IEEE EMBS presents

EMBS Presidential Distinguished Lecturers

Jadwiga Renata Bienkowska, Ph.D.
Sr. Director and Head of Computational Biology at Pfizer, Oncology Research and Development

Dr. Jadwiga Bienkowska is Sr. Director and Head of Computational Biology at Pfizer, Oncology Research and Development.  ORD mission is development of breakthrough therapies for unmet needs of Cancer patients. Mission of the Computational Biology is to decode complex molecular data into data driven decisions to accelerate drug development from new targets discovery and MOA studies, translation of pre-clinical observation to patient selection and progression of new therapies through Phase I trials, and bedside to bench translation of insights from Phase III -IV trials clinical and biomarker data.  Dr. Bienkowska has over 20 years of experience in Pharma and Biotech assuming roles of increasing responsibilities and leadership to leverage Data Science and unravel molecular mechanisms of disease, advance new therapies and deliver Precision Medicine to patients.  Prior to joining Pfizer Dr. Bienkowska lead a computational biology research groups at BiogenIdec and EMD Serono focused on uncovering molecular drivers and new therapies for Immune and Neurological diseases and Cancer.  Dr. Bienkowska holds PhD from the University of Chicago and completed postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School.

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Mike Hess
Vice President Corporate Technology And Innovation

Mike Hess, VP of Corporate Technology and Innovation, has been with Medtronic for over 30 years.   Leading the corporate Science and Technology organization, and  internal R&D Council, Mike is focused on identifying and prioritizing enterprise-wide technology initiatives to advance therapy innovation.  At Medtronic, Mike has worked in a wide range of leadership roles at Medtronic including therapy R&D management, corporate research and technology, program management, upstream marketing, clinical, and General Management.  He is a Technical Fellow, a member of the Medtronic Bakken Society and an AIMBE fellow.  Mike has over 36 issued patents and numerous publications to his credit.

Mike earned his BSBE from Case Western Reserve University and MS Software Engineering from the University of St. Thomas.

Outside of Medtronic Mike is active in the community and  is on numerous academic advisory boards for the advancement of Biomedical Engineering.  He has been involved in BMES and other associations that promote engineering and education.

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Eva van Rikxoort, Ph.D.
CEO & Founder at Thirona

Eva is co-founder and managing director of Thirona, a company focusing on the development of automated medical image analysis. Eva holds a Ph.D. in medical image analysis from Utrecht University Medical Center in the Netherlands. After postdoctoral training at UCLA, she became an assistant professor at Radboud University Medical Center in the Netherlands. Eva founded Thirona to bridge the gap between academia and clinical use. Thirona focuses on thoracic and retinal diseases and most recently added CAD4COVID, software for the detection and quantification of COVID-19, to its portfolio of certified products

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Anita Rogacs, Ph.D.
Head of Life Sciences Strategy and R&D, HP Labs at HP Inc

Dr. Anita Rogacs has done extensive work in the field of microfluidics, analytical chemistry, molecular biology, nanotechnology, plasmonics, and Raman spectroscopy, authoring over 30 publications. Anita received her M.S. and Ph.D in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University, and has studied business at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She is a National Science Foundation (NSF) and Sandia National Laboratories Fellow.  After receiving her Ph.D., she joined HP’s CTO office and Labs, where she led strategy and the technology development of a broad array of Life Sciences platforms. Today, she is the Scientific Director of New Business Strategy and Incubation, focusing on bringing HP healthcare solutions to the market.

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Erika Ross, Ph.D.
Director of R&D Applied Research at Abbott Neuromodulation

Erika is the Director of R&D Applied Research at Abbott Neuromodulation, 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 in Rochester, Minnesota where she developed invasive and non-invasive solutions to unmet needs in the neuromodulation and other surgical practice areas.

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Ali Tinazli, Ph.D.
Chief Commercial Officer, Fluxergy

Prior to his role at Fluxergy as Chief Commercial Officer, Dr. Ali Tinazli has been leading the corporate-wide, global strategy for Healthcare and Life Sciences for Hewlett-Packard (HP Inc.) and built a new life sciences business at SONY in his earlier career. He also currently serves as Board Member and Angel Investor at various start-up companies ranging from cybersecurity and digital health to oncology. Dr. Ali Tinazli has a deep background in the science and business of biomedicine and healthcare.

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Natalie Wisniewski, Ph.D.
Founder, Chief Technology Officer, Board of Directors, PROFUSA, Inc.

Dr. Natalie Wisniewski is a science and technology professional working in the areas of digital health, wearable devices, implantable sensors, remote monitoring and systems for home healthcare. She co-founded Profusa, Inc. to develop tissue integrating biosensors for mobile health monitoring. Under Dr. Wisniewski’s leadership as Chief Technology Officer, Profusa developed optical hydrogel-based biosensors from concept to regulatory approval, with sensors functioning in humans for a landmark of 4 years. Dr. Wisniewski served as the Principle Investigator on $30M of NIH and DARPA research grants, and has over 100 papers, patents and invited lectures on biosensors, diabetes, tissue hypoxia, exercise physiology, infectious disease trauma and implantable devices. She was awarded the prestigious NIH Transformative Research Award for her work on multi-analyte in vivo sensing for mobile health, and her company was named Global Entrepreneurial Company of the Year in 2019 by Frost and Sulliven.

Dr. Wisniewski earned engineering degrees from Purdue University (B.S. in Chemical Engineering) and Duke University (Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering with a Certificate in Cellular and Bio-surface Engineering). For her graduate work, she taught biomaterials and researched the mechanisms and effects of biofouling and the foreign body response on implantable biosensors of various material compositions. She worked in R&D and manufacturing of consumer products at Kimberly-Clark Corporation and in management consulting with McKinsey & Company. She runs her own consulting firm in the San Francisco Bay Area specializing in bringing technology innovations to market that will improve health and wellness. She currently serves as an advisor for several start-up companies and on the Advisory Boards of Duke Biomedical Engineering, the NSF Center for Advanced Self-Powered Systems of Integrated Sensors & Technologies, and the Material Impact Venture Capital Fund.

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