted to assistant project manager and managed an international acute SCI clinical trial with autologous macrophages. In 2007, Jim was promoted to project manager and worked with senior management to establish an SCI project team at DP Clinical. Over the years, Jim has worked with numerous KOLs in the SCI field and has participated in independent data safety monitoring committees. Jim and the team at DP Clinical have provided operational and strategic input on clinical protocols, investigator selection, and study tools to companies conducting SCI clinical trials. Currently, Jim is managing the first in human sub-acute stem cell clinical trial for thoracic and cervical SCI subjects. Both of these studies require long term follow up, which Jim and DP Clinical are managing with the sponsor. Additionally, Jim has presented on “Recruitment Challenges and Delays in SCI Trials” during the annual ASIA Conference. Jim holds a B. S. degree in business management from the University of Maryland University College.

Lawrence Poree, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Anesthesia, UCSF School of Medicine

Dr. Lawrence Poree holds the position of clinical professor in the department of anesthesia at the University of California at San Francisco, where he serves as the director of the neuromodulation service. Dr. Poree began his neuromodulation career as a basic science researcher at UC Berkeley where he investigated the analgesic properties of CNS hormones as part of his doctoral thesis. He continued his research in neuromodulation at Johns Hopkins University in the department of biomedical engineering, where he investigated the neural pathways involved in spinal cord stimulation and the sympathetic nervous system. He decided to apply his research to medical practice and enrolled at Stanford University where he earned his medical degree and completed his residency in anesthesia while continuing to conduct research on the analgesic properties of alpha-2 agonists. He then completed an interventional pain fellowship at UCSF. He founded and served as medical director of a private practice comprehensive pain management clinic for the next 15 years. During this time, he consulted for various neuromodulation companies in the development of novel neuromodulation devices. He returned to academia to head the neuromodulation program at the UCSF Pain Management Center. For the past eight years, he has served on the North American Neuromodulation Society board of directors. He also serves on the California Society of Interventional Pain Physicians and the International Neuromodulation Society board of directors.

Erika Ross, Ph.D., Director, Applied Research and Development, Abbott Neuromodulation

Erika is the director of Applied Research at Abbott Neuromodulation, leading applied research strategy, external partnerships, portfolio, and execution. Applied research includes computational modeling, pre-clinical, feasibility, and clinical safety trials that feed new products and indications within Abbott Neuromodulaiton. Prior to her role at Abbott, Erika was the neuroscience director at Cala Health, a Stanford Biodesign-incubated start-up that has been developing a noninvasive, digitally enabled neuromodulation solution for treating essential tremor. She has held roles of increasing leadership at Cala Health as the company completed development and prepared for commercialization. Prior to Cala Health, Erika held the roles of assistant professor of Neurologic Surgery and deputy director of the Surgical Device Innovation Accelerator at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Erika has a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s begree in molecular biology from the University of Denver. She holds a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, located in Rochester, MN. Her Ph.D. thesis was titled “Circuit mechanisms of deep brain stimulation: Preclinical strategies toward improving therapeutic outcome.”

Nick Langhals, Ph.D., Program Director, Neural Engineering, National Institutes of Health

Nick Langhals serves as program director for neural engineering within the Repair and Plasticity Cluster at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. He is heavily involved in both the BRAIN Initiative as well as the NIH SPARC program. Dr. Langhals received his B.S. in Engineering from Arizona State University. He received both an M.S. in Engineering as well as a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from the University of Michigan. Dr. Langhals has worked as a senior research engineer within the Center for Neural Communication Technology and also served as a consultant for Neuronexus Technologies, Biotectix, and Michigan State University. He was also a co-founder of Rhythm Solutions, a University of Michigan startup company focused on the development and commercialization of automated algorithms and technologies for the diagnosis and monitoring of atrial fibrillation. Prior to arriving at the NIH in 2015, Dr. Langhals served as a research assistant professor in the plastic surgery section of the department of surgery and assistant research scientist of biomedical engineering at the University of Michigan. Dr. Langhals served as co-director of the Neuromuscular Laboratory, which has developed a regenerative peripheral nerve interface to extract prosthetic control signals and restore lost sensation to amputees for the control of replacement upper and lower extremity prostheses. His previous research activities have spanned: neural engineering, muscle/nerve physiology, regenerative medicine, tissue engineering, muscle and nerve grafts and regeneration, tissue histology/immunohistochemistry, neuroprosthetics, neuromodulation, sensory restoration, cardiac electrophysiology, electrode design/fabrication, advanced materials, electrode modification using conductive polymers, signal processing and noise reduction, neural decoding algorithms, brain-computer interfaces, and drug delivery in the brain.

Gordon Saul, Executive Director, Stanford Byers Center for Biodesign

Gordon Saul was appointed executive director of Stanford Biodesign in 2013. He also serves as  a consulting professor of bioengineering. The Stanford Byers Biodesign Center provides medical technology innovation training to teams of doctors, engineers, and business students who identify a medical need, develop an invention to fill i,t and create a plan for bringing the technology forward into patient care. Saul manages the Coulter Translational Research Program in bioengineering and the Spectrum medtech accelerator awards, which provide seed grants for the development of devices, drugs and diagnostics to improve health care and lead to commercially available products. He also establishes and maintains connections with companies, venture firms, and foundations active in the biodesign community. Saul has more than 25 years of startup and business development experience in the medical device and pharmaceutical areas. He is an alumnus of the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Christpher Czura, Ph.D., Co-Founder and CSO, Convergent Medical Technologies, Inc.

Christopher Czura is co-founder and chief scientific officer at Convergent Medical Technologies. He was previously vice president of the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research and editor-at-large for the Feinstein Institute Press’ international, peer-reviewed journals Molecular Medicine and Bioelectronic Medicine. A molecular biologist by training, Dr. Czura’s research interests focus on autonomic neural regulation of hemostasis and inflammation. He received his B.S. in biotechnology from William Paterson University in 1996 and a doctoral degree in molecular microbiology from Stony Brook University in 2009. He is author or co-author of approximately 80 peer-reviewed publications, book chapters, and meeting abstracts, and co-inventor on a patent that describes vagus nerve stimulation to control hemorrhage. Dr. Czura began his research career in the laboratory of Dr. Kevin Tracey, studying the mechanisms of pathological inflammation. Dr. Czura has also studied the inflammatory reflex, a neural mechanism through which the central nervous system detects and regulates immune responses to infection and injury. More recently, Dr. Czura and his colleagues Dr. Tracey and Dr. Jared Huston have made discoveries in the field of bioelectronic medicine. His primary work in this field led to the discovery of the “neural tourniquet,” a field of technology that uses electrical nerve stimulation to control traumatic hemorrhage.

Jacob Zabara, Ph.D., Founder, Jacob Zabara Family Foundation

Dr. Zabara has developed a new Brain ElectroDynamic Modulation (BEAM) technology based on his work with vagus nerve stimulation and LivaNova's NeuroCybernetic Prothesis, whch he invented at the launch of Cyberonics Inc. The Zabara Foundation is pursuing partnerships to fund therapies and clinical trials based on BEAM and related patents. BEAM is a result of the observations in animal and clinical research in VNS and neuromodulation, but takes neuromodulation in a new direction. Dr. Zabara was on the faculty at Temple University until 1996 with visiting appointments at Stanford University Hadassah Medical School and NASA-Ames. His education was at Johns Hopkins University in Physics and Biophysics, and the University of Pennsylvania in Physiology, where he was a fellow in the Institute of Neurological Sciences. His initial positions were at Dartmouth Medical School and the University of Pennsylvania.

Daniel Powell, CEO, Spark Biomedical Inc.

Daniel Powell has more than 20 years experience developing and selling technology-based products and has served in leadership roles in upstream and downstream marketing, business development, strategic planning, and program management. Powell launched more than 18 medical device products during his career at St. Jude Medical (now Abbott) and Cyberonics (now LivaNova). He has a wide range of experience in the the neurological disorders space including movement disorders, psychiatric disorders, and epilepsy. Additionally, Powell has in-depth experience in interventional neuromodulation technology, both implanted and external, as well as other active implantable medical technology, bio monitoring, and disease management systems. Powell now leads his own startup, Spark Biomedical, and acts as an advisor for other startups in the industry.

Daniel Chao, M.D., Founder, Halo Neuroscience

Daniel Chao is CEO of Halo Neuroscience, a a venture backed medtech company based in San Francisco. He oversees a team of scientists and entrepreneurs who have invented, launched, and scaled cutting-edge medical and consumer technology products. Daniel was the former head of business development at NeuroPace, McKinsey consultant, and co-founder and CEO of Lumos Catheter Systems. He earned his M.D. from Stanford University. and M.S. in neuroscience

Jennifer Ernst, Co-founder and CEO, Tivic Health Systems Inc.

Jennifer Ernst is CEO at Tivic Health Systems Inc. in Menlo Park, CA. Her career in technology has been characterized by driving transformational technology to market. She began her career at Xerox PARC in Palo Alto, one of the world’s leading research laboratories, focused on getting technology out of the lab and into the market. She held varying roles in strategic business development, marketing, and sales. Ernst holds an MBA from Santa Clara University, graduating with honors. For the past 15 years, Ernst has dedicated herself to identifying and building global businesses out of cutting-edge technologies. Prior to founding Tivic Health, she served as executive vice president of sales and marketing, chief strategy officer, and CEO of the U.S. subsidiary of Thin Film Electronics. Of note, she launched early electronic labels which led to the company winning the Wall Street Innovation Award and the World Technology Award. In addition, as part of the company’s executive management, Ernst transformed the company from an eight-person R&D company to a recognized leader in printed electronics with a peak market cap of $480 million in less than five years.

Dan Brounstein, Senior Vice-President, Saluda Medical

Dan Brounstein, senior vice president and president, North America at Saluda Medical, has more than 18 years experience in the medical device field holding senior roles in marketing, sales and engineering. Prior to joining Saluda, Dan held the position of vice president, marketing and clinical operations at Spinal Modulation, where he most recently led U.S. operations for their IDE pivotal study and directed the marketing and business strategy.

Ana Maiques, CEO, Neuroelectrics

Ana Maiques is the CEO of Neuroelectrics, a company aiming to change the way we interact with the brain; developing innovative technologies to monitor and stimulate the brain. She was nominated by IESE as one of the most influential entrepreneurs under 40 in Spain in 2010; she was the only woman on that list. She received the EU Prize for Women Innovators from the European Commission EC in 2014. Also in 2014, she was an award recipient of the International Women’s Entrepreneurial Challenge. In 2015 and 2016, she was named one of most inspiring women on the Inspiring Fifty list in Europe of women technological leaders and innovators. As a company, Neuroelectrics received the Best Start-up in Health Award in 2015 by Wired UK magazine and in 2016 was recognized as one of the “Best Entrepreneurial Companies in America” by Entrepreneur Magazine’s Entrepreneur 360 List. Ana continues to break the barriers for women and entrepreneurs bringing together science and technology in an impactful way.

Kewal Jain, M.D., Founder, Jain PharmaBiotech

Kewal Jain is a retired neurosurgeon and consultant in neurology, hyperbaric medicine, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical medicine. His research experience is in cell/gene therapy, neuroprotection, and nanobiotechnology. He has served as a reviewer for research grant applications for government agencies in Canada, the U.S. Army, and Europe (European Commission, the Netherlands, Austria and UK).He is a Fellow of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Medicine of the Royal Colleges of UK since 2000. Prof. Jain is the author of 483 publications including 31 books and 50 special reports. His books include Handbook of Nanomedicine, (3rd ed 2017), The Handbook of Biomarkers, 2nd edition (2018), Applications of Biotechnology in Neurology (2013), Applications of Biotechnology in Oncology (2014), and Textbook of Personalized Medicine (2015), all published  by Springer, New York. He is an associate editor of Medlink Neurology, as well as the author of 166 articles in an electronic encyclopedia of neurology published by Medlink Corp.

Asgeir Alexandersson, M.D., Director of Research & Innovation, Ossur

Asgeir Alexandersson is director of researchand innovation at Ossur, a global prosthetics manufacturer with headquarters in Iceland. He earned his M.D. degree from the University of Iceland and a master’s degree in biomedical engineering from Reykjavik University. The research & innovation team is involved in numerous research projects, including seven Horizon 2020 projects. One of the fields the team is exploring is interfacing prostheses with the human nervous system.

Maura Whittaker, Founder, FES Mobility Ltd.

Maura Whittaker received a diploma in physiotherapy from University College Dublin and a B.S. in physiotherapy from the University of British Columbia. She has 34 years experience in acute and long term rehabilitation including 28 years as a physiotherapist on the spinal cord injury program at GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre. Maura was involved in a number of clinical studies with researchers at the University of Alberta, University of British Columbia and the University of Toronto investigating the effects of FES on dropped foot in neurological gait disorders and the effects of FES on motor function in the hemiplegic arm. She co-authored a number of publications in peer-reviewed journals on FES in neurologic gait conditions and has used FES extensively in regular clinical practice and has presented nationally and internationally on the use of this intervention in rehabilitation. Maura is a member of the International FES Society and a founding member of FES: Applications in Rehabilitation, an affiliation of clinicians, engineers, and researchers providing education in and promoting the use of FES in physiotherapy.

Marcus Gerhardt, Co-Founder, Blackrock Microsystems

Marcus is an entrepreneur and investment advisor focused on innovation technologies and alternative investment markets. In 1999, Marcus helped set up his first start-up, Mondus, a pioneering ecommerce platform. As Managing Director UK, he oversaw the growth of the company to 145 employees. He coordinated several funding rounds, raising in excess of $170 million, providing shareholders with a 10-fold exit through a trade sale to Seat Pagine Gialle. Subsequently, Marcus co-founded BBI, which advises technology companies on funding, commercialization and growth, strategies. He holds various board and advisory positions at companies such as ComoneaPro. Marcus has an MPhil from Oxford University.

Avery Bedows, Neurotech Investor, Loup Ventures

Avery is a writer and venture capitalist who focuses on neurotechnology, with interests ranging from brain implants to mental health apps to computational neuroscience-inspired AI, and beyond. Avery enjoys looking at opportunities that leverage the paradigm of a “closed loop,” whether that’s through concrete closed-loop neuromodulation or through a more abstract notion of “effector” and “sensor.” Avery’s interest in the nervous system began when he coauthored an introductory neuroscience book in high school, and evolved as he explored various aspects of cognitive science/cognitive neuroscience literature in his free time. Avery briefly attended Pomona College, where he studied computer science. Originally from Chicago, Avery left Pomona College to co-found Altar, a company applying AR/VR to build augmented memory systems using insights from the science of spatial memory. Following Altar, Avery transitioned into his current role interfacing venture capital and neurotechnology. Outside of neurotechnology and venture capital, Avery writes poetry, essays, and short stories, regularly employing metaphor as a guiding framework for his writing and his thinking.

Paul Meadows, Ph.D., Principal, Paul Meadows Consulting

Mr. Meadows has more than 30 years of experience in the medical industry, including lead system development positions in spinal cord stimulation, deep brain stimulation, and insulin pump and glucose sensing markets, as well as research positions at private and public institutes and foundations developing and researching neurostimulation methods.He was most recently CTO and vice president of engineering for ImThera Medical in San Diego, CA. Previously, Mr. Meadows  worked for Boston Scientific Neuromodulation and Advanced Bionics Corp., where he was instrumental in their neurostimulation programs, and is Past-President and co-founder of the International Functional Electrical Stimulation Society. Mr. Meadows has a Master of Science degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Southern California and bachelor of science degree in biochemistry from the University of California at Los Angeles.

Elliot Krames, M.D., Former President, International Neuromodulation Society

Elliot Krames is a nationally and internationally known “thought leader” in the field of pain medicine and neuromodulation. He graduated from medical school at the University of Maryland and completed his residency in anesthesiology and his fellowship in obstetrical anesthesia at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Krames is board certified in anesthesiology and sub-certified in pain management through the American Board of Anesthesiology. He is certified in pain medicine through the American Board of Pain Medicine. The first cancer pain clinic at Mount Zion Hospital was established by Dr. Krames in 1982. He established the Pacific Pain Treatment Center in 1987. Dr. Krames was previously president of the International Neuromodulation Society and has served on the Boards of The North American Neuromodulation Society, The National Pain Foundation, The World Institute of Pain, The American Academy of Pain Medicine, and The American Board of Pain Medicine. Dr. Krames was Editor-in-Chief for 13 years of Neuromodulation, Journal of the International Neuromodulation Society. Dr. Krames has co-authored two previous books and was editor of a two volume textbook, Neuromodulation.

Entrepreneur Presenters

Dan Rizzuto, Ph.D., CEO, Nia Therapeutics

Dan Rizzuto, PhD, is developing brain stimulation therapies for patients with memory disorders at Nia Therapeutics as a part of the DARPA RAM project. He previously managed neurotechnology development at the University of Pennsylvania, Allen Institute for Brain Science and Northstar Neuroscience. Dan completed his doctorate in systems neuroscience and human memory at Brandeis University, his postdoctoral training in brain-machine interfaces at Caltech, and was the recipient of the 2015 Gold Electrode Award for Neurotechnology Researcher of the Year award from Neurotech Reports.

Stephen Popielarski, Ph.D., CEO, Thermaquil, Inc.

Dr. Popielarski has been developing and launching disruptive healthcare solutions for the past 15 years. He led commercialization activities at startups, internal ventures, and for multi-billion dollar brands, and he’s had just about every non-compliance executive role at a startup. Dr. Popielarski first overlapped with Thermaquil co-founder Professor Changfeng Tai more than 10 years ago when he launched the VERV neuromodulation patch, a noninvasive patient-controlled system for which Tai led pre-clinical studies. His Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Caltech focused on gene therapy and drug delivery systems.

Claire Dixon, COO, Neuraura

Claire Dixon is COO of Neuraura with responsibility for commercial, financial, and administrative aspects of establishing and building the business. Prior to joining Neuraura, Claire held a number of senior operational roles at the University of Calgary including director of MBA programs, director of the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and, most recently, director of operations of the Creative Destruction Lab – Rockies. She brings more than 20 years of business experience to this role including 15 years as a strategic consultant to technology- and capital- intensive industries. Claire’s key strengths include navigating technical complexity, strategy development and planning, and financial and operational modelling. Claire brings world class academic credentials as she holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a MEng/MA (Cantab.) in mechanical engineering from Cambridge University. In addition to advising startups, Claire is actively involved in the innovation ecosystem including judging pitch competitions for the TELUS Health Accelerator, Canada-China Commercial Association, and the Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking. She is passionate about learning from and empowering her colleagues and takes a coaching approach in her relationships with them.

Ingrid van Welie, Ph.D., Founder and CEO, Neural Dynamics Technologies

Ingrid van Welie, is the founder and CEO of Neural Dynamics Technologies. She is also a research affiliate at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT. Ingrid is an experienced neuroscientist, specialized in the study of the biophysical properties of neurons and how these change during learning and memory. She is an expert in various electrophysiological recording technologies and recently, while at MIT, worked on developing new technologies for recording and manipulating the electrical properties of neurons. Ingrid hails from the Netherlands, where she obtained her Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Amsterdam.

Emil Hewage, Co-founder and CEO, BIOS

Emil Hewage is co-founder and CEO at BIOS, a leading neural engineering startup. Emil undertook Ph.D. research in computational neuroscience and machine learning at the University of Cambridge and has used this knowledge to pioneer the use of artificial intelligence for interpreting neural data. He began working in startups at age 17 and held engineering and leadership roles across a range of industries from clean energy to advanced medical technologies. He was recently named to Forbes 30 Under 30.

Chris Castel, Ph.D., CEO, CareWear Corp.

J. Chris Castel received his Ph.D. at Showa University in Tokyo, Japan in physical medicine and rehabilitation research. His expertise is in the development, regulatory approval, and commercialization of therapeutic medical devices for physical medicine, rehabilitation, and wound healing. Dr. Castel has and continues to manage numerous clinical trials for energy delivery medical devices in the fields of PBM, ultrasonics, electrotherapy, and PEMF. His previous company’s products and services were deployed in more than 6,000 post-acute care facilities nationwide and provided advanced technologies for pain management, stroke recovery, wound care, and incontinence management. He has extensive experience in the medical device regulatory approval process with the FDA, national, and international regulatory agencies and oversaw the process and obtained positive national coverage determinations from CMS for electrotherapy devices in wound healing and incontinence management, along with a team of professional associations and industry leaders. Having founded and sold three medical device companies successfully to major strategic partners, he became interested in, and established a new venture, CareWear, to develop patient oriented therapeutic wearables which use breakthrough technologies such as printed light and ultrasonic substrates. CareWear was a 2018 SPIE Startup Challenge winner. Dr. Castel is a NAALT Board member and is active in the association. Dr. Castel holds numerous patents and has published extensively. As an international lecturer he has taught and presented at a post-graduate global level in such areas as neurorehabilitation, pain management, LLLT - PBM, magnetic field therapy, and ultrasonics. He was one of the first researchers during the 1980s to publish the effects of infrared and red light on collagen synthesis and has spent his career developing new technologies to treat pain and accelerate healing. He looks forward to bringing PBM to mainstream medicine.

Brian Pepin, CEO, Rune Labs

Brian is the Founder and CEO of Rune Labs. He is a health-tech entrepreneur with a focus on neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders. Pepin spent  about five years at Verily, mostly working with Galvani to launch new bioelectronics therapies. He trained as a circuit designer at University of Washington and UC Berkeley, and morphed over the last decade into mostly working on software and data products.

Philip Kennedy, Ph.D., M.D., CEO, Neural Signals Inc.

Philip Kennedy is the CEO, founder, and chief scientist of Neural Signals, Inc. He has a wide range of experience in both clinical neurology and as a neuroscientist respected internationally for his innovative and groundbreaking research into neural prosthetics and brain/machine interfacing. A native of Ireland, he received his medical degree from the National University of Ireland. He earned a Ph.D. in physiology at Northwestern University in 1983. He continued his studies in 1993 with a residency in neurology at Emory University 's School of Medicine. Dr. Kennedy has co-authored over 30 papers for refereed journals, presented 59 abstracts to scientific meetings, and been a guest lecturer at many conferences and universities. His paradigm- shifting work in neuroscience has resulted in numerous awards including Scientist of the Year by the Al Mann Foundation, 2004; Winner of Research Forum Entrepreneur in 2001; Winner of World Technology Network award in Health and Science category, 2000; and Winner of Discover Magazine's Annual Award for Technological Innovation in the Assistive Technology Category in 1999. Dr. Kennedy founded Neural Signals, Inc. in 1987 for the research, development, and implementation of devices that utilize the brain's neural firings to help the disabled, including those who are locked-in and unable to communicate. Dr. Kennedy created the first neural prosthesis of its kind, the neurotrophic electrode, which he patented in 1989. In 1996, the FDA approved human trials of this technology and Dr. Kennedy's work with a locked-in patient, Johnny Ray, who was implanted with an NE resulted in what has been called the first true cyborg–Mr. Ray was able to control a computer using his brain's neural signals.

Owen Philips, Ph.D., CEO, BrainKey

Owen is the CEO and co-founder of BrainKey, the world’s first personal brain dashboard. BrainKey is a direct to consumer company designed to empower anyone who has ever had a brain MRI scan. BrainKey is backed by YCombinator and Joyance Partners. Owen has published 40+ neuroscience manuscripts as a researcher at the Stanford School of Medicine, the Université de Toulouse in France, the University of Rome Tor Vergata in Italy, and UCLA. Owen was also part of the Stanford GSB’s Ignite Business and Venture Studio programs.


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