Gert Caspritz, Ph.D.



Dr. Caspritz is a senior executive with more than 18 years of experience in pharmaceutical research and development, management and business development. Additionally, he carries more than 11 years of experience in the venture capital business as General Partner/Partner and Investment Manager. Through these opportunities, he has extensive experience as a member of various board committees in both private and public companies.


Dr. Caspritz received his Ph.D. in Microbiology, Genetics and Biochemistry from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz in Germany.

Albine Martin, Ph.D.



Dr. Albine Martin brings over 20 years of operating and technology commercialization experience within 3 three public companies representing the biotechnology, diagnostics and life sciences sector. Currently she holds roles as Entrepreneur in Residence at Johns Hopkins University and Biohealth Innovation for successful translation of early stage innovation.  As a  member of  New Dominion Angels  she serves as a domain expert and investor. She has served as COO of Precision Biologics, a clinical stage oncology company with a Companion Diagnostic.. As Vice President at Compugen (CGEN), she built a life sciences portfolio and managed strategic alliances with Medarex, Roche, Biosite and Sigma-Aldrich.  During her tenure at Life Technologies (TMO), she managed the global life sciences portfolio as  Senior Business Director and managed Joint Ventures and expansion within the Asia-Pacific region. She has collaborated with FDA/CBER to developed  standards for ancillary products within Cell and Gene Therapy. She served as first senior  team member at Digene Diagnostics (QGEN)  and joined the team that led the BLA approval and commercialization of the first HPV molecular diagnostic test. She is a long-standing member of the NSF external commercial review team.


Dr. Martin holds a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland and served as a Staff Fellow at the National Institutes of Health and holds a Certificate of Financial Management from Cornell University and is a graduate of the Program on Leadership and Strategy in Pharmaceuticals and Biotech at the Harvard Business School.

Phyllis Gardner, M.D.



Dr. Gardner has spent over 25 years in academia, medicine and industry. She began her academic medical career at Stanford University, where she has held several positions including Senior Associate Dean for Education and Student Affairs and remains today as Professor of Medicine.


She took a leave of absence to work at ALZA Corporation, a major drug delivery company, as a Principal Scientist, Vice President of Research and as Head of ALZA Technology Institute. She has conducted extensive research in cell biology, including gene therapy, and is widely published in the fields of cell biology and pharmacology.


She has received numerous national awards and honors and serves on the Board of Directors of several public and private companies. Dr. Gardner was responsible for Essex Woodlands’ introduction to Rinat Neurosciences, which was acquired by Pfizer, Inc. in April 2006.


Dr. Gardner received her M.D. at Harvard Medical School and her B.S. from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Chris Rehse, Ph.D.



Dr. Chris Rehse received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg in Germany. He then conducted a Postdoc at Stanford University in Biomedical Engineering where he developed biological applications for NanoStraw technologies. Based on a NSF STTR grant Dr. Rehse established the initial business models for the NanoStraw technology and is now focused on building the bridge to European collaborators for NAVAN, Inc.


Previously, Dr. Rehse established a university incubator program and startup center for the Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg, focusing on translational research. Dr. Rehse is also the Co-Founder and CEO of neotiv GmbH, a digital health startup focusing on the early detection of Alzheimer’s, in collaboration with the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases.

Nicholas A. Melosh, Ph.D.



Dr. Melosh is a Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Stanford University. His research lab group explores how to design new inorganic structures that will seamless integrate with biological systems to address problems that are not feasible by other means. This involves both fundamental work such as deeply understanding how lipid membranes interact with inorganic surfaces, electrokinetic phenomena in biologically relevant solutions, and applying this knowledge into new device designs.


Dr. Melosh received his B.S. in Chemistry from Harvey Mudd College in 1996. He did his graduate work on block-copolymer silica composites with Brad Chmelka and Galen Stucky at the University of California at Santa Barbara, receiving a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering in 2001. His postdoctoral training was on molecular electronics and nanoscale patterning with Jim Heath at the University of California, Los Angeles and the California Institute of Technology from 2001-2003. He joined Stanford University as an assistant professor of materials science and engineering in September 2003.

Craig Garner, Ph.D.



Dr. Garner is a well-known expert in translational research, i.e. applying research findings to medical practice. Craig is currently Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at Stanford University and Co-director of the Stanford Down Syndrome Center. In 2014 he became a Scientist/co-Speaker of the DZNE-Berlin: German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases and Professor at the Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin where his group studies the molecular mechanisms of synaptic function in health and neurodegenerative diseases. In 2014 he also co-founded SPARK-Berlin to educate academic scholars about translation and entrepreneurship. Moreover, he has founded three biotech companies: Balance Therapeutics, Stealth Biosciences and NAVAN. He has received several prizes for his work, including the “Coulter Foundation Award for Translational Neuroscience“, the “Fidelity Foundation Award for Neurodegenerative Research“ and the “Stanford Neuro-Innovation Award for Translational Neuroscience.”


Dr. Garner received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Purdue University and a B.A. in Biochemistry from Rutgers University.

Heidi Hagen



Ms. Heidi Hagen is a Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer for Vineti Inc., a company that is scaling and digitizing cell and gene therapies through an advanced software platform and data analytics. Ms. Hagen is also an advisor for a variety of cell therapy companies and currently sits on the Board of Directors for Vericel Corporation, a commercial cell therapy company that markets and produces MACI and Epicel for orthopedic and wound healing indications. In her career, she has overseen operations that have produced more than 100,000 doses of cell therapy.


Ms. Hagen has a proven track record in leading operations and commercializing innovative technologies worldwide. She is the former Global COO for SOTIO a.s. in Prague, CZ Republic. Before joining SOTIO she worked at Dendreon for ten years as Senior Vice President of Operations, where she was responsible for Technical Operations, among other duties. She built the commercial U.S. Provenge facilities and operations (the first active cellular immunotherapy approved in both the US and EU) and led all operations for the U.S. and the EU. Before Dendreon, she spent ten years with Immunex Corporation.


Ms. Hagen has a B.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology, M.S. in Bioengineering, and M.B.A. from the University of Washington.

Howard Grimes, Ph.D.



Dr. Howard Grimes is currently serving as senior technical advisor for NAVAN to capitalize on the tremendous potential in the agricultural biotechnology world. He is currently organizing the University of Texas systems strategy to create a national institute for cybersecurity in advanced manufacturing processes at UT San Antonio.  Previously, Dr. Grimes served as the Vice President for Research at a major university and provided the leadership that grew research expenditures from ~$170M to over $320M in under five years.


Dr. Grimes is an accomplished research scientist and is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has written numerous op-ed pieces on topics ranging from climate change, biofuel production, the role of research universities in regional economic development, and the role of universities in educating international global ambassadors. Dr. Grimes brings a sophisticated understanding of academic research to the solution of real-world problems and his extensive knowledge of academic, corporate, and government environments combine to make him an agile and transformative leader.