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Industrial Advisory Board

The Bioengineering Industrial Advisory Board unites a diverse group of bright and enterprising leaders from across the sector to create a strong resource pool for students, faculty, and administrators, as the department continues to grow and thrive. Building new corporate relationships and offering leadership and support, the Board meets twice annually—in the fall and spring. They ally with faculty to better define the Board’s goals, and to pinpoint the needs of the department to devise new, innovative solutions and methods.

Currently, the Department IAB members are:

Karim Azer
Head of Quantitative Systems Pharmacology and DMPK Modeling, Bill and Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute

Karim Azer is the head of Quantitative Systems Pharmacology (QSP) and DMPK Modeling at the Bill & Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute. His work is focused on leveraging the spectrum of bioinformatics, systems biology, QSP and DMPK modeling approaches, and data analytics, to address translational medicine needs of the institute, in the areas of tuberculosis, malaria, diarrheal and enteric diseases, and maternal neonatal health.

Azer has worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over 20 years, employing a wide variety of modeling, both mechanistic and empirical, and computer science approaches to address drug discovery and development questions in R&D.

BS in Mathematics as well as Computer Science from Rutgers University
MS in Applied Mathematics from Courant Institute at New York University
PhD in Applied Mathematics from the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University

Sheila Boyce
Director of Engineering, Histogenics Corporation

Sheila Boyce is the Director of Engineering at Histogenics Corporation, a regenerative medicine company developing and commercializing products for treating musculoskeletal related conditions. She previously spent more than 12 years at Genzyme Corporation as lead engineer on various development and technology transfer projects, and is the recipient of two Genzyme Corporation Vice President’s Awards, recognizing outstanding dedication and contribution to the success of a program.

BS in Chemical Engineering from Northeastern University

Charles Bridges
VP, Therapeutic Area Expert - Cardiovascular, Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies

Charles R. Bridges is a distinguished and board certified surgeon-scientist, and the Vice President for Therapeutic Area Expert - Cardiovascular for Johnson and Johnson Medical Devices. He previously worked for the Carolinas Healthcare System, where he was Chairman of the Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery and Vice President of Cardiovascular Translational Research. He has also been Professor of Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania and Chief of Cardiac Surgery at Pennsylvania Hospital. Currently, he is a member of the Steering Committee of the Gene Therapy Resource Program (GTRP) of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, and a Chairman of the Cardiovascular Committee of the American Society for Cell and Gene Therapy.

BA in Applied Physics from Harvard College
MD in Health Sciences and Technology from Harvard Medical School in the Harvard-M.I.T. Program
MS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from M.I.T
PhD in Chemical Engineering

Jeff Cerier
President, Sage Product Development, Inc

Jeff Cerier formed Sage Product Development, Inc. with two partners in order to provide fast, efficient and creative product development services to medical device companies. He previously led the product development effort to develop an innovative skin grafting system for Momelan, and was one of six industry professionals who co-founded TDC Medical (now Vention Medical), a medical device product development and manufacturing service provider.  He has served as Vice President of Product Development at NDO Surgical, and has also been Group Manager within the engineering department at ACT Medical, and Director of Patents and Technology for UroMed Corporation.

BS in Mechanical Engineering from Tufts University
MS in Engineering Management from Northeastern University

Robert DePasqua
Medical Device Management Advisor

Robert DePasqua is a board member of Audax Medical, Inc, and currently works independently as a Management Advisor and private investor. With forty-five years of broad management experience building, restructuring, investing, and advising early and mid-stage high tech medical device companies, he has operated as CEO extensively throughout his career, establishing and directing several successful entrepreneurial organizations in both the private and public sector. These include the endoscopy division of Boston Scientific, as well as the Spectranetics Corp, where he raised a $36 million IPO. He also had a key role investing in and advising two start up spinal product companies, Spinetech, Inc. and Blackstone Medical Corp (both acquired for a combined $1 billion in cash).

BS in Mechanical Engineering from Northeastern University

Robert Farra
Chief Executive Officer, CeQur

Robert Farra is the CEO of CeQur Corp, a company developing a 3-day wearable insulin device for people with type 2 diabetes. Prior to CeQur, he was with Microchips Biotech, an MIT startup developing implantable drug delivery devices. There he held various roles including President and COO, CTO, and Vice President of R&D, and was instrumental in advancing a wireless drug delivery platform and in developing strategic partnerships with Teva and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He has also held senior leadership positions at Abiomed, Accellent, and Arthur D. Little, and has over twenty patents currently credited to his name and work.

MS in Mechanical Engineering from MIT

Richard Gedney II
Founder, CEO, Technical Director, ADMET, Inc.

Richard T. Gedney II is the founder, CEO and Technical Director of ADMET, which has built an enviable reputation in retrofit/upgrade packages for a large range of electromechanical and servohydraulic materials testing machines, regardless of age or machine type. It now sells to over a dozen sectors including automotive, aerospace, biomedical, construction, plastics, metals, test labs, and university sectors as well as major government agencies. Customers include Lawrence Livermore National Lab, GE, DuPont, Boeing, US Steel, John Deere, Bechtel, Medtronic, and Harvard Medical School.

BS in Mechanical Engineering from Northeastern University
MS in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Jonathan P. Gertler
CEO and Managing Partner, Back Bay Life Science Advisors

Dr. Jonathan P. Gertler has been advising life science companies since the 1990s, providing counsel on franchise and therapeutic-area strategies and corporate and business development activities, as well as advising clients on planning and the execution of value-creating transactions. He has served as Senior Partner and Managing Director of Leerink Swann Strategic Advisors, has led several investment banking groups, and has founded three start-up companies. Jonathan was also a practicing academic vascular surgeon, and has published extensively in clinical vascular surgery and endothelial and smooth muscle cell biology. He is a frequent speaker and writer on strategic issues facing life science companies at all stages and currently serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board at Boston University School of Medicine. He trained at Columbia University, Yale New Haven Hospital, and the Massachusetts General Hospital; he has also served as Chief of Vascular Surgery at SUNY-HSCB in New York, as well as Associate Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School and the MGH.

BA from Wesleyan University
MD from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
MBA in Health Policy and Management from Boston University

Michelle Hoffmann
Senior Vice President, Back Bay Life Science Advisors

Michelle Hoffmann at Back Bay Life Science Advisors leads teams of life science experts as they provide strategy to biopharma, medical device, diagnostics, and tools companies, as well as academic innovation groups. Deeply versed in science and commercialization approaches, Hoffmann provides analysis and understanding of the value of new technologies and medicines across areas such as oncology, CNS, anti-virals, immunosuppressants and cardiovascular approaches.

BS in Biology from Cornell
PhD in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California at Berkeley

Charles Mazel
Founder/President, NIGHTSEA and BlueLine NDT; Principal Research Scientist at Physical Sciences Inc.

Charles Mazel is the founder and President of NIGHTSEA, which develops and manufactures equipment for viewing and photographing fluorescence at a wide variety of scales. He has also worked as a Principal Research Scientist at Physical Sciences Inc., as a Research Engineer at MIT managing the Hydrodynamics Laboratory, and as Assistant Director of the Edgerton Center at MIT.  His earlier research includes Deep Ocean hydrographic and oceanographic survey work with Western Electric Corp. as well as field and training engineer for side scan sonars and sub-bottom profilers at Klein Associates Inc. He has participated in numerous underwater archaeological projects in the US and overseas.

BS in Physics from Brandeis University
MS in Ocean Engineering from MIT
PhD in Biology from Boston University

Sridar Natesan
Vice President of External Innovation and Partnering, Sanofi-Aventis SA

Prior to taking his current role at Sanofi in 2009, Dr. Sridar Natesan served as their Scientific Site Head and as a Senior Distinguished Scientist. He also co-led the stem cell initiative, all while leading multiple scientific teams focused on drug discovery and holding several other senior management positions. He has established major partnerships with major academic and medical institutions, biotechnology companies, as well as various disease foundations, and has served on several committees and boards including the Industry Committee of International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR), Mass BioEd and U Mass Center for Clinical & Translational Science.

PhD in Molecular Genetics from the University of Calgary

Janna Nawroth
Associate Director, Emulate, Inc.

Nawroth oversees Research & Development (R&D) at Emulate, Inc. Based on their Organs-on-Chips technology, Emulate is developing a new living system that places cells within micro-engineered environments, allowing researchers to understand how different diseases, medicines, chemicals and foods affect human health. Specifically, Nawroth leads the development of the Airway-Chip and Diseased Liver-Chip, bringing more than seven years' experience in academia and industry leadership of basic research and discovery and in managing technology development.

PhD in Biology from the California Institute of Technology in collaboration with Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

David O'Dowd
Associate Director of Biomedical Solutions, Draper Laboratories

David O’Dowd is an Associate Director in the Biomedical Solutions group at Draper Laboratory. Previously he was Director of Life Sciences at Forge Partners, Managing Director of DGO Consulting, and Vice President of Business Development and Strategy at PrivaSource, Inc. He has also served as Director of Development and Director of Marketing at Genomics Collaborative, a genomics start-up that built a repository of 100,000 DNA and tissue samples with detailed medical information from people around the world with common diseases.

BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Rochester
MS in Technology and Policy from MIT

Amar Sawhney
Executive Chairman of the Board, Ocular Therapeutix

Amarpreet is the Executive Chairman of Ocular Therapeutix, Inc., which focuses on solving unmet needs in ophthalmic drug delivery. He is also the President and Chairman of Instylla, which focuses on embolic therapies for tumors, and the Chairman of Augmenix, Inc., which works to improve outcomes and targeting of radiotherapy. Amar’s innovations are the subject of over 120 issued and pending patents in biomaterials and bio-surgery, including several “first of a kind” surgical sealants and spacers to be approved by the United States FDA; and he also currently serves on the board of directors of EcoSikh, Axtria, The Stroke Project, Augmenix and Ocular Therapeutix.

BT in Chemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi
MS and PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin

Birgit Schoeberl
Global Head of Modeling and Simulation, PK Sciences, Novartis

Birgit Schoeberl served as interim Senior Vice President, Scientific Value, at GNS Healthcare prior to joining Novartis. During her time there, she focused on applying causal machine learning to drug development. She has also been a member of the founding team at Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, where she spent over 12 years in different roles. Since then, she has gained broad experience in oncology drug discovery and development, and her leadership team is responsible for multiple preclinical and early clinical programs.

Dipl. Ing. from the Technical University in Karlsruhe, Germany
PhD in Biological Engineering from the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems in Magdeburg