Toby C. Chai, M.D.
Vice Chair of Research and Co-Director of the Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery clinical program at Yale-New Haven Hospital
Toby C. Chai, M.D. received his B.A. from Johns Hopkins University, his M.D. from Indiana University School of Medicine, and completed his urology residency at University of Michigan Medical Center. He then completed a two-year AFUD Research Scholar fellowship at the University of Virginia. Dr. Chai was a urology faculty member at University of Maryland School of Medicine for more than 15 years, and was holder of the John D. Young Professorship. He joined Yale University in January 2013 to become the Vice Chair of Research in the Department of Urology and Co-Director of the Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery clinical program at Yale-New Haven Hospital.
Dr. Chai has an active research interest in urinary incontinence and bladder physiology. He was a Principal Investigator in the NIH Urinary Incontinence Treatment Network (UITN) which published several landmark articles in the New England Journal of Medicine related to evaluation and management of stress urinary incontinence. Dr. Chai has been investigating how bladder urothelial cell pathophysiology affects bladder function has contributed important foundational articles in this field. He has published more than 100 papers and reviews and chapters.
Dr. Chai's laboratory investigates bladder urothelial cellular physiology testing the hypothesis that certain urothelial signaling mechanisms are critical to regulating micturition and continence function of the bladder. Techniques used in his laboratory include single cell micropuncture (patch-clamp) electrophysiology and cellular calcium microfluorimetry. His laboratory is currently working on creating a urothelially-restricted transgenic mouse, based on data he has acquired from human bladder urotheilal cells from overactive bladder (OAB) subjects, to assess whether there is altered bladder behavior in this animal, as well as whether there is altered urothelial cellular physiology, mimicking what his lab has published from cells from OAB subjects. His ultimate goal is to effectively perform translational research reflecting true bedside-to bench-to bedside science.
He has been nationally recognized with key awards including the recipient of the 2001 Young Investigator Award from the SBUR (Society for Basic Urologic Research), the 2005 Paul Zimskind Award from SUFU (Society of Urodynamics, Female Pelvic Medicine & Urogenital Reconstruction), and the 2013 Victor A. Politano Award from the AUA (American Urological Association) for his outstanding work in the treatment of urinary incontinence and innovations in bladder research. He is the Basic Science Section Editor for Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery Journal and is an Assistant Editor for The Journal of Urology. He serves on the Editorial Board for the American Journal of Physiology – Renal.
Darryl T. Martin, Ph.D.
I am a biomedical scientist currently training in the Department of Urology under the guidance of Dr. Robert Weiss. I received my Ph.D. from Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada under the supervision of Drs. Robert Gendron and Hélène Paradis in the Division of BioMedical Sciences. My graduate work focused on identifying a marker, Tubedown, which was linked to the aggressiveness and differentiation status in pediatric cancers. The level of Tubedown expression has the potential to represent a new prognostic factor in defining the different tumors subsets.
My research interests involve determining effective targets for the initiation, growth, and recurrence of urologic cancers. Currently, my focus is in eradicating and suppressing the recurrence of cancer growth using both basic and translational approaches, with a specific interest in the development and assessment of nanoparticles for imaging and therapeutic applications.
In the laboratory of Dr. Weiss we have been focusing on improving siRNA delivery using nanotechnology as well as finding more effective targets for the treatment of bladder cancer. We are focusing on pathways that are involved in the growth and recurrence of transitional cell carcinoma. In conjunction with Dr. Mark Saltzman’s group in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, we are designing and testing nanoparticle delivery systems that stabilize and release siRNAs as well as chemotherapeutics. Additionally, I am collaborating with Dr. Adam Hittelman to determine the optimal methodology for the biodistribution of liposomes in non-cancer bladder diseases. I am also working with Dr. Peter Schulam in using tumor-homing nanoparticles for imaging and treatment of prostate cancer.
Brian Shuch, M.D.
Brian M. Shuch, M.D. is a graduate of the University of Michigan and received his M.D. from New York University before completing his urology residency and surgery internship at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). During residency, he completed an NIH K30 fellowship program in Translational Investigation, and completed a three-year urologic oncology fellowship at the National Cancer Institute (NCI). He has had several years of kidney and prostate cancer laboratory research experience in the laboratories of Drs. Arie Belldegrun, Marston Linehan, Don Bottaro, Iman Osman, and Samir Taneja. Additionally, Dr. Shuch received extensive clinical trial experience from his time at UCLA and the NCI.
Dr. Shuch's research interests involve both translational research and clinical trials. His research focus is the identification of genetic causes of kidney cancer, integrating genomic tools into the patient management, understanding the mechanisms of sarcomatoid transformation, and the development of new therapeutic strategies for high-risk patients. He is also working closely with Drs. Harriet Kluger and Mario Sznol to expand the translational kidney cancer research efforts as well as the clinical trial portfolio at Yale.
Since coming to New Haven, Dr. Shuch has helped established a biospecimen repository for the urologic oncology translational research. He has also partnered with Dr. Allen Bale and Ellen Matloff in the Hereditary Cancer Program to form a multi-disciplinary program for kidney cancer genetic evaluation. This program provides comprehensive genetic evaluation for individuals with familial kidney cancer, early-disease onset, and bilateral/multifocal kidney cancer. Nationally, he is a member of SWOG, the Society of Urologic Oncology Clinical Trials Consortium- Renal Committee, and is a member of the working group for the Cancer Genome Atlas Chromophobe and Papillary Kidney Cancer groups.
Christopher Loose, Ph.D.
Executive Director, CBIT
Dr. Loose serves as executive director of the Yale University Center for Biomedical Innovation and Technology (CBIT) and holds an appointment as Assistant Professor Adjunct in Urology at Yale University. He also serves as an Accelerator Executive at the Center for Integration of Medicine and Innovative Technology (CIMIT).
In 2006, Dr. Loose co-founded Semprus BioSciences with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Institute Professor Robert Langer, and David Lucchino, and served as Chief Technology Officer until the company was acquired by Teleflex Incorporated in 2012 (TFX: $80M). A peer-review of the Semprus Technology was published in Science Translational Medicine and received a Frost and Sullivan Breakthrough Technology Award in 2010. Semprus’ first product, a vascular catheter with a surface modification designed to have reduced thrombus (clot) formation, was FDA-cleared in 2012.
Dr. Loose received the prestigious Hertz Foundation Fellowship and was selected by MIT’s Technology Review as a member of the “TR35,” naming the world's top 35 innovators under the age of 35. He was awarded the inaugural Peter Strauss Entrepreneurial Award from the Hertz Foundation in 2011 and was also named to Boston Business Journal's 40 emerging business leaders under 40.
While earning his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at MIT, Dr. Loose co-authored the Semprus Biosciences business plan which won entrepreneurial competitions at MIT, Harvard University and Oxford University. Prior to his graduate work, Dr. Loose was a chemical engineer at Merck Research Labs after graduating summa cum laude with a B.S.E in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University.
Alyssa Siefert, Ph.D.
Dr. Alyssa Siefert is the Engineering Co-Director for CBIT. In this role, she manages industry partnerships such as the Clinical Immersion Program with Medtronic, co-teaches a medical device design class at Yale, organizes events like clinician pitch nights, and connects people and resources to launch biomedical innovation ideas.
Dr. Siefert received her B.S. from Carnegie Mellon University, double-majoring in Chemical and Biomedical Engineering and minoring in Professional Writing. She also earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Yale. While conducting her thesis research, which focused on designing, formulating, and testing biologically-inspired nanomaterials for immunotherapies for diseases ranging from parasitic infections to cancer and led to a patent, Dr. Siefert worked as a consultant for a peanut allergy startup and as a Student Life Fellow for Yale’s Graduate School. As an Advanced Graduate Leadership Fellow, she completed two years of MBA coursework at Yale’s School of Management and received the Harding Bliss Prize for furthering the university’s intellectual life. Prior to pursuing her Ph.D., Dr. Siefert created cost-saving medical devices at Yale School of Medicine and Pfizer, and she joined CBIT after teaching a lab course for Yale juniors and completing postdoctoral research in Yale’s Systems Biology Institute and Immunobiology department.
When she’s not dashing around Yale, you can find her with her pet rabbit, signing up for an athletic event she’s not ready for, or spreading her love of science to non-scientists via thesociablescientist.com and sciencepants.com, ventures she co-founded with her fashion designer sister to empower more people to rock microscope images on apparel.
Malgorzata “Margaret” Cartiera, Ph.D.
Investment and Innovation Manager, CBIT
Dr. Malgorzata “Margaret” Cartiera has worked at the intersection of science and business for more than 15 years. Roles in investment, regulatory affairs, competitive intelligence, and management have given her a unique perspective on the innovation life cycle, shifts in the bioscience industry, and the potential of what is to come.
Throughout her professional career, Dr. Cartiera has built a reputation for developing effective business strategies, forming solid partnerships, and solving problems creatively. She currently serves as the Investment and Innovation Manager at Yale University’s Center for Biomedical and Intervention Technology (CBIT), where she works in collaboration with Yale New Haven Hospital to evaluate technology areas and innovations of interest to address clinical pain points. During her time as Vice President and Fund Manager at Connecticut Innovations, a quasi-public investment entity, Dr. Cartiera managed the Regenerative Medicine Research Fund and successfully shifted the fund from its focus on basic stem cell research to the translation and application of stem cells in regenerative medicine technologies. Dr. Cartiera was also a founding member of Connecticut’s pioneering $200M, 10-year Bioscience Innovation Fund. While she led the fund, the group invested more than $17M in 14 early-stage companies, inventions, and cross-state initiatives. Dr. Cartiera has been a champion of innovation engines that connect key players to rework and accelerate the creative process. Two such examples include the Program in Innovative Therapeutics for Connecticut’s Health (PITCH) http://pitch.yale.edu/
and Connecticut’s Biopipeline http://biopipelinect.org
Dr. Cartiera earned her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. While there, she learned about the fundamentals of science, as well as its rigors, which fueled her to pursue her Master of Science degree. She caught the innovation bug while pursuing that degree at the University of Pennsylvania, where her studies focused on translating innovation from bench to bedside, and led to her desire to work in the startup community. Dr. Cartiera completed her formal training in biomedical engineering with her doctoral studies at Yale University.
Dr. Cartiera has embraced living at the intersection of the business and scientific worlds—understanding the novelty and promise that only scientific discovery can bring, while also appreciating the challenges of fundraising, the pains of company growth, the hurdles of FDA regulation, and the unpredictability of the markets. In her spare time, Dr. Cartiera mentors young inventors and entrepreneurs, consults for early-stage companies, and continues her work as an investor with RC Life Science Capital.