University of Houston
Metin Akay received his B.S. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering from the Bogazici University, Istanbul, Turkey in 1981 and 1984, respectively, and a Ph.D. degree from Rutgers University in 1990. He also received an honorary Ph.D. from the Aalborg University in 2015. He is currently the founding chair of the new Biomedical Engineering Department and the John S. Dunn professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Houston. He is currently the President-Elect of IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society.
He has played a key role in promoting biomedical education in the world by writing and editing several books, editing several special issues of prestigious journals, including the Proc of IEEE, and giving several keynotes and plenary talks at international conferences, symposiums, and workshops regarding emerging technologies in biomedical engineering. He is the founding editor-in-chief of the Biomedical Engineering Book Series published by the Wiley and IEEE Press and the Wiley Encyclopedia of Biomedical Engineering. He is also the editor of the Neural Engineering Handbook published by Wiley/IEEE Press and the first steering committee chair of the IEEE Trans on Computational Biology and Bioinformatics.
Natalie Wisniewski pushes the boundaries of medical device innovation in implantable and wearable devices, home care diagnostics, digital health platforms, remote body monitoring and data analytics. She co-founded Profusa, Inc. to develop tissue-integrating sensors for mobile health monitoring. These injectable nano-sensors report health metrics to a mobile phone as frequently as every second. For over a decade, Dr. Wisniewski led the technology from concept to clinic to regulatory approval to commercial sale. She served as the Principle Investigator on over $30M of NIH and DARPA research grants, and has over 100 papers, patents and invited lectures on biosensors, diabetes, tissue hypoxia, exercise physiology, cardiovascular health, infectious disease, trauma and implantable devices. She was awarded the NIH Transformative Research Award for her work on multi-analyte in vivo sensing for mobile health applications, and her start-up was named Global Entrepreneurial Company of the Year Award in 2019 by Frost and Sulliven. Dr. Wisniewski is honored to be a IEEE Presidential Distinguished Lecturer. Dr. Wisniewski earned a B.S. in chemical engineering from Purdue Univeristy and a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Duke University. She previously worked at Kimberly-Clark Corporation and McKinsey & Company, and she now runs her own consulting firm in the San Francisco Bay Area specializing in technical, clinical and regulatory strategy for medical device and digital health companies. She currently serves as an advisor for several start-up companies and on the advisory boards of Duke Biomedical Engineering, Material Impact Venture Fund and the NSF Center for Advanced Self-Powered Systems of Integrated Sensors and Technologies.
Co-Chairs, Symposium 1
Metin Akay and Natalie Wisniewski
Co-Chairs, Symposium 2
Ming Jack Po
Ming Jack Po, MD, PhD, is the CEO and co-founder of Ansible Health, a company focused on home based chronic care management, starting with COPD. Prior to his current role, he was a product manager at Google working in Healthcare and Machine Learning. At Google, he has led teams in Health, Research, Cloud, as well as in Search. Prior to joining Google, Jack spent a decade working in different senior operating and venture capital roles in areas related to medical devices, healthcare delivery, and Global Health. Jack is a respected thought leader in the fields of Healthcare IT, Healthcare Delivery, Machine Learning, and BioDesign and he continues to teach and mentor students at Columbia University and Johns Hopkins University. In addition, Jack is currently a board member of El Camino Health System, a trustee of the Austen Riggs Center, a board member of AcademyHealth, a member of the NIH’s National Library of Medicine’s Board of Scientific Counselors, and a member of the ONC’s Interoperability Standards Priorities Task Force.
Jack received his M.D. and Ph.D. from Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons and from the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Columbia University’s Fu School of Engineering. He received his M.A. in mathematics, and his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering and Computer Science from Johns Hopkins University.
Bruce Hecht is the CEO and CTO of VG2PLAY. He was with Analog Devices Global Operations & Technology where he applies over 25 years’ experience in from R&D through deployment of New Products and New Technologies in hardware, software, and systems engineering. Bruce’s focus is on the intersection of design, learning, and leadership and has successfully grown new product portfolios in instrumentation and industrial products, healthcare devices and systems, and automotive electronic and mechatronic systems.
From Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Bruce has founded software, hardware, and learning organizations. His entrepreneurial adventures have brought him to the Shad Valley program, the London International Youth Science Forum, and the Canadian Technology Accelerator (CTA) based at the Cambridge Innovation Center. He holds a Certified Achievement in Alliance Management from the Association of Strategic Alliance Professionals and a Certified Six Sigma Black Belt through the American Society for Quality. Bruce is a member of the Corporate Advisory Board for INCOSE and serves on several working groups including Product Line Engineering, Systems Security Engineering, and Systems Science.
Bruce is an IEEE Senior Member and has served as guest editor for the IEEE Journal of Solid-State Circuits. He is currently a member of the steering committee for the IEEE Design & Test Magazine. He has served in many conference roles, including the launch of the IEEE Future Leaders Forum, and serving as the Technical Program Committee Chair and General Chair of local and international conferences, including Bipolar/BiCMOS Technical Meeting (BCTM) at sites from Boston to Bordeaux. He is on the Leadership Boards for the IEEE EMBS, SSCS, Biometrics Council, and the IEEE Sensors Council.
Co-Chairs, Symposium 3
Colin J.H. Brenan is a serial life science entrepreneur and senior executive with over 30 years of experience in scientific research, project management, product development, strategic marketing, and financing of early-stage life science companies. Dr. Brenan is currently a Founder/Chief Commercial Officer of antibody-drug developer HiFiBiO Ltd (www.hifibio.com) and Founder/CEO of the single-cell instrumentation company 1CellBio Inc. (www.1cell-bio.com). Formerly he was Managing Director of the Monsanto-Atlas Seed Fund Alliance at Atlas Venture (Cambridge, USA) where he identified and invested in seed and early-stage life science companies. Prior to Atlas, Dr. Brenan was Director of Strategic Relationships for the Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology (Boston, MA).
Previous to joining CIMIT, Dr. Brenan was the Founder, Chief Technology Officer, and Senior Vice President, Business Development for BioTrove Inc. (Woburn, USA), a life science tools and consumables company spun-out from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and acquired by Life Technologies Inc. (LIFE:NASDAQ); and a Founder of Biocius Inc., a drug development instrument and service provider spun-out from BioTrove and acquired by Agilent Inc. (A:NYSE).
Dr. Brenan is the inventor of 30 US patents, +60 patent applications, and published +50 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and reports in the fields of bio-microsystems, confocal microscopy, spectroscopic imaging, and microsurgical robotics. He has over a decade of experience in consulting for the US National Institutes of Health and is a reviewer for IEEE, IEE, and AIP journals. Dr. Brenan is a Senior Member of the IEEE-EMBS and former Editor-in-Chief of IEEE PULSE Magazine. He received his B.Sc. (Honors Physics), M. Eng. (Electrical), and Ph.D. (Biomedical Engineering) from McGill University (Montreal, Canada) and completed post-doctoral training at MIT (Cambridge, USA).
Ali Tinazli, joined recently lifespin in Germany as CEO, has a deep background in the science and business of biomedicine and healthcare. Ali has done extensive work in the field of the molecular biology of aging and nanobiotechnology and has authored about 20 publications.
After receiving his Ph.D., Ali was in Corporate Development at Applied Biosystems (now: Thermo Fisher) where he conducted technology scouting and in-licensing. From 2008-2015, Dr. Tinazli built the biomedical consumables business at Sony DADC (part of SONY Corporation).
As a member of the management team at Sony DADC BioSciences, he has headed as VP & Head of Business Development the Americas business based out of Cambridge, MA. 2015-2019 Ali was leading Hewlett-Packard’s global healthcare strategy in Palo Alto (CA, USA) and joined Fluxergy in Irvine (CA, USA) as CCO after.
In addition to his bioscience and industry domain experience, Ali brings strong entrepreneurial experience and hands-on knowledge of the biosciences start-up community.
Tinazli received his Ph.D. in BioChemistry from J.W. Goethe University in Germany, and also studied business at UC, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and MIT’s Sloan School of Management.”
Co-Chairs, Symposium 4
Erika Ross joined Abbott in September 2019 in her current role as Director, R&D Applied Research for Neuromodulation.
Dr. Ross is responsible for leading applied research strategy, external partnerships, portfolio, and execution. Applied research includes computational modeling, pre-clinical, clinical feasibility & safety trials that feed new products and indications.
Prior to her role at Abbott, Erika was the Neuroscience Director at Cala Health, a Stanford Biodesign incubated Bay Area start-up that developed a non-invasive, digitally-enabled neuromodulation solution for Essential Tremor patients. She held roles of increasing leadership at Cala Health as the company completed development and prepared for commercialization and played a major role in developing their digital health architecture and team.
Prior to Cala Health, Erika held the roles of Assistant Professor of Neurologic Surgery and Deputy Director of the Surgical Device Innovation Accelerator at the Mayo Clinic where she developed invasive and non-invasive solutions to unmet needs in the neuromodulation and other surgical practice areas.
Erika completed her BS in Biology, Cognitive Neuroscience and MS in Molecular Biology at the University of Denver. She completed her PhD in Neuroscience studying neural stimulation at the Mayo Clinic.
Jo Jo Platt
JoJo Platt has been a strategic advisor and neurotechnology consultant for over ten years. As the founder and president of Platt & Associates, she has helped academic and commercial leaders identify new opportunities, transform organizations, and build teams from the ground up. She has worked with prestigious institutions to identify and establish strategic partnerships in the emerging field of bioelectronic medicine, launched a research center and a peer-reviewed journal, and served on many impactful industry meeting and conference boards. Her passion is to accelerate research toward translation by identifying and driving collaborations across all fields of neurotechnology.
Publicity and Social Media Promotion Team
Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society
Khanita Duangchaemkarn, Pharm.D
University of Phayao, Thailand
Hans van Oostrom, Ph.D
van Oostrom Consulting
Charlotte Mae K. Waits, Ph.D.
University of Houston
Ting Chen, Ph.D.
University of Houston
University of Houston