Case-Coulter People


  • Robert Kirsch

    Robert Kirsch, PhD

    Department of Biomedical Engineering
    Case School of Engineering, School of Medicine
    Executive Director
    Cleveland Functional Electrical Stimulation Center
    Allen H. and Constance T. Ford Professor
    Department of Biomedical Engineering
    Case School of Engineering, School of Medicine


    Phone: 216.368.4063

  • Steve Fening

    Steve Fening, PhD

    Associate Vice President for Research Strategic Partnerships
    Department of Biomedical Engineering
    Case School of Engineering, School of Medicine
    Managing Director
    Department of Biomedical Engineering
    Case-Coulter Translational Research Partnership


    Phone: 216.368.2639

  • Andy Cornwell headshot

    Andrew Cornwell, PhD

    Associate Director
    Biomedical Engineering
    Case-Coulter Translational Research Partnership
    Adjunct Assistant Professor
    Department of Biomedical Engineering
    Case School of Engineering
    Case-Cleveland Incubator in the Office of Strategic Partnerships


    Phone: 216.502.7207

  • Wayne Hawthorne

    Wayne Hawthorne, MBA

    Senior Licensing Manager
    Technology Transfer Office


    Phone: 216.368.6104

  • Wesley Chen headshot

    Wesley Chen

    Program Operations Manager
    Department of Biomedical Engineering
    Case School of Engineering


    Phone: 216.368.4192

Oversight Committee

Robert Kirsch headshot

Robert F. Kirsch (Committee Chair) 

Robert Kirsch obtained his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University or Cincinnati (1982), and M.S. (1986) and Ph.D. (1990) in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University, Evanston Illinois. His doctoral research characterized changes in joint stiffness and neural compensation during fatigue. He was a post-doctoral fellow in the Dept. of Biomedical Engineering at McGill University in Montreal from 1990-1993. Dr. Kirsch is now the Chair and Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University, and the Executive Director at the Cleveland Functional Electrical Stimulation Center in Cleveland. His research focuses on the restoration of movement using neuroprostheses based on functional neuromuscular stimulation and on understanding neural movement control mechanisms in able-bodied and disabled individuals. Dr. Kirsch's work is currently funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Spinal Cord Research Foundation. Dr. Kirsch has been active in the organization of several past EMBS conferences. He also recently served on the Transactions on Rehabilitation Engineering editor search committee and is a regular reviewer for several journals.

Jonathan Baskin headshot

Jonathan Baskin

Jonathan Baskin is the section chief of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center and faculty at University Hospitals Case Medical Center. He has an academic appointment to the CWRU School of Medicine as an Associate Professor with a secondary appointment in the department of Biomedical Engineering.  He is also a faculty member of the Advanced Platform Technology Center, a department of Veteran Affairs technological center of excellence.  In addition to Otolaryngology he is board certified in Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery as well as Sleep Medicine.

His clinical expertise spans much of Otolaryngology and Head & Neck Surgery but his principal clinical interest is in the treatment of upper airway and craniofacial abnormalities as they relate to disordered breathing.  Since 2012 he has been selected by Castle Connolly every year as a ‘Top Doctor’. His research interests support his clinical work.  One area of focus is on functional electrical stimulatory therapeutics for the treatment of sleep apnea associated with upper airway collapse.  Together with Dr. K. Strohl he was responsible for conducting the FDA phase II and III trials for the Inspire technology at the VA and UHCMC. These trials eventually led to FDA approval of this ground-breaking surgical treatment for sleep apnea.  This research is currently on-going with NIH and VA funding.  In addition, he is also developing novel ways to characterize the relationship between lower jaw biomechanical strength and physiologic function.  The intent with this VA foundation funded work is to develop improved load-bearing skeletal prosthetics.  

Martin Bocks headshot

Martin Bocks

Martin Bocks, MD is the Director of Pediatric Interventional Cardiology at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital and an Associate Professor of Pediatric Cardiology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Dr. Bocks is board certified in Pediatric Cardiology and Adult Congenital Heart Disease. His clinical interests include transcatheter valve therapies and endovascular stenting in both children and adults with congenital heart defects. His research interests include pediatric medical device development with particular emphasis on bioresorbable technologies for cardiac catheterization procedures and wireless implantable pressure monitoring systems. Dr. Bocks has worked closely with the FDA and the Office of Orphan Products on his device projects. He has received funding from NIH via numerous Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grants (Phase I, II, IIB).  He has performed GLP animal research at private CRO’s, written Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) and Humanitarian Use Device (HUD) designation applications, and is poised to start a multicenter clinical trial on a cardiovascular implantable device.

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Mike Bunker

Mike joined Cryothermic Systems in December 2015 as CEO and President. He has 15 years in the medical device field serving most recently in venture capital for Arboretum Ventures and Early Stage Partners. Mike has led investments and held board seats in many portfolio companies during his venture capital experience since 2008. Prior to his venture experience, Mike led strategic acquisitions and business development at C.R. Bard. He began his Medtech career at Medtronic in Cardiac Rhythm Management before joining the corporate development group responsible for acquisitions, divestitures and licensing.

Mike earned a BS in Marketing from Miami University in Ohio and an MBA from J.L. Kellogg Graduate School at Northwestern University in Illinois.

Mark Chance headshot

Mark Chance

Mark Chance, PhD is the Vice Dean for Research in the CWRU School of Medicine and an internationally recognized expert in proteomics and structural biology with over 250 publications who has built multiple internationally recognized science and training programs over a 25-year career in academia. As Vice Dean for Research at the School of Medicine, he has reshaped the strategic directions of the Academic Medical Center in research and graduate education to respond to current trends in biomedical research. He has led an innovation and commercialization program to develop therapeutics, the Council to Advance Human Health. He serves as the Director of the Center for Proteomics and Bioinformatics and as one of the leads for the Clinical and Translational Science Collaborative, is a member of numerous advisory boards and frequently invited lecturer at national and international meetings. He has multiple patents and patent filings and has launched a successful startup company in the field of precision medicine, NeoProteomics, Inc.

Dennis Cocco headshot

Dennis Cocco

Dennis Cocco is Co-Director of GLIDE and responsible for developing marketing and technology-based business strategies in support of GLIDE. His responsibilities include identifying and recruiting technology-based start-up companies to locate within GLIDE, which is an Ohio Edison Technology Incubator. He also coordinates the delivery of Entrepreneurial Expert services in support of the Entrepreneurial Signature Program as well as providing support services for entrepreneurs and providing business counseling to GLIDE client companies.

Dennis Cocco was Vice President, Investor Relations and Communications of PolyOne Corporation, a leading global polymer services company, headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio. At PolyOne and its predecessor companies, Geon and BFGoodrich, he was the company spokesperson for inquiries from the news media, prospective investors and analysts. He also had responsibility for communications with government officials and legislatures to make certain the company’s views were heard regarding legislative bills that can affect the future of PolyOne employees.

His more than 37-year career included product and application research and development, as well as technical service and marketing. He served various business management roles including being named Director of Marketing. His experience also includes three years with Exxon Mobile Research and Engineering, and ten years with Diamond Shamrock

Dennis graduated from Ohio University with a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering.

He has authored various papers including contributions to the Encyclopedia of Packaging and the Journal of Vinyl Technology. He was a member of the SPE (Society of Plastic Engineers) Vinyl Division Technical Program Committee and served in the past as secretary and chairman. He is also an active member of the Ohio Polymer Strategy Council, the National Investors Relations Institute, board member and past president of the Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity and current member of the board for the Great Lakes Science Center.

Steve Fening headshot

Steve Fening

Stephen D. Fening, PhD is the Director of the Case-Coulter Translational Research Partnership (CCTRP) in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University. In this role, Steve drives innovation and translational research to move technologies to the market, where they can improve patient care. He received undergraduate and masters degrees in mechanical engineering, an interdisciplinary Ph.D. degree in biomedical engineering, and a postdoctoral fellowship in orthopaedic biomechanics. His career goal is to make a broad and substantial improvements to patient care through translational research and commercialization.

Dr. Fening is a co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Apto Orthopaedics Corporation, an early stage company focusing on non-invasive methods to adjust orthopaedic implants. He also serves as on the board of directors for several for- and not-for-profits.

Prior to joining Case Western Reserve University, Dr. Fening was the Director of Orthopaedic Devices at the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron and the Director of Orthopaedic Research for Summa Health Systems. Prior to that, he was the Director of Research for Cleveland Clinic Sports Health. His areas of research focus included the biomechanics of sports injuries to the knee, shoulder and head and in innovation more broadly across orthopaedic devices. In the last 10 years, he has received over $8.7M in grant funding, published more than 100 peer reviewed publications and presentation, and has several patents. He maintains adjunct faculty roles at Cleveland State University (biomedical engineering) and Northeast Ohio Medical University (anatomy), and is a member of several national and international professional societies. 

Peter Galen headshot

Peter Galen

Peter Galen, M.S., has worked in medical devices for 30 years and released more than 50 products. Peter recently started a company, Hemex Health, focused on malaria and sickle cell diagnosis. Peter led two successful exits most recently a social venture focused on preventing blindness, Quantum Catch Corp., to an Australian non-profit. Peter also sold CardioDigital, Inc., to Covidien. He has 16 patents issued and 15 more pending. Peter sits on several boards and helps four universities with their translational activities. Peter has a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from CWRU and an M.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Washington.

Blair Geho headshot

Blair Geho

W. Blair Geho, M.D., Ph.D. is a founder of Diasome Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and serves as its Chief Scientific Officer, and he serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer of SDG, Inc. Previously he served as the Head of Pharmaceutical Research Section at The Procter & Gamble Company, where he led the development of two of P&G's leading pharma products, Didronel and Osteoscan, the first bisphosphonate products approved by the FDA.  Dr. Geho established P&G’s pharmaceutical research division. Following P&G, Dr. Geho founded and led four biotechnology firms, serving as Chief Science Officer and CEO. As an entrepreneur, Dr. Geho has raised approximately forty million dollars to develop various new pharmaceutical products. The most recent activity has been the development of liver-targeted insulin, for oral and injection use in diabetics. The FDA has enabled these products for phase 3, or final testing, prior to receiving FDA approval.  Dr. Geho has 27 issued US Patents and many international patent along with a number of peer-reviewd publications.   Beginning in December 2011, Dr. Geho became one of two Chief Translational Officers for the CWRU School of Medicine, leading the effort to commercialize new discoveries in the School of Medicine. He serves as the Member of the Board of Directors of Diasome Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Dr. Geho is an alumnus of CWRU, (Ph.D. 1964 and M.D. 1966), is a Board member the Ohio Venture Association and a member of the Dean's Visiting Committee at the School of Medicine.  He was a member of the CWRU School of Medicine Faculty in the departments of Pharmacology and Surgery for several years following graduation from the School of Medicine.

Steve Goedeke headshot

Steve Goedeke

Steve Goedeke has been President/CEO of Cardionomic since 2012.  Steve has also served as President/CEO of Denali Medical II (an NEA backed incubator).  Prior to these roles, Steve served as Sr. Director for Heart Failure Therapies, Sr. Director of Electronic Systems Design and Director of Communication Systems Development during his 17 years at Medtronic. Steve is a Bakken Fellow and was largely responsible for the creation of the industry standard MICS implantable medical device wireless system and the associated patient monitoring strategies. Previous to Medtronic, Steve held various technical and business development roles at Hewlett-Packard. Steve is a named inventor on 25 patents and holds a B.S in electrical engineering from Washington University in St. Louis and a M.S. in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Lynn-Ann Gries

Lynn-Ann Gries

Lynn-Ann Gries has spent her career in the financial arena.  From investment banking to venture capital she has experience working with a wide range of companies, from start-ups to those in the Fortune 1000. She began her career in the mid 1980s working for two investment banking firms in New York City, Smith Barney and Morgan Stanley.  When marriage brought her to the Midwest she began working for the regional firm McDonald and Company, now part of KeyBank.  At McDonald she was primarily responsible for helping companies access capital through the public equity markets, but also assisted companies in the processes of raising growth capital or transitioning ownership through sales or mergers. In 2001 she began working in venture capital, managing a small venture development fund with a mission to invest in tech-based start-ups.  Over the course of 12 years, she and her team invested $30M in 80 companies, all located in Northeast Ohio, including CoverMyMeds (sold to McKesson for $1.1 billion), CardioInsight (sold to Medtronic for $90 million), Wireless Environment (sold to Ring/Amazon for an undisclosed amount) and OnShift (sold to ShiftKey for an undisclosed amount). She recently served as the Founding Managing Partner of the First Check Fund, a focused pre-seed/seed fund that is part of the Alumni Ventures Group fund family.  She runs her own consulting firm providing a variety of business services including management of a women’s angel network, financial analysis, market research, and advisory services to entrepreneurs seeking capital.  In the civic arena, she serves on the boards of Venture for America (Cleveland Chapter), the Smith College Club of Cleveland, Summer on the Cuyahoga and the Jewish Federation of Cleveland as well as Rust Belt Riders, a startup dedicated to reducing food waste and UnBox The Dress, a fashion startup. Lynn-Ann received her MBA from New York University (Stern School of Business) and holds a Bachelor of Arts from Smith College where she majored in Economics.  In 2014 she became a Master Gardener, completing the course work and volunteer hours required by the Ohio State University Extension program.  She is mom to two grown children and resides in Shaker Heights with her husband, a sixth generation Clevelander, high school lacrosse coach and devoted Cleveland sports fan who has successfully managed to turn a Jersey girl into a Cleveland Guardians superfan. 

Wayne Hawthorne headshot

Wayne Hawthorne

Mr. Hawthorne is a Senior Licensing Manager at the Technology Transfer Office and commercializes the technologies and discoveries from the School of Biomedical Engineering, as well as the Office’s liaison with the Coulter Translational Research Partnership.  Current projects range from neurological nerve blockers/stimulators to tissue engineering to medical imaging to radiation therapy technologies.   

Mr. Hawthorne has over 15 years of experience in technology commercialization and 35 years of total experience in medical devices and instrumentation, as well as information technologies.  Mr. Hawthorne has taken a “hands on” approach in his career, working directly with researchers, clinicians, engineers, and other technicians.  Main career highlights includes a broad business development and technology commercialization background including intellectual protection strategies, partnerships and collaborations, license negotiations, and contract enforcement.  He has worked with universities, various federal and state government agencies, and in the private sector. 

His education includes Bachelors and Master’s degrees in business and engineering.  He is a member of AUTM and LES and has participated on discussion panels at their annual meetings.

Vijay Iyer headshot

Vijay Iyer

Vijay is an accomplished executive with over 25 years of diverse functional experience in the medical device industry, in small, medium and large companies, serving hospital, home and alternate care settings. Vijay Iyer is currently Vice President, Business Development at BioEnterprise where he leads medical devices efforts. BioEnterprise is an economic development organization fostering the biosciences industry in North East Ohio. Before BioEnterprise, Vijay was with Philips Respironics, the Home Healthcare Solutions business of Philips Healthcare, where he managed early stage venture investments, internal and external, after he led corporate and business unit business development and strategy for over 15 years. Vijay spent the first decade of his career managing product and technology development in medical devices, including technical assessments and due diligence. Several patents, papers and presentations capture many of his key contributions.

Vijay has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the National Institute of Technology in India, a masters/doctoral degree in biomedical signal processing from the University of Cincinnati, and an executive MBA from Kennesaw State University.

Joseph Jankowski headshot

Joseph Jankowski

Joe is a leader of innovation based on early-stage research.  In his capacity as Chief Innovation Officer at Case Western Reserve University he leads partnerships with various economic development and for-profit entities at the director and trustee levels.  In his role as the CWRU Chief Innovation Officer, he works across the campus and into the community to establish mechanisms for partnering and experiential learning opportunities in innovation for students, faculty and entrepreneurs.  His professional capabilities are predicated on novel methodologies to assess technology-based opportunities and align development to industry drivers.  In addition to his utilization of such methodologies, he instructs on opportunity assessment and IP commercialization at both, CWRU and the Henry Ford Health System Davidson Digital Fellowship.

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Paul Mraz

Paul Mraz has been active in the medical device and life sciences industry for 25+ years, in companies large and small, mostly as an entrepreneur - both venture backed and privately funded) - with roles in executive management (14 years as CEO), corporate strategy, product development and marketing, sales management and business development - all on a global basis. Mr. Mraz is the founder and managing partner of OnPoint Advisors, LLC, a business strategy and leadership consulting firm providing tailored “CEO-in- Residence” services and business development expertise to a wide variety of clients in the life sciences industry. Prior to founding OnPoint Advisors, Mr. Mraz served as president and CEO of Cerapedics, Inc., a venture-backed medical device and biologics company. Mr. Mraz also served as chairman and CEO of Angstrom Medica, Inc. (acquired by RTI Surgical), a biomaterials nanotechnology company and prior to Angstrom Medica, Mr. Mraz was a principal of Link Spine Group, Inc., a start-up medical device company that developed and commercialized the world’s first total disc replacement for the lumbar spine and the first to gain FDA approval in October 2004. There he served as vice president, worldwide marketing and international sales until its acquisition by Johnson & Johnson (DePuy Synthes) in June 2003. Mr. Mraz received a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Lafayette College (Easton, PA) and a master of science degree in mechanical engineering and biomechanics from Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, OH). He holds nine US patents for various medical devices and technologies with several others pending.

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Eric Schantz

Eric Schantz is a Director of Corporate Development at Medtronic, focused on mergers, acquisitions and other strategic corporate transactions. Eric joined Medtronic in 2008 and spent his first 4 years in the Neuromodulation business unit focused on external business development opportunities and licensing transactions. Prior to joining Medtronic, Eric was a sell-side equity research analyst covering medical technology companies for Morgan Stanley, Prudential and Wachovia. Eric has spent significant time researching and following numerous segments in medical technology including cardiovascular, orthopedics, ophthalmology, neuromodulation, diabetes and drug/device combination therapies.

Eric received a Bachelor’s of Science in Chemical Engineering and a Master’s in Engineering Mechanics from the University of Cincinnati, and an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to business school, Eric spent 2 years designing joint replacements at Centerpulse Orthopedics (acquired by Zimmer in 2003).

Karen Spilizewski headshot

Karen Spilizewski

Karen Spilizewski is a leader of BioEnterprise's medical device team and is also a Vice President with RiverVest Ventures. She brings nearly 20 years of experience in new product development and business development in medical and non-medical technologies. Spilizewski worked as a business development manager at Avery Dennison and in product development roles ranging from research manager to associate. She was responsible for conducting marketing, financial, technical, and competitive analyses of new opportunities for microelectronic, biomedical, optical display, and MEMs applications. In product development roles, she has developed and commercialized products for various medical devices, including wound care, diagnostics, surgical, and electromedical applications. Spilizewski received her MBA, M.S. in Macromolecular Science and a B.S. degree in Biomedical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University.

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Jeff Ustin

Dr. Ustin has been a member of the CCTRP oversight committee since 2010.  He received his medical degree from Stanford University and trained in general surgery at Case Western and Emory University.  Dr. Ustin completed a fellowhip in Acute Care Surgery (trauma, emergency surgery, and surgical critical care) at Massachusetts General Hospital and now practices at University Hospitals of Cleveland and Akron General Medical Center.  Dr. Ustin also has a technology background having completed a Bachelors in Control Theory at Dartmouth College and a Masters in Electrical Engineering at UC Berkeley.

In addition to his work for the CCTRP, Dr. Ustin has worked for Innovations at the Cleveland Clinic.  He has a number of ongoing collaborations with researchers at Case Western, where he holds a faculty appointment in Biomedical Engineering.  Finally, Dr. Ustin is a co-founder and the CTO at Miach Medical, a Cleveland based startup company.