Michael is an Executive Director leading Digital Health within the Business Development Innovative Technologies function at Bristol Myers Squibb. Michael is responsible for evaluation and execution of Business Development investments and transactions in support of Digital Innovation priorities at BMS. 

During his 28 years at Bristol Myers Squibb, Michael has worked across Europe, Asia Pacific and the US in a variety of roles leading and developing high performing, diverse teams, while growing his responsibility and knowledge of the Biopharmaceutical Industry.

Prior to his current role, Michael had responsibility for Alliance Management with a specific focus on late-stage partnerships including: clinical collaborations, translational medicine and diagnostics partnerships, digital partnerships as well as commercial alliances.

Michael has also held roles at BMS responsible for oversight of IT, Infrastructure, and adjacent services in support of Business Development priorities (M&A, divestitures, strategic alliances, collaborations and licensing) at Bristol Myers Squibb. This involved the full spectrum of the deal lifecycle from pre-deal diligence, operational and synergy reviews, ‘Day-1’ planning and post-deal implementation support.

In addition to his IT/Corporate Services experience in supporting Business Development, Michael has supported Manufacturing Operations Globally, Product & Process Development, Engineering & Quality functions.

Michael began his career in Ireland as Chemist with Bristol Myers Squibb in 1994, after completing his Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Chemistry and Business Administration postgraduate studies. Michael currently resides in Princeton, NJ.

Sophie M. Balzora MD, FACG, is a Clinical Associate Professor at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine. Dr. Balzora has focused her academic efforts on improving physician engagement and enhancing the patient experience through objective structured clinical exams (OSCEs).

As Chair of ACG’s Public Relations Committee, Dr. Balzora’s primary goal is to disseminate the College’s message of the importance of colorectal cancer awareness to the general public and arm its members with tools to do the same. She is a member and incoming Vice Chair of ACG’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, and co-founder of ACG’s #DiversityinGI Social Media Campaign. In October 2020, her work in the College has been recognized with the ACG President’s Special Recognition Award.

Dr. Balzora serves on the Patient Education Sub-Committee of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation (CCF)’s National Scientific Advisory Committee, the social media team of the CCF’s Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Journal, and as a member of Fight CRC’s Health Equity Committee. She has also recently been accepted into the inaugural cohort of the Office of Diversity Affairs’ Faculty Leadership Development Program through the NYU Langone Academy.

Dr. Wyborski received his B.S. (Chemistry) from the University of Notre Dame and his doctorate (Biochemistry) from Indiana University (Bloomington). He completed a postdoctoral fellowship focused on neuronal gene expression in the lab of Dr. David Gottlieb in the Department of Neuroscience at Washington University at St. Louis School of Medicine.

Dr. Wyborski is currently the Director of IBD Ventures Investments at the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation where he oversees a growing portfolio of therapeutics, devices, diagnostics, and digital health applications focused on improving IBD patients’ lives. He began his drug development career at Pfizer where he conducted preclinical research in the therapeutic areas of neuroscience, cardiovascular, and inflammation. He led discovery programs in neurotrophic factors, nuclear receptors, and kinases. After his time at Pfizer, he led a research group in the consumer product field by developing products for skin care. Prior to coming to the Foundation, Russ was a Director of Technical Operations at BioMotiv, a start-up company which functioned as a Drug Development Accelerator in Cleveland, OH. In this role, he conducted technical diligence on potential new investments while leading a company (Koutif Therapeutics) through IND filing for an inhibitor of an E3 Ligase for Crohn’s Disease. He has consulted for several academic technology transfer offices at institutions such as the University of Pittsburgh, Cleveland Clinic, Case Western Reserve University and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. He is passionate about accelerating the development of novel therapeutics for patient’s unmet needs.

Tina Aswani-Omprakash is an award-winning Crohn’s advocate and patient leader based out of New York City. Tina maintains a blog and advocacy platform called Own Your Crohn’s (https://ownyourcrohns.com) and co-founded South Asian IBD Alliance (SAIA) (https://www.southasianibd.org/) to form a patient-clinician led non-profit initiative in order to minimize disparities and improve education in the growing South Asian IBD population.  

Tina’s overarching aim is to normalize the rhetoric around chronic illnesses and disabilities in order to help diverse groups of patients own their ailments to live fuller, happier lives. Via her writing, lobbying, social media advocacy and speaking engagements, she spearheads public health causes, including those proposing research for and creating awareness for IBD, life-saving ostomy surgery, fistulizing disease and initiatives supporting health equity for women and racial & ethnic minorities.  

Tina is pursuing her Master’s degree in Public Health at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine and will be graduating in 2023. Additionally, she has spoken at many premier GI conferences worldwide and has co-authored several research papers in prominent journals (JAMA, Gastroenterology, Crohn’s & Colitis 360), a guidebook on IBD care and a series of websites on Crohn’s-related ostomy surgery. Tina does consulting work as a patient advisor for non-profits, clinical research organizations as well as ostomy manufacturers, in addition to pharmaceutical and digital health companies. Her aim is to help companies recognize disparities and unmet needs in minority health populations.  

Tina has been featured in The New York Times, on the cover of American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) Magazine and in Gastroenterology & Endoscopy News as well as Health Magazine for her trailblazing advocacy work. The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation recognized Tina in 2021 for her phenomenal leadership and powerful impact on the IBD community with the Above & Beyond Volunteer Award. Tina’s blog was also recognized as a 2020 Best Blog by Healthline and she was awarded the 2019 Healio Gastroenterology Disruptive Innovator Award by ACG for moving the needle on GI care for patients. 

Tim has 30 years of pharmaceutical and healthcare experience with a diverse background in sales, global and US marketing, commercial operations, strategic planning, and business development. Most recently, Tim was Chief Business Officer at Aprecia Pharmaceuticals, the leader in 3-D printing of pharmaceutical drug products. Prior, Tim helped build Takeda Pharmaceuticals, starting with the company in 1999. He took on increasing roles of responsibility, including leading the US Sales Managed Markets, Marketing, and BD teams. Tim has extensive experience bringing GI drugs to market including Amitiza, Prevacid, Dexilant, and Entyvio

Sam Jactel is the CEO & Founder of Ayble Health. In 2014, he was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. He has experienced first-hand how hard it is to manage these kinds of conditions outside of the clinic and with Ayble, he’s building the solution he wished had existed when he was diagnosed.

Sam’s professional background is multidisciplinary but healthcare centric. Prior to founding Ayble, he led growth strategy and new product innovation at Ginkgo Bioworks, including helping bring the company public and selling employer-focused healthcare services (COVID-19 back-to-work testing), now a $400M P&L. He joined Ginkgo from health-technology venture capital at Flare Capital Partners, where he invested in tech-driven businesses tackling issues in real-world evidence, provider burnout, suicide prevention and women’s health. As a strategy consultant at Accenture, he advised Fortune 500 healthcare clients on new product launches, including market access, mergers & acquisitions and digital therapeutic modalities, both in the US and the EU.

Prior to Accenture, Sam led clinical research initiatives at Emory School of Medicine and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, focused on finding innovative ways to treat childhood GI conditions, cancers and infectious diseases.

Sam is a published author of 8 peer reviewed publications, two textbooks, and currently serves on the review board for the Department of Defense’s Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program for IBD, helping evaluate scientific research grants and allocate close to $500M to find a cure for Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis.

Sam earned a B.S. in Biology and Philosophy from Duke University and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern, where he was a Zell Fellow. He’s an avid (and award-winning) travel, landscape and portrait photographer in his spare time.

Kari Furu, PhD, is a passionate and solution oriented molecular biologist with broad experience in development and optimization of laboratory techniques and molecular assays. After completing her PhD and a postdoctoral fellowship in basic and cancer research, she made the transition to the biotech industry where her main focus has been in development of IVD assays. Kari joined Genetic Analysis, a Norwegian molecular diagnostic company with core focus on the microbiome, in 2016. She started as Development Manager before stepping up as the company’s’ Chief Technology Officer in 2021. With Genetic Analysis, Kari has managed multiple product development projects through cross-functional team leadership, including product design improvement projects aiming to increase robustness and cost-effectiveness of the company’s’ main product, the GA-map® Dysbiosis Test. She is experienced in design, production, installation, and servicing of IVD products in accordance with Design Control principles and ISO 13485. Together with the GA team, she is devoted to increase awareness of the microbiome and its impact on human health, as well as to the development of new diagnostic solutions based on microbiome profiling. Furthermore, as member of the management team in Genetic Analysis, Kari is dedicated to build strong teams and a fun and inspirational work environment.

Eric Zuckerman, DO, has been the Board Chairman of the Pediatric IBD Foundation since it’s inception in 2008. Dr. Zuckerman is a Michigan based ophthalmologist whose daughter was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease in 2003.

Dr. Zuckerman was selected to become an FDA patient representative in Pediatric IBD in 2012. Under Dr. Zuckerman’s leadership, the Foundation served as the lead co-sponsor of FDA’s Gastroenterology Regulatory Endpoints and Advancement of Therapeutics (GREAT 2) and GREAT 3 meetings. These groundbreaking meetings saw regulators, industry, and researchers at the same table in collaborative discussions about safety monitoring and streamlining drug approvals for children with inflammatory bowel disease. At GREAT 3, Dr. Zuckerman presented a model for a drug agnostic data sharing IBD registry to monitor drug safety called the Children’s REgistry for the Advancement of ThErapeutics, (CREATE). Continuing his work as an advocate for children with IBD, Dr. Zuckerman submitted testimony to Congress in support of a National Drug Safety registry for IBD. In addition to his work in the United States, Dr. Zuckerman has provided input on patient perspectives in drug development to the European Medicine Agencies. Through the Foundation’s web site and social media channels, Dr. Zuckerman regularly communicates with parents of children with IBD from all over the world. He frequently provides guidance to parents with educational information and resources, understanding from his own experience the challenges faced by families living with IBD.