We are pleased to announce the Department of Bioengineering Board of Trustees as an Advisory Board to oversee and advise on the welfare and interests of the Department and to serve as public advocate and ambassador.
The mission of the Board of Trustees is to translate their operational insights of UCSD Bioengineering, and incorporate their broader perspectives, into actionable recommendations to the department leadership that increase the value of the UCSD Bioengineering degree and further the opportunities and pride of being associated with the department.
Joseph Lucisano, Ph.D.
President at Luciasano Consulting LLC
Joseph Lucisano has deep experience in medical device research, product development, regulatory navigation, clinical affairs, and business strategy and operations. Dr. Lucisano’s background in medical devices includes a long-standing focus in medical sensors, and he is a recognized scientific expert in the field of implantable monitoring devices. His past service in medtech organizations includes roles such as Bioengineer, Scientist, Principal Engineer, Program Director, CTO, Founder/President/CEO, and Board Member. He is currently President of Lucisano Consulting, LLC, which delivers medical device R&D and business expertise to clients in the medical and health technology field. Dr. Lucisano holds PhD and BS degrees in Bioengineering from the University of California, San Diego and a Master’s degree in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford University. He is an inventor on 21 US patents and has served as Principal Investigator for numerous peer-reviewed focused R&D grant projects related to medical devices. Dr. Lucisano is a Founding Member of the Board of Trustees for UCSD Jacobs School of Engineering, Department of Bioengineering, a member of the College of Fellows of the AIMBE, and a Senior Member of the IEEE.
Taby Ahsan, Ph.D.
Vice President, Cell and Gene Therapy Operations at City of Hope
Throughout her career, Dr. Taby Ahsan has made significant contributions to the field of biologics and cell and gene therapies. As the Vice President of Cell and Gene Therapy Operations for City of Hope, she is responsible for overseeing the development and manufacturing of these innovative therapies. Prior to joining City of Hope, Ahsan held leadership roles at MD Anderson Cancer Center, RoosterBio Inc., Advanced Tissue Sciences, and Tulane University. Her expertise in biologics analytical development and characterization make her a valuable addition to any organization in the field. Ahsan received her BS in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania and her PhD in Bioengineering from the UC San Diego Shu Chien-Gene Lay Department of Bioengineering.
Walt Baxter, Ph.D.
Senior Principal Scientist at Medtronic Neuromodulation
Dr. Baxter serves as a Senior Principal Scientist and Technical Fellow in Medtronic’s Implantables Restorative Therapies business group helping to develop novel stimulation leads for positioning electrodes within the nervous system. Dr. Baxter has patented key ideas and published seminal works detailing the mechanical conditions implanted medical devices are exposed to during their lifetimes and is a Bakken Fellow, Medtronic’s highest technical honor. Prior to joining Medtronic, Dr. Baxter studied Mechanical Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology and obtained a Ph.D. at the University of California, San Diego where he developed, implemented, and validated novel algorithms for elucidating the mechanics of implanted medical devices. In addition to his work at Medtronic, Dr. Baxter proudly chairs the Board of Trustees of the UC San Diego Bioengineering Department and also serves on the external advisory board for UC San Diego’s Whitaker Institute of Biomedical Engineering. Walt also co-chairs the advisory board at UCLA’s Department of Bioengineering and serves on UC Riverside’s Department of Bioengineering external advisory board. He impacts and fosters meaningful academic-industrial collaboration through his interaction with students and faculty at several Universities. Dr. Baxter guest lectures in Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering courses at UC Irvine, UCLA, and UC San Diego and also speaks to student groups on University campuses about careers in the medical device industry wherein he seeks to attract talented students. Dr. Baxter is an elected Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) where he works to further awareness of how Medical and Biological Engineering impacts the lives of people around the world.
Paul Citron, Ph.D.
Vice President of Technology Policy and Academic Relations, Emeritus at Medtronic
Paul Citron retired in 2003 from Medtronic, Inc., a pioneer in the medical device industry and the largest developer of implantable therapeutic devices. He was Vice President of Technology Policy and Academic Relations. Previously he was Medtronic’s Vice President of Science and Technology for over 15 years, responsible for corporate-wide assessment and coordination of technology initiatives and for prioritization and funding of corporate research. These executive positions followed a progression of R&D assignments over his 32-year career at Medtronic where he developed and helped bring to the bedside technologies that advanced the utility, safety and effectiveness of innovative implanted medical devices. He has authored numerous medical technology peer reviewed publications and has been an invited speaker at biomedical engineering conferences, workshops, symposia, and university classrooms. Citron holds nine U.S. medical device patents, including one that was designated “Patent of Distinction” by Medtronic for its positive impact on patient wellbeing. It permitted for the first-time reliable long-term cardiac stimulation without the need for an open-chest surgical procedure. Consequently, this innovation rapidly became the “treatment of choice” in the medical community.
It sharply reduced the incidence of interruption of pacemaker stimulation because of electrode dislodgement and the need for urgent reoperation to restore effective stimulation. Market growth for pacemakers was accelerated because implantation could be performed on an out-patient basis and made it possible for frail patients to receive pacemaker therapy. Every pacemaker company adopted this innovation and it continues to be sold 40 years after it first entered the market. Citron has a B.S.E.E (1969) from Drexel University and an M.S.E.E. (1972) from the University of Minnesota. In 2013 he received an honorary Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from Drexel University. He was elected a Founding Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) in 1993 and in 2018 was chosen as president-elect of its College of Fellows.
Citron was elected to the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) in 2003 where he has served on its Peer Committee, Committee on Membership, and the Draper Prize Committee as its Chair in 2012. He served two terms as an NAE Councilor and was a member of the National Academies’ Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy. He served on three National Academy of Medicine consensus studies: Safe Medical Devices for Children (2005); Rare Diseases and Orphan Products: Accelerating Research and Development (2011); and, Identifying and Prioritizing New Preventive Vaccines for Development: Phase I, II, and III. In 2015 he was appointed to the Academy of Medicine’s Health and Medicine Division advisory committee. Citron has taught a graduate course on corporate entrepreneurship at Georgia Tech and UCSD as well as invited lectures to undergraduate bioengineering students at UCSD. He is an advisor to start-up firms in the medical device and biotechnology sector. He is also a member of the Salk Institute for Biological Stu
Erik Engelson, Ph.D.
President & CEO of Lucira Health, Inc.
Mr. Engelson, is currently President & CEO of Lucira Health, Inc, a member of the Board of Neptune Medical and ARANZ Medical, and is a Venture Partner at ShangBay Capital. Just prior to this, he was CEO of Medina Medical, which was sold to Medtronic. Previous associations include Partner at The Foundry (a venture-funded medical device incubator), CEO of two Foundry companies, CFO of Fluidigm Corporation, and Venture Partner at both Versant Ventures and Institutional Venture Partners. Earlier, Mr. Engelson spent 13 years in various operating roles at Target Therapeutics where he led the early start-up into the then nascent field of Interventional Neuroradiology (stroke intervention), developed its first products and helped take the company public. He is the inventor of 50+ medical device patents. Mr. Engelson holds B.A. and M.S. degrees in Microbiology and Bioengineering from UC San Diego, and an Executive MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Mr. Engelson is a Trustee Emeritus of the UC San Diego Foundation, Past-Chairman of the Board of UC San Diego’s Bioengineering Department Board of Trustees, a member of the UC San Diego Biology Department Dean’s Leadership Committee and an elected fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE).
Iman Famili, Ph.D.
President & CEO of Sinopia Biosciences
Iman Famili has two decades of experience in biotechnology research and development, operations, and commercialization. Prior to Sinopia, she served as the Executive Director/VP of Cell Systems Informatics at Intrexon, a leader in synthetic biology. She was a founding member at GT Life Sciences, a systems biology company focused on optimizing protein production in mammalian cells that was successfully acquired by Intrexon. She also served as the Associate Director of Computational Modeling at Genomatica, a technology leader in the renewable chemical industry. Iman is a fellow of the AIMBE and is an inventor on 16 patents and patent applications. She received her Ph.D. in Bioengineering with specialization in Bioinformatics from UC San Diego and was the recipient of the Whitaker Foundation Graduate Fellowship.
V. Wayne Kennedy, Ph.D.
Senior Vice President, Emeritus, The University of California
Ex Officio Member
V. Wayne Kennedy is a nationally recognized expert in research university financing and medical education. He has served on various boards and committees, advocating for technology transfer, government relations, grant and contract policies, private fundraising, and medical education administration. Since 2003, he has been a member of the LANL Foundation board. In 1973, he joined UC San Diego as the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences and Associate Dean for Administration of the School of Medicine, where he served for eight years. During that time, he had oversight of campus administrative functions and managed the annual operating and capital budgets. From 1993 to 2000, Kennedy was appointed Senior Vice President for Business and Finance at the University of California's Office of the President.
Reza Mazhari, Ph.D.
Chief Business Officer, TRIANA Biomedicines
Reza Mazhari has over two decades of experience in business development, drug discovery, and development. Prior to joining TRIANA, he served as the Head of Search and Evaluation for Oncology at Novartis. He was responsible for leading several successful in-licensing deals that expanded the portfolio of enabling technologies and contributed to the early-stage oncology pipeline. Dr. Mazhari also spearheaded out-licensing and divestment efforts at Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR). Before his time at Novartis, Dr. Mazhari served as the Vice President of Translational Medicine at Rexahn Pharmaceuticals. Additionally, he held dual responsibilities for leading the company's drug discovery and early development, as well as its business development efforts at Cerecor. He co-founded Cardioxyl Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb for $1.8 billion. Mazhari started his career as a faculty member at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He earned a PhD in Bioengineering from the University of California at San Diego and completed a post-doctoral research fellowship in Cardiovascular Medicine at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
Anthony Radcliffe, Ph.D.
President and CEO Synthasome, Inc.
Ex Officio Member
Anthony Ratcliffe is the President and CEO of Synthasome, Inc. He earned his B.Sc. in biochemistry in 1977 and his PhD in immunology in 1980, both from the University of Birmingham in the UK. Dr. Ratcliffe began his career as a Research Scientist at The Kennedy Institute for Rheumatology in London before moving to Columbia University in New York in 1987 as an Associate Professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Ratcliffe's research has focused on musculoskeletal research, tissue engineering, and product development. His expertise has been recognized through numerous leadership positions, including serving as a member of the Board of Directors of the Orthopaedic Research Society, Study Sections for NIH, Co-Chairman of the Grant Review Committee for the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation, and Co-Chairman of the Tissue Engineering Committee for ASTM. With over 100 published papers, Dr. Ratcliffe is a respected figure in biomedical research and development.
Christophe Schilling, Ph.D.
CEO at Genomatica
Ex Officio Member
Christophe founded Genomatica in 1998. Since being named CEO in May 2009, he has led Genomatica to widespread recognition as a leader in industrial biotech, with a commercialized first process and plant and multiple leading partners. The company has earned awards for industry impact (recognized in ICIS Top40 Power Players five years in a row), engineering (Kirkpatrick), science (EPA Presidential Green Chemistry), industry leadership (voted #1 Hottest four years in a row by Biofuels Digest), and company culture (The Scientist as a Best Place to Work). Christophe is Chairman of Biocom, the largest advocate organization for California’s life sciences sector; serves on BIO’s Industrial & Environmental Section Governing Board; and has previously served on the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Biotechnology. He is also a member of YPO, an international leadership organization for chief executives. Christophe holds a Ph.D. in bioengineering from the University of California, San Diego. He received a B.S. in biomedical engineering from Duke University and was honored as a Distinguished Young Alumnus in 2010.