2018 Neurotech Leaders Forum

October 15-16, 2018

Embassy Suites San Francisco Airport Waterfront

Keynote Speakers

Hunter Peckham, Ph.D., Founder, Institute for Functional Restoration

P. Hunter Peckham is the Donnell Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Orthopaedics, at Case Western Reserve University and the founder of the Institute for Functional Restoration. He is a celebrated scholar in the university community and known around the world for his research. Peckham focuses on the use of functional electrical stimulation to restore hand and arm control in paralyzed individuals. He was instrumental in the creation of the Cleveland Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) Center, which studies the application of electrical currents to generate or suppress nerve activity. As the center's executive director, Peckham built a model of successful research collaboration among scientists, engineers and clinicians from the Cleveland Veteran's Administration Medical Center, Case Western Reserve University and MetroHealth Medical Center. He is a member of the Department of Veterans Affairs National Research Advisory Council and the NIH National Institute of Bioimaging and Bioengineering National Advisory Council.Peckham holds eight patents, has authored hundreds of articles and was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2002.

Frank Fischer, CEO, NeuroPace Inc.

Frank Fischer has more than 30 years of senior management experience in the medical device industry. He has served on the NeuroPace Board of Directors since 1998 and joined the company as its Chief Executive Officer in January 2000. Prior to joining NeuroPace, Mr. Fischer was President and Chief Executive Officer of Heartport, Inc., a cardiac surgery company, from May 1998 until September 1999 and served on Heartport’s Board of Directors. Mr. Fischer was President and Chief Executive Officer and a director of Ventritex, Inc., a company that pioneered implantable cardiac defibrillators, from 1987 until the sale of the company to St. Jude Medical, Inc. in 1997. Before joining Ventritex, he held various management positions at Cordis Corporation in the cardiac and neurosurgical device areas, serving most recently as President of the Implantable Products Division. Prior to that, he spent seven years with General Electric Company in a variety of operating positions. Mr. Fischer holds B.S.M.E. and M.S. in Management degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Epilepsy Foundation, the Board of Trustees of Babson College and the boards of a number of privately held medical device companies.

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 was the lead author of "The Market for Neurotechnology," a market research report 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 formed in 2003. Jennifer acquired her C6-7 incomplete spinal cord injury in 1998. She is an active user of the Implantable Stand & Transfer System developed by the Cleveland FES Center; the first woman to receive such a system. Jennifer has been featured in several media outlets and is an accomplished writer and speaker who has addressed organizations such as the National Academy of Sciences, the World Science Festival, TEDx Talks, General Electric, and many more. She is a silver medalist from the 2012 Paralympic Games and is the 2012 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year; the first woman with a disability to receive this distinction. French has helped launch successful divisions is such organizations as Bombardier Capital and PC Connection, Inc. With an MBA specializing in marketing & strategy, she works with for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, large and small, helping them emerge into new markets, profile target customers, and create and build systems to support sales efforts. She is the author of On My Feet Again (Neurotech Press, 2013), her personal story of rehabilitation using neurotechnology.

Jeremy Koff, Senior Contributing Editor, Neurotech Reports

Mr. Koff is senior contributing editor for Neurotech Reports and Head of Clinical Development at Mainstay Medical, a neuromodulation company developing and commercializing the ReActiv8 Restorative Therapy for chronic mechanical back pain. Mr. Koff has more than 20 years of global experience in the medical device industry and has provided business, strategy, and sales/marketing guidance to more than a dozen neuromodulation companies. Mr. Koff holds a bachelor’s degree from Middlebury College, an MPA from Indiana University, and an MBA from UCLA.  He is an active classically-trained musician.

Panelists and Presenters

Doug Clinton, Managing Partner, Loup Ventures

Doug Clinton is a managing partner and co-founder at Loup Ventures, a venture fund that invests in frontier tech companies. Prior to Loup Ventures, Doug was an equity research analyst at Piper Jaffray, where he was part of a small, top-ranked team that covered the Internet space including Apple, Google, and Facebook. Doug was also an early employee in sales and operations at Enpocket, a startup acquired by Nokia in 2007. Doug holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from Boston University.

Ajay Khatri, Director, Venture Investments, Johnson & Johnson Innovation

Ajay is Director of Venture Investments at Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc. and is based at the Johnson & Johnson Innovation Center in California. Ajay focuses on medical device investments on the West Coast that are in areas of strategic interest to Johnson & Johnson. Ajay previously held roles multiple financial based roles at JJDC, Ethicon, Advanced Sterilization Product,s and Janssen Business Development. Ajay has a B.A. in economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

Mark Lindon, General Counsel and Chairman, Bioness, Inc.

Mr. Lindon has over 30 years of corporate, finance, and business experience from both law firm and in-house positions. He has handled numerous corporate, finance, mergers & acquisitions, technology, licensing, intellectual property, development, and distribution deals. He regularly advises companies, investors, and entrepreneurs on transactional and operational matters, and frequently handles the purchase and sale of businesses, financings, distribution agreements, and a wide variety of other contracts. Mr. Lindon has been general counsel for Bioness since 2006, a medical device company founded by Alfred Mann, the legendary medical device billionaire entrepreneur. (Mr. Lindon was in-house from 2006-2009 and has been a consultant and outside general counsel since 2009.) Mr. Lindon also represented Mr. Mann in a wide variety of other matters unrelated to Bioness (including mergers & acquisitions, financings, joint ventures and litigation management) from 2009 until Mr. Mann’s death in 2016, and Mr. Lindon continues to represent the Mann Trust. Mr. Lindon was appointed to the Bioness board of directors in 2016 to fill Mr. Mann’s seat, and was appointed chairman in 2017. Mr. Lindon received his A.B. degree from Georgetown University (economics, government, and philosophy) and his J.D. degree from the UCLA School of Law, and spent the first eight years of his legal career as a corporate lawyer at a large New York law firm.

Manuel López-Figueroa, Ph.D., Vice President, Bay City Capital

Manuel López-Figueroa is a Vice President at Bay City Capital and has been with the firm since July 2001. He specializes in evaluating investment opportunities with an emphasis on CNS. In addition, Dr. López is the Scientific Liaison for the Pritzker Neuropsychiatric Disorders Research Consortium, a collaborative research enterprise comprised of a group of leaders in psychiatry, neuroscience and genetics from Stanford University, University of Michigan, Cornell University and the Universities of California at Davis and Irvine. The consortium aims to discover the neurobiological and genetic determinants of mood disorders and schizophrenia with the goal to develop novel diagnostics and therapeutics. Dr. López is responsible for planning and directing all aspects of the consortium including strategy, R&D, legal (IP & contracts) and financial, to facilitate the commercialization of discoveries to fund additional research. Dr. López has over 15 years of experience in the field of Neuroscience, has won numerous awards during his academic research career, and has published extensively. He completed post-doctoral work at the University of Michigan and at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Dr. López received a PhD in Medicine and Surgery, and a MS in Molecular and Cell Biology from the Universities of Las Palmas and La Laguna, Spain, respectively.

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.

Prasad Shirvalkar, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University of California, San Francisco

Prasad Shirvalkar is an assistant professor in the department of anesthesia at UCSF. His interests include pain management, neuromodulation, deep brain stimulation, headache, neuropathic pain, spinal cord stimulation, post stroke pain, and phantom limb pain. He received his M.D. and Ph.D. from the Icahn school of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, and did a residency at Weill Cornell Medical College.

Michael Leong, M.D., Clinical Associate Professor, Stanford Pain Clinic

Michael Leong, M.D. is an anesthesiologist and pain medicine specialist at Stanford University. He is the director of neuromodulation and treats patients with electrical stimulation and spinal medications to relieve pain as an alternative to opioids. As the first legislative fellow of the North American Neuromodulation Society, Dr. Leong has helped to educate members of Congress about pain care public policy issues, particularly during this opioid epidemic, and the potential for technological innovations to treat chronic pain. He continues this work as a Mayday Fellow of 2018 by informing the media about neuromodulation for pain management. He received his medical degree from Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and completed his residency in anesthesiology at University of California, Davis and at Stanford University, where he also completed his fellowship in pain medicine. He is board certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology. Dr. Leong is currently the Director of Neuromodulation and Clinical Associate Professor of Anesthesiology, Perioperative, and Pain Medicine at Stanford University.

Andrew Kelly, IC/Systems Architect, Cactus Semiconductor, Inc.

Andrew Kelly is an IC/Systems Architect at Cactus Semiconductor Inc. in Chandler, AZ. Prior to joining Cactus Semiconductor, he was a senior principal IC design engineer at the Medtronic Microelectronics Center. Over the past 30 years, he has defined and designed dozens of full custom mixed-signal ICs for a wide range of portable and implantable medical devices including: glucose meters, hearing aids, pacemakers, neuro-stimulators, drug infusion pumps, biosensors, orthopedic sensors, and ingestible sensors.

Dries Braeken, Ph.D., R&D Manager, IMEC

Dries Braeken obtained his Ph.D. degree in medical sciences from the KU Leuven, Belgium, in 2009 in collaboration with IMEC. From 2009 to 2012 he worked as senior scientist in the bioelectronics group in IMEC. In 2012 he became R&D team leader in the life science technologies department in IMEC and in 2017 R&D manager and group leader. His research activies focus on the development of multi-electrode arrays for in vitro and in vivo applications using standard semiconductor fabrication and electrophysiological characterization of cell-electrode interfaces. He has (co-) authored over 45 publications and 7 patents.

Nick Halper, Product Manager, Neural Interfaces, Blackrock Microsystems

Nick’s degree-seeking research focused on the role of signal pathways responsible for microglial activation and subsequent cytotoxicity. Specifically, he sought to manage and control the collateral damage effect of microglia after activation as part of the foreign body response. His foray into electrophysiology began in cognitive science labs where he managed EEG work in an institutional collaboration between Westminster College and the University of Utah, but was continued in his move to Blackrock Microsystems in 2013. Since his start at Blackrock, Nick has helped over 100 labs incorporate Blackrock’s systems into their research. With his recent appointment as Product Manager for Neural Interfaces, Nick hopes to continue to enable cutting edge neuroscience by bringing to life excellent tools for the community. 

Tom Hughes, Senior Principal Advisor, RCRI

Thomas Hughes is a senior level executive and attorney with nearly 20 years of experience in the medicial technology industry, specializing in the area of medical device reimbursement. Tom has helped advise and provide leadership for startup and national medical device companies by using a keen eye for strategic planning blended with the unique expertise in developing and executing reimbursement strategies and payer relations initiatives with payers, provider groups, government agencies and other key decision makers. He has built reimbursement teams for medical device companies, negotiated national payer contracts, lobbied federal and state decision makers, advised senior management as well as sales and marketing teams on reimbursement, government regulations, and business development approaches for health economics and reimbursement. Prior to his work in the medical technology industry, Thomas practiced healthcare law with a major Minneapolis law firm where he represented physicians, hospitals and other providers. Tom holds a BA in political science from the University of Minnesota and a JD from the William Mitchell College of Law and is a member in good standing with the Minnesota State Bar Association. He continues active engagement as a member of the Executive Council Member of Health Law Commitee and the FDA Regulatory Committee. Tom is also active in both the Medical Industry Leadership Institute at the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota and the Neurostimulation Device Alliance.

Courtney Lane, Ph.D., Principal, Anacapa Clinical Research

Courtney C. Lane, has more than a decade experience in neuromodulation device development and clinical trials.  She earned her B.S. in electrical and computer engineering from Rice University, cum laude. She obtained her Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Division of Health Sciences and Technology, where her thesis work focused on the neurophysiology of the auditory system. She then worked to develop hearing aid algorithms as a researcher at Rice University. Upon leaving academia, she was instrumental in the development of the deep brain stimulation program at Boston Scientific, where she worked on all aspects of the device development, from R&D and test designs to clinical trial designs and regulatory submissions. She then served as the director of Clinical Science and Strategy, overseeing a team of clinical scientists developing Boston Scientific Neuromodulation’s clinical trial portfolio. She also served as V.P. of clinical affairs for Axonics Modulation Technologies, where she was responsible for the design and execution of the clinical program. Dr. Lane founded Anacapa Clinical Research on the principle that small businesses and physicians deserve the same benefits of expertise and strategic thinking as large multi-national companies. She brings a wealth of knowledge as well as a can-do attitude to all of her endeavors.

Cristin Welle, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, University of Colorado, Denver

Dr. Welle is a systems neurophysiologist with expertise in the interaction between medical devics and the nervous system. She completed her Ph.D. in 2010 from the University of Pennsylvania, and then started the Neural Interfaces Program at the FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health Office of Science and Engineering Labs. In 2016, she joined the faculty of Neurosurgery and Bioengineering at the University of Colorado. 

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.

Victor Pikov, CEO, Medipace, Inc.

Victor Pikov is a CEO of a recently established Pasadena-based company, MediPace Inc., which is focused on the development of implantable stimulation-based therapies for the GI tract. Prior to that, for the past three years he worked at Galvani Bioelectronics and GSK Bioelectronics division, where he oversaw the development and validation of implantable pulse generators and stimulation leads (nerve cuffs and percutaneous electrodes) for several clinical applications. Prior to Galvani Bioelectronics, while at the Huntington Medical Research Institutes (2002-2015), Victor evaluated PNS and CNS neural interfaces in various models of chronic diseases, such as infertility, bladder paralysis, bladder spasticity/hyperreflexia, hearing and vision loss, tinnitus, obstructive sleep apnea, and obesity. His Ph.D. work at Georgetown University (1995-2000) was on the spinal control of bladder voiding and postdoctoral work at the California Institute of Technology (2000-2002) was on optogenetic viral vectors for neuronal stimulation. Victor holds several patent applications for noninvasive glucose measurement in the skin, neuromodulation for polycystic ovarian syndrome, and a microfluidic nerve cuff interface.

Bashar Badran, Ph.D., Research Assistant Professor, University of New Mexico

Dr. Badran earned his Ph.D. in neuroscience from the Medical University of South Carolina and holds a dual-appointment as a Research Assistant Professor at the University of New Mexico and the U.S. Army Research Laboratories. He is also the inventor of E-meditation and the Co-founder and CEO of Bodhi NeuroTech, an early stage technology company developing neurostimulation and BCI wearables for meditation, human performance, and psychiatric disorders. His research program revolves around developing novel, non-invasive techniques that modulate the central and peripheral nervous systems with outcomes focused on improving mental performance, accelerating post-stroke rehabilitation, and treatment of mood disorders.

Jose Antonio Tovar, Clinical Applications Manager, Hocoma North America

Jose Antonio Tovar is the clinical applications manager for Hocoma North America. Born and raised in Mexico City, Mr. Tovar obtained his biomedical engineering degree at Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City, and conducted his research in SCI Biomechanics at the National Institute of Rehabilitation of Mexico to earn his M.S. degree at the Pablo d’Olavide University in Seville, Spain. His work in research presented the opportunity to learn more about the daily life of patients and their families, peaking his interest in developing a career in neurorehabilitation. Mr. Tovar has worked in the technology and rehabilitation field since 2011, working closely with some of the most recognized brands in the industry worldwide. He currently lives in Southern Massachusetts, where he enjoys the great outdoors with his family.

Evan Rosenfeld, M.D., Principal, MDJD Consulting

As the founder and principal for MDJD Consulting, Dr. Rosenfeld has over 20 years of experience in the areas of FDA regulation, clinical research, and strategic clinical and regulatory consulting for technologies spanning a broad range of medical specialties and indications for use. He is both an attorney practiced in medical device, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical regulation and a licensed physician specialized in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and having a particular interest in the treatment of central/peripheral neurological and pain conditions, as well as orthopedic, musculoskeletal, rheumatologic, and wound-related healthcare matters. Dr. Rosenfeld’s clients and in-house employers have included contract research organizations, law firms, venture capital interests, medical device consulting groups, and individual sponsors and manufacturers of medical devices, drugs, biologics, and combination products. He routinely provides analysis and direction with regard to these companies’ complex clinical study and regulatory issues at all stages of business and product development and interacts with the relevant U.S. and international agencies and organizations in these regards. Dr. Rosenfeld performs all of the aforementioned endeavors with the ultimate goals of both optimizing and streamlining potential clinical/regulatory pathway(s) to market, governmental reviews for market approval, conformity with post-market requirements, and maximizing the potential for insurance coverage and reimbursement. Dr. Rosenfeld completed his residency training at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and attended medical school at the Medical College of Virginia, graduating in the top 15% of his class. He is currently licensed to practice medicine in both Texas and California. Prior to becoming a physician, Dr. Rosenfeld worked for several years in Washington, D.C. as a regulatory attorney in the FDA practice group of Hogan & Hartson, LLP (now Hogan Lovells LLP), where he served as outside counsel primarily for medical device companies ranging from early start-ups to long-established global corporations. He received his legal education with honors at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and he is an active member of the bars in Pennsylvania, the District of Columbia, Illinois, and the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Dr. Rosenfeld also has an undergraduate degree in Neurobiology from Harvard College where he also graduated with honors. Dr. Rosenfeld has authored numerous peer-reviewed journal articles, as well as multiple abstracts and other publications, and he has been a featured speaker on a variety of clinical and regulatory topics. He is an active member in the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Association of Academic Physiatrists, North American Neuromodulation Society, and American Academy of Pain Medicine, and he has been an elected Fellow of the American College of Legal Medicine since 2008.

Anthony Arnold, Consultant, SetPoint Medical

Tony spent eight years as president and CEO of SetPoint Medical, a pioneer in the field of bioelectronic medicine dedicated to treating patients with debilitating inflammatory diseases using digital doses of electricity. Tony led the company and built a world-class team that delivered a revolutionary Class III micro-implantable platform, novel therapeutic pathway, and three successful human trials. Tony brings more than 20 years of experience in the development and commercialization of high-technology medical devices. Prior to joining SetPoint, he founded Synapse Strategy and provided strategic consulting services for industry leading medical device firms, FDA, CDC, and professional organizations. Prior to Synapse, Tony served as vice president of marketing for Boston Scientific (Advanced Bionics). Tony was also director of marketing at Medtronic, responsible for the launch and explosive growth of the industry-leading StealthStation navigation system. Prior to Medtronic, Tony held a variety of positions of increasing responsibility in marketing and R&D with Smith+Nephew. Tony holds a bachelors in mechanical engineering and attended the UCLA Anderson School of Management executive program for medical marketing. Tony, his wife Rebecca and their three kids live in Valencia, CA.

Michael Ackermann, Ph.D., CEO, Presidio Medical, Inc.

Michael is the CEO of Presidio Medical Inc., a bioelectronic medicine company developing a fundamental neuromodulation platform to establish a new class of therapeutic medical devices. He is also founder of Oyster Point Pharma and currently serves as its chairman. Michael was mostly recently Vice President, Neurostimulation for Allergan, plc after serving as CEO of Oculeve, Inc., which was acquired by Allergan in August 2015. He has experience in medical device and pharmaceutical development in both academic and industrial settings. He received a B.E. degree, magna cum laude, in biomedical engineering from Vanderbilt University; M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in biomedical engineering from Case Western Reserve University; is a graduate of the Stanford University Biodesign Fellowship; and Vision Research Fellowship at Stanford. He has numerous patents and peer-reviewed publications.

Christpher Czura, Ph.D., Vice-President, Scientific Affairs, Feinstein Institute for Medical Research

Christopher J. Czura is 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. Dr. Czura provides strategic direction for the Institute’s research program, and directly manages the development of several therapeutic technologies. He also leads project teams in the design and oversight of construction of new laboratory facilities and renovation projects. 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.

Joe Bird, Shareholder, Maynard Cooper

Joe Bird is a registered patent attorney and member of Maynard Cooper's Intellectual Property Practice. He combines an active patent and trademark prosecution practice with technology- and science-related disputes, litigation, and related business advice, especially for emerging growth companies. Joe has prosecuted or worked on numerous U.S. and foreign patents and related IP matters, including licensing, trademarks, copyrights, and noncompetition covenants. His patent prosecution experience includes bioelectronics, neurotechnology, optical and audio devices, software and manufacturing processes, cognitive neuroscience inventions, and sundry mechanical devices.
Joe has tried more than 30 cases to final verdict in state and federal courts and the PTAB, and has been lead counsel or a team member in large-scale patent, commercial and national pharmaceutical litigation, the latter involving alleged neurological and neurodevelopmental injuries, including claims related to motor disorders, autism and vaccines. Joe offers clients a unique blend of experience in the field of IP and litigation. Best Lawyers recognized Joe as the 2019 "Lawyer of the Year" in Litigation: Intellectual Property, and he is also listed in Best Lawyers in Information Technology Law, Litigation: Patent, and Patent Law. He attended UAB’s graduate program in Vision Science and completed the coursework for an M.S. degree, studying a combination of neurobiology, cognitive neuroscience, physiological optics, biochemistry, and genetics.

Edward Chang, M.D., Co-Director, Center for Neural Engineering, UC Berkeley and San Francisco

Edward Chang is Professor of Neurological Surgery at UCSF. Dr. Chang’s clinical expertise is surgical therapies for intractable epilepsy, trigeminal neuralgia, pain, hemifacial spasm, and adult brain tumors. He specializes in advanced neurophysiologic brain mapping methods, including awake speech and motor mapping, to safely perform neurosurgical procedures in eloquent areas of the brain. He also specializes in laser thermal ablation to treat epilepsy. Dr. Chang is a New York Stem Cell Foundation - Robertson Investigator. Dr. Chang was awarded the 2015 Blavatnik National Laureate in Life Sciences in 2015. His groundbreaking work has been featured by US News and World Report, San Francisco Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, New York Times, and Wall Street Journal.

Andrew Cornwell, Ph.D., Associate Director, Case-Coulter Translational Research Partnership and Director for Industrial and Strategic Collaborations, Cleveland FES Center

Dr. Andrew Cornwell is the Associate Director of the Case-Coulter Translational Research Partnership in the department of biomedical engineering at Case Western Reserve University, and the Director for Industrial and Strategic Collaborations at the Cleveland FES Center. In his role with the Coulter program, he works directly with the program's awardees to ensure the projects are moving efficiently toward patient care, and also interacts on the Program's behalf with strategic partners in industry, finance, and management. Alongside his role with the CCTRP, Andy serves as the Director for Industrial and Strategic Collaborations at the Cleveland FES Center, where he works to find homes for neurotechnology intellectual property coming out of the FES Center, and also maintains strong industrial ties to ensure strategic alignment between clinical needs, market realities, and research priorities. Andy earned a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Case Western Reserve University, and performed brain recording research for several years before becoming more involved in ways to accelerate and facilitate the commercialization of academic research.

Claude Clement, Chief Technology Officer, Wyss Center for Bio and Neuroengineering

Claude Clément joined the Wyss Center as CTO in early 2015. He has been founder, chairman, or board member of several start-ups and small businesses. He holds a Masters in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Lausanne and an MBA from HEC at the University of Lausanne (Switzerland). Claude started in R&D for the watch industry (Swatch Group) as head of the transducers and actuators development group. He entered the world of medical technologies by heading the diversification activities of Swatch in the field of wearable programmable drug delivery pumps. He then spent 23 years in the field of active implantable medical devices, as director of manufacturing engineering at Intermedics (now Boston Scientific), as plant manager of the Swiss operations of Medtronic and later as a consultant for major companies, mainly in the field of pacemakers and for various innovative start-ups. Starting in 1996, he put in place and ramped-up the highly automated factory of Medtronic in the Lake Geneva area. Until 2014, he was CEO of MyoPowers, a start-up company developing an electromechanical implant to treat severe incontinence.

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.

Philip Starr, M.D., Ph.D., Professor of Neurological Surgery, UC San Francisco

Dr. Starr is the Dolores Cakebread Professor of Neurological Surgery, and Director of Functional Neurosurgery, at the University of California, San Francisco. In 1998 he launched a clinical and research program in deep brain stimulation, one of the first such programs in the U.S. Dr. Starr and UCSF neurologist Dr. Jill Ostrem are the directors of a multidisciplinary clinic for neuromodulation in movement disorders, in both adults and children. Dr. Starr, along with colleagues Paul Larson and Alastair Martin, developed a novel technique for implanting deep brain stimulators using a skull-mounted aiming device, within a high-field MRI scanner. He is one of the most experienced DBS surgeons in the world. He directs an NIH-funded laboratory focusing on understanding the mechanism of DBS at a circuit level, and on the use of implantable neural interfaces for long term brain recording and “adaptive” (feedback-controlled) DBS. He received his M.D. and Ph.D. from Harvard Medical School, did his neurosurgical residency at Brigham and Womens’ Hospital, and did a fellowship in movement disorders surgery at Emory University.

John Donoghue, Director, Wyss Center for Bio and Neuroengineering

Prof. John P. Donoghue is the founding director of the Wyss Center for Bio and Neuroengineering, based at Campus Biotech in Geneva, Switzerland. He is one of the most recognized researchers in the field of neuroengineering and considered one of the founding fathers of the merger between neuroscience and cybernetics. He is best known for his work on human brain computer interfaces, as well as for research on brain function and plasticity. Prof. Donoghue previously founded the Brown Institute of Brain Science at Brown University, where he spent more than 30 years and where he maintains a professorship. He holds an adjunct professorship at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and is a visiting professor at the University of Geneva in Switzerland. Prof. Donoghue was also a co-founder of an early neurotechnology startup company, Cyberkinetics. In 2013 his BrainGate neurotechnology, that aims to restore movement for people with paralysis, was recognised by the first Israel B.R.A.I.N. (Breakthrough Research And Innovation in Neurotechnology) prize, as well as the German Zülch in 2007, the Roche-Nature Medicine in 2010, and the Schrödinger prize in 2012.

Entrepreneur Presenters

Bill Edelman, CEO and Chairman, Highland Instruments, Inc.

Bill Edelman is a medical device industry executive with more than 32 years experience and currently serves as the CEO of Highland Instruments. Mr. Edelman was most recently president & CEO, TYRX, Inc., a commercial stage venture-backed medical device company focused on drug/device implant products for general surgery, electrophysiology, and cosmetic surgery. Prior to TYRX, Mr. Edelman has held executive level positions at MicroSense International, LLC (bio-sensing), FibraSonics, Inc. (ultrasonic surgical products), NeuroMod, Inc. (neurostimulation technologies), St. Jude Medical, Inc., Pfizer, Inc., and Baxter International, Inc.

Howard Leonhardt, CEO, CerebraCell

Howard Leonhardt is an inventor and serial entrepreneur. He has 21 U.S. patents with over 100 patent claims for products for treating cardiovascular disease and has over 40 new patent claims pending. His TALENT (Taheri-Leonhardt) stent graft developed in the early 1990s holds a leading world market share for repairing aortic aneurysms without surgery. His inventions have treated over 500,000 patients in 60 countries. In early 1999 Leonhardt founded Bioheart, Inc., a leader in applying adult muscle stem cells to treat heart failure. Leonhardt holds a Diploma in International Trade from Anoka Technical College. He attended the University of Minnesota,Anoka Ramsey College and UCLA Extension. He holds an honorary doctorate in biomedical engineering from the University of Northern California and is an honorary alumnus of the University of Florida and Florida International University. He is co-leader of Startup California and Founder and chairman of The California Stock Exchange, preparing to be the first social good impact stock exchange currently operating the Cal-X 30 Social Good Impact fund powered by Motif Investing. He founded Cal-X Crowdfund Connect, a crowdfunding campaign management co. and Cal-X Stars Business Accelerator, Inc., a business incubator and accelerator focused on cardiovascular life sciences and social good impact innovations. There are 30 regenerative medtech and regenerative economy startups in the current portfolio class. His Leonhardt Ventures angels network has raised and put to work over $145 million in 32 companies to date, most of them founded by Leonhardt. BioLeonhardt is developing the first implantable programmable and re-fillable stem cell pump. He leads CerebraCell for brain regeneration. EyeCell for eye regeneration and AortaCell for aorta regeneration and number of other organ regeneration spin offs from his patented core technologies. Leonhardt serves as state spokesperson in California for the JOBS ACT and Crowdfunding for Startup California and has given over 40 speeches on the subject. He has operated Leonhardt’s Launchpads NorCal at the University of Northern California Science & Technology Innovation Center in Rohnert Park, CA since 2008 and recently opened Leonhardt’s Launchpads Utah in Salt Lake City just off the campus of the University of Utah. He has served on the Board of Directors of the University of Northern California, a private biomedical engineering school, since 1999.

Pawel Soluch, CEO, Neuro Device Group S.A.

Pawel Soluch is founder and president of Neuro Device Group S.A. He is a neuropsychologist and neuronavigation expert and consultant at the Department of Neurosurgery, Medical University of Warsaw, completing his doctoral dissertation in the field of functional brain research. Soluch is a scholarship holder from the Foundation for Polish Science. He combines practical medical knowledge with scientific experience, successfully opening new possibilities for applying technology in medicine. He has been an initiator of numerous research and development projects subsidized by the Committee for Scientific Research, the National Center for Research and Development, and the European Union. Soluch has authored several dozen scientific posters, lectures, and publications on functional magnetic resonance imaging and psychophysiology.

Manfred Franke, Ph.D., Founder, NeuronOff Inc.

Manfred Franke is an entrepreneur with an extensive research background, developing class II and III medical devices to restore and improve organ function using minimally-invasive neuromodulation. Prior to founding NeuronOff, Franke worked at Oculeve (acquired by Allergan) and Boston Scientific neuromodulation, conceiving and developing implantable and topical neuromodulation devices. He is the lead inventor on 90 of 130 patent applications, of which 24 have been granted so far. Franke obtained his Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University.

Megan Moynahan, Executive Director, Institute for Functional Restoration

Megan Moynahan comes to her role as executive director of the Institute for Functional Restoration following a 17-year career at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, where she most recently served as its associate director for Technology and Innovation. Accustomed to directing large-scale projects, she functioned as a serial "intrapreneur," directing the White House-sponsored Entrepreneurs-in-Residence program at FDA, and developing from the ground up the Innovation Pathway program designed to streamline the regulatory process for innovative medical devices. Her past regulatory experience includes serving as the chief of the pacemaker and defibrillator branch from 2001-2007, overseeing the multi-disciplinary staff of engineers and clinicians responsible for processing over 800 premarket applications each year, and launching national initiatives for external defibrillators, implantable pacemaker leads, and device safety measures.

Isaac Clements, Ph.D., Vice President, R&D, BioCircuits Technologies

Isaac co-founded and leads development at BioCircuit Technologies, an Axion Biosystems company creating advanced technologies for simplified peripheral nerve interfacing and repair. Previously, Isaac led development of Axion's Lumos system for high-throughput optogenetic stimulation of neuronal cell cultures (The Scientist 2016 Top 10 Innovations award). In prior work at Plexon, Inc., he developed the PlexBright suite of devices for opto-electrical interfacing with neural tissue. Isaac obtained his Ph.D. from the Georgia Institute of Technology for his work in neural interfacing and regeneration. 

Niharika Gajawelli, Ph.D., COO, Voxel Healthcare

Niharika Gajawelli currently serves as COO at Voxel Healthcare. Niharika graduated with a bachelor’s in electrical and computer engineering from Rutgers University. After college she served as baseband engineer at Nokia Japan. She then obtained her masters degree in electrical engineering  and Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from the Viterbi School of Engineering at the University of Southern California.

Blake Gurfein, Ph.D., V.P. Research & Scientifc Affairs

Blake leads Tivic Health’s clinical and scientific research. In addition to his full-time role at Tivic Health, he is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Medicine at UCSF. Blake is an expert in neuromodulation device development and has served as a research executive and consultant for medical device and pharma companies including Rio Grande Neurosciences and EMD Serono/Pfizer. Blake’s prior research in neuroscience and immunology has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and philanthropic donors, yielding high-impact journal publications.


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