Meet The Team
Nikhil Joshi is a Biomedical Engineer with a BS and MS in the field. During undergraduate studies, he was a Research Assistant in Dr. Adam Engler’s lab at UC San Diego, investigating methods to coax stem cells towards various mature cell lineages. Later on, at Columbia University, he served as a Graduate Research Assistant in the lab of Dr. Clark Hung, investigating techniques to enable nutrient delivery to engineered tissue constructs for cartilage cell therapy.
After academia Nikhil has spent 12 years in industry, working as an Engineer and Product Manager on a variety of innovative technologies. Most recently Nikhil was at Auris Health helping to build Monarch, the world's first robotic endoscopy platform. Nikhil led development of three novel robotic instrumentation devices, from initial concept to design verification testing.
Nikhil has co-invented six patented technologies, and throughout his career has been driven by the question of how technology can improve healthcare quality.
Marcus Foley is a Biomedical Engineer by training, and has held a variety of roles across the Biotechnology and Medical Device industries. He served as an undergraduate and graduate researcher and laboratory manager in Dr. Kristen Cardinal’s tissue engineering lab at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, investigating the impact of surface properties and mechanical forces on endothelial cell proliferation and recovery.
After leaving academia, Marcus has spent the past 11 years in the medical device industry working as an R&D Engineer on a variety of innovative medical devices. Most recently, Marcus was an engineer on a robotic instruments design team working on the world’s first robotic platform for diagnostic and therapeutic bronchoscopy, which involved an endoscope and various robotic instruments. On this team, Marcus led the development of multiple novel disposable medical devices, from initial concept to design verification testing.
Marcus has co-invented numerous patented technologies and contributed to research published in three prominent scientific journals.
Malik is a Biologist who joined us all the way from Belgium, where he recently completed his BS and MS degrees in Biomedical Sciences at Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Malik is an expert in stem cell biology, with thesis work focused on how genetic abnormalities occurring during differentiation of stem cells can massively change their behavior at maturity. He also brings an international bent to our startup, having lived in four countries and being fluent in three languages 🗺️✈️🤩.
Dr. Avnesh Thakor
Dr. Thakor is an Attending Interventional Radiologist who runs his own translational laboratory at Stanford University investigating the use of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) based therapies (which includes both the parent cell and their extra-cellular vesicles (EVs)), for multiple disease states given their anti-inflammatory, pro-angiogenic and immunomodulatory properties. In particular, Dr. Thakor’s team has been focusing on pancreatic regeneration, islet transplantation, kidney regeneration and neuronal regeneration.
His work focuses on understanding the genomic and proteomic profiles of different sources of MSCs and their derived EVs, developing novel strategies to deliver and home these MSC-based therapies to target tissues, using focused ultrasound to optimize the injured tissue microenvironment for these therapies and then imaging the biodistribution of MSCs with novel imaging probes. By translating stem cell therapies into patients using minimally invasive strategies, his team is leading the efforts in a new emerging field called “Interventional Regenerative Medicine (IRM)”. In addition, his team has been developing multi-functional bioscaffolds and nanoplatforms to facilitate the clinical translation of different cellular therapies.
Dr. Kristen Cardinal
Kristen O’Halloran Cardinal completed a B.S. in General Engineering with a Biomedical Engineering concentration at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo in 2003. While a student at Cal Poly, she was also a member of the NCAA Division 1 women’s volleyball team. She then earned her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering in 2007 from the University of Arizona. Her research endeavors focused on tissue engineered blood vessels and intravascular device evaluation, and her early industrial collaborations included several medical device companies, including Abbott Vascular where she spent time in the Preclinical Research group.
Professor Cardinal has been a faculty member at Cal Poly since 2007. She has an active research lab, where she works with undergraduate and Master’s students to create and utilize tissue engineered blood vessels for testing vascular devices, ranging from stents to flow diverters. Her lab performs mammalian cell culture, electrospinning, in vitro system design, and imaging, and she has collaborated with numerous medical device companies including Stryker Neurovascular, Medtronic, Edwards Lifesciences, and others. Professor Cardinal also runs the Cal Poly MEDITEC program and she teaches courses in Tissue Engineering, Biomaterials, Medical Device Evaluation and the FDA Approval Process, and Regenerative Medicine Product Development.