Industrial Advisory Board

The Bioengineering Industrial Advisory Board unites a diverse group of bright and enterprising leaders from across the sector to create a strong resource pool for students, faculty, and administrators, as the department continues to grow and thrive. Building new corporate relationships and offering leadership and support, the Board meets twice annually—in the fall and spring. They ally with faculty to better define the Board’s goals, and to pinpoint the needs of the department to devise new, innovative solutions and methods.

Currently, the Department IAB members are:

Name and AffiliationBiography
Karim Azer
Karim Azer
Head of Quantitative Systems Pharmacology and DMPK Modeling, Bill and Melinda Gates Medical Research Institute
Karim Azer joined Axcella, a local biotech company focused on designing and developing amino acid combinations as therapeutics. He is leading their systems biology platform.

Azer has worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over 20 years, employing a wide variety of modeling, both mechanistic and empirical, and computer science approaches to address drug discovery and development questions in R&D.

BS in Mathematics as well as Computer Science from Rutgers University
MS in Applied Mathematics from Courant Institute at New York University
PhD in Applied Mathematics from the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University

Sheila Boyce
Sheila Boyce
Director of Engineering, Histogenics Corporation
Sheila Boyce is the Director of Engineering at Histogenics Corporation, a regenerative medicine company developing and commercializing products for treating musculoskeletal related conditions. She previously spent more than 12 years at Genzyme Corporation as lead engineer on various development and technology transfer projects, and is the recipient of two Genzyme Corporation Vice President’s Awards, recognizing outstanding dedication and contribution to the success of a program.

BS in Chemical Engineering from Northeastern University

Charles Bridges
Charles Bridges

VP, Therapeutic Area Expert – Cardiovascular, Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies
Charles R. Bridges is a distinguished and board certified surgeon-scientist, and the Vice President for Therapeutic Area Expert – Cardiovascular for Johnson and Johnson Medical Devices. He previously worked for the Carolinas Healthcare System, where he was Chairman of the Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery and Vice President of Cardiovascular Translational Research. He has also been Professor of Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania and Chief of Cardiac Surgery at Pennsylvania Hospital. Currently, he is a member of the Steering Committee of the Gene Therapy Resource Program (GTRP) of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, and a Chairman of the Cardiovascular Committee of the American Society for Cell and Gene Therapy.

BA in Applied Physics from Harvard College
MD in Health Sciences and Technology from Harvard Medical School in the Harvard-M.I.T. Program
MS in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from M.I.T
PhD in Chemical Engineering

Jeff Cerier
Jeff Cerier
President, Sage Product Development, Inc
Jeff Cerier formed Sage Product Development, Inc. with two partners in order to provide fast, efficient and creative product development services to medical device companies. He previously led the product development effort to develop an innovative skin grafting system for Momelan, and was one of six industry professionals who co-founded TDC Medical (now Vention Medical), a medical device product development and manufacturing service provider. He has served as Vice President of Product Development at NDO Surgical and has also been Group Manager within the engineering department at ACT Medical, and Director of Patents and Technology for UroMed Corporation.

BS in Mechanical Engineering from Tufts University
MS in Engineering Management from Northeastern University

Robert Farra
Robert Farra Chief Executive Officer, CeQur
Robert Farra is the CEO of CeQur Corp, a company developing a 3-day wearable insulin device for people with type 2 diabetes. Prior to CeQur, he was with Microchips Biotech, an MIT startup developing implantable drug delivery devices. There he held various roles including President and COO, CTO, and Vice President of R&D, and was instrumental in advancing a wireless drug delivery platform and in developing strategic partnerships with Teva and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He has also held senior leadership positions at Abiomed, Accellent, and Arthur D. Little, and has over twenty patents currently credited to his name and work.

MS in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Richard Gedney II
Richard Gedney II
Founder, CEO, Technical Director, ADMET, Inc.
Richard T. Gedney II is the founder, CEO and Technical Director of ADMET, which has built an enviable reputation in retrofit/upgrade packages for a large range of electromechanical and servohydraulic materials testing machines, regardless of age or machine type. It now sells to over a dozen sectors including automotive, aerospace, biomedical, construction, plastics, metals, test labs, and university sectors as well as major government agencies. Customers include Lawrence Livermore National Lab, GE, DuPont, Boeing, US Steel, John Deere, Bechtel, Medtronic, and Harvard Medical School.

BS in Mechanical Engineering from Northeastern University
MS in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Jonathan P. Gertler
Jonathan P. Gertler

CEO and Managing Partner, Back Bay Life Science Advisors
Dr. Jonathan P. Gertler has been advising life science companies since the 1990s, providing counsel on franchise and therapeutic-area strategies and corporate and business development activities, as well as advising clients on planning and the execution of value-creating transactions. He has served as Senior Partner and Managing Director of Leerink Swann Strategic Advisors, has led several investment banking groups, and has founded three start-up companies. Jonathan was also a practicing academic vascular surgeon and has published extensively in clinical vascular surgery and endothelial and smooth muscle cell biology. He is a frequent speaker and writer on strategic issues facing life science companies at all stages and currently serves on the Dean’s Advisory Board at Boston University School of Medicine. He trained at Columbia University, Yale New Haven Hospital, and the Massachusetts General Hospital; he has also served as Chief of Vascular Surgery at SUNY-HSCB in New York, as well as Associate Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School and the MGH.

BA from Wesleyan University
MD from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
MBA in Health Policy and Management from Boston University

Vahé Ghahraman
Vahé Ghahraman
Senior Director, Head of Global Regulatory Operations, Apellis Pharmaceuticals
Vahé is the head of Global Regulatory Operations at Apellis Pharmaceuticals, where he has established this function with all the relevant infrastructure within the Regulatory Affairs Department. His activities focus on preparation and life cycle management of major and routine investigational and marketing medicinal applications, implementation of regulatory submissions, publishing, information management systems, and process improvement.

He has over 20 years of industry experience, having various leading roles at Alexion, Takeda, Dyax, and Millennium, among others, where he was involved in the preparation and approval of several new medicinal products. Prior to transitioning to industry, Vahé served as the Laboratory Director and Lecturer at the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Northeastern University.

BS, MS, and PhD in Civil & Environmental Engineering, Northeastern University

Jeffrey Gold
Jeffrey Gold
From March 2014 to January 2016, Mr. Gold was President and CEO of Myoscience, Inc., a privately-held medical device company focusing on Focused Cold TherapyTM for the treatment of peripheral nerve conditions. From January 2012 to March 2014, Mr. Gold was CEO at Velomedix, Inc., a medical device company focused on therapeutic hypothermia for patients experiencing heart attack, stroke or cardiac arrest. Prior to January 2012, Mr. Gold was a Venture Partner for Longitude Capital, a healthcare venture capital fund from January 2007 through December 2011. Mr. Gold was President and CEO of CryoVascular Systems, a peripheral vascular disease device company, from 2001 through its sale to Boston Scientific in 2005. From 1997 to 2000, he was Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Cardio Thoracic Systems, Inc., a company engaged in the development and introduction of devices for beating-heart coronary bypass surgery. Prior to that, Mr. Gold spent 18 years with Cordis Corporation in a variety of senior management roles including Vice President of Manufacturing and Vice President of Research and Development, and was a co-founder and President of Cordis Endovascular Systems, a subsidiary engaged in the interventional neuroradiology and peripheral vascular businesses. He served on the board of directors of Corindus Inc. (NYSE: CVRS) through its acquisition by Siemens and AngioDynamics, Inc (NASDAQ: ANGO) until his retirement in 2019. He currently serves on the Board of several privately held start-up medical device companies and is a member of the Executive Committee for the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Florida and a member of the Commercialization Advisory Board for the Cleveland Clinic. Mr. Gold holds a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts and an MBA from the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, and is a graduate of GE’s Manufacturing Management Program.
Sridar Natesan
Sridar Natesan
Vice President of External Innovation and Partnering, Sanofi-Aventis SA
Prior to taking his current role at Sanofi in 2009, Dr. Sridar Natesan served as their Scientific Site Head and as a Senior Distinguished Scientist. He also co-led the stem cell initiative, all while leading multiple scientific teams focused on drug discovery and holding several other senior management positions. He has established major partnerships with major academic and medical institutions, biotechnology companies, as well as various disease foundations, and has served on several committees and boards including the Industry Committee of International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR), Mass BioEd and U Mass Center for Clinical & Translational Science.

PhD in Molecular Genetics from the University of Calgary

David O'Dowd
David O’Dowd
Associate Director of Biomedical Solutions, Draper Laboratories
David O’Dowd is an Associate Director in the Biomedical Solutions group at Draper Laboratory. Previously he was Director of Life Sciences at Forge Partners, Managing Director of DGO Consulting, and Vice President of Business Development and Strategy at PrivaSource, Inc. He has also served as Director of Development and Director of Marketing at Genomics Collaborative, a genomics start-up that built a repository of 100,000 DNA and tissue samples with detailed medical information from people around the world with common diseases.

BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Rochester
MS in Technology and Policy from MIT

Amar Sawhney
Amar Sawhney
Executive Chairman of the Board, Ocular Therapeutix
Amarpreet is the Executive Chairman of Ocular Therapeutix, Inc., which focuses on solving unmet needs in ophthalmic drug delivery. He is also the President and Chairman of Instylla, which focuses on embolic therapies for tumors, and the Chairman of Augmenix, Inc., which works to improve outcomes and targeting of radiotherapy. Amar’s innovations are the subject of over 120 issued and pending patents in biomaterials and bio-surgery, including several “first of a kind” surgical sealants and spacers to be approved by the United States FDA; and he also currently serves on the board of directors of EcoSikh, Axtria, The Stroke Project, Augmenix and Ocular Therapeutix.

BT in Chemical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi
MS and PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin

Birgit Schoeberl
Birgit Schoeberl
Global Head of Modeling and Simulation, PK Sciences, Novartis
Birgit Schoeberl served as interim Senior Vice President, Scientific Value, at GNS Healthcare prior to joining Novartis. During her time there, she focused on applying causal machine learning to drug development. She has also been a member of the founding team at Merrimack Pharmaceuticals, where she spent over 12 years in different roles. Since then, she has gained broad experience in oncology drug discovery and development, and her leadership team is responsible for multiple preclinical and early clinical programs.

Dipl. Ing. from the Technical University in Karlsruhe, Germany
PhD in Biological Engineering from the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems in Magdeburg