Leanna M. Levine, Ph.D.
Dr. Levine, founder of ALine, Inc., is an entrepreneur, technologist, and inventor. She has a unique blend of technical expertise in both bioanalytical science and manufacturing process development. Developing processes for rapid prototyping and manufacture of microfluidic devices was her founding vision. Prior to founding ALine, Dr. Levine developed bioanalytical technology to support life science research. While at Monsanto, her lab led the industry in the application of fluorescence polarization for high throughput screening for novel therapeutics. In 1998 she joined Spectrum Laboratories as Director of Hollow Fiber Manufacture and Product Development. Dr. Levine earned her Ph.D. at Washington University, St. Louis, MO , and her B.S. in Biochemistry and BA in German from the University of Missouri, Columbia, MO. In 2003 she was a visiting scholar at the UCLA Anderson School of Business. In 2000 she was the chair of the Gordon Conference on Bioanalytical Sensors. She is the co-author on a dozen publications, and several patents.
Ron has over 19 years of sales, marketing and business development experience in the microfluidic, semiconductor, HBLED, MEMS, nanoimprint lithography, solar, photonics and biomedical industries. He has been responsible for setting and executing sales strategies; leading sales teams; penetrating new accounts; capturing market share from entrenched competitors; new market penetration strategy and implementation; competitive analysis; developing and implementing marketing plans. He has the demonstrated ability – on multiple occasions - to grow annual sales > 4X in less than five years. Ron is an avid spearfisher and was an Operational Intelligence Analyst in the US Navy.
Stefano Begolo, Ph.D.
Stefano Begolo has been a key player in the development of the patented microfluidic slip-chip technology for medical diagnostic applications while at the California Institute of Technology. Stefano has expertise in the design and development of 3D printed microfluidic components, and specialized skills in embossing, lithography, and UV cure laminate devices. His materials expertise ensures the incorporation of surfaces compatible with a variety of biomolecular interactions and specialized fluidic functions. He earned his Ph.D. in Physics in 2011 from the Université Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris VI). He obtained a B.S. in Material Science and a M.S. in Material Science and Engineering from the University of Padua (Italy). His graduate work focused on the use of droplet microfluidics for detecting DNA and proteins, and on the development of innovative technologies for the production of microfluidic devices. He is co-author of seven publications and several patents.
Justin Podczerviensky, B.S.
Justin Podczerviensky earned a dual degree in Applied Physics and Mathematics from the University of California Santa Cruz. His passion is analyzing and providing simple and unique solutions to real world problems. After joining the ALine team in 2010, his focus has been to solve interesting manufacturing problems to expand ALine’s offering as well as increase throughput and quality. Justin has developed a method for solvent assisted thermal bonding of simple microfluidic devices as well as a method for thermal lamination compatible with ALine’s on-board pump and valve technology. He is responsible for developing manufacturing and quality control processes for customer products, troubleshooting design and fabrication issues, as well as developing a roadmap for making prototypes amenable to volume manufacture within target cost and timeframe.
Francesca Yu, B.S.
Francesca has a BS in Biomedical Engineering from the University of California, Irvine. She has taken the lead in developing and managing ALine's Quality System to achieve ISO 13485 certification. She manages the fabrication floor, and is in charge of training for all fabrication technicians. An expert in ALine's fabrication techniques and developing fabrication instruction files, Francesca ensures parts meet ALine's quality objectives and ensures shipments are on time and high quality with as little stress as possible.
Said Ehrlich, M.S.
Said obtained a B.S. in Physics from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Afterwards, he moved to Saudi Arabia to engage in an Electrical Engineering graduate program at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology. His M.S. degree was awarded upon completion of thesis work focused on bonding thermoplastic materials for the fabrication of microfluidic devices. He joined ALine at the end of 2012 as a Lead Engineer. Said is interested in expanding the reach of ALine’s Integrative Polymeric Platform by broadening the range of offered materials and incorporating different fabrication techniques to the existing processes. His work is involved with the characterization of ALine’s on-chip functional capabilities as well as planning, design, and fabrication for custom engineering projects.
Jason McDowell, B.S.
Jason McDowell has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering from California State University Long Beach. In college, he studied digital logic and electronic systems to measure standard biosignals. Jason joined ALine in 2011 as an biomedical engineer. He has experience in techniques to measure and control process variability in microfluidic manufacturing, and in instrumentation for point-of-care diagnostics. Jason created ALine's ADEPT instrument and is responsible for implementing ALine's manufacturing automation roadmap. He is currently working wtih clients to develop breadboard instrumentation for a variety of applications including PCR, blister actuation, pumps, and pneumatics as well as electrometers for potentiometric measurements.
Board of Directors
Steve Schaefers, MBA, SSBB
Operations executive with 15+ years of experience helping medical device companies research, develop, scale and launch new products into the market. Possess a unique and deep understanding of technology transfer and method development to align research, facilities development and design to capitalize on opportunities and optimize manufacturing processes.He has Six Sigma, Black Belt Certification, and started his career as Journeyman Machinist, with skills in Progressive Tool and Die Design and CNC Programmer/Operator. Steve has special skills in Electro-mechanical automation design and development, Precision machine tooling design and development, fixture design and development, sheet metal components, springs, stampings, and wire forms.
Neelima Firth, MBA
Neelima Firth is an innovative Senior Executive and Board Member with more than 30 years of success spanning biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices. Leveraging extensive experience in strategic leadership in life science organizations, Neelima provides insight into leadership and commercialization strategies. Her broad areas of expertise include problem solving, big picture perspective, marketing and commercialization, strategic planning, project management, financial forecasting, and business development. Neelima has held leadership positions with Amgen, the Alfred Mann Foundation, Bristol Myers Squibb and GSK.
Science Advisory Board
Antonio J. Ricco, Ph.D.
Antonio J. Ricco is Chief Technologist for Small Spacecraft Payloads and Technologies at NASA's Ames Research Center, on leave from Stanford University. Ricco received B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley (1980) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1984). He developed chemical microsensor technologies and systems at Sandia National Laboratories from 1984 to 1998. From 1999 to 2003 at ACLARA BioSciences, he led development of single-use plastic microfluidic systems for genetic analysis, high-throughput pharmaceutical discovery, proteomics, and pathogen detection. He was Director of Stanford's National Center for Space Biological Technologies from 2004 to 2007; since 2007, he has been at NASA's Ames Research Center, on leave from Stanford. Dr. Ricco is the co-author of over 200 presentations, 140 publications, and a dozen patents. He is a Fellow of The Electrochemical Society, past Chair of the Sensor Division of The Electrochemical Society, and a recipient of that division's Outstanding Achievement Award.
Fernando Cruz-Guilloty, Ph.D.
Fernando is a Scientific Consultant with 10 years of experience in a broad range of biomedical research areas in both academic and industry settings, focusing primarily on the fields of immunology, biomarkers and assay development. An effective communicator, Fernando develops working interactions within cross-functional teams, providing executive management with key decision-making R&D perspectives. His contributions include setting up a variety of multidisciplinary collaborations (academia, industry, consulting, CROs) to achieve project goals. At DxTerity, Fernando served as Principal Scientist in personalized medicine, working to develop first-in-class gene expression diagnostics in a broad disease spectrum (autoimmune disease and immuno-oncology). Previously, he led R&D efforts at Immucor to transition innovative academic research into a next-generation platform in blood typing and diagnostics. His experience includes Design Control procedures at different stages of the FDA regulatory approval process. Fernando obtained a B.S. degree in Industrial Biotechnology from the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez and a Ph.D. from Harvard Medical School, where his research focused on basic transcriptional and epigenetic studies of the immune system. During postdoctoral studies at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, he studied the interaction of innate and adaptive immunity in age-related macular degeneration, a major blinding disease. As an independent investigator, he initiated immuno-oncology projects on breast cancer and melanoma. Fernando is also actively involved as a mentor with programs aimed at increasing diversity within STEM fields.