Travis Whitfill
Azitra Inc.

Travis Whitfill is the Chief Science Officer of Azitra Inc. His background began in molecular biology and biochemistry after receiving scientific training at the MD Anderson Cancer Center and Duke University. He has co-founded several biotech and healthcare startups companies, including Azitra. Mr. Whitfill’s strong background in entrepreneurship and business was recently acknowledged when he was named one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in 2018. He serves as a partner at Bios Partners, a healthcare-focused venture capital fund based in Texas, and as the Senior Analyst at Bios Research, which provides research services to institutional investors. He also is an Associate Research Scientist in the Department of Pediatrics at Yale University. Mr. Whitfill received degrees from Yale University (MPH) and Dallas Baptist University (BS in biology).

Larry Weiss
Persona Biome

Dr. Weiss is the CEO and Founder of Persona Biome, a San Francisco skin microbiome company.  Previously, he was founding Chief Medical Officer at AOBiome where he formulated AOB-101, the first live topical biotherapeutic and ran the first successful virtual Phase IIb clinical trial.   He also developed the Mother Dirt cosmetic line, including AO Mist, the first live skin probiotic. He has an extensive background in natural products chemistry, microbiology, clinical medicine, dermatology, anesthesiology, biophysics, and pharmaceutical and cosmetic product development. Dr. Weiss is board certified in Anesthesiology, has an MD from Stanford University, and a BS in Biochemistry from Cornell University. He has 14 patents and is published in the areas of chemistry, electrophysiology, clinical pharmacology, and the microbiome. Dr. Weiss is a Co-Founder of CleanWell Company.

Yug Varma
Phi Therapeutics

Yug Varma, PhD, is the cofounder and CEO of Phi Therapeutics, a microbiome company based in San Francisco. He has an extensive background in bio-organic chemistry, microbiology, synthetic biology, and microbiome research. Yug received his scientific training at several distinguished academic institutions, including Johns Hopkins University (PhD) and University of California, San Francisco.

Jan Claesen
Assistant Professor
Cleveland Clinic - Lerner Research Institute

The Claesen group aims to functionally characterize molecular mechanisms that control bacterial interspecies and microbe-host interactions in the human microbiome. Bacteria use small molecule chemicals to mediate these interactions and the genetic information required for their production is typically encoded in one physical location of the bacterial chromosome, in biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs). Using in silico techniques, we identified several widespread families of BGCs that we are now characterizing experimentally, prioritizing on the BGCs predicted to be involved in modulation of community composition or interaction with the host immune system. Our research will contribute to a better mechanistic understanding of the microbes that live in our gut and on our skin, leading to the discovery of druggable small molecules, new targets for antibacterial therapy and beneficial bacterial strains that can be employed for intervention therapies. The areas of expertise in the Claesen group include microbiology, bacterial genetics and synthetic biology, small molecule biosynthesis and biochemistry.

Greg Hillebrand
Senior Principal Research Scientist

Greg Hillebrand is a principal scientist at Amway where he provides technical leadership for the company’s skin microbiome research and product development initiatives. He has a PhD in biochemistry and an expertise in skin health and aging built on over 30 years in cosmetic science.

Alex Goddard
VP, Research & Development

Alex Goddard joined AOBiome in 2018 as VP of Research and Development. Alex brings a wealth of experience in strategy and execution. He has worked to progress therapeutics spanning pharmaceutical, device, and digital health approaches, with previous positions at Novartis, Tal Medical, and Sync Project. His areas of scientific expertise include neuron-immune interactions, neurological and psychiatric disease, and ammonia-oxidizing bacteria.

Nur Hasan

Dr. Nur A Hasan is a molecular microbiologist with experiences in microbial genomics, metagenomics, and molecular ecology. Dr. Hasan is the Chief Scientific Officer at CosmosID Inc. and an adjunct faculty at the Center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, University of Maryland, College Park, MD. Dr. Hasan received his Bachelor and Masters in Microbiology, M.B.A in Marketing and Ph.D. in Molecular Biology. He has authored over 75 peer-reviewed articles and over 70 conference proceedings. Currently, Dr. Hasan is leading an effort in developing the world’s largest curated genome databases and ultra rapid bioinformatics platform for pathogen detection and cross-disciplinary microbiome research.

Tuval Ben-Yehezkel
Loop Genomics

Tuval Ben-Yehezkel, PhD is a scientist-entrepreneur focused on applied genomics and synthetic biology. He has authored key patents, publications and book chapters in synthetic biology and genomics. Tuval has also founded and secured $15.3M in funding for two biotech start-up companies (Loop Genomics & SynVaccine Ltd).

Audrey Gueniche
Senior Clinical Expert, Advanced Research
L’Oreal Research & Innovation

Audrey GUENICHE obtained her Pharmacist degree and her PhD degree in skin biology more than 23 years ago. She is an expert on immunology and microbiology. Her main expertise is on skin topical treatment and food supplement for skin and hair health, especially using probiotics, natural extract and bacterial extracts. She is currently a senior clinical expert in LOREAL RESEARCH. She has a complete experience from the actives through vitro evaluations/ preclinical studies to clinical trials. Her passion is to always reinvent evaluation and find new area to promote actives. She has published over 110 papers in peer-reviewed journals, 5 chapters in books, 2 specials issues in journal where she was the invited editor. She presented in over 90 international congresses and additionally she was personally invited to give more than 40 keynote lectures.

Sharon Blinkoff
Senior Counsel
Locke Lord & Independent Cosmetic Manufacturers & Distributors (ICMAD)

Sharon Blinkoff represents manufacturers, marketers, and distributors of cosmetics, dietary supplements, over the counter drugs, and medical devices as well as beauty appliances and other consumer products and luxury goods. She regularly advises clients on compliance with the laws enforced by the FDA, CPSC, and the FTC, and obtaining FDA registrations and 510k premarket clearances. For many years Sharon has played a leadership role in the Cosmetics and Personal Care Industry serving on the Board of Directors and as Corporate Secretary for the Independent Cosmetic Manufacturers and Distributors (ICMAD) Trade Association. Sharon, on behalf of ICMAD, has served as part of the industry negotiating team that met with representatives of the US FDA to develop a framework for new Cosmetic legislation. She has also been an active participant on behalf of the industry, by submitting comments on FDA’s proposed changes to the OTC Monograph proceedings and the proposal to require IND’s for cosmetic testing, as well as other regulatory proceedings both state and federal that impact on the Cosmetic and Personal Care industry. Having served as Division and Regulatory Counsel for Bristol-Myers Squibb/Fortis Clairol Division, as well as Senior Counsel for Revlon, Sharon brings considerable experience in representing regulated businesses on a broad range of regulatory and business matters. She also served as General Counsel to Ethan Allen Inc. and was part of the management group that restructured the company and took it public. With her broad regulatory experience and business background, She brings considerable knowledge and expertise to the challenges faced by her clients. Having spent her early career as a patent attorney for the National Institutes of Health, Sharon also brings a keen understanding of the technical side of the regulatory process and the interplay between regulatory issues and IP assets and how they relate to the client’s business strategy. Sharon has successfully defended clients in regulatory proceedings before the FDA and the FTC, and has instituted and defended clients in advertising challenges before the NAD, ERSP and the FTC as well as in Lanham Act litigations. She has also assisted in the structuring business transactions involving regulated products and industries, including corporate acquisitions and divestitures, public offerings, joint venture and distribution agreements.

Mark Wilson
Co-Founder & CEO
MatriSys Bioscience

Mr. Wilson is the CEO and co-founder of MatriSys Bioscience. He has 30 years biopharmaceutical and diagnostic experience with extensive accomplishments in new organization start-up, pharmaceutical licensing and business development, strategic alliance formation with Big Pharma and Big Biotech firms, and developmental sourcing in a virtual company environment. He is a UC Berkeley Engineer with a UCLA Anderson MBA.

Elizaveta (Lisa) Freinkman
Staff Scientist

Elizaveta (Lisa) Freinkman is a staff scientist in the Research & Development division at Metabolon, where her research is focused on lipidomics, novel metabolite structure elucidation, and capacity building for emerging matrices such as skin and feces. Prior to joining Metabolon in 2016, Lisa co-founded and then directed the Metabolite Profiling Core Facility at the Whitehead Institute of MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts. There her efforts spanned the entire metabolomic and lipidomic workflow, from LC/MS method development to data analysis and interpretation, and contributed to over 25 high-profile peer-reviewed journal articles. Lisa holds a Ph.D. in Chemical Biology from Harvard University, where her doctoral research focused on membrane lipid biogenesis and protein biochemistry in Gram-negative bacteria.

Malcolm Kendall
Microbiome Insights

Malcolm Kendall has over 28 years of operational management, entrepreneurial, venture capital investment and leadership experience, the majority of which has been focused on company creation and building value in technology and biotechnology companies. Before founding Microbiome Insights, he was the co-founder and CEO of Indel Therapeutics Inc., a Vancouver-based biopharmaceutical company dedicated to developing new drugs to address the global health crisis caused by antibiotic resistance. Prior to this, Malcolm was an investment professional with life science focused venture capital firms MDS Capital (now Lumira Capital), BioVista Capital (now Hatteras Venture Partners) and Intersouth Partners. Before entering business, he served in the U.S. Army where he honed his leadership skills as an Infantry and Special Forces officer. Malcolm has been an advisor and board member to numerous companies and organizations and is currently a member of the board of directors of Semios BIO Technologies, a mentor for the entrepreneurship@UBC program and an adjunct professor at the MBA MOT program at Simon Fraser University. He received his undergraduate degree from Washington and Lee University and an M.B.A. from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina.

Ia Khmaladze
Principal Scientist Skin Health
Oriflame Cosmetics AB, Skin Research Institute

Ia is currently Principal Scientist Skin Health at the Skin Research Institute, Oriflame Cosmetics AB, Sweden. Previously, she was Senior Research Scientist at the Skin Research Institute, Oriflame Cosmetics AB, Sweden and held a post-doctoral fellow position at the Molecular Dermatology department at the Karolinska Institute, Sweden. Ia completed her PhD in Medical Science, 2014; department of Medical Inflammation Research, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden (during her PhD study, she developed in vivo experimental model of psoriasis and psoriasis arthritis. I.Khmaladze, et al; 2014; PNAS). Ia completed her Master´s degree in immunology in 2006 at Lunds Universitet, Sweden and her Bachelor´s degree in Biology in 2001 in Tbilisi State University, Tbilisi, Georgia.

Eva Berkes
Principal, Co-Founder & CSO
Quorum Innovations

Dr. Berkes established a private practice in 2002. She is board certified in allergy, asthma and immunology. She graduated from Williams College and attended medical school at the University of Florida, where she remained for her residency in internal medicine. Dr. Berkes completed a fellowship in allergy, asthma and immunology at The Scripps Clinic and Research Institute. Her research focuses on the human microbiome and its relationships with human innate immunity, biofilms and disease states associated with chronic and allergic inflammation. Dr. Berkes is also a co-founder of the Hawthorne Clinic.

Nicholas Monsul
CEO, Principal & Co-Founder
Quorum Innovations

Dr. Monsul was born in Philadelphia. He received his medical training was at Yale University School of Medicine and The Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he eventually stayed as part of the teaching faculty. Throughout his career and education, he has been involved in basic science research with a particular interested in neural regeneration and neuronal cell death, and now the largest organ in the human body, the human microbiome. He is Co-Founder of Quorum Innovations where he developed the company and co-authored the intellectual property. He also is a surgeon with a busy practice in the Hawthorne Clinic and Research Center.

Eric (Chun-Ming) Huang
Adjunct Professor
UC San Diego

Dr. Eric (Chun-Ming) Huang is a Professor at the Department of Dermatology, University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Dr. Huang has more than 100 publications in the field of the microbiome and its application for development of drugs, vaccines and probiotics/prebiotics. His recent research mainly focuses on the banking and editing of the skin microbiome.

Mingxun Wang
Postdoctoral Scholar
UC San Diego

My research and experience have focused on the development of algorithms, statistical models, curated knowledge bases, and engineering scalable software for high-throughput interpretation of mass spectrometry data of metabolites, peptides, and proteins. Specifically, I have created large scale, error-controlled databases of known compounds from repository scale datasets. In proteomics, I created the MassIVE-KB resource that encompassed 2.2M peptide spectra (a 4X increase in size over the state of the art) and for the first time included global error controls and a full provenance record. Within metabolomics/natural products, I created the Global Natural Products Social Molecular Networking (GNPS) online tool. GNPS included the creation of a crowdsourced knowledgebase that now stands at nearly 80K MS/MS spectra that has been used to analyze billions of MS/MS spectra by over 55K users. Further, during my PhD work, I pioneered new tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) matching algorithms to assess for the first time the significance of MS/MS similarity in the context of spectral library search. Similarly, within metabolomics, I worked to develop the first target decoy approach to assess false discovery rates of spectral library searches. I am actively engaged in how to further create high quality database resources for mass spectrometry and the tools that make these resources useful.

Amina Bouslimani
Assistant Project Scientist, Dorrestein’s Lab
UC San Diego

Amina received her PhD in Biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of Montpellier 1 in France. Her PhD work focused on developing mass spectrometry based tools to study the penetration of chemotherapeutic agents in tumoral tissues. In 2013, she joined Prof. Pieter Dorrestein lab as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California San Diego, where she developed and applied state-of-the art mass spectrometry techniques to illuminate the chemistry of the human skin surface and link it to the microbes that live on it. She further used these tools to investigate the molecular exchange between the host and the built environment and to profile spatially the metabolites of psoriasis skin. Her work also focuses on investigating the impact of individual lifestyles and hygiene routines on the molecular and bacterial composition of the skin. Since 2016, Amina works as an Assistant Project Scientist in the Dorrestein lab and her research focuses on the development of a new field of skin metabolomics with applications in forensics, personal care industry, and biomarker discovery.

Huiying Li
Associate Professor, Molecular & Medical Pharmacology

Dr. Huiying Li is an Associate Professor in the Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology at UCLA School of Medicine. Her research group investigates the role of the skin microbiome in health and disease, including two most common skin diseases, acne vulgaris and atopic dermatitis. By combining high-throughput technologies, bioinformatics, microbiology, and biochemistry, Dr. Li and her group analyze the genomes, metagenomes, metatranscriptomes, and metabolomes of the microorganisms in the human microbiome and their interactions with the host. The findings from these studies can potentially lead to new diagnostics and interventions.

Ally Perlina
Chief Translational Science Officer

Ally Perlina leads the interdisciplinary translational science team of scientists, nutritionists and clinicians at Viome. She is a systems biology and precision medicine innovator. Ally has over seventeen years of industry experience translating various types of omics data into clinically actionable insights for advancement of healthcare, pharmaceutical, and wellness fields.

Matthew Bresnahan
Partner – Intellectual Property
Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati

Matt Bresnahan is a partner in the San Diego office of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, where he has focused his practice over the past 12 years on all aspects of intellectual property, including strategic patent counseling, patent prosecution, licensing, and litigation. Matt is primary outside IP counsel to more than 50 life sciences companies within the biotechnology, molecular biology, pharmaceutical, diagnostic, and medical device fields in Southern California. Matt is also an adjunct professor of law at the University of San Diego School of Law, where he has taught patent law for the past seven years. He received his J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law in 2007. He earned a B.S. in Biochemistry from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, in 2004.