Speakers

Mostafa Analoui, Ph.D.

Mostafa Analoui, Ph.D., is Executive Director of UCONN Ventures. Previously, he was Head of Healthcare and Life Sciences at Livingston Securities (New York, NY) with investment focus in private and public companies in biotech, medtech and healthcare services. Prior to that he was the Senior Director at Pfizer Global Research and Development. Dr. Analoui is actively involved in investment, management and scientific/business development of nanotechnology, drug discovery/development, diagnostic imaging, and global strategies.

While at Pfizer, he was the Site Head for Global Clinical Technology in Groton and New London, a division focusing on emerging technologies for development and validation of biomarkers and diagnostics for drug development. Prior to joining Pfizer, Dr. Analoui was the Director of Oral and Maxillofacial Imaging Research, Associate Professor of Radiology at Indiana University, and Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Electrical & Comp Engineering at Purdue University. He was also President and CEO of Therametric Technology Inc. He has received his Ph.D. from Purdue University, followed by Post-Doctoral Fellowship at IBM TJ Watson Research Center in NY.

In addition to industry leadership in biomedical and technology fields, he consults and lectures in US, Europe and Asia. He has also served on various scientific, regulatory, and business advisory committees and boards, including NIH, NSF, PhRMA, NASA, and OECD. Dr. Analoui has authored over 130 publications, including journal articles, book chapters and technical reports.  Dr. Analoui is currently Adjust Professor at Brown University (Providence, RI), Northeastern University (Boston, MA) and University of Connecticut (Storrs, CT). He is also senior member of IEEE, SPIE, and RSNA.

He was Chairman of the Board of VirtualScopics (Nasdaq: VSCP) and currently serves as board member of Calando Pharmaceutical (Nasdaq: ARWR), BEACON (Biomedical Engineering Alliance and Consortium) and NanoBusiness Commercialization Association.

Kristen Brennand, Ph.D.

By combining expertise in stem cell biology and neurobiology, Kristen Brennand’s laboratory has pioneered a new approach by which to study psychiatric disease. The focus of her research is schizophrenia, a debilitating psychiatric disorder for which there exists no cure. The genetic mechanisms responsible for this disorder are not well understood, the precise cell type affected remains unknown and few defining characteristics of diseased cells have been identified, in part due to the lack of live brain tissue for study. Her laboratory is working to understand how neurons from patients with schizophrenia differ from those from healthy controls. Specifically, her laboratory obtains skin samples from patients, which are then reprogrammed into induced pluripotent stem cells, and subsequently differentiated into human neurons. The goal of the Brennand research is to better understand the genetic and cellular mechanisms contributing to schizophrenia, in the hope that this may one day lead to new potential therapies.

Stephen Devoto, Ph.D.

The son of a Dutch immigrant and a Californian, Devoto was raised mostly in Northern California. He earned a Bachelor of Arts at Haverford College, and a Ph.D. in Neurobiology at The Rockefeller University, working with Colin Barnstable.  He did the first postdoc at Duke University, working with Joe Nevins on the molecular biochemistry of the E2F transcription factor, and a second postdoc at the University of Oregon, working with Monte Westerfield on the embryology and genetics of muscle fiber type development in zebrafish. Devoto established an independent research lab at Wesleyan University in 1997, where his research has been funded by a Basil O’Connor Starter Scholar Award from the March of Dimes, a Donaghue Investigator Award, and multiple NIH grants. His lab currently works on the molecular basis for embryonic muscle stem cell development, and the role of genes and environment in spine development. He serves as Chair of the Middletown Planning and Zoning Commission and raises turkeys and pigs on a small hobby farm. He and his wife Joyce Powzyk have two children.

Ricardo Dolmetsch, Ph.D.

Dr. Ricardo Dolmetsch is Global Head of Neuroscience at the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research. His group is responsible for developing medicines to treat neuropsychiatric, neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases.  The group is focused on targets and mechanisms that have been validated in humans either by human genetic studies or by astute clinical observations.  The department is a world leader in developing preclinical models of disease using human induced pluripotent stem cells and has also developed novel methods for studying the function of circuits in the brain.

Ricardo joined Novartis from Stanford University where he was a Professor in the school of medicine.  He was also a Senior Director at the Allen Institute for Brain Science.  His group studied the molecular basis of autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders and was one of the pioneers in using induced pluripotent stem cells to model disease.  His laboratory also played an important role in elucidating the molecular basis of calcium signaling in the developing nervous and immune systems.

Ricardo received his undergraduate degree from Brown University, his graduate degree from Stanford University and was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University.  He continues to be an adjunct professor at Stanford Medical School.

Christine Finck, MD

Christine Finck, MD, is the executive vice president and surgeon-in-chief at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. In addition, Dr. Finck is the division head of pediatric surgery and is vice chair of the Department of Surgery at UConn School of Medicine. Dr. Finck completed her pediatric surgery fellowship at Arkansas Children’s Hospital and her surgical residency at SUNY Upstate Medical University at Syracuse.  She graduated with her Bachelor of Science from Boston University and earned her medical degree from SUNY Upstate Medical University at Syracuse.  She is board certified in pediatric and general surgery. Through her own research, Dr. Finck is revolutionizing health outcomes of pediatric and neonatal diseases, most specifically spearheading efforts focused on identifying and treating those that affect the lungs, esophagus and brain.  Her innovations in science were recognized by The Group on Women in Medicine and Science, who awarded Dr. Finck the Outstanding Clinical Scientist Woman Faculty Award.  She was also recognized as a 2016 Hartford Business Journal Health Care Hero.  Her dedication, leadership and expertise are paving the way to a better future for children across the region.

Russell Jarres

Russ graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2001 with a BS in Microbiology and Genetics minor. His industry career began at Ionis Pharmaceuticals in a lead discovery group confirming antisense and siRNA hits in relevant cell models. Upon returning to the Boston area in 2005 he joined a spinoff of Vertex, Altus Pharmaceuticals, developing analytical chemistry methods and studying drug formulation stability for clinical candidates. In 2006 Russ joined ALPCO Diagnostics, a small immunoassays distributor looking to develop their own products, to build their R&D, Manufacturing, QA, QC and Technical Support groups. After launching novel Mouse/Rat C-peptide and Proinsulin assays, he moved into commercial roles in Product Management and later Account Management. In 2014 he moved to Seahorse Biosciences to help build their Sales Development group before the company was acquired by Agilent Technologies. Most recently, Russ brought his research and drug development experience to the Life Sciences Group (Gibco/Invitrogen) at Thermo Fisher Scientific as a Technical Specialist for Stem Cells and Drug Discovery.

Haifan Lin, Ph.D.

Eugene Higgins Professor of Cell Biology and founding Director of Yale Stem Cell Center, Professor of Genetics and of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences. Dr. Lin’s work is focused on the self-renewing mechanism of stem cells, using Drosophila germline stem cells, mouse germline, embryonic, and neural stem cells, as well as Hydra and planarian stem cells as models.  He also studies germline development and stem cell-related cancers.

Dr. Lin received his BS degree from Fudan University (1982), and his Ph.D. degree from Cornell University (1990). Following his postdoctoral research at the Carnegie Institution for Science, he joined the faculty of Duke University Medical School in 1994, where he rose to the rank of Full Professor. He founded and directed the Duke Stem Cell Research Program (2005-2006), and moved to Yale in 2006 to establish the Yale Stem Cell Center.  In 2014, He became the Founding Dean (Adjunct) of School of Life Science and Technology at ShanghaiTech University in China.

Dr. Lin has made key contributions to the demonstration of stem cell asymmetric division, and the proof of the stem cell niche theory.  He discovered the Argonuate/Piwi gene family and their essential function in stem cell self-renewal and germline development. He is also a discoverer of a novel class of non-coding small RNAs called PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs), a discovery hailed by the Science magazine as one of the ten Scientific Breakthroughs in 2006.  More recently, he proposed and demonstrated the crucial roles of the Piwi-piRNA pathway in epigenetic programming and in post-transcriptional regulation of mRNA and lncRNA.

Dr. Lin has played many leadership roles in the scientific community and beyond.  His service included Board of Directors of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (2009-present), Treasurer (2013-2016) and Chairman of the Finance (2013-2016) and Publication Committees (2009-2012) of the ISSCR, the Medical Advisory Board of New York Stem Cell Foundation (2009-present), and 16 other advisory committees for academic, non-for-profit, and governmental organizations. Dr. Lin also serves on the Editorial Boards of Cell Stem Cells (2007-present), Stem Cell Reports (2013-present), Cell Research (2010-present) and six other journals.

Dr. Lin received over 30 awards in his career. Recent awards include the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award (2010), the Ellison Medical Foundation Senior Scholar Award (2010), the G. Harold and Leila Y. Mathers Award (2011, 2015), the NIH MERIT Award (2012), the Ray Wu Award (2013), and the Society for the Study of Reproduction Research Award (2015). He is an Elected Fellow of the AAAS (2010-present).

Kyle Jensen, Ph.D.

Kyle Jensen is an entrepreneur, developer, and scientist. Before joining the Yale SOM faculty, he co-founded Agrivida, a venture-backed biotechnology company based in Boston; PriorSmart, a patent analytics provider (acquired by RPX, Nasdaq:RPXC); and Pit Rho, a leader in motorsport analytics. In addition to teaching, Kyle works with numerous Yale start-ups as Associate Dean and Director of Entrepreneurship. His research interests include entrepreneurship, intellectual property, and innovation.

David Thomas Kuninger, Ph.D.

Dr. Kuninger leads research, development and commercialization of next generation culture systems for pluripotent stem cell culture, differentiation, neurobiology and non-hepatic primary cell biology at Thermo Fisher Scientific in the Cell Biology business based in Frederick MD.  His teams support numerous portfolios and have launched over 15 new products spanning stem cell culture & cryopreservation, differentiation (endo-, ecto- and meso-dermal lineages) and neurobiology, leading to more than 25M in revenue over the last 3 years. David is a seasoned scientist and manager, experienced in media formulation & optimization as well as with sophisticated experimental design and data modeling tools applied to cell imaging and functional analysis endpoints as well as 2D and 3D culture models.  Expertise in GLP/GMP compliance, technical transfer and scale up, verification and validation processes.  Prior to starting at Thermo Fisher Scientific (legacy Invitrogen) in 2007 as Staff Scientist, he joined Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU) as a Postdoctoral Fellow investigating the actions of insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) in the lab of Dr. Peter Rotwein, subsequently joining the faculty in the Department of Biochemistry at OHSU as a Research Instructor.  He completed is PhD in Biochemistry and Genetics University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas  in the laboratory of Dr. John Papaconstatinou and has a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Oregon in Eugene OR.

Molly Shoichet, Ph.D.

Professor Molly Shoichet holds the Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Tissue Engineering at the University of Toronto.  She has published over 530 papers, patents and abstracts and has given over 325 lectures worldwide. She currently leads a laboratory of 25 and has graduated 148 researchers. She founded two spin-off companies, is actively engaged in translational research and science outreach. Dr. Shoichet is the recipient of many prestigious distinctions and the only person to be a Fellow of Canada’s 3 National Academies: Canadian Academy of Sciences of the Royal Society of Canada, Canadian Academy of Engineering, and Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. Dr. Shoichet was the L’Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science Laureate for North America in 2015 and elected Foreign Member of the US National Academy of Engineering in 2016. She holds the Order of Ontario, Ontario’s highest honour and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2013, her contributions to Canada’s innovation agenda and the advancement of knowledge were recognized with the QEII Diamond Jubilee Award.  In 2016, Dr. Shoichet became a Foreign Member of the United States National Academy of Engineering (NAE). In 2014, Dr. Shoichet was given the University of Toronto’s highest distinction, University Professor, a distinction held by less than 2% of the faculty. Dr. Shoichet received her SB from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1987) and her PhD from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in Polymer Science and Engineering (1992).

William Skarnes, Ph.D.

Dr. Skarnes, who is on the faculty at the Jackson Laboratory in CTm received his BSc and MSc in Microbiology and Immunology from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. He performed his Ph.D. studies in Molecular and Medical Genetics at the University of Toronto, where he pioneered gene-trapping technology in mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells. Hi then did postdoctoral training in Edinburgh, UK, and became a laboratory group leader at the BBSRC Centre for Genome Research in Edinburgh. He later moved on to a faculty position at the University of California Berkeley, where he worked with mutant ES cells for gene-based, phenotype-driven screens in mice. During this time, he helped to initiate a public gene trap resource called the BayGenomics programme.  From 2003 to 2016, he led the Mouse Developmental Genetics and ES Cell Mutagenesis teams at the Sanger Center in the UK that established a high-throughput pipeline for the production of many thousands of targeted gene mutations in mouse ES cells for EUCOMM (European Conditional Mouse Mutagenesis Program) and KOMP (Knockout Mouse Project). At Jax, he is using genome-editing technology to study gene function and to model disease in human ES cells.

Hans-Willem Snoeck, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Snoeck was trained as clinical hematologist, with a focus on bone marrow transplantation, and from that clinical interest developed a research program in hematopoietic stem cell biology, more specifically mechanisms regulating stem cell renewal and underlying quantitative genetic variation in the behavior of hematopoietic stem cells among inbred mouse strains. Expansion of this program into directed differentiation of ES and iPS cells into thymic epithelial cells arose from the desire to attempt to alleviate post-bone marrow transplantation immune deficiency, caused, among others, by defective T cell reconstitution. In addition, through these studies into the development of anterior foregut endoderm from ES and iPS cells, the lab also focuses on the generation of lung tissue from pluripotent cells.