Justin is the Director of External Affairs at OpenBiome, overseeing all outward facing
communications, including to researchers, clinicians, patients, media, and the general
Before joining OpenBiome, Justin completed a PhD in the MIT Department of Biology in
2018 where he used frog embryos to model human face development. At OpenBiome,
Justin is excited to be combining his passions for science and communication, and to be
part of a team accelerating microbiome research to improve heath for all.

Susan B. Sloane, BS, RPh, CDCES, CPT has been a registered pharmacist for more than 32 years, and a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist for most of her career. Her two sons were diagnosed with diabetes, and, since then, she has been dedicated to promoting wellness and optimal outcomes as a patient advocate, information expert, educator, and corporate partner.

Susan has published numerous articles on the topic of diabetes for patients and health care professionals. She has committed her career goals to helping patients with diabetes stay well through education. Her recently published book, Sweet Genes: Finding a Balance Living with Diabetes, tells her story and provides tips for dealing with diabetes.

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.

Alex Menys is the CEO and founder of Motilent and Associate Professor at UCL. He completed his PhD in medical imaging analysis at UCL specifically in the assessment of gastrointestinal physiology with MRI. Motilent was founded to support researchers do higher quality research in a complex area but has grown rapidly with CE and FDA-cleared products used across the EU and US. Alex has placed high-quality research at the center of the business, and the world, to build trust with many of the top centers internationally, including Cleveland, Mayo, KU Leuven, UCL, AMC, Cincinnati, Mt Sinai and many more. Data from these sites is used as the primary tool to push the company forward.

The Sweetest Gift is headed by Patricia Scheetz, herself both a chronic illness warrior and transplant recipient, having received a kidney and pancreas transplant in 2011 after battling with type 1 diabetes since birth and many of the disease’s insidious complications since her early 20’s.

Patricia is a qualified pastry chef, and discovered her passion for baking whilst recovering from her transplant surgery, fast forward several years and this passion catapulted Patricia onto Australian TV as a contestant in 2016 on Zumbo’s Just Desserts, which now airs on Netflix.

Discovering her life’s purpose to help people in similar situations to her own came after realizing that her dream of running her own dessert restaurant would be that much sweeter if she could support people just like herself, so that they didn’t have to go through the same employment struggles that she had been forced to, and so The Sweetest Gift was born.