WIB-Chicago

Name:  Dima Elissa
WIB Position:  Chapter Chair
Company: VisMed-3D
Bio Data:  

Dima Elissa is CEO and founder of VisMed-3D, a biomedical design and consulting firm that has emerged as the leader for 3D biomedical visualization and printing in personalized medicine. Dima was selected by Chicago magazine as one of the top Women in Tech, ChicagoInno’s 50 on Fire, MakeItBetter’s Top Chicago Women in Science and by Chicago Tribune’s BlueSky Vault as one of the Top 100 entrepreneurs in Chicago. Her current venture, VisMed-3D, a biomedical design and consulting firm, is in keeping with her thirst for new technology and innovation. Alongside this novel start-up, she is pursuing her passion — devoting time, energy and guidance to women founders and entrepreneurs. As an adjunct faculty member or Entrepreneur-in-residence, teaching Entrepreneurship or as an in-demand speaker, she exemplifies her commitment to giving back and paying it forward. Her most recent designation as the American Medical Woman’s Association (AMWA) Tech and Innovation Lead under the Diversity, Inclusion & Innovation (DI&I) sector, she is building an accelerator to drive STEMM for girls and women seeking healthcare careers or who want to commercialize business ideas to improve the practice of medicine.

 Dima also serves as Board Member for mHUB, Chair of the STEM steering committee for the Apareció Foundation, Executive Advisory Board Member for Ms Tech, Chicago Chapter President for Women in Bio.

 Dima holds a B.A. in Chemistry from Hanover College and has earned her MBA from Texas A&M’s May’s School of Business with a concentration in Finance. She is also a member of the board of trustees of Hanover College.  @dimaelissa @vismed3d

Name:  Nancy Reid
WIB Position:  Chapter Vice Chair
Bio Data:  

Nancy has spent over 20 years in the marketing communications field specializing in video content. She has worked as a television/corporate communications producer and General Manager for some of the most prestigious video production and post-production facilities in Chicago.  She has managed projects for major advertising agencies, corporations, associations, universities and public relations. She specializes in healthcare communications including hospitals networks and pharmaceuticals. Nancy is a Committee Chair for Women In Bio-Chicago Sponsorships.

Name:  Heather Kissling
WIB Position:  Communications Chair
Bio Data:  

Heather R. Kissling draws from over a decade of experience securing biotechnology patents to develop worldwide filing and prosecution strategies that further her clients’ business objectives. Using her advanced training in biotechnology, she actively collaborates with bench scientists, business development personnel, and in-house counsel to maximize protection of biotechnology innovations in a broad range of technologies. Her background in interference and opposition proceedings also benefits clients seeking advice with respect to competitor patent positions and third party challenges in the patent office. Clients find her to be a forward-thinking advocate that shares their commitment to realizing the maximum value from their intellectual property assets.

Ms. Kissling was recognized in the 2nd edition of Managing IP’s IP Stars – Top 250 Women in IP, and was also named an “IP Star” in Managing IP’s 2015 World IP Handbook and Survey. She was selected for inclusion in the 2013-2015 Illinois Rising Stars® lists, featuring outstanding young attorneys in the state. Ms. Kissling was also designated as an "Emerging Lawyer" in the 2015 inaugural edition of Emerging Lawyers Magazine, in which individuals are recognized among the top up-and-coming attorneys in Illinois.

Name:  Geeta Singh
WIB Position:  Communications Co-Vice Chair
Bio Data:  

Geeta Singh brings more than 25 years of leadership experience in financial and operational management in multi-national corporate and entrepreneurial companies with an extraordinarily diverse and successful track record. She has held various senior positions in a variety of sectors and most recently is Co-Founder, Chief Business Officer of an early stage, ophthalmic medical device company - MAG Optics. 

Her corporate sector experience includes spending over a decade originating and executing cross border M&A transactions in financial services. Her private company experience has spanned healthcare, Medtech, casino/hospitality and social ventures.  Having advised/worked in several early stage companies, she has experience building all areas of business strategy including: capital raising, business model, strategic partner, stakeholder and communications/marketing.  Her cross-functional experience blends a powerful combination of qualitative and quantitative skills that drive business growth organically and thru strategic partnerships/acquisitions.

Ms Singh and MAG Optics was the winner of Chicago - Women in Bio 2016 Start-up challenge. She was also selected for the prestigious Springboard Enterprises 2017 Health Innovation Hub class.  She was also nominated and selected for Chicago Founders Circle, Class of 2015.  She has also presented at various MedTech/BioTech conferences.

Name:  Yamina Belabassi
WIB Position:  Communications Co-Vice Chair
Name:  Iwona Maciagiewicz
WIB Position:  Program Chair
Name:  Natalia Marangoni
WIB Position:  Program Vice Chair
Company: University of Illinois at Chicago
Bio Data:  

Natalia Marangoni PhD, is currently a visiting instructor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Originally from Argentina, she received her BS in Biology from the University of Buenos Aires and moved to Chicago to obtain her PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2011. She has more than 10 years of hands-on lab experience working in the most pressing diseases of the human nervous system with the ultimate goal of making a difference in patients’ lives.  She has dedicated the past few years trying to answer one of the most difficult questions in Multiple Sclerosis, how to stop neurodegeneration. Natalia is also involved in a few clinical studies aimed to identify familial genetic risk factors in Multiple Sclerosis. She is a teacher by nature and experienced science educator in k-12, college, and medical school. She believes in giving back and paying it forward, volunteering in various organizations that advocate for scientific excellence, STEM diversity, and science community outreach. Natalia is currently Vice Chair of Programming Committee for the Chicago Chapter of WIB. 

Name:  Anna Kelner
WIB Position:  Sponsorship Chair
Company: Cardinal Intellectual Property
Title: Patent Search Analyst
Bio Data:  

Anna Kelner, PhD, is a biochemist by training and a patent analyst in the biotechnology and chemical technology areas. At Cardinal IP, she conducts patentability, invalidity, and freedom-to-operate searches to protect her client's novel technologies. 

Anna received a Wellcome Trust PhD Student Fellowship to pursue Parasitology and Drug Discovery from the University of Dundee University in the UK and holds a B.Sc in Biochemistry from the 

Name:  Gule Sheik
WIB Position:  Sponsorship Vice Chair
Company: eazyScripts
Title: Co-Founder and CTO
Bio Data:  

Gule Sheikh is a technologist with 19 years experience in Health IT and Financial Systems. She is the Co-Founder and CTO of eazyScripts. An electronic prescription software company that connects physicians to pharmacies. eazyScripts is connected to all pharmacies in the United States. Gule learned about her passion for healthcare when she joined a start-up that built patient self-registration kiosks in hospitals. Prior to eazyScripts, Gule worked at Hewlett Packard, TD Bank, EDS and other large corporations in senior roles. 

Name:  Sharon Sintich, Ph.D.
WIB Position:  Young Women In Bio Chair
Company: Marshall, Gerstein & Borun LLP
Title: Partner
Bio Data:  

Dr. Sintich is a partner in the biotechnology practice group at Marshall Gerstein & Borun LLP. Her practice focuses on all aspect of biotech patent prosecution in the United States and abroad. Dr. Sintich in obtained her J.D. from The John Marshall Law School in January 2004. Previously, she earned a Ph.D. in Tumor Cell Biology from Northwestern University.  Her graduate research was conducted in the Department of Urology at Northwestern University Medical School, and focused on TGFß action in prostate cancer. She received a B.S. in Biology from Bradley University.

Name:  Micaela “Micki” Vargas Ph.D.
WIB Position:  Young Women In Bio Vice Chair
Company: Scigofer, LLC
Title: Research Consultant
Bio Data:  

Micki is a research consultant in medical technologies and biomedical sciences with a focus on regenerative medicine and oncology. She earned her undergraduate degree in Biology from Texas State University and her M.S. in Biology and Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology from The University of Texas at San Antonio. She was a recipient of several Postdoctoral Fellowships while completing her fellowship and training at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Name:  Shahila Mehboob Christie
WIB Position:  Membership Chair
Company: Novalex Therapeutics, Inc.
Title: Co-founder and VP of Science
Bio Data:  

At Novalex Shahila spearheads the design and development of novel anti-infectives that address the emerging issues of resistance.  Her strong scientific background stems from the numerous years spent as a researcher in the College of Pharmacy, University of Illinois, Chicago where she worked on several projects in the antibacterial space.  She has published consistently in leading journals and has presented her work at National conferences.    She obtained her PhD in the field of Biochemistry from Loyola University, Chicago.  Shahila is passionate about being an entrepreneur and enjoys creating new ideas and building new relationships.

Name:  Hien-Anh Nguyen
WIB Position:  Membership Vice Chair
Bio Data:  

Hien Anh Nguyen was the first laureate out of the 4,800 graduated engineers in 2007 from the Hanoi University of Technology in Vietnam. Multiple competitive cultural, linguistic and career development fellowships deepened her connection to France where she obtained a Master’s degree in Biotechnology from the University of Bourgogne; a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Grenoble and a post-PhD experience in Bioinformatics from the Institute Curie. Leaving Paris was not the easiest decision but joining the lab of Dr. Lavie at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) from 2013 was a good one that she embraces. She has worked in many international institutes in different continents and is author of numerous peer-reviewed articles tackling with different angles of Life Sciences. As a Research Assistant Professor at the UIC and the Chief Scientific Officer of Enzyme by Design (enzymebydesign.com), Hien-Anh is now committed to bringing her knowledge, know-how and her innate entrepreneurial spirit to develop better and safer therapeutic cancer drugs to patients

Name:  Neelum Aggarwal
WIB Position:  MAPs Chair
Company: Rush University Medical Center
Title: Associate Professor, Department of Neurological Sciences and the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center; Director of Research, Rush Heart Center for Women
Bio Data:  

Neelum T. Aggarwal, MD, is a population health neurologist and clinical researcher in the field of longevity and aging. She is an Associate Professor and Faculty member in the Department of Neurological Sciences and the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center. She is a Principal Investigator for multiple NIA and industry sponsored Alzheimer's disease clinical trials and is the Director of Research – Rush Heart Center for Women at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. For over 15 years she has served as the senior examining neurologist for community based observational studies, conducting over 2500  neurologic evaluations in the homes of Chicago area residents and is the Co- Principal Investigator for the Community Engagement for Early Recognition and Immediate Action in Stroke (CEERIAS), a PCORI funded grant, that seeks to reduce stroke disparities in Chicago’s underserved communities.

A long-standing voice for community based research and public health initiatives, she is a Steering Committee member for the American Medical Association (AMA) - Commission to End Health Disparities and serves on the Governing Council for the AMA - Women Physician Section.  She is responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with key stakeholders in health and public health organizations and incubating new project areas and public health advocacy.  Dr. Aggarwal has served in numerous leadership and mentorship roles throughout her career. In addition to serving as the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA's) Chief Diversity Officer, she is a Chicago Innovation Mentor, and a MATTER mentor. She maintains  an active clinical practice while also continuing to serve as a grant reviewer,  consultant to a variety of profit and non-profit organizations, and participates on multiple advisory boards that draw upon her unique and diverse skill set as a clinician-researcher.

Dr. Aggarwal  holds a B.Sc. (Honors) from the University of Windsor, and a doctorate in medicine from Rosalind Franklin School of Medicine. She completed her Neurology training at Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, Michigan and completed an Aging and Neurodegenerative Disorders Fellowship from the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago.  

Name:  Natalie King
WIB Position:  MAPs Co-Vice Chair
Bio Data:  

Dr. King completed her Doctorate in Neuroscience from the University of Illinois at Chicago where her research was focused on the molecular biological pathways associated with Autism and Depression. Her work in the area of Mental Health has led to new insights particularly important for precision medicine and future predictive diagnostic testing for neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders. Her mission has always been centered on providing the basis of understanding for doctors as it relates to new and potentially valuable therapeutic interventions for patients dealing with these tragic and complex diseases.

 

After the completion of her degree, she made the transition to understand human behavior in organizations and joined a Chicago-based startup whose central mission was to develop and provide evidence-based tools for leadership development, particularly in the area of social and emotional intelligence. This work was very fascinating and proved invaluable in her own life as she worked to create and grow relationships within her sphere of influence.

Currently, she is involved in building mentoring relationships as the Vice Chair for MAPs with Women in Bio’s Chicago chapter, participates as one of the newest mentees for the Chicagoland Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association mentors program, and has recently expanded her professional career in Medical Affairs as a  Medical Science Liaison in the pharmaceutical industry. Having spoken nationally and internationally on subjects involving science, leadership, and motivation, she looks forward to being able to continue to inspire and encourage dialog around these important topics. 

 

Name:  Raji Arora
WIB Position:  MAPs Co-Vice Chair
Name:  Anna Lisa Somera
WIB Position:  Grant Committee Chair
Company: Briteseed, LLC and Innoblative Designs
Title: VP of Quality and Regulatory Affairs
Bio Data:  

Anna Lisa Somera has over a decade of start-up experience as a venture capitalist, medical device consultant, technology transfer specialist, biomedical researcher, grant consultant, and entrepreneur specialized in early-stage medical companies. Amongst other roles, Anna Lisa co-founded and served as the Director of Regulatory Affairs at OrthoAccel Technologies, Inc., an orthodontic device company whose products are sold globally. As a Senior Analyst in the life science practice at Illinois Ventures, LLC, she helped drive the formation and raised angel and venture funding for several start-up companies while also serving as interim management for each venture. As the Director of Quality, Regulatory Affairs, and Operations at breast cancer imaging company, Diagnostic Photonics Inc., she led several successful efforts including winning >$4M in government grants and contracts, leading the company to ISO 13485 certification, and heading the regulatory efforts which led to FDA clearance and CE marking of their device.

Currently, Anna Lisa is the VP of Quality and Regulatory Affairs at 2 medical device companies: Briteseed, LLC and Innoblative Designs in Chicago. She is also a grant consultant at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University, a Chicago Innovation Mentor, a MATTER mentor, an Association for Women in Science career mentor, and a Heartland Angels member. Anna Lisa is also an avid athlete having completed nearly 100 races including several marathons and half ironman triathlons. She holds dual Bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Anthropology from Loyola University, a Master’s degree in Cellular Biology and Anatomy from Rush University, dual Master’s degrees in Public Health and Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a certificate in Clinical Trials Management and Regulatory Compliance from the University of Chicago. 

Name:  Mia DeFino
WIB Position:  Grant Committee Vice Chair
Company: DeFino Consulting, LLC
Title: Medical and Science Writer and Editor
Bio Data:  

Mia DeFino is an independent medical and science writer and editor, who works with pharmaceutical companies, academic institutions, medical communication agencies, and contract research organizations to translate complex ideas into meaningful content for their intended audience. Before beginning her career as a full-time freelance medical writer and editor, she was a biomedical researcher in the field of neuropharmacology and then worked as a program coordinator for Community Engagement at the Medical College of Wisconsin assisting with various community-based research projects, grants, and publications.

Mia also is part of the American Medical Writers Association and Editorial Freelancers Association. Mia holds dual Bachelor’s degrees in Biochemistry and Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a Master’s degree in Pharmacology from the University of Washington, and an Essential Skills certificate from the American Medical Writers Association. She is currently in the process of completing a certificate in Composition and Publications from the American Medical Writers Association.

Name:  Zoe Quan
WIB Position:  Special Events Chair
Company: Qingchu Thinking, LLC
Title: President
Bio Data:  

Zoe Quan is President of Qingchu Thinking, LLC, which helps companies figure out the right problems to solve so that they can move forward. She is particularly adept at translating between the language of business and the languages of science and technology, most recently predominantly in the med-tech and health-tech spaces, and homing in on the key issues to keep focus. Her particular passion is cultivating a community more conducive to innovation and start-ups.

Zoe is familiar with telecommunications, IT, med-tech, health-tech, and bio/nanotechnology. She has had extensive business experience in Asia, Europe, and North America, including expatriate assignments in Hong Kong, France, and Canada. She has held senior leadership positions with large multinationals as well as entrepreneurial ventures, and is skilled at all aspects of product management, including strategy, product development, business plan development and execution, and P&L responsibility. Her work has included strategy evaluation, teaching in both biotech and business, creating collaborations, advising earlier stage and transitional organizations, and serving on SBIR study panels.

Zoe is a mentor with Chicago Innovation Mentors, The University of Chicago’s Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and The Junto Institute of Entrepreneurial Leadership. She was a founding board member of Catalyzing Collaboration, which brings industry and academia together to cultivate a community more conducive to start-ups. She served on the organizing committee of the Chicago chapter of the 2020 Women on Boards advocacy group and on the organizing committee of the Chicago chapter of the International Executive Resources Group. Previously she was on the advisory board of the Business Psychology and Industrial Organization programs of The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

Zoe holds an AB in Applied Mathematics from Harvard University and a PhD in Biophysics and Theoretical Biology from the University of Chicago.

Name:  Polina Feldman, PhD, MBA
WIB Position:  Member Benefits Chair
Company: Recovery Force
Title: Director of Research and Human Performance
Bio Data:  

Polina Feldman, PhD, MBA, is a neuroscientist by training and a clinical researcher in the fields of vascular health and pain management. She is the Director of Research and Human Performance at Recovery Force. At Recovery Force, she facilitates the development and clinical testing of their patented Active Compression Technology.

Previously, Polina was an Associate at Indiana University Research and Technology Corporation and focused on partnering with University faculty to spin out emerging healthcare start -up technologies and therapeutics by securing non-dilutive (SBIR/STTR) funding.

Polina is a graduate of Indiana University, earning a PhD in Medical Neuroscience, MBA in Entrepreneurship and Finance from the Kelley School of Business and holds a B.Sc in Biology and Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

Also meet our Committee Associates, who assist the efforts of Chapter Chairs and support the successful implementation of their initiatives!