Bill Wiesler, Ph.D., M.B.A.
Director of the Blavatnik Fund for Innovation at Yale
Address: 433 Temple St, New Haven, CT 06511-6803
Phone: 203-432-5406
Fax: 203-436-8086

Bill Wiesler is the Director of the Blavatnik Fund for Innovation at Yale, a $10 million grant from the Blavatnik Family Foundation that supports efforts to turn Yale faculty discoveries into life science treatments, drugs and devices.

He is also serving as the Director of New Ventures at OCR, a position he has held since 2002. In that role, he works with Yale faculty and students to form new ventures based on Yale technologies of all types, including biotech, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, diagnostics, cleantech, and software. Since 2003, Yale has spun out 57 new companies that have raised over $830 million in venture investment. Bill has played a key role in recruiting entrepreneurs and capital for over half of these ventures and has held numerous Board and Observer seats. He currently serves as a Board Observer of: IsoPlexis, a company developing a single cell immunoassay device; NanoEngineering Corporation, a biosensor company; and TransImmune AG, a company developing ECP-based dendritic cell therapy.

Prior to joining OCR, Bill was with McKinsey & Company, where he served senior management at four of the top ten global pharmaceutical companies on a range of strategic and business development issues. Prior to McKinsey, Bill was with Radius Ventures, a startup and early-stage venture capital firm focused on the health and life sciences industry. Earlier, Bill held research positions at Cadus Pharmaceutical Corp., where he headed drug discovery, and at University of Colorado, where he was an American Cancer Society fellow.

He is a summa cum laude graduate of Princeton University, and earned both an M.B.A. and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Columbia University.

Board Chairman

Fred Cohen, D.Phil, M.D.

Fred Cohen is a Founder and Senior Managing Director of Vida Ventures, a Biotechnology investment group.  Prior to this, he was a Partner at TPG and co-founder of TPG Biotechnology, a life science focused investment effort.  During his 15 years at TPG,  he was responsible for co-leading the Biotechnology investment effort. The TPG Biotechnology team has invested in over 50 companies covering areas of Drug Discovery and Development, Personalized Medicine, Allied Pharmaceutical Services, Industrial Biotechnology and Medical Technology.  For the last 30 years, Dr. Cohen has been at UCSF where he has had clinical responsibilities as an Internist for hospitalized patients, a consulting Endocrinologist, and as the Chief of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism. Prior to joining TPG, he was a Professor of Medicine, Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, and Biochemistry and Biophysics.  His research interests include structure based drug design, prion diseases, computational biology and heteropolymer chemistry.  Dr. Cohen has published over 200 peer reviewed articles, participated as a co-inventor on over 10 patents and has served as an editor or editorial board member of several international scientific journals.  Dr. Cohen received his BS degree in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale University, his D.Phil. in Molecular Biophysics from Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship, his MD from Stanford and his postdoctoral training and postgraduate medical training in Internal Medicine and Endocrinology at UCSF.  Dr. Cohen is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  Dr. Cohen currently serves on the Board of Directors of several biotechnology and pharmaceutical organizations including BioCryst, CareDx, Cell Design Labs, Five Prime Therapeutics, Genomic Health, Progyny, Tandem Diabetes, Urogen and Veracyte.

Faculty Representative

Amy Arnsten, Ph.D.
Professor of Neuroscience and of Psychology

Dr. Arnsten was raised in Maplewood, N.J. where she attended Columbia High School. She received her B.A. in Neuroscience from Brown University in 1976, and her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from UCSD in 1981. She did post-doctoral research with Dr. Susan Iversen at Cambridge University in the UK, and with Dr. Patricia Goldman-Rakic at Yale. Dr. Arnsten’s research examines the neural basis of higher cognition. Her work has revealed that the newly evolved cortical circuits that underlie higher cognition are uniquely regulated at the molecular level, conferring vulnerability in mental illness and age-related cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s Disease. Arnsten’s research has led to new treatments for cognitive disorders in humans, including the successful translation of guanfacine (IntunivTM) for the treatment of ADHD and related prefrontal cortical disorders.

Blavatnik Associates

Robert Amezquita, Ph.D. Candidate

Robert Amezquita is a PhD candidate in the Department of Immunobiology in the Kaech and Kleinstein labs, studying the development of immunological responses that provides us protection from infectious disease and cancer. Utilizing computational methodologies to extract the most from modern high throughput sequencing, he focuses on leveraging a genome-wide, systems biology approach to gain new insights into CD8+ T cells, a key player in our immune systems which mediates potent antiviral and antitumour immunity. Robert is a recipient of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Gilliam Fellowship and National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. As a data scientist, Robert was a member of the team awarded a Grand Prize at the Center for Biomedical and Interventional Technology’s Data Science Marathon for work in predicting acute myocardial infarction patient readmissions. In addition, Robert works to reach out to the broader community, promoting (data) science to younger generations through Yale Splash teaching days, and as a Yale Online Education Innovation grant recipient, crafted a web app to help teach data science through interactive modules. As a graduate of University of California - San Diego’s Bioengineering program, Robert has always been passionate about the translation of science from bench to bedside, harnessing a broad education ranging from fluid dynamics to biomaterials in the hopes of pushing forward tomorrow’s cures.

Mary Burke, Ph.D. Candidate
Interdepartmental Neuroscience

Mary Burke is a fifth-year PhD candidate in the Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program studying the neurobiology of obesity. The goal of her thesis work is to evaluate the therapeutic potential of a novel target for restoring gut-brain communication in overweight and obese patients. Beyond the lab, Mary is a strong advocate for science outreach and education. She served as director of the Neuroscience Outreach Group and Brain Education Day at Yale, and has also worked to create opportunities for Yale students and post-docs to learn about entrepreneurship in the life sciences. Prior to attending Yale, she graduated from Oberlin College with a BA degree in Neuroscience and French. Outside of her professional interests, she enjoys yoga, running, and singing a cappella.

Colby Keistler, Ph.D. Candidate
Interdepartmental Neuroscience

Colby Keistler is a 4th year PhD candidate in the Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program, where she studies the neurobiology of alcoholism. Her projects are aimed at understanding the neural pathways that underlie relapse in recovering alcoholics, with the goal of translating these discoveries into improved therapeutic strategies. Colby is the recipient of several awards, including a Gruber Science Fellowship, a Kavli Neuroscience Fellowship, and a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA). She is also involved with the Biomedical Careers Committee, which provides career development resources and opportunities to the biomedical community at Yale. Prior to attending Yale, Colby graduated magna cum laude with a BS degree in Neuroscience with a minor in Chemistry from Duke University. Outside of her professional interests, she enjoys traveling, cooking and yoga.

Farhan Murshed, Med. Student 2017

Farhan Murshed is a fourth year medical student at Yale School of Medicine and NIH-NHLBI Research Fellow in the Yale Department of Biomedical Engineering. His primary research publications are in oncology and infectious disease at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. He is a Graduate Affiliate of Berkeley College at Yale and earned his AB from Harvard University.

Joori Park, Ph.D. Candidate
Molecular, Cellular & Dev. Biology

Joori Park is a sixth year PhD candidate in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology. She investigates how insects sense the world by understanding the gustatory system in fruit flies. Besides science, she is interested in business and student government. She currently serves as the Graduate and Professional Student Senate Professional Development Committee Chair, and was a former Graduate Student Assembly Chair. Prior to attending Yale, Joori graduated from Stanford. Outside of her professional interests, she enjoys traveling, hiking, and baking.

Santiago Salazar, Ph.D. Candidate

Santiago is a PhD candidate in the department of Genetics at Yale University’s School of Medicine. His project in Dr. Stephen Strittmatter’s lab includes investigating the molecular mechanisms underlying the pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s disease. Before coming to Yale, Santiago studied breast cancer and mammary gland development as an undergraduate researcher at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Santiago was also co-founder of Anthos Pharmaceuticals; a Yale startup looking to commercialize a novel Alzheimer’s therapeutic through the NIH Neuro Startup Challenge. Along with his sustained commitment to translational research, Santiago brings to the Yale Canaan partnership his passion for entrepreneurship.

Milica Vukmirovic, Ph.D.
Assoc. Research Scientist, Pulmonary

Milica Vukmirovic is a Associate Research Scientist at the Yale School of Medicine where she works on a platform for functional transcriptomics, and leads translational research projects to identify transcriptomic profiles of lung diseases such as: Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis and Sarcoidosis. She has published in MCB, Circ Cardiovasc Genetics, and other journals, and assisted in preparing successful grant applications and business plans for ventures in early stage of development. She was a Postdoctoral Fellow & Project Manager at the International Centre for Health Innovation, Ivey Business School, Canada, where she evaluated a potential for inventions to be adopted into the health care sector. She received a PhD in Life Sciences from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, and was a Postdoctoral Associate at Florida State University, College of Medicine, where she actively supported the development of postdoctoral and entrepreneurial programs.

Investment Advisory Board

Stephen Knight, M.D., M.B.A.
President & Managing Partner

Stephen Knight joined F-Prime Capital in 2003 where he serves as President and Managing Partner. He has worked in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries for over 25 years and invests broadly across healthcare.  Steve serves on the Board of Directors of Innovent Biologics, Iora Health, Pulmocide, Semma Therapeutics and Denali Therapeutics. Steve previously served on the boards of several private and public health care companies including, Blueprint Medicines (NASDAQ: BPMC) FoldRx Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Pfizer), Ironwood Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: IRWD), NextWave Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Pfizer), Proteostasis Therapeutics (NASDAQ: PTI), and Respivert, Ltd (acquired by J&J).

Prior to joining F-Prime Capital, Steve held various senior management roles in private and public biotechnology and consulting companies. He also was a researcher at AT&T Bell Laboratories, the National Institutes of Health, and Yale University. He holds an M.D. from the Yale University School of Medicine, an M.B.A. from the Yale School of Organization and Management and received a B.S. in biology from Columbia University, graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa.

Liam Ratcliffe, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A.
Managing Director

Liam Ratcliffe is a Managing Director at New Leaf Venture Partners, and concentrates on biopharmaceutical investing. Liam joined New Leaf in September 2008. Liam previously served as Senior Vice President and Development Head for Pfizer Neuroscience, as well as Worldwide Head of Clinical Research and Development. Additional positions during his 12 years at Pfizer included Vice President of Exploratory Development for the Mid West region (based in Ann Arbor, MI), and Head of Experimental Medicine at Pfizer’s Sandwich, UK Laboratories. As Head of Neurosciences, Liam was responsible for the development of several successful late-stage projects and marketed products, including Lyrica, Chantix and Geodon. In previous roles, he gained extensive experience in early drug development and translational research across multiple therapeutic areas, including inflammation, pain, cardiovascular disease, infectious diseases and genito-urinary medicine.

Liam began his career in the pharmaceutical industry in a medical marketing role at Roche in South Africa. He received his M.D. degree and Ph.D. degree in immunology from the University of Cape Town and his M.B.A. degree from the University of Michigan. Liam completed his internal medicine training and fellowship in Immunology at Groote Schuur Hospital and associated teaching hospitals in Cape Town, South Africa.

Liam also serves on various industry panels, including the Leadership Counsel of the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute, the Advisory Council of the Keck Graduate Institute, the Life Sciences Advisory Panel of Frankel Consulting and the Pfizer External Advisory Panel for Ophthalmology, the AstraZeneca External Advisory Panel for Research & Development Strategy and Anti-Infectives.

Jason Rhodes, M.B.A.

Jason Rhodes is a partner at Atlas Venture and focuses on the creation, development, and business strategy of novel therapeutics companies. He sits on the boards of Atlas portfolio companies Replimune, Bicycle Therapeutics, and several seed-stage companies. Prior to joining Atlas, Jason was president and CFO of Epizyme (NASDAQ: EPZM), which he joined when it was a private, research-stage company and helped lead through a series of successful partnerships and an IPO in 2013. Prior to that Jason was vice president of business development at Alnylam (NASDAQ: ALNY), and he was a founder and partner with Fidelity Biosciences before that. Jason received his BA from Yale University and his MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is a member of the advisory board of the BIDMC Institute for RNA Medicine, the investment advisory board of the Blavatnik fund at Yale, the industry advisory board of the Models to Medicine (M2M) Center at UMass Amherst, and the Berklee College of Music Presidential Advisory Council.

Tim Shannon, M.D.
General Partner

For more than 25 years, Tim Shannon has been an entrepreneur, executive, researcher, professor, and practicing physician in pulmonary and critical care medicine. A Canaan investor since 2009, we rely on Tim’s operating experience to help companies grow from their earliest stages to funded companies creating value through partnerships, M&A and IPOs. Most recently, Tim was startup CEO and currently serves as the Chairman of Arvinas, named by Fierce Biotech as a Fierce 15 company of 2015.

Tim was one of the early institutional investors and remains on the board of CytomX Therapeutics, which completed a $92 million initial public offering in October 2015 (NASDAQ: CTMX). He was a co-lead Series A investor in Civitas Therapeutics, which was acquired by Acorda Therapeutics in October 2014 for $525 million, and a lead Series A investor in Novira Therapeutics, Inc. which was acquired by Johnson & Johnson in December 2015. In addition, he serves on the boards of IDEAYA Biosciences, NextCure, Spyryx Biosciences, Vivace Therapeutics and VaxInnate Corporation.

Prior to Canaan, Tim was president and chief executive officer of CuraGen, a publically traded biopharmaceutical company focused on oncology, after serving as executive vice president of R&D and chief medical officer. Earlier he was the senior vice president and head of global clinical development for Bayer’s Pharmaceutical Business Group. Tim began his career as assistant professor of the pulmonary and critical care division at Yale University School of Medicine.

Tim received his post graduate medical training at the Beth Israel Hospital of Harvard Medical School and at Boston University, earned his medical degree from the University of Connecticut, and has a B.A. in chemistry from Amherst College.

Stacey Seltzer, M.B.A.

Ms. Seltzer joined Aisling in 2008 and currently serves as a Partner. Previously, Ms. Seltzer was at Schering-Plough, where she held roles in business development, marketing and sales, most recently serving as the U.S. Schering-Plough Brand Lead for Zetia. While in business development, Ms. Seltzer was involved in the structuring and negotiation of several deals with an aggregate value in the billions, ranging from in-licensing deals to broad development and commercialization alliances. Prior to Schering-Plough, Ms. Seltzer was the Director of Business Development for Akceli, a biotechnology company developing cell-based microarrays. Ms. Seltzer began her career as a management consultant for McKinsey & Company.

Ms. Seltzer serves as a director of Aimmune Therapeutics and Promentis Pharmaceuticals, and as a Board observer of Prolacta Bioscience. Previously, she served as a director of Miramar Labs (acquired by Sientra) and as a Board observer for Agile Therapeutics, Durata Therapeutics (acquired by Actavis) and ZELTIQ Aesthetics (acquired by Allergan). She also acted as the Aisling representative for its investment in PreCision Dermatology (acquired by Valeant) and was closely involved in Aisling’s investments in Dermira and PowerVision.

Ms. Seltzer received her M.B.A. from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where she was a Palmer Scholar. She received her M.S. and B.S. from Yale University, awarded cum laude in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry.

David Singer, M.B.A.
Managing Partner

David B. Singer is Managing Partner of Maverick Ventures.  He joined Maverick in 2004.  Mr. Singer is a founder and former CEO of three healthcare companies:  Affymetrix, Inc., Corcept Therapeutics, Inc. and Genesoft Pharmaceuticals, Oscient’s predecessor.   Mr. Singer currently serves on the boards of several private companies in the fields of healthcare information technology, healthcare delivery, and biotechnology.  He currently serves on the board of Castlight Health (NYSE: CSLT), and has served on the boards of several public companies, including the three companies he founded.

Mr. Singer received a B.A. from Yale University and an M.B.A. from Stanford University.  Previously, he was a Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute and a member of the Rand Corporation’s Health Advisory Board.   He is currently a Sterling Fellow of Yale University, Vice Chair of College Track and Vice President of the San Francisco Health Commission.

Stephen Squinto, Ph.D.
Venture Partner

Stephen Squinto, Ph.D., is a Venture Partner with OrbiMed who brings over 25 years of biotechnology industry experience.  Dr. Squinto was a co-founder of Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and recently served as its Executive Vice President and Chief Global Operations Officer. Prior to 2013, he was Alexion’s Global Head of Research and Development.  From 1988 to 1992, Dr. Squinto held various positions at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.  Prior to Regeneron, he held a joint academic position at both the Tulane University and LSU Medical Schools.  He is a recipient of numerous honors and awards from academic and professional organizations for his scientific work.  Dr. Squinto received his B.A. in Chemistry and Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Biophysics from Loyola University of Chicago.

Mary Tanner
Senior Managing Director

Mary Tanner is a Senior Managing Director of EVOLUTION Life Science Partners, an investment banking and advisory boutique, offerings securities through Gordian Investments, LLC, Member FINRA/SPIC.

Ms. Tanner is also a co-founder, with Frederick Frank, of Life Sciences Partners, LLC, a financial advisory and consulting firm. Life Sciences Partners concentrates on strategy and financial advice to life sciences companies. Previously, she served as Senior Managing Director at Lehman Brothers Inc. and Bear Stearns & Co., and as a Managing Director of Peter J. Solomon Company.

Ms. Tanner has devoted more than 25 years to the global healthcare industry. Her expertise includes the ethical pharmaceutical industry, biotechnology, diagnostics, medical devices, healthcare services, cosmetics and consumer medicine industries. In addition to her well-known work with large companies, Ms. Tanner specializes in domestic and cross-border transactions between large and small companies, including corporate partnering and minority investments.

Ms. Tanner’s clients have included: Pfizer in its $60 billion acquisition of Pharmacia; Amgen in its $16 billion acquisition of Immunex; Rhône-Poulenc in its acquisition of Rorer; followed by Rhône-Poulenc Rorer in its acquisition of U.K. company Fisons; BASF/BASF Pharma, in its acquisition of U.K. company Boots Pharmaceuticals and numerous other strategic transactions. Ms. Tanner has directed over 130 initial public offerings of life sciences companies.

Ms. Tanner received a B.A. from Harvard University. Ms. Tanner is a member of the Board of Directors of Lineagen, Inc., a molecular diagnostics company and Genticel SA, an immune oncology company. She serves on the Dean’s Council of the Yale School of Medicine and the Advisory Board of the Yale School of Management.

Peter L. Thoren
Executive Vice President

Peter L. Thoren is Executive Vice President of Access Industries, a privately held, U.S.-based industrial group with long-term investments worldwide and offices in New York, London and Moscow.  Access’s industrial focus spans four key sectors: natural resources and chemicals, media and telecommunications, real estate, and technology and ecommerce.

Before joining Access in 2001, Mr. Thoren was Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Walker Digital Corporation.  Previously, he served in senior management positions with Salomon Inc and Citigroup and was an attorney with Rogers & Wells law firm in New York.  In addition to corporate boards, Mr. Thoren is on the boards of The Sabin Vaccine Institute (Vice Chairman), The Institute of Strategic Dialogue, The Center for National Policy/Truman National Security Project, ThanksUSA, and the Darien Historical Society.

Mr. Thoren graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Phi Beta Kappa) and has degrees from the London School of Economics and Political Science and Georgetown University Law Center.  He is a member of the N.Y. State Bar and of the Council on Foreign Relations.  Mr. Thoren is married and has three children.