Innovation Hub Advisory Board Members are a collection of experienced investors, subject matter experts in various technologies, venture capitalists, and business people. The team evaluates and provides oversight to the investments awarded by the Innovation Hub initiative.
Senior Director Business Development
James Thornton, Ph.D., is Senior Director of Business Development at Codiak BioSciences, a venture-backed biotechnology company based in Cambridge, MA, that is focused on developing novel therapeutics using exosomes, or extracellular vesicles. James completed his undergraduate work at the University of Washington and completed his Ph.D. in biochemistry at Harvard University where he studied the post-transcriptional regulation of non-coding RNAs during development and disease. He has spent time working in intellectual property law and currently focuses on business development and strategic initiatives at Codiak as the company prepares to initiate clinical trials in 2020.
President and CEO
President and CEO at TxMQ, Chuck has a long history as a leader and advisor in the technology industry, specifically relating to healthcare. TxMQ provides services relating to enterprise solutions, application development, and application integration and tuning, including the delivery of enterprise IT services. Chuck also acts as a volunteer Vice President for the Toronto CICS Association, a volunteer run user group promoting the use and best practices around IBM’s CICS mainframe software. In addition, Chuck sits on the technology advisory board of Roswell Park as well as the board of directors of Adoption STAR. Chuck holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Finance from the University at Buffalo School of Management.
Lisa J. Keefe
Director of IMCA-CAT
VP for Advancing Therapeutics
Collaborative Access Team (IMCA-CAT) and Vice President for Advancing Therapeutics at the Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute (HWI). Her work focuses on accelerating drug discovery through synchrotron-based structural biology. Through her leadership, IMCA-CAT has developed into a world-class research facility for the pharmaceutical industry. Lisa received her A.B. degree with a major in chemistry from Vassar College and her Ph.D. degree from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry. She was a Department of Energy Alexander Hollaender Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow jointly at Argonne National Laboratory and Brookhaven National Laboratory.
Lisa is an active member of the American Crystallographic Association, serving on Council as Past President (2019), President (2018), Vice President (2017), and Secretary (2003-2008). She currently serves on the executive board of the Council of Scientific Society Presidents (CSSP).
Buffalo Manufacturing Works (operated by EWI)
Matt recently joined Buffalo Manufacturing Works with a focus on automation implementation for manufacturers nationwide. Matt has more than 15 years of experience in research, development, and manufacturing in the semiconductor, nanotech, and consumer electronics industries. Before joining Buffalo Manufacturing Works, Matt worked at BAK USA as the Director of Advanced Manufacturing and at the Albany Nanotech complex as a Senior Technologist for SEMATECH in Albany, NY. Matt started his career as an engineer in Austin, TX after receiving a degree in Microelectronic Engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology. He’s a dork at heart – with a passion for learning new things, finding ways to improve processes, and tinkering with 3D printers and automation technologies. Matt aims to apply these passions to help clients identify improvement opportunities and implement solutions that benefit clients’ businesses and their employees.
Program Director, Launch NY Cleantech Opportunity Incubator Managing Director
Strategic Advisor Energy Initiatives, Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus Inc.
In his role with the BNMC, Inc. Paul is responsible for executing the campus Energy Innovation Plan and further developing its overall energy strategy as a collective effort. That effort strives to integrate energy efficiency, demand management, grid modernization, alternative transportation and renewable energy in fostering a sustainable, growing community. Paul is the past Chairman of the Peak Load Management Alliance (PLMA) having served three terms. He is a registered party (on behalf of the BNMC) and active participant in the New York REV Proceeding invited to sit on the Market Design and Platform Technology working group. City and State Reports recently named Paul an award honoree for its 2016 Corporate Social Responsibility Awards in Tech, Energy & Utilities. The annual event recognizes New York’s outstanding corporate citizens.
Thermo Fisher Scientific
Director Process Services and Business Development
Mark Stramaglia is currently the Director of Process Services and Business Development at Thermo Fisher Scientific. In this role, he is charged with impacting new product portfolio development decisions that lead to continued overall growth trajectory for the cell culture business. During his more than 20 years at the company, he has worked in various capacities, including marketing, business development, operations and R&D portfolio management. Stramaglia earned his MBA in Marketing and Healthcare Systems in 1986 and a BS in Pharmacy in 1981 from the University at Buffalo. He has been a Dean’s Alumni Ambassador and a Dean’s Alumni Ambassador Mentor since 2009, and has served on the UB Alumni Association Board of Directors as an advocate for the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences for 15 years.
Empire Discovery Institute
Dr Martin Graham joined the Empire Discovery Institute as CEO in April 2019. He is a pharmacologist and drug developer with over 30 years of experience in the development of small molecule drugs and biologics including Oxaliplatin (colorectal cancer), Stelara (psoriasis), Remicade (rheumatoid arthritis & Crohn’s disease and Elitek (rasburicase) for tumor lysis syndrome.
Martin earned his PhD. from the University of London Drug Development Section, Institute of Cancer Research, Royal Marsden Hospital, London; his B.Sc. from the University of Leeds in Pharmacology and Microbiology; and is an Honorary Professor of Pharmacokinetic Modeling & Simulation at the School of Life Sciences, Institute of Pharmaceutical Innovation University of Bradford, England.
He has extensive pharmaceutical industry experience from his time at Sterling-Winthrop, Sanofi, Centocor, Johnson & Johnson, and venture backed biotechnology companies including TetraLogic Pharmaceuticals.
Prior to joining EDI, Martin was the CEO, President and Founder of PKPD Biosciences (a pharmacokinetic modeling & simulation company) which merged with his second company KinderPharm, a pediatric drug development company before being acquired by Synteract.
Martin served as a Scientific Advisor to the Harrington Discovery Institute until joining EDI in 2019 and is currently a pharmacology advisor to BioMotiv, the early stage drug discovery accelerator that is part of the Harrington Project.
Managing Director Allied Space Accelerator
Dr. Fentzke is a space scientist by training and an experienced entrepreneur, mentor and investor. Prior to Techstars, he served as CEO of FKM Group and was a co-founder and Board Director at OmniEarth and InSpace. He is an advisor/mentor at 43North, Parallel18, OneTen Capital, and Grupo Guayacán.
Tobias Massa, Ph.D.
Independent Pharmaceutical Regulatory Consultant
Board of Directors, FACET Life Sciences
Tobias (Toby) Massa, Ph.D., currently is “semi-retired” after 40+ years in the pharmaceutical industry. He is an independent external director on the board of FACET Life Sciences and a consulting Senior Advisor to YourEncore. Toby is also a member of the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Advisory Committee, SUNY at Buffalo.
Toby earned a B.A. in Chemistry from SUNY at Buffalo and a Ph.D. in Biomedical Science (Pharmacology concentration) from the CUNY Graduate Center/Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. He was a toxicologist for Schering Plough and Pfizer before assuming Regulatory Sciences executive director/VP positions with Schering Plough, Eli Lilly, Bristol Myers Squibb and Sanofi. He was responsible primarily for the regulatory aspects of product manufacturing and quality, and contributed to the global marketing applications of over 30 approved products and commercial product maintenance of several hundred products. His experience spans small molecules as well as biotechnology products. He was a Diplomat in the American College of Toxicology and was elected a Fellow in the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists for his contributions to regulatory science.
Toby has held numerous regulatory affairs leadership positions with the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and the Biotechnology Industry Organization. He has co-chaired many FDA-Industry sponsored workshops and represented PhRMA before global health authorities on various issues related to product manufacturing and quality. He was a member of the organizing committee of the Product Quality Research Institute and was the first Chair of the PQRI Steering Committee and Board of Directors. He also represented PhRMA on the International Conference on Harmonization of Global Regulatory Requirements (ICH).
Create a Monster (C.A.M.)™
Founder, Chief Executive Officer
Samantha Bonano is an accomplished Chief Executive Officer with track record of driving transformational growth in enterprise value. She was President and CEO of Buffalo, a world leader in surgical safety devices and served as the President of Medical Devices for Filtration Group (FGC) a multibillion company, assisting with acquisitions and providing Medical Device expertise.
Samantha has a BA in Business Administration from the University at Buffalo, a CME from The Harvard Business School and additional studies at Lorenzo De’Medici Institute in Italy.
She is a panelist and judge for Endeavor- leading high-impact entrepreneurship around the world and a judge for CNY Biotech Accelerator, Upstate Medical University. She has been a grant funding and startup consultant for multiple companies and most recently, she is a keynote speaker and a consultant for multimillion organizations in the areas of Strategy and Innovation.
With expertise in worldwide business strategy, general management, business development, sales and marketing, and product development, Samantha has a highly successful record of improving profit, increasing sales, developing new products, reducing costs, and effectively managing key personnel.
The Research Foundation for SUNY (RF)
Director of New Ventures
Nicholas Querques is Director of New Ventures at The Research Foundation for SUNY (RF). RF is the largest comprehensive university-connected research foundation in the country, administering $1.6 billion in research expenditures annually throughout 64 campuses. Nick leads an extensive portfolio of initiatives focused on promoting innovation and commercialization across the enterprise, helping SUNY companies start strong and grow healthy, and building partnerships with investors and development partners to get more SUNY technology into the market.
Prior to RF, Nick was Program Manager for Technology to Market at NYSERDA, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. In this role, Nick was directly responsible for a $130 million portfolio of innovation, technology development, and investment initiatives targeted to entrepreneurs, innovators, and early-stage companies in the energy space. Prior to NYSERDA, Nick was Assistant Vice President for Clean Energy Programs at SUNY Polytechnic Institute's College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering. In 2010, he co-founded MICROrganic Technologies, a biotechnology startup that is commercializing microbial fuel cell technologies for wastewater treatment applications.
Nick holds a BS in finance and management magna cum laude and an MBA in information technology and nanotechnology from the University at Albany.
bRANE Technologies, LLC
Co-founder & CTO
Dr. Artif Zafar is a board certified internist in practice in Indianapolis as a hospitalist for a level-1 trauma center. He has 25 years of experience in clinical trials and healthcare IT. He was part of the team at AHRQ that led the development of the National Health IT web resource - www.healthit.ahrq.gov. He also served on the boards of 5 peer-reviewed national medical journals and was on the team during President Bush’s term that delegated the distribution of $100 million in grand funding for the establishment of nationwide electronic medical record systems.
He has secured more than $18 million in grant funding throughout his 20 year academic career at Indiana University and authored more than 30 peer-reviewed research papers and a book chapter. Subsequent to his academic career he pursued an entrepreneurial life, being the founder of 3 startups, successfully funding all of them. Now he splits his time between a nocturnist position and entrepreneurial activities. He makes his home in Carmel, Indiana.
Sujatha Ramanujan is an experienced executive and entrepreneur with a demonstrated history of working in the nanotechnology industry. Skilled in Research and Development (R&D), Engineering Management, Semiconductors, Medical Devices, and Strategic Planning. Sujatha holds a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) focused in Electrical Engineering from University of Michigan.
Brandy Houser, PhD
Celdara Medical, LLC
Site Head New York & New Jersey
Brandy Houser is the Site Head at Celdara Medical, a company that aims to bring academic innovations into medicines that cure the world’s most challenging diseases. At Celdara Medical, she is responsible for operations of the New York/New Jersey office including sourcing and vetting new pipeline assets and the development of a portfolio of early stage life science technologies.
She received her Ph.D. in immunology from Harvard University under the guidance of Dr. Jack Strominger for the discovery of specialized macrophage subsets at the human maternal-fetal interface. During her graduate career she was a commercialization fellow at Harvard Medical School.
Following her graduate studies, Brandy was the Alliance Manager for Partners Healthcare, the corporate entity that oversees operations for the Massachusetts General Hospital and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. During this time she managed technologies from both hospitals as well as programs for Pfizer’s Center for Therapeutics. She also helped to create the business and operations plan for The Human Translational Immunology Center at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Most recently, Brandy was an Investment Associate at Brandon Capital Partners, an Australian venture capital firm.
Managing General Partner
Paul Ciriello is the founder and Managing General Partner of Fairhaven Capital, an early stage venture capital partnership in Boston. Paul is also a co-founder of the University Affinity Fund, which invests in start-ups created by alumni, students and faculty in the most productive university ecosystems in North America. Paul works with data scientists, computer scientists and investment managers developing predictive models and operational adaptation in venture capital.
Previously, Paul was a senior executive at Fidelity Investments in Boston where he was the President of Fidelity Interactive, Founder and President of Proxy Edge, Inc. President of The Water Street Project and President of Fidelity Capital Technology. Earlier, Paul was a Senior Policy Advisor at the US EPA, and a US Presidential Management Intern.
He has earned an MPA from Northeastern University, where he was a University Fellow and a US Public Research Fellow. Paul received a BA in Political Science from the University at Buffalo. He has served on the President’s Advisory Board at Berklee College of Music, the President’s Advisory Committee at the University of Lynchburg, and the Dean of Arts and Sciences Advisory Committee at UB.
Ron is a Special Partner of SBNY, a venture capital partnership with a specific focus on early stage investments in broadband centric applications. He is an experienced executive with an expertise in founding and leading companies, and technology development.
Prior to SBNY, Ron worked as a Partner on the early stage investing team at SoftBank Capital for 16 years. Ron was also the co-founder and President of ClientLogic and President, co-CEO and co-Chairman of its predecessor companies, UCA (now SITEL Worldwide) and SoftBank Services Group.
Ron currently serves on the boards of China Horizons, AFT, Alpha Artists, Turbulent Energy and Optodot. In addition, he serves as Co-Managing Partner of Z80 Labs, an Accelerator Fund in Buffalo. He serves on the board of a number of Z80 companies including ACV Auctions, Clearview Social, Empire Genomics, OnCore and Touchstream Solutions.
Ron has many connections to the Buffalo community, the first being he received his M.S. in molecular Biology and Biochemistry at the University at Buffalo. He also currently serves on the board of directors of CUBRC, a Cheektowaga based non-profit pioneering work in the area of aeronautics, the Board of Trustees of the UB Foundation, Inc. and is an Advisor to the Faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences at UB.
Bethany Hills, J.D.
Morrison & Foerster
Life Science Attorney
Bethany leverages deep FDA regulatory experience and exceptional knowledge of the health care delivery system to help international and domestic life science and health technology companies enter and navigate the US health care market. Bethany helps companies manage the full range of FDA regulation issues, from inspections and investigations through complex regulatory challenges affecting everything from product approvals and product labeling to collaborative research, supply, and distribution agreements.
Bethany is nationally recognized for her experience and insight on regulatory matters and advises science businesses both pre- and post-market issues, including everything from FDA submissions and communications strategies to post-approval compliance and reimbursement. She’s adept at helping clients identify technologies that are likely to complement the health care delivery system, clear FDA regulatory hurdles, a healthy return on investment by maximizing health care reimbursement opportunities.
Bethany earned her BA in History/Sociology at SUNY Geneseo and has received her Master’s in Public Health and her Doctor at Law, at the University of Buffalo.
Ryan C. Martin
Fairchild Capital Partners, LLC
Ryan Martin is the Founder and Managing Partner of Fairchild Capital Partners, which is a Buffalo, NY-based private equity firm focused on investing in companies that operate in the middle and lower middle-market. Prior to founding Fairchild, Ryan was a General Partner with Summer Street Capital Partners, a leading middle market private equity fund, and a Vice President with Stifel’s Investment Banking Group.
During Ryan’s professional career in private equity and investment banking, he has closed over $1.5 billion in transactions across a wide range of industries, including niche manufacturing, value-added distribution, business services, consumer services, environmental services, food and beverage, and transportation and logistics.
Ryan has a MBA from the University of Rochester’s William E. Simon School and a BS from Boston College.
Camber Road Partners
Patrick is Co-founder and Managing Partner at Camber Road Partners, a lease financing company dedicated to providing emerging growth companies a non-dilutive source of capital for ongoing capital expenditures. Camber Road’s shareholder friendly solution helps emerging growth companies extend their cash runway and reach the next growth milestone to achieve a higher valuation with less dilution.
Patrick’s background is in finance, portfolio management and venture capital. He has extensive experience working with companies across a broad credit spectrum, from early-stage, venture-backed businesses to upper middle-market, public companies. Throughout his career, he has developed relationships with Founders, CFOs, Bankers and Equity Sponsors. Patrick is also an Investor at Matchstick Ventures I and II, a Techstars Mentor, and contributor to Beta.MN., an organization supporting Minnesota's startup community. Patrick looks forward to supporting his hometown of Buffalo and IHUB’s initiative to build upon and develop the University’s role in creating a vibrant world class start-up ecosystem.
Director of Finance
She is an investment professional with experience working in and growing first-time funds and venture-backed startups at the seed and early stage companies. Nicole is skilled in investment analysis, portfolio management, financial planning and forecasting, and operational optimization.