OPEN BioTech Conference Speakers

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Dr. Ahmed BusnainaDirector,  National Science Foundation’s Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center NorthEastern University

Ahmed Busnaina, Ph.D. is the William Lincoln Smith Chair Professor at Northeastern University and Director. NSF Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center for High Rate Nanomanufacturing (CHN). He is an internationally-recognized authority in the area of surface cleaning and contamination control area. He is a leader in developing fast massive directed assembly of nanoscale elements (such as carbon nanotubes, nanoparticles, etc.). This includes developing templates to direct the assembly of nanoelements into nanoscale structures in a short time (in seconds) and over a large area. Author of more than 600 papers in refereed journals, proceedings and conferences. Invited to write more than 25 articles in several scientific and industrial publications. He edited and co edited more than 15 proceedings and newsletters for many professional societies. He organized more than 80 conferences, workshops, symposia and programs for many professional societies. He consulted extensively to the semiconductor industry on a variety of issues and invited to teach more than 50 shortcourses and present 300 seminars and has 20 patents. He is widely-quoted and has provided insights to several national/international news organizations and publications, ranging from Semiconductor International to Wall Street News wires. He serves on many advisory boards including Samsung Electronics; Chemical Industry Nanomaterials Roadmap, International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors, Journal of Particulate Science and Technology, Journal of Environmental Sciences. He is an American Society of Mechanical Engineering Fellow, a Fellow of the Adhesion Society, an Associate Fellow of the AIAA and IES. He received the Fulbright Senior Scholar Award, Dow Outstanding Young Faculty Award (ASEE); In addition to numerous Who’s Who listings such as Who’s Who in the World; in America; in Science and Engineering; who’s Who of Emerging Leaders in America; American Men and Women of Science.


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Mirza Cifric, CEO , Veritas Genetics

Mr. Mirza Cifric is co-Founder of Veritas Genetics and serves as its Chief Executive Officer and Director. Mr. Cifric served as the Chief Executive Officer and Director at AbVitro, Inc. He is Life sciences entrepreneur. He served as Head of Corporation at Dev. FORMA Therapeutics.


Dr. Mehmet Dokmeci, Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Mehmet R. Dokmeci received B.S. (with distinction) and M.S. degrees from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis and the Ph.D. degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, all in Electrical Engineering. Dr. Dokmeci is currently an Instructor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), Harvard Medical School, a position he has held since June 2011. He is also the co-director of the Biomaterials Innovation Research Center (BIRC) at BWH. Previously, he was on the faculty of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Northeastern University. Before joining academia, he worked for 4 years at Corning-Intellisense Corporation, Wilmington, MA, developing MEMS-based products for the telecommunications and life science industries. He has extensively published in refereed journals and conferences in the areas of MEMS, BioMEMS, micro- and nanotechnology, and sensors. He is the author of 87 technical journal articles and 110 conference publications, has one edited book, four invited book chapters, and four patents. Dr. Dokmeci is also a long term member in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Materials Research Society (MRS), American Chemical Society (ACS) and American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). His group has received several awards for their research, including the Best Poster Award from the MRS Fall Meeting in 2007 and the Best Poster Award from the 8th IEEE International Conference on Nanotechnology in 2008 and the Best Poster Award in IEEE BioCAS conference in 2014.


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Dr. Steve Gullens, Co-Founder of Exel Ventures, and author of Homo Evolutis

Steve Gullans, Ph.D., is a biotech investor, scientist, entrepreneur, and author. He is currently Managing Director at Excel Venture Management where he invests in young life science companies with transformative technologies. He loves innovation and has spoken widely, including at TED, TEDMED, and TEDx. Previously he was a professor at Harvard Medical School where he published more than 130 scientific papers and was elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.


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Vinit Nijhawan, Entrepreneur, Investor and Lecturer Boston University

Vinit Nijhawan was Managing Director, Office of Technology Development at Boston University. Vinit teaches MBA courses on Entrepreneurship at BU Questrom School of Business, over 300 students have taken his courses. Vinit has over 30 years experience building five startups: as CEO of three, five were acquired. Vinit was Venture Partner at Key Venture Partners and over two years sourced over 200 deals and made one investment that was acquired for $430M. Vinit is an advisor and board member to several technology startups and was a Mass High Tech All-Star in 2005. Vinit has participated in over 240 panel discussions and paper presentations, and is a Board Member of Mass Ventures, an early stage, quasi-public Massachusetts venture capital firm, a co-founder of EdTech Accelerator/Incubator LearnLaunch, President of Massachusetts Association of Technology Transfer Offices and on the Advisory Board of Walker Innovation (OTC QB: PPRO). Vinit is also on the board of the National Academy of Inventors. Vinit earned a B.A.Sc in electrical engineering from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada.


Brock Reeve, Director, Harvard Stem Cell Institute

Brock Reeve is Executive Director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. In partnership with the Faculty Directors, he has overall responsibility for the operations and strategy of the Institute whose mission is to use stem cells, both as tools and as therapies, to understand and treat the root causes of leading degenerative diseases.

HSCI is comprised of the schools of Harvard University and all its affiliated hospitals and research institutions. Under the leadership of the Executive Committee, HSCI invests in scientific research and its faculty has grown to include over 300 Principal and Affiliated members. The Institute is engaged with several leading pharmaceutical companies and foundations in joint research projects and its faculty have founded several stem cell-related startup companies and serve on leading Scientific Advisory Boards.

Brock came to this role from the commercial sector with extensive experience in both management consulting and operations for technology-based companies, with a focus on life sciences. Brock received a BA and MPhil from Yale University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

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Dr. Khalid Shah, Director, Stem Cell Therapeutics and Imaging Program
Massachusetts General Hospita

Dr. Khalid Shah is an Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School and heads the Molecular Neurotherapy and Imaging Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, MA. He is also the Director of the Stem Cell Therapeutics and Imaging program in MGH’s Center for Translational Research, and is a Principal Faculty at Harvard Stem Cell Institute in Boston.

In recent years, Dr. Shah and his team have pioneered major developments in the cancer research field, successfully developing therapeutic stem cells for cancer, particularly brain tumors. These studies have been published in a number of very high impact journals like Nature Neuroscience, PNAS, JNCI, Stem Cells, Lancet Oncology and Nature Reviews Cancer validating the use of therapeutic stem cells for cancer therapy. The potential of developing novel cancer therapies in his laboratory has been recognized by many cancer alliances and associations. Based on this, he has received the young investigator award from Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy (ACGT), Research fellow award from American Cancer Society (ACS), Innovation awards from James McDonnell Foundation, American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA), Goldhirsh foundation and American Association of Radiology. Additionally, Dr. Shah has participated in the training of numerous undergraduate, graduate students and residents at MGH and the potential of his mentoring has been recognized by Harvard Medical School, who recently awarded him the Harvard Young Mentor Award.

Dr. Shah’s laboratory has achieved international recognition and has recently launched an outreach program to create public awareness of the fervent need for effective brain tumor treatments, and the current research on the cusp of clinical translation that would yield paramount progress for cancer patients. Amongst Dr. Shah’s recently published works are two books featuring current groundbreaking insights into stem cell therapies for cancer.


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Zhi-Yang Tsun, CMO of a Startup

Zhi-Yang Tsun, as co-founder and Chief Medical Officer of a Startup, is on a mission to democratize health testing and usher in an era of proactive healthcare. Zhi is an MD candidate from Harvard Medical School and received his PhD from MIT studying fundamental mechanisms of cell growth and nutrient sensing with David Sabatini.


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