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External Advisory Council

Neelum Aggarwal

Neelum Aggarwal, MD

Associate Professor, Department of Neurological Sciences Rush University Medical Center, Director of Research, Rush Heart Center for Women

Neelum Aggarwal, MD, a board certified cognitive neurologist, clinical trialist and Associate Professor in the Department of Neurological Sciences at Rush University Medical Center. She is the Senior Examining Neurologist for the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center Clinical Core and the Cardiology Cognitive Clinic at the Rush Heart Center for Women, where she also serves as the Center’s Research Director. Dr. Aggarwal’s clinical interests lie in the diagnosis and clinical management of people experiencing changes in cognitive function, mild cognitive, vascular cognitive impairment, and Alzheimer’s disease. She serves as the Rush Steering Committee member and Site principal investigator for multiple NIH-funded consortium-led clinical trials in cognition and prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. (http://keck.usc.edu/atri/ and http://www.adcs.org/). Her recent research interests include identifying how social determinants of health, cardiovascular disease and other novel risk factors for cognitive impairment — including sex and gender differences — may lead to strategies to prevent cognitive decline and dementia in women, minorities and older adults.

She is co-investigator and neurologist for the MIND Study (Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay - http://mind-diet-trial.org/) and Co Principal Investigator for the Chicago-based Community Engagement for Early Recognition and Immediate Action in Stroke (CEERIAS) grant; a study that addresses the socioeconomic, race/ethnicity and sex and gender disparities in stroke awareness, barriers to health care access in Chicago’s minority communities.(www.CEERIAS.com).

Dr. Aggarwal was appointed as the first Chief Diversity and Inclusion officer for the American Medical Women’s Association; is chair of the Mentoring, Advisors, Peers and Sponsorship Committee of Women in Bio (Chicago ) and is Vice Chair of the Governing Council of the AMA-Women’s Physician Section. She serves as a frequent grant and journal reviewer having published over 60 articles in peer reviewed journals. She was awarded the 2016 Women in Science Award from the American Medical Women’s Association, is a Fellow of the Institute of Medicine of Chicago, the American Medical Women’s Association and Founding member of the Women Against Alzheimer’s Disease Network. She is a member of numerous professional organizations, including the American Academy of Neurology, American Medical Association and Chicago Medical Society. She is also an active member of the American Heart Association, and Go Red for Women movement, serving on the Steering committee for Chicago’s Go Red STEM Initiative.

Dr. Aggarwal, completed her medical degree from Chicago Medical School, her residency in Neurology at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit and an Aging and Neurodegenerative disorders fellowship at the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center at Rush University Medical Center.

Kevin Byrne

Kevin Byrne

Observer, President & Chief Executive Officer, The University Financing Foundation

He has pioneered TUFF’s non-traditional approach to public-private partnerships, real estate financing structures, and economic development initiatives for university research parks and innovation districts. His strength is the ability to translate complex real estate solutions into true resource-saving solutions for institutional executives and boards.

Kevin graduated with Honors from Furman University in 1991, where he currently serves as Vice-Chairman of Trustees. Upon graduation, he received the Wall Street Journal Student Achievement award, the highest honor given by faculty to a student in school’s Economics and Business Administration department. He later earned his MBA, with Honors, from the Wharton School of Business.

In 2012 and 2014, Kevin served as President of the Association of University Research Parks (AURP). He has been appointed by Georgia’s Lieutenant Governor to the Georgia Public Private Partnership Guidelines Commission as well as the Partnership for Inclusive Innovation. He also serves on two Brookings Institution advisory committees – the Innovation District Initiative and the Bass Placemaking Initiative.

Kevin Considine

Kevin Considine

President & CEO, Lake County Partners

Kevin leads the team as the president & CEO. He was a pioneer of the groundbreaking Workforce Ecosystem partnership that has been instrumental in shaping Lake County Partners’ workplan. Through close connections with local leaders, he excels at using intelligence to inform decision-making and spur growth.

Lisa Dziekan

Lisa Dziekan, MA

VP Business Development, World Business Chicago

Lisa Dziekan (pronounced Deacon) is Vice President of Business Development at World Business Chicago, responsible for driving inclusive economic growth and job creation, while promoting Chicago as a leading global city. With an emphasis on the Healthcare and Life Sciences industry, Lisa is supporting Chicago’s economic recovery efforts, and neighborhood focused strategies including INVEST South/WEST and Opportunity Zones. She previously held roles with Arthur Andersen’s Real Estate Advisory Services Group, and ran her own firm, which focused on real estate market analysis and communications related to the built environment.

Lisa holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Marketing and Economics from the University of Michigan - Dearborn, and Master of Arts in Urban Planning and Public Affairs from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is a director on the Ely Chapter of Lambda Alpha Board of Directors, and serves as a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals and Economic Development Committee in the City of Evanston.

Phyllis Ferrell

Phyllis Ferrell, MBA

Global Head, External Engagement, Alzheimer's and Neurodegeneration at Eli Lilly

Phyllis Ferrell is the global head of external engagement for Alzheimer's disease and neurodegeneration at Eli Lilly & Company, where she previously served as the leader of the Global Alzheimer's disease development team. Ferrell's most recent prior position was vice president of the chief commercial services officer for Eli Lilly and Company. Ferrell has been with Lilly for more than 25 years and has held many leadership roles throughout the organization. Ferrell was recognized with the Rising Star Award from the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association and the Indianapolis Star Top 40 Under 40. Ferrell is a current member of the World Dementia Council and a strategic reviewer for the Alzheimer's Disease Drug Discovery Foundation and Gates Venture's Diagnostics Accelerator. She is also a member of the Indiana Chapter of the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association; on the Boards of Directors for Alzheimer's Research UK EDoN, the Indiana Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, Stanford Associate Board of Governors, Indianapolis 500 Festival, and the Lebanon Area Boys & Girls Club. Ferrell is a founding member of Women Against Alzheimer's and Women of Impact Boone County; co-chair of the Women's Leadership Council; the alumna sponsor of the Women in Economics and Business Program at DePauw University; a member of the Washington C. DePauw Society; an active supporter of Boone County Special Olympics; and a coach's wife and mother of two very active boys.

Henry O. Gosebruch

Henry O. Gosebruch

Former Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy Officer, AbbVie

Henry Gosebruch is the Former Executive Vice President, Chief Strategy Officer at AbbVie, responsible for corporate strategy, business development and acquisitions, search and evaluation, alliance management and AbbVie Ventures.

Since joining AbbVie in December 2015, Mr. Gosebruch and his team have completed more than 75 partnering, collaboration, mergers & acquisitions (M&A) and venture transactions to bolster AbbVie’s commercial franchises and pipeline of innovative preclinical and clinical development programs, working closely with AbbVie colleagues globally.

Prior to joining AbbVie, Mr. Gosebruch was Co-Head of J.P. Morgan’s North American M&A Group based in New York. He worked on numerous complex M&A transactions involving companies in more than 20 countries.

Karen Heidelberger

Karen Heidelberger, MS, MBA

Partner, Chief Partnership and Communications Officer, Deerfield Management

Karen Heidelberger is a Partner and Chief Partnership and Communications Officer at Deerfield and joined the Firm in 2002. She is responsible for relationships with investors, partner companies, academic institutions, and other interested parties. In her role, Ms. Heidelberger helped conceptualize and implement the Cure and is responsible for activation of the ecosystem. She is deeply involved in the design and implementation of Deerfield’s educational programming. Prior to this role, Ms. Heidelberger was a Trader at Deerfield for over a decade. Before Deerfield, Ms. Heidelberger was a Vice President in the Sales and Trading division of Merrill Lynch, and served as a Conflicts Coordinator in the Mergers and Acquisitions department. Ms. Heidelberger has approximately 18 years of experience in healthcare and 25 years of experience in finance. She is involved in Deerfield’s Break into the Boardroom and Women in Science programs, and currently serves on the Board of NewYorkBIO. Ms. Heidelberger graduated from the Cornell University, School of Hotel Administration, holds a M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a Master of Science in Strategic Communication from Columbia University.

Michelle Hoffmann

Michelle Hoffmann, PhD

Executive Director, Chicago Biomedical Consortium

The Chicago Biomedical Consortium (CBC) is delighted to welcome Michelle Hoffmann, PhD (right), as the next Executive Director of the CBC. Dr. Hoffmann succeeds Dr. Richard Morimoto, who served as CBC’s Interim Executive Director (ED).

Dr. Hoffmann earned a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of California Berkeley with Professor Joshua Kaplan and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Brandeis University in the laboratory of Professor Gina Turrigiano. For the past two years, Dr. Hoffmann has been working as Senior Vice President of Deep Tech at P33, a privately funded nonprofit charged with elevating Chicagoland’s innovation economy and driving inclusive economic growth.

Prior to P33, Dr. Hoffmann spent 15 years helping life sciences companies grow, most recently as a Senior Vice President at Boston based Back Bay Science Advisors, an integrated strategy and investment firm to global life science companies and their investors. During her 8 years at Back Bay, Dr. Hoffmann led projects for large, publicly traded companies, as well as small, private, venture backed health care and life sciences companies. Dr. Hoffmann also worked closely with Back Bay’s investment team on two large transactions: an epigenetics platform that was sold to Gilead Pharmaceuticals for $65M and an agent to combat acute kidney injury that was acquired by AbbVie for $110M. Previously, she was Senior Manager, Center for Health Solutions and Pharmaceutical Market Lead, at Deloitte Research. Dr. Hoffmann also worked for Leerink Swan Strategic Advisors as a consultant/project manager, Capgemini/LECG as a consultant in their life sciences healthcare practice and at Fuld+Company as a senior analyst in Fuld’s healthcare practice.

Sean Kendall

Sean Kendall, PhD

Managing Partner, Arch Venture Partners

Sean Kendall focuses on identifying and evaluating new life science technologies and provides operating assistance to early-stage portfolio companies. He contributed to the formation and investment into Vizgen and other companies in development. He supported investments in Encodia and Singleron Biotechnologies, and has contributed to business efforts at Twist Bioscience and Genuity Science. He sits as a board observer at Vizgen, Encodia, and others, having previously served as an observer at Twist Bioscience. Mr. Kendall also supports ARCH Technical Services, where he has encouraged breakthrough innovations in electronics, sustainable materials, energy, and more via corporate partnering and investment.

A chemical engineer and synthetic biologist by training, Mr. Kendall was an early employee with LS9, Inc. (acquired by Genomatica), where he developed an automated experimentation and modeling platform for cell engineering. He next scaled commercial processes for Cobalt Technologies. Mr. Kendall is a recipient of the President’s Green Chemistry Challenge Award. He holds a B.S. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering from Stanford University, where he worked with Jim Swartz on cell-free protein synthesis, and an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago.

Sandra Laney

Sandra Laney, PhD

Senior Program Director, Science Innovation, Walder Foundation

Dr. Laney is a a science philanthropy professional with vision, leadership, and science acumen, including global cross-sector experience. She is a former Senior Program Director, Science Innovation at the Walder Foundation in Chicago, Illinois. She previously served as Deputy Director of Innovation for Paul G. Allen’s Ebola Program at Vulcan. Dr. Laney is a global health & development professional with over 20 years of cross-sector experience including fieldwork in 13 LMIC, laboratory research and diagnostic tool development, philanthropic grant portfolio management and international policy across the public and private sector.

Prior to working with the Paul G. Allen Ebola Program, Dr. Laney led a number of initiatives for the Discovery and Translational Sciences and Neglected Tropical Disease teams at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and served as Senior Advisor on gender, education and health to Secretary Clinton’s Science Advisor at the U.S. Department of State.

Dr. Laney was selected as a Gates Global Fellow, AAAS Science Diplomacy Fellow and a Smith College Ada Comstock Scholar. Her technical and subject matter expertise is in molecular biology and parasitic diseases and she has extensive cross-cultural experience conducting international fieldwork with Smith College and the Task Force for Global Health across Africa, the West Indies, Southeast Asia, and Oceania.

Jim Sullivan

Jim Sullivan, PhD

CEO of Vanqua Bio, Venture Partner at Orbimed

Dr. Sullivan is co-founder and CEO of Vanqua. In addition, he has been a Venture Partner with Orbimed since January 2019. Previously, he was the Vice President of Research at Abbvie where he was responsible for the company’s research efforts in a variety of therapeutic/disease areas including oncology, immunology, neurology, hepatitis C and cystic fibrosis. Jim has advanced more than 100 compounds into clinical development across a number of disease states and technology platforms. These include products on the market for HCV (Mavyret and Viekira), the first-in-class Bcl2 selective inhibitor, Venclexta, for hematological cancers, a new oral agent for patients with rheumatoid arthritis, RINVOQ, and multiple compounds currently in Phase II or III clinical trials. He has authored/co-authored more than 130 scientific publications and is an inventor on 11 patents. Jim is an adjunct faculty member at Northwestern University and serves on the board of several companies and foundations including Regis Technologies, Genomics Medicine Ireland, Genuity Science, MATTER Healthcare Incubator, Chicago Biotechnology Accelerator and the Pistoia Alliance. He earned his bachelor’s degree and Ph.D. in biochemistry from Trinity College Dublin and conducted post-doctoral research in neurobiology at Northwestern University.

Shobha Parthasarathi

Shobha Parthasarathi, PhD

VP, External Innovation & New Ventures, Xontogeny

Shobha joined Xontogeny in July 2019 as Vice President, External Innovation and New Ventures. In her role, she is responsible for identifying commercialization opportunities for Xontogeny. She works closely with startup founders and entrepreneurs, and other stakeholders across the academic, biotech, pharmaceutical and investment landscape.

Shobha brings a combination of 20+ years of research, business development, strategic partnerships and venture investing experience to development of new medicines and emerging healthcare technologies. Prior to joining Xontogeny, she was Vice President, Strategic Alliances and Business Development at Harrington Discovery Institute, a unique international initiative created to translate scientific discoveries from academia to development of therapeutics. In that role, she helped advance several therapeutics programs, managed a portfolio of companies, executed alliances and mentored scientific innovators and entrepreneurs. Preceding that role, she was part of the business development team at North Carolina Biotechnology Center where she helped secure funding for a wide range of therapeutic, diagnostic and medical device startups. Her career highlights include multiple FDA drug approvals and commercialized products, company acquisitions and IPOs. Shobha began her research career in drug discovery at Takeda (Millennium Pharmaceuticals).

Norbert G. Riedel

Norbert G. Riedel, PhD

Former Executive Chairman of the Board of Directors, Aptinyx

Dr. Riedel is the former executive chairman and former chief executive officer of Aptinyx. He was formerly president and CEO of Naurex, the predecessor company acquired by Allergan and from which Aptinyx and its technology were spun out. Prior to Naurex, Dr. Riedel served various roles at Baxter International including corporate vice president and chief science and innovation officer. Previously, he was head of worldwide biotechnology and held a number of scientific management positions at Hoechst Marion Roussel (now Sanofi). Dr. Riedel serves on the boards of Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Cerevel Therapeutics, Eton Pharmaceuticals, and the Illinois Biotechnology Innovation Organization. He served on the board of directors of Ariad Pharmaceuticals until the company was acquired in February 2017. Dr. Riedel is a member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and served on Governor Pat Quinn’s Illinois Innovation Council. He is an adjunct professor at Boston University School of Medicine and Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and, prior to moving into industry, was an associate professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine and a visiting professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dr. Riedel received a Diploma and Ph.D. from the University of Frankfurt and was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University.

Nicole J. Walker

Nicole J. Walker

Managing Partner, Arboretum Ventures

Nicole joined Arboretum Ventures in 2021 as a Managing Partner, where she focuses on early-to-growth stage healthcare investments. Current areas of interest include pharma-adjacent tools & analytics; devices; and tech-enabled solutions which transform healthcare delivery by improving the overall access, cost, and quality of care for unmet therapeutic needs. For more than 25 years, Nicole has successfully partnered with entrepreneurs to modernize and transform the healthcare industry. She strongly believes in the power of teams and in the importance of bringing diversity across all levels when building effective organizations. Her notable investments and board roles prior to joining Arboretum include category-defining companies such as Cala Health, Elucent Medical, MI Biosciences (acquired), NeoChord, NeuMoDx Molecular (acquired), and Strata Oncology.

Heather Walsh

Heather Walsh

Executive Director, Head of New Business Opportunities, Rx+ Business Accelerator at Astellas Pharmaceuticals

Prior to joining Astellas, Heather headed up mHUB, and also prior to that headed up the Medical Operations team at Baxter, managing research grants, tracking and driving medical affairs activities, and building relationships with clinical research organizations. Previous to that role, she built and led Baxter’s External Innovation function that focused on increasing open innovation partnerships across universities, incubators/accelerators, medical centers, and other partners. She supported strategically aligned transformational innovation for all the global business units and for technology platforms. She started at Baxter in a role leading technical assessment teams for due diligence of new opportunities for mergers and acquisitions and venture investment at Baxter.

She joined Baxter from the University of Chicago, where she was the Assistant Director and Head of Business Development in the Technology Commercialization and Licensing group, at the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. In addition to her technology portfolio, Heather supported the efforts of the commercialization team by identifying and managing high-value contacts, coordinating the university’s marketing strategy for the opportunity pipeline, representing the team at multiple partnering meetings throughout each year, and launching a program to cultivate relationships with venture capital groups. She piloted and grew a proof-of-concept fund, redesigned the Polsky Accelerator program and launched several internship programs to leverage the talents of students and postdocs exploring alternative careers.

Alan Weinstein

Alan Weinstein, MBA

Board of Trustees of Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science

Paul Weiss

Paul Weiss

Managing Director, Venture Investors

Paul joined Venture Investors in 2006 as a Managing Director of VIESF IV. He has been a Managing Director in all of the firm’s subsequent funds. Paul focuses on investment prospects in bio-pharma and diagnostics. Paul worked as a part-time Analyst for Venture Investors from 1989 to 1992, after receiving his PhD in Biochemistry, and while receiving his MBA. He was a member of the firm’s Investment Advisory Committee from 2001 to when he joined Venture Investors in 2006.

Paul serves on the Board of Directors of FluGen, Invenra, Iterion Therapeutics, Juventas, and Madison Vaccines. He is a former board member of Neurovance (spun out of Euthymics and sold to Otsuka for up to $1 billion), Aerpio Pharmaceuticals (spun out of Akebia, NASDAQ:ARPO, now Aadi Bioscience via a reverse merger), Euthymics Bioscience, Akebia Therapeutics (NASDAQ:AKBA), and Tissue Regeneration Systems.

Paul has over 20 years of operating experience in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries. Previously, he served as President of the Gala Biotech business unit of Cardinal Health (now Catalent Pharma Solutions), a division that was established when the Venture Investors portfolio company, Gala Design, Inc., under his leadership as CEO was acquired by Cardinal Health. Prior to joining Gala, Paul served as Vice President of Business Development of 3-Dimensional Pharmaceuticals, a venture capital backed biotechnology company with a drug discovery platform that successfully completed an IPO during his tenure with the company and was subsequently acquired by Johnson & Johnson. Prior to that, Paul worked as Director of Licensing for the pharmaceutical company Wyeth-Ayerst, which was a division of American Home Products (now part of Pfizer). Earlier, he served as Director of Business Development and Research for the Scientific Protein Labs (SPL) division of American Home Products. He began his career in industry as the Director of Research and Operations of Columbia Research Labs. He was also a member of the Board of Directors of Tamir Biotechnology, Inc. (formerly Alfacell Corporation) prior to its acquisition by Orgenesis.

Joe Whalen

Joe Whalen

Senior Vice President, Alliance and International Business Development, Horizon Therapeutics

Mr. Whalen has more than 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry leading and supporting transactions involving acquisitions, co-promotions, out licenses and strategic alliances. Mr. Whalen joined Horizon Pharma in April of 2010 and has led or supported Horizon’s acquisitions since that time helping to grow Horizon from a pre-commercial company with no sales to over $750 million in net sales in 2015. Recent transactions include Horizon’s acquisitions of Crealta Holdings LLC for $510 million and PENNSAID® 2% for $45 million. He also led the out licensing of LODOTRA® and DUEXIS® ex-U.S. and has supported Horizon’s IPO and other fund raising activities.

Prior to Horizon, he was at Baxter Healthcare where he led and supported a number of transactions as part of Baxter’s Medication Delivery business. Mr. Whalen worked at Searle prior to Baxter where his experience included various finance roles supporting business development, European operations, U.S. marketing, and R&D.

He earned a MBA from the University of Illinois and bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame.