John R. Adler, MD
John R. Adler, Jr., MD, has been a member of the faculty at Stanford University since July 1987 and a Professor of neurosurgery and radiation oncology at Stanford University since September 1998. Dr. Adler serves on the editorial boards of Computer-Aided Surgery, The Journal of Medical Robotics and Computer Assisted Surgery, the Chinese Journal of Clinical Oncology, and Technology in Cancer Research and Treatment. Dr. Adler holds an AB in biochemistry from Harvard College and an MD from Harvard Medical School.
Dr. Adler's research focuses on the development of computerized tools for surgical guidance. Two different technologies are being investigated: 1) intra-operative image guidance, and 2) frameless stereotactic radiosurgery (the Cyberknife). The first of these provides surgeons with real-time spatial localization. The second utilizes image to image correlation for precisely targeting a sharply collimated radiation beam. This latter surgical tool permits noninvasive ablation of small tumors. He is the founder of Accuray, which was formed to commercialize the Cyberknife.
Anthony Atala, MD
Wake Forest University
Anthony Atala, MD, is the W.H. Boyce Professor, director of the Institute for Regenerative Medicine, and chair of the Department of Urology at Wake Forest University. Dr. Atala is a practicing surgeon and a researcher in the area of regenerative medicine. His current work focuses on growing new human cells, tissues, and organs.
Ten applications of technologies developed in Dr. Atala's laboratory
have been used clinically. He is the co-founder and chairman of the scientific advisory board of Tengion, a clinical-stage biotechnology company that leads the field in
developing neo-organs and tissues derived from a patient's own
(autologous) cells. Tengion is in the process of seeking FDA approval for its bladder tissues, for which it has completed its first Phase II clinical tests.
Dr. Atala is a recipient of the U.S. Congress-funded Christopher Columbus Foundation Award, bestowed on a living American who is currently working on a discovery that will significantly affect society, and the Gold Cystoscope Award for advances in his field. Dr. Atala was named by Scientific American as a Medical Treatments Leader of the Year for his contributions to the fields of cell, tissue and organ regeneration. In 2006, he was named by Fast Company magazine as one of fifty people who "will change how we work and live over the next ten years," and in 2009 he was named as one of Fast Company's 100 Most Creative People in Business. His work was listed as Discover magazine's Number 1 Top Science Story of the Year in the field of medicine, and among Time magazine’s top ten medical breakthroughs of the year in 2007. A Time magazine poll ranked Dr. Atala the 56th most influential person of the year in 2007. In 2008, Esquire magazine named Dr. Atala one of the seventy-five most influential persons of the twenty-first century.
Dr. Atala has led or served several national professional and government committees, including the National Institutes of Health working group on Cells and Developmental Biology and the National Institutes of Health Bioengineering Consortium. He is currently an NIH "Quantum Grant" awardee.
Monica Doss is the director of the FastTrac® Program, a comprehensive entrepreneurship-educational program funded by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, and focuses on broadening the program’s reach and expanding it into new markets. Prior to joining FastTrac®, Doss was the president and CEO of the Council for Entrepreneurial Development in Research Triangle Park, N.C., where she oversaw the direction, operations, and overall management of the organization. Earlier, she was the executive director for the North Carolina Art Society in Raleigh, N.C. She also worked in publishing for national magazines and regional news publications for more than ten years.
Doss earned the 1999 National Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Supporter of Entrepreneurship category. She also received the 2003 Goodman Leadership Award and the 2004 Triangle Women in Business Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2008, her work in developing North Carolina’s life sciences sector was honored with the Charles Hammer Leadership Award.
A leader in professional organizations, Doss served as chairman of the Entrepreneurial Education Foundation, which disseminates FastTrac® programs. She co-chaired the Entrepreneurship and Technology Committee for the Research Triangle Region's Future Cluster Competitiveness Initiative and was a member of the North Carolina Nanotechnology Planning Committee. Doss is also a director of Southeast BIO, director of the North Carolina Biosciences Fund, and serves on the Board and Executive Committee for NC IDEA.
Doss received a bachelor's degree in English and library science and a master's degree in American literature from Florida State University.
Frank L. Douglas, PhD, MD
Frank L. Douglas, PhD, MD, is a senior fellow at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, senior partner of PureTech Ventures, and the founder and first executive director of the MIT Center for Biomedical Innovation. At MIT, he was the Professor of the Practice in the MIT Sloan School of Management and also held appointments in the departments of biology, biological engineering, and the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology. Dr. Douglas is also chairman of the World Health Organization Exploratory Drugs Advisory Committee.
Earlier in his career, Dr. Douglas was executive vice president, chief scientific officer, and a member of the board of management of Aventis, where he headed drug innovation and approval, with global responsibilities for research, development, and regulatory and marketing support. A leader in innovation in pharmaceutical research and development, Dr. Douglas is a senior scientific advisor for Bayer Healthcare and serves on the board of directors of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and on the board of directors of a number of biotechnology companies.
Dr. Douglas is the recipient of the 2007 Black History Makers Award and has been honored twice as the Global Pharmaceutical R&D Director of the Year. He has also received the Medal of Honor and an Honorary Professorship from the Johann Wolfgang von Goethe University in Frankfurt, Germany.
Dr. Douglas holds a PhD in physical chemistry and an MD from Cornell University. He did his internship and residency in internal medicine at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institution and a fellowship in neuroendocrinology at the National Institutes of Health.
Bo Fishback is vice president of Entrepreneurship for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. In this capacity his responsibilities include developing and advancing transformative programs that strengthen entrepreneurial engagement in the economy and help entrepreneurs succeed.
Fishback joined the Kauffman Foundation in 2006 as a director in the Advancing Innovation area, where he studied the country's best business accelerators and university-based commercialization programs. In 2007, he joined the Kansas City-based BioMed Valley Discoveries, a translational research and development organization affiliated with the Stowers Institute whose mission is to translate basic biomedical research into applications that improve human health.
Fishback is a co-founder of Lightspeed Genomics, a next-generation, genome sequencing company that was spun out of a research program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and he has worked with a variety of startups in the life science and high-tech spaces. Previously, he was a consultant with PureTech Ventures in Boston, and before that, he served as director of IQHealth for Cerner Corporation in Kansas City, where he led a team of application developers, designers, and product managers in the creation of web-based health tools.
Fishback received his bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering from Southern Methodist University and earned an MBA from the Harvard Business School.
Eugene Fitzgerald, PhD
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Eugene Fitzgerald, PhD, is the Merton C. Flemings-SMA Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is also the director of the Fitzgerald Group, which addresses fundamental problems at the materials and device level that, if solved, will bring new opportunities to the marketplace.
Typical fundamental problems involve materials incompatibilities, such as combining semiconductors with different lattice constants.
Some of the group's previous research successes have led to newly formed companies such as AmberWave Systems Corporation, Paradigm Research LLC, and 4Power LLC. Its experience in materials and entrepreneurship has also led to participation in the founding teams of Contour Semiconductor and The Water Initiative. Its current research projects will impact solar energy, thermoelectric materials, and optoelectronic and electronic products.
As a director in the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation's Advancing Innovation group, Sandra Miller is charged with developing programs to cultivate entrepreneurs among the U.S. postdoctoral researcher community. The Advancing Innovation initiative explores ways to partner with universities to foster higher levels of innovative entrepreneurship through the commercialization of university-based technologies.
Sandra joined the Kauffman Foundation after thirteen years at Stanford, where she had a major role in the formation of the Stanford Biodesign Program--a landmark educational program training the next generation of biomedical technology leaders. As managing director of Biodesign, Sandra counseled numerous Stanford inventors on issues such as license agreement terms, new company and founding team formation, fundraising strategy, and university policies (consulting, intellectual property ownership, and conflict of interest). More recently, Sandra was the program director for the Stanford Bioengineering Department's Translational Research Partnership Award from the Wallace Coulter Foundation.
Lesa Mitchell is vice president of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation's initiatives focused on advancing innovation. She joined the Foundation in 2003.
In this capacity, she is responsible for the Kauffman Foundation's frontier work in understanding the policy levers that influence the advancement of innovation from universities into the commercial market. Under Mitchell's leadership, the Foundation is identifying critical research opportunities, defining and codifying alternative pathways, and identifying new models to foster innovation. She launched the Kauffman Innovation Network in 2005, and is overseeing several other programs, including the iBridge Network, which provides a platform for researchers to share their discoveries, research methods, and findings. Mitchell works closely with the National Academy and National Science Foundation, focusing on initiatives that enable innovation by fostering university-industry relationships.
Prior to joining the Kauffman Foundation, Mitchell's professional background included consulting for global pharmaceutical clients such as Takeda and Eli Lilly. Much of her career was spent in global executive roles at Aventis and Quintiles. At Hoechst Marion Roussell, Mitchell led multiple initiatives that resulted in the global sharing of compound data within the discovery organizations, built capabilities to utilize global resources and data packages across clinical development teams, and created the opportunity for simultaneous submissions. She has a bachelor's degree from the University of Kansas and volunteers her time on various regional boards.
Louise Perkins, PhD
Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation
Louise M. Perkins, PhD, is the chief scientific officer at the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, where she is responsible for the strategic development and execution of the MMRF's research agenda. Dr. Perkins brings more than sixteen years of pharmaceutical research experience from two major companies to the MMRF. Prior to joining the MMRF, she was the Director of Cancer Research at Bayer Pharmaceuticals in West Haven, CT, where she contributed to advancing novel targeted therapies toward clinical study, including Nexavar® and other innovative signal transduction inhibitors. While at Bayer, she also served as the Director of Research Licensing and was responsible for oncology licensing activities in support of cancer research programs. Prior to joining Bayer, she led a cancer research group at the Schering Plough Research Institute in Kenilworth, N.J. In this role, she participated in several early-stage research programs including novel target-finding research using human genomics data.
Dr. Perkins graduated from the University of Michigan with a PhD and MS in biological chemistry and conducted postdoctoral studies at Princeton University in the Department of Molecular Biology. She earned her BS in zoology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Thom Ruhe is director of Entrepreneurship for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. In addition to guiding the online translation of various Foundation programs, he leads a joint venture between the Kauffman Foundation and the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce focused on leveraging America's entrepreneurial leadership to advance national and global economic growth: www.entrepreneurship.org/.gov.
Prior to joining the Kauffman Foundation, Ruhe was the founding chief marketing officer for JumpStart, a nonprofit economic development organization created to accelerate the growth of high-potential, early stage companies in Northeast Ohio. In addition to working with portfolio companies, he directed the creation of an online social networking site for entrepreneurs, angel investors, business mentors, and service providers, known as IdeaCrossing.org. Formerly, Ruhe was president of Optiem LLC, where he led the growth of a nascent marketing practice to a nationally recognized interactive marketing, communications, and public relations agency. Earlier in his career, Ruhe held consultative positions in technology integration, marketing, finance, sales, and management. His experience spans several entrepreneurial endeavors as well as working with Fortune 500 companies.
Ruhe serves on the board of directors of the Holden Arboretum, the nation's largest arboretum. He earned his bachelor's degree in management information systems at Bowling Green State University, where he was the recipient of a U.S. Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps scholarship.
De Novo Ventures
Jay Watkins is a Managing Director at De Novo Ventures. Prior to joining De Novo in 2002, Watkins was a co-founder of Origin Medsystems, a venture-funded medical technology start-up that was purchased by Eli Lilly & Company in 1992. When Eli Lilly divested its medical device businesses to form Guidant in 1995, he became a member of the corporation's management committee, serving in this role from 1995 to 2002. During this time, he served as president of numerous divisions, including the Minimally Invasive Surgery Group. In addition, Watkins was the president of Compass, Guidant Corporation's corporate business development and new ventures group. Prior to founding Origin, Watkins held management positions in several startups, including Microgenics Corporation, and was a consultant with the international consulting firm McKinsey & Company. He has been a member of the board of directors of several public companies, including Gynecare, Cardiogenesis, and Rita Medical. Watkins received his MBA from Harvard University and his undergraduate degree from Stanford University.
Watkins sits on the boards of EBR Systems, PhotoThera, Pulmonx, Sierra Surgical, Synergeyes and Ventus Medical. He also represented De Novo on investments in Lumend and Hansen Medical.