Michael J. Nowak, Ph.D.

President & Chief Executive Officer


Along with being CEO, President and Director of NAVAN, Inc., Dr. Michael Nowak is an experienced healthcare and technology investor in small cap public and venture-backed private companies. He is Managing Partner of his own consulting and advisory firm and has prior experience with healthcare and life sciences-focused investment funds, family offices and boutique investment banks.  He was previously a Managing Director and Head of Healthcare Investments for a multinational hedge fund. Before that, he led investments and sat on numerous Boards of Directors while a General Partner at the Euro-US venture capital fund, TVM Capital. He was also a corporate venture capitalist and business development executive at Xerox PARC in Palo Alto, where he was CEO of two startups, a strategic management consultant and Vice President at McKinsey & Co., and a Program Manager at the Advanced Technology Program, National Institute of Standards and Technology, U.S. Department of Commerce.


Michael earned an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He worked as a post-doctoral scientist at Bell Labs (Bellcore), Princeton University, and at the CEA Research Labs in Saclay and the University of Paris VI (Jussieu), now Sorbonne University, in Paris, France. He received his B.A. in Physics from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, where he was a College Scholar.

Ryan Swoboda

Chief Operating Officer


Mr. Ryan Swoboda co-founded NAVAN, Inc. in 2016 while conducting work with the Melosh Group at Stanford University, focusing on material synthesis and characterization.


Ryan received his M.S. in Materials Science from Stanford University and his B.S. in Materials Science and Engineering (focus: NanoScience) also from Stanford. Having been a first-generation college student, Ryan understands the power of education and increased access to new technologies. In addition to his role as COO, Ryan is Principal Investigator of NAVAN’s Small Business Technology Transfer Program Phase II grant (award no. 1759075) funded by the National Science Foundation. In his spare time, Ryan enjoys conducting science demonstrations for low-income students in the local community.

Sarah Boyatzis

Chief of Staff


Ms. Sarah Boyatzis has more than 15 years of experience in delivering high-value technology projects for global industry leaders and startups. As NAVAN’s Chief of Staff, Sarah drives strategic and operational initiatives, including implementation and scale-up programs.


Sarah received her Bachelor of Computer Science & Mathematics degree from the University of Western Australia.

Martin Hjort, Ph.D.

Chief Technology Officer


Dr. Martin Hjort is a materials scientist with more than 10 years’ experience in one-dimensional nanostructures. He obtained his Ph.D. in physics from Lund University in Sweden characterizing nanowires. Martin was awarded a prestigious postdoctoral fellowship from the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation in order to work in Dr. Nicholas Melosh’s research group at Stanford University. At Stanford, Martin, showed that NanoStraws can be used to repeatedly extract cellular contents from living cells, thus being able to track cellular transformations. Together with Dr. Leal-Ortiz, he also pioneered the use of NanoStraws to deliver biologically-relevant cargo into cells in suspension.


Martin has been part of NAVAN, Inc. since its conception and he is currently Chief Technology Officer, driving the development of the NanoStraws. Martin is the author of 23 peer-reviewed articles in high impact journals, holds 2 U.S. patent applications, and is the recipient of several awards including the 2017 Cozzarelli Prize.

Sergio Leal-Ortiz, Ph.D.

Chief Scientific Officer


In addition to overseeing the Scientific operations at NAVAN, Dr. Sergio Leal-Ortiz is a Senior Research Associate at the Neuro-Fab facility in the Stanford Neurosciences Institute. His research interests have been primarily in neuroscience, having studied neurodevelopmental disorders, autism, rRNA expression and other topics throughout his academic career.


Sergio received his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Neurochemistry from Otto-von-Guericke Universität Magdeburg in Germany and completed his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at the Universidad Austral de Chile in Valdivia, Chile.

Hannes Voßfeldt, Ph.D.

Senior Scientist


Dr. Hannes Voßfeldt is a Senior Scientist at NAVAN, following extensive experience as both a scientific researcher and research consultant. As a scientific consultant, Hannes researched novel methods and technologies at the intersection of engineering and molecular/cell biology, to become a renowned expert in NanoStraw technology through awarded grants, publications and presentations on the topic. Prior to that, Hannes’ research was primarily focused on the genetics of neurological disorders.


Hannes received his Ph.D. in Molecular Medicine from Georg-August University Goettingen and his B.A. and M.S. in Molecular Medicine from the same institution in 2008.