Colleen Cuffaro, PhD is a Partner at Canaan's healthcare investment team, with board roles at Arrakis Therapeutics, Alphina Therapeutics, RADD Pharmaceuticals, and the New England Venture Capital Association. She previously served as a board observer at RallyBio, NextCure, Arvinas, and Novira Therapeutics (acquired by Johnson & Johnson). Before joining Canaan in 2014, Dr. Cuffaro worked as an analytical chemist at PMRS, Inc., collaborating with pharmaceutical companies on drug product development. She also served as a bioscience analyst for Entrepreneurship Lab NYC. Dr. Cuffaro earned her PhD in Cellular and Molecular Physiology from Yale University and holds a BA in Chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania.
Adair Newhall, a Partner at Stepstone Group, leads sourcing and due diligence efforts across fund, direct, and secondary investment opportunities. He actively contributes to the firm's healthcare investment practice and Portfolio Impact Program, facilitating strategic introductions, fundraising support, operational guidance, and more for General Partners and portfolio companies. Adair serves on the boards of Bright Health and Crown Labs, with observer roles on Aetion, Entrada, and Paladina Health boards. He advises multiple Venture Advisory Boards for venture capital firms and maintains six passive direct healthcare investments. Newhall's prior experience includes roles at Domain Associates and Esprit Pharma, culminating in successful acquisitions. He holds an MBA from the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration and an undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania. Newhall is a Kauffman Fellow, YPO member, and co-founder of the UVa Venture Summit. He is also dedicated to philanthropic causes, including We.Org, Living Classrooms Foundation, and the Darden Business School Foundation Board of Trustees.
Deborah Palestrant, PhD, MBA, joined 5AM Ventures in 2018 as Partner and Executive Chair of the 4:59 Initiative. Previously, she served as Vice President of Corporate Development & Strategy at Relay Therapeutics, where she managed business strategy, alliances, partnerships, and communications. With over 15 years in the life sciences industry, her experience spans drug discovery, company creation, operations, and strategy. Dr. Palestrant was formerly a lab head at Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research and played a key role in founding Blueprint Medicines and Editas Medicine while at Third Rock Ventures. She holds a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics from Columbia University, an MBA from Northeastern University, and was a Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at Scripps Research. Dr. Palestrant is based in Boston, MA.
Josh Resnick, MD, a Senior Managing Director at RA Capital Management, leads early-stage private investments and the development of new companies in the fields of drug development, medical devices, diagnostics, and research tools. He holds a BA in Chemistry from Williams College, an MD from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and an MBA from the Wharton School of Business. With over 15 years of experience, Resnick has been involved in all stages of drug development, from discovery to commercialization. He previously co-led SV Health Investors' US Biotech practice, managed SV's venture creation efforts, and was President and Managing Partner at MRL Ventures Fund. Resnick also served as a Venture Partner at Atlas Venture and was a Partner at Prism Venture Partners, focusing on company formation and seed and Series A investing. Additionally, he is a faculty member at Harvard Medical School and practices medicine as an attending physician in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital.
General Partner & Co-founder, Hatteras Venture Partners
Clay Thorp is an entrepreneur-turned-venture capitalist with a remarkable track record. He co-founded eight life science companies since 1995 and played a pivotal role in establishing Hatteras in 2000. Under his leadership, the firm has grown from a $3 million seed fund to a powerhouse managing over $850 million across seven vintages. Thorp's investments span various life science sectors, from biopharmaceuticals and medical devices to diagnostics and research informatics. He began his journey by co-founding Xanthon, Inc., followed by Novalon Pharmaceutical Corporation, which was later acquired for $106.7 million. Thorp's dedication to entrepreneurship led to Hatteras Venture Partners, where he has been involved in over 90 life science investments. He serves as Chairman and sits on the boards of several prominent companies, contributing significantly to the industry's growth. Additionally, Thorp actively participates in philanthropic endeavors and advisory roles, holding a Master of Public Policy from Harvard University and a BA in Mathematics and Art History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Ryland Sumner is the President of Point Field Partners, the family office for Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti. Point Field employs a flexible investment strategy across private equity, real estate, and venture capital and looks to partner with operators and entrepreneurs to create long-term value for its companies and community. Point Field has invested in more than 30 companies and real estate assets and has led a variety of transactions from control buyouts to early-stage venture. Prior to Point Field, Sumner was Co-Head of Private Equity at Brown Advisory, a $100 billion investment management firm. Before Brown Advisory, Sumner practiced law at Venable LLP, and he began his career as a Business Analyst at McKinsey & Company in San Francisco. Sumner is a graduate of Brown University and the University of Virginia School of Law, and he is a CFA Charterholder. Originally from Utah, he now lives in Baltimore with his wife and two young sons.
Matt Tremblay, PhD, is the Chief Executive Officer of Blackbird Laboratories, a nonprofit technology development platform, and Managing Director of Wolf Point, an early stage biotech investment fund. Blackbird and Wolf Point aim to catalyze the creation of new medicines and enabling technologies in Baltimore.
Prior to joining Blackbird, Tremblay was Chief Operating Officer of Scripps Research and its drug discovery division, Calibr. He earned his PhD in Chemistry at Columbia University. Following postdoctoral work in the laboratory of Peter Schultz, PhD, at the Scripps Research Institute, he led a group at the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation until helping to launch and run Calibr for 10 years.
Sashi Brown became the Ravens' team President on April 1, 2022, succeeding Dick Cass, who retired after 18 years with the organization. At 46, Brown took on responsibilities similar to Cass, overseeing the organization's entire business side, including finances, personnel, sales, operations, stadium activities, communications, and business ventures. Owner Steve Bisciotti praised his intelligence, and Cass highlighted his thoughtfulness and people skills. Before joining the Ravens, Brown worked at Monumental Sports & Entertainment, eventually becoming President of Monumental Basketball and a special advisor to the CEO. He also had 13 years of NFL experience, including a role as Executive Vice President of Football Operations for the Cleveland Browns. Brown's achievements include being named to the Sports Business Journal's "40 Under 40" list in 2015. He started his career as an attorney at WilmerHale in Washington, D.C., and holds degrees from Hampton University and Harvard Law School. Beyond his career, Brown is committed to civic involvement, chairing the Ravens Foundation, Inc., and raising a family with his wife, Paige.
Mark G. Edwards, the Managing Director and Founder of rDNA.ai, which was established in 2023 as a biopharmaceutical consulting and AI-driven database firm, specializing in real-time analysis of biopharma collaborations. In 2011, he founded Bioscience Advisors Inc. (Biosci), a consulting and database company acquired by Evaluate Pharma in April 2021. Earlier in his career, he served as Managing Director and Principal at Deloitte Recap LLC, and prior to its acquisition by Deloitte in 2008, he founded and led Recombinant Capital, Inc. (Recap). Edwards was previously Manager of Business Development at Chiron Corporation and now sits on the boards of the Scripps Research. He earned his BA and MBA degrees from Stanford University.
As the President and CEO of Brown Advisory since 1998, Mike Hankin has dedicated his career to guiding individuals and institutions in their financial and investment endeavors. He believes in the responsibility of business leaders to actively engage with their communities and has shared his journey and vision in a 2017 TEDx talk titled "Speak Up. Where It Counts. Loudly." Hankin’s commitment extends to leadership roles, including Chairman of the Baltimore Healthy Harbor Project, Trustee and Vice-Chair of Johns Hopkins Medicine, and roles on several boards, including Stanley Black & Decker, Inc., Tate Engineering Services, Inc., The Wills Group, Inc., and 1251 Capital Group, Inc. In 2021, he assumed the Co-Chair position of UpSurge, aimed at propelling Baltimore into a top-tier innovative city. Hankin’s educational background includes a BA and MA from Emory University, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa, and a JD from The University of Virginia School of Law in 1982.
Senior Vice President, Economic Development, University of Maryland, Baltimore
Jim Hughes is responsible for overseeing UMB's Office of Research and Development and Office of Philanthropy, jointly facilitating the attraction and management of over $700 million in annual external funding from various sources. He spearheads UMB's entrepreneurial efforts, encompassing technology transfer, academic-industry partnerships, and economic development. Hughes serves as President of the UMB BioPark, a non-profit venture responsible for a thriving 14-acre research park, housing numerous life sciences companies, the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and the Maryland Proton Treatment Center. Additionally, he temporarily holds the role of President at the University of Maryland Baltimore Foundation, Inc. (UMBF), overseeing endowment and operating fund investments. Hughes holds an MBA from Columbia Business School and a BA from Davidson College.
Christy Wyskiel has been instrumental in reshaping commercialization at John Hopkins, creating 43,000 square feet of innovation space, nurturing over 150 companies, and generating $500 million in revenue through licensing and industry collaborations. Under her guidance, Johns Hopkins startups have attracted $4 billion in venture capital. With 25 years of experience, Christy is a seasoned entrepreneur and investor in life sciences and healthcare. Before her current role, she co-founded two Baltimore startups and advised many others. She's recognized for her advocacy for Baltimore's growth and co-founded UpSurge in 2021, aiming to foster equity among startup founders. Christy holds a BA in Economics and German from Williams College and an MBA in Accounting and Finance from NYU Stern School of Business. She resides in Baltimore City, enjoys studying Italian, farmers' markets, biking, yoga, Pilates, and historical fiction in her free time. She's been recognized as one of the "25 Women to Watch" by the Baltimore Sun and serves on various boards, fostering Maryland's life sciences industry and educational initiatives.