OPEN BioTech Conference

OPEN BioTech Conference

2016sat30apr9:00 amsat5:00 pmOPEN BioTech Conference9:00 am - 5:00 pm 1 Silber Way, 9th Floor, Boston University, Boston MA 02215

Event Details

One day conference on Cross-Pollination of Ideas and Opportunities in the BioTech Space. Thought leaders will project possible scenarios out into the future.

Dress Code: Business Casual


9:15 – 9:45 AM  Registration

9:45 AM  Welcoming Remarks

10 – 10:30 AM Plenary Keynote

– Steve GullensCo-Founder of Exel Ventures, and author of Homo Evolutis

10:30 AM – 12 PM BioNano & Devices

“Role of 3D Nano Printing for Oral Delivery of Poorly Soluble Drugs and Sensor Platform for Pathogen Detection and Physiological Monitoring”

 – Dr. Ahmed BusnainaDirector, National Science Foundation Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center Northeastern University

NSF Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center for High-rate Nanomanufacturing (CHN) is developing an entirely new nanoscale printing technology that will allow oral administration of poorly soluble drugs. Over 40% of new chemical entities (NCEs) including anti-cancer agents developed in the pharmaceutical industry are poorly soluble in water and cannot be taken orally. Currently used micellar formulations are administered intravenously, which is highly toxic and invasive. Oral drug administration is the easiest and most desirable way for poorly soluble drugs including anti-cancer agents, however, there is a dearth of clinically acceptable oral dosage forms for these drugs. This project combines directed assembly and nanomaterials-based manufacturing techniques to make 3-D nanostructures, developed at the CHN, with the novel multifunctional nano preparation containing drug or drug conjugates of poorly soluble drugs, and targeting and cell-penetrating moieties for the enhanced killing of cancer cells. The same 3D nanoscale printing technology is being used to print flexible conductance-based sensor platforms for instantaneous measurement of pathogens in the environment and for monitoring physiological parameters of the human body for applications in wearable electronic skin and environmental monitoring. These two terminal sensors comprised of highly sensitive and selectively functionalized semiconducting carbon nanotubes serving as the channel with an active area of <10 μm2. The selective functionalization is conducted employing an in-house developed enzyme-immobilization technique. We show that D-glucose, L-lactate, Urea, Oxytetracycline (OTC), E. coli, and Adenovirus were detected with very high sensitivity, selectivity, stability, and repeatability. This developed biosensor platform detects D-glucose, L-lactate, Urea, Oxytetracycline (OTC), E. coli, and Adenovirus over a wide range (0~300 μM, 0~100 mM, 0~100 mg/dL, 0-150 μg/L, 0-107 CFU/ml, and 0-107 pfu/ml respectively) in less than 5 secs making them suitable for various applications.

“Microscale Sensors and Systems for Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Applications”

– Dr. Mehmet Dokmeci

Tissue-engineered constructs and organs on chip platforms are emerging platforms for drug screening applications. The use of three-dimensional constructs created using human cells can potentially be used to obtain human patient responses to particular drugs and may serve as complementary alternatives to animal studies. Moreover, in order to have realistic models of in vitro human organ constructs, the physical and biochemical environments of the tissue constructs need to be monitored and validated with conditions akin to in vivo environments. As such, there is an unmet need to develop microfluidic bioreactors or organs on-chip systems with integrated sensors which will provide information about the physical parameters such as pH, osmolarity, temperature, etc as well as the metabolic activity of cultured cells. Cell secreted biomarkers could be utilized to monitor the functionality of cells. The sensor systems are intended for continuous monitoring of the tissue environments for up to several weeks. Another area for niche applications of miniature sensors is in wound monitoring. Specifically chronic wounds of diabetic patients can be monitored using flexible sensors and if needed the wound could be intervened so as to prevent infection or further complications. In this talk, I will present two examples of sensor systems, (i) a smart bandage for wound monitoring, (ii) miniature physical and biochemical sensors for monitoring microfluidic organ constructs.

“Medical Device Commercialization at US Universities: Artificial Pancreas at Boston University and Mass General Hospital”

– Vinit Nijhawan,  Entrepreneur, Investor, and Lecturer Boston University

Commercializing medical device technology developed at research universities and academic medical centers is challenging yet rewarding for patients and research faculty. The Coulter Foundation has provided over $100M to 15 universities to translate medical device research. The Artificial Pancreas was one of the projects supported by Coulter and other foundations and industries to advance it from the university to patients.


12 – 1 PM Networking Lunch

1 PM – 2 PM Our Biotechnology Future

“The Future of Genomic Medicine in a post $1k Genome”

         – Mirza CifricCEO, Veritas Genetics

The impending sea change from disease treatment to prevention through informed consumer engagement aided by the dynamic genome from Veritas genetics.

Dynamic genome is data fusion of germline risks (genome) with dynamic changes (microbiome, proteome, epigenome) monitored longitudinally.

“Cell Based Therapies for Cancer”

– Dr. Khalid ShahDirector, Stem Cell Therapeutics and Imaging Program Massachusetts General Hospital

Given the issues related to conventional drugs, cell based therapies are emerging as the next generation therapies for different cancer types, Developing tumor cell specific receptor targeted stem cells and T cells is likely to change the way cancer patients will be treated in the near future.


2 – 2:30 PM

“Human stem cell therapy and regenerative medicine: curing disease instead of just treating disease”

– Brock Reeve, Director, Harvard Stem Cell Institute

Cell therapy and regenerative medicine stands on the cusp of curative therapies (as opposed to just treatment). We will be able to grow organs where original organs that are diseased or damaged organs can be replaced. Chronic illness will likely be non-existent – e.g. pancreases will have new beta cells knocking out diabetes, regenerated livers will replace cirrhotic and fibrous livers. Join Brock as he shows us where the technology is today, and how far away are we from the delivery of such lifesaving solutions

2:30 – 3 PM

“Case Study in Innovation: Startup Biosciences”

– Dr. Zhi Tsun, CoFounder of a Startup

3 – 4 PM

“Fireside Chat: Whither Mankind? Where will Un-Natural Selection lead humanity?”

– Steve Gullans, M.D., Co-Founder of Exel Ventures, and author of Evolving Ourselves & Brock Reeve, Exec Director, Harvard Stem Cell Institute *Moderated by Imran Nasrullah, Director, Innovation Sourcing at Boehringer Ingelheim

You have heard where regenerative medicine and cell therapy is today, you have heard about how technology and biotechnology is enabling us to direct our evolutionary future, now join us in examining what will the future hold for humanity. Will we be more resilient as a species? Will enhanced capabilities allow us to prolong our lives and quality of lives? What about space exploration? Will we modify humans to be optimized for space travel? And will we continue as one species, or several species? Join us for this very thought-provoking fireside chat.

4 – 4:15 PM Concluding Remarks

4 – 5 PM Networking


Team Members

Imran Nasrullah

Wasim Malik

Ahmed Busnaina

Kausar Qidwai

Natasha Qidwai

Rob Franco

Yasser Chaudhary

Imran Khan

Zahra Bhaiwala

Bilal Hussain

Anisa Mohammad


Speakers for this event

  • Brock Reeve

    Brock Reeve

    Director, Harvard Stem Cell Institute

    Brock Reeve is Executive Director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. In partnership with the Faculty Directors, he has overall responsibility for the operations and strategy of the Institute whose mission is to use stem cells, both as tools and as therapies, to understand and treat the root causes of leading degenerative diseases.
    HSCI is comprised of the schools of Harvard University and all its affiliated hospitals and research institutions. Under the leadership of the Executive Committee, HSCI invests in scientific research and its faculty has grown to include over 300 Principal and Affiliated members. The Institute is engaged with several leading pharmaceutical companies and foundations in joint research projects and its faculty have founded several stem cell-related startup companies and serve on leading Scientific Advisory Boards.
    Brock came to this role from the commercial sector with extensive experience in both management consulting and operations for technology-based companies, with a focus on life sciences. Brock received a BA and MPhil from Yale University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

    Director, Harvard Stem Cell Institute

  • Dr. Ahmed Busnaina

    Dr. Ahmed Busnaina

    Director, National Science Foundation’s Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center NorthEastern University

    Ahmed Busnaina, Ph.D. is the William Lincoln Smith Chair Professor at Northeastern University and Director. NSF Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center for High Rate Nanomanufacturing (CHN). He is an internationally-recognized authority in the area of surface cleaning and contamination control area. He is a leader in developing fast massive directed assembly of nanoscale elements (such as carbon nanotubes, nanoparticles, etc.). This includes developing templates to direct the assembly of nanoelements into nanoscale structures in a short time (in seconds) and over a large area. Author of more than 600 papers in refereed journals, proceedings and conferences. Invited to write more than 25 articles in several scientific and industrial publications. He edited and co edited more than 15 proceedings and newsletters for many professional societies. He organized more than 80 conferences, workshops, symposia and programs for many professional societies. He consulted extensively to the semiconductor industry on a variety of issues and invited to teach more than 50 shortcourses and present 300 seminars and has 20 patents. He is widely-quoted and has provided insights to several national/international news organizations and publications, ranging from Semiconductor International to Wall Street News wires. He serves on many advisory boards including Samsung Electronics; Chemical Industry Nanomaterials Roadmap, International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors, Journal of Particulate Science and Technology, Journal of Environmental Sciences. He is an American Society of Mechanical Engineering Fellow, a Fellow of the Adhesion Society, an Associate Fellow of the AIAA and IES. He received the Fulbright Senior Scholar Award, Dow Outstanding Young Faculty Award (ASEE); In addition to numerous Who’s Who listings such as Who’s Who in the World; in America; in Science and Engineering; who’s Who of Emerging Leaders in America; American Men and Women of Science.

    Director, National Science Foundation’s Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center NorthEastern University

  • Dr. Khalid Shah

    Dr. Khalid Shah

    Director, Stem Cell Therapeutics and Imaging Program Massachusetts General Hospital

    Dr. Khalid Shah is an Associate Professor at Harvard Medical School and heads the Molecular Neurotherapy and Imaging Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, MA. He is also the Director of the Stem Cell Therapeutics and Imaging program in MGH’s Center for Translational Research, and is a Principal Faculty at Harvard Stem Cell Institute in Boston.
    In recent years, Dr. Shah and his team have pioneered major developments in the cancer research field, successfully developing therapeutic stem cells for cancer, particularly brain tumors. These studies have been published in a number of very high impact journals like Nature Neuroscience, PNAS, JNCI, Stem Cells, Lancet Oncology and Nature Reviews Cancer validating the use of therapeutic stem cells for cancer therapy. The potential of developing novel cancer therapies in his laboratory has been recognized by many cancer alliances and associations. Based on this, he has received the young investigator award from Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy (ACGT), Research fellow award from American Cancer Society (ACS), Innovation awards from James McDonnell Foundation, American Brain Tumor Association (ABTA), Goldhirsh Foundation, and American Association of Radiology. Additionally, Dr. Shah has participated in the training of numerous undergraduate, graduate students and residents at MGH, and the potential of his mentoring has been recognized by Harvard Medical School, who recently awarded him the Harvard Young Mentor Award.
    Dr. Shah’s laboratory has achieved international recognition and has recently launched an outreach program to create public awareness of the fervent need for effective brain tumor treatments, and the current research on the cusp of clinical translation that would yield paramount progress for cancer patients. Amongst Dr. Shah’s recently published works are two books featuring current groundbreaking insights into stem cell therapies for cancer.

    Director, Stem Cell Therapeutics and Imaging Program Massachusetts General Hospital

  • Dr. Mehmet Dokmeci

    Dr. Mehmet Dokmeci

    Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School

    Mehmet R. Dokmeci received B.S. (with distinction) and M.S. degrees from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, and the Ph.D. degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, all in Electrical Engineering. Dr. Dokmeci is currently an Instructor at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), Harvard Medical School, a position he has held since June 2011. He is also the co-director of the Biomaterials Innovation Research Center (BIRC) at BWH. Previously, he was on the faculty of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Northeastern University. Before joining academia, he worked for 4 years at Corning-Intellisense Corporation, Wilmington, MA, developing MEMS-based products for the telecommunications and life science industries. He has extensively published in refereed journals and conferences in the areas of MEMS, BioMEMS, micro- and nanotechnology, and sensors. He is the author of 87 technical journal articles and 110 conference publications, has one edited book, four invited book chapters, and four patents. Dr. Dokmeci is also a long term member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Materials Research Society (MRS), American Chemical Society (ACS), and American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). His group has received several awards for their research, including the Best Poster Award from the MRS Fall Meeting in 2007 and the Best Poster Award from the 8th IEEE International Conference on Nanotechnology in 2008, and the Best Poster Award at the IEEE BioCAS conference in 2014.

    Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School

  • Dr. Steve Gullens

    Dr. Steve Gullens

    Co-Founder of Exel Ventures, and author of Homo Evolutis

    Steve Gullans, Ph.D., is a biotech investor, scientist, entrepreneur, and author. He is currently Managing Director at Excel Venture Management where he invests in young life science companies with transformative technologies. He loves innovation and has spoken widely, including at TED, TEDMED, and TEDx. Previously he was a professor at Harvard Medical School where he published more than 130 scientific papers and was elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

    Co-Founder of Exel Ventures, and author of Homo Evolutis

  • Mirza Cifric

    Mirza Cifric

    CEO , Veritas Genetics

    Mr. Mirza Cifric is co-Founder of Veritas Genetics and serves as its Chief Executive Officer and Director. Mr. Cifric served as the Chief Executive Officer and Director at AbVitro, Inc. He is a Life sciences entrepreneur. He served as Head of Corporation at Dev. FORMA Therapeutics.

    CEO , Veritas Genetics

  • Vinit Nijhawan

    Vinit Nijhawan

    Entrepreneur, Investor and Lecturer Boston University

    Vinit Nijhawan was Managing Director, Office of Technology Development at Boston University. Vinit teaches MBA courses on Entrepreneurship at BU Questrom School of Business, over 300 students have taken his courses. Vinit has over 30 years of experience building five startups: as CEO of three, five were acquired. Vinit was Venture Partner at Key Venture Partners and over two years sourced over 200 deals and made one investment that was acquired for $430M. Vinit is an advisor and board member to several technology startups and was a Mass High Tech All-Star in 2005. Vinit has participated in over 240-panel discussions and paper presentations and is a Board Member of Mass Ventures, an early stage, quasi-public Massachusetts venture capital firm, a co-founder of EdTech Accelerator/Incubator LearnLaunch, President of Massachusetts Association of Technology Transfer Offices, and on the Advisory Board of Walker Innovation (OTC QB: PPRO). Vinit is also on the board of the National Academy of Inventors. Vinit earned a B.A.Sc in electrical engineering from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada.

    Entrepreneur, Investor and Lecturer Boston University

  • Zhi-Yang Tsun

    Zhi-Yang Tsun

    CMO of a Startup

    Zhi-Yang Tsun, as co-founder and Chief Medical Officer of a Startup, is on a mission to democratize health testing and usher in an era of proactive healthcare. Zhi is an MD candidate from Harvard Medical School and received his PhD from MIT studying fundamental mechanisms of cell growth and nutrient sensing with David Sabatini.

    CMO of a Startup