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Spheryx Leadership

Laura Philips
Laura Philips, PHD, MBA

President and Chief Executive Officer; Founder and Chairman of the Board

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Laura Philips is the co-founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Spheryx, Inc. She serves on the boards of the Guttmacher Institute, a research institute focused on women’s health, where she is Treasurer; The POGIL Project, a non-profit organization with an innovative approach to science, technology, engineering, and math education backed by NSF and used in over 1000 colleges and universities across the country, and DiamiR, an innovative diagnostics company focused on neurodegenerative disease. She served on the Board of Directors of WellGen, Inc. starting in 2009, and was appointed CEO in May 2012. WellGen, Inc. is an early stage biotech company developing biologically active natural extracts, backed by rigorous science. From 2007-2016 she served on the Board of Directors of Delcath Systems (NASDAQ:DCTH) a biotech company developing chemosaturation treatments for cancer in the liver, where she was chair of the Compensation Committee and served on the Audit Committee. From 2010-2011 Dr. Philips served on the board of directors of China Yongxin Phamaceuticals (OTCBB:CYXN) a leading retailer, wholesaler and distributor of pharmaceuticals and health and beauty products in Northeastern China. From 2003-2006 she was Chair of the Board of Planned Parenthood New York City. From 2003-06 Dr. Philips was Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer at NexGenix Pharmaceuticals, a niche pharmaceutical start-up company developing products for the treatment of neurofibromatosis and cancer.

She held a variety of executive positions at Corning, Incorporated, from 1997-2002 including director of product development, strategic planning and business manager. Dr. Philips served in the Clinton Administration both as a Fellow in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and as a Presidential Appointee in the position of Senior Policy Advisor to Sec. Ronald Brown in the Dept. of Commerce. She was Congressional Science Fellow and Legislative Advisor for Technology Policy to Sen. Joseph Lieberman in 1994-5. Dr. Philips was on the Faculty of Cornell University in the Dept of Chemistry from 1987-1993. During 1985 – 1987 she was an NIH Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Chicago in the Department of Chemistry. She holds a PhD in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley and an MBA from Cornell University.

Fook Chiong Cheong
Fook Chiong Cheong, PhD

Chief Technology Officer; Scientific Advisory Board; Founder

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Fook C. Cheong is the Chief Technology Officer at Spheryx. Dr. Cheong co-developed holographic techniques for particle tracking, manipulation and characterization while a Post-Doctoral Associate at New York University. Prior to joining Spheryx, Dr. Cheong was an advanced optics design engineer at Thorlabs. Inc. Prior to Thorlabs, he investigated biomechanics of cells and physical properties of colloidal systems at the Mechanobiology Institute, Singapore and the Center for Soft Matter Research at New York University.

He has produced more than 30 international peer-reviewed publications, as well as numerous patent applications. A physicist trained in the areas of condensed matter, optics, nanoscience, and biophysics, he received both his B.S. (Honors) and Ph.D. in Physics from the National University of Singapore. His work on rheological measurements of dental biofilms, label-free binding assays of proteins, 3D tracking of nanowires and microorganisms, optical trapping of nanowires, laser writing of nanomaterials, and optical assembly of DNA colloids are highly regarded and frequently cited.

David Ruffner
David Ruffner, PhD

Vice-President, Research & Development; Scientific Advisory Board

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David Ruffner, PhD, is Vice-President, Research & Development, Spheryx, Inc. At Spheryx Inc., Dr. Ruffner is leveraging his extensive experience with optical fields and optical scattering to commercialize Total Holographic Characterization®. He attended New York University for his graduate studies in physics, where he worked with Prof. David Grier, and studied optical forces in complex beams of light.

He published papers in peer reviewed journals on the role of polarization in optical force fields and on optical tractor beams using holographic video microscopy, that got widespread press. Dr. Ruffner was awarded a Dean's Dissertation fellowship. Prior to receiving his doctorate at New York University, he studied physics at Rutgers University on a full academic scholarship. In 2009, he graduated with highest honors. While at Rutgers Dr. Ruffner was awarded the Robert L. Sells Memorial Scholarship and the Mary Wheeler Wigner Memorial Scholarship.

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Kevin Dahl, PhD

Director of Technical Operations and Sales

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Kevin Dahl is the Director of Technical Operations and Sales at Spheryx. Kevin’s career has been dedicated to instrumentation, with specific emphasis on spectroscopy and particulates within the pharmaceuticals sphere.

Kevin completed his Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry studying solvent effects on chemical reactions using electronic spectroscopy under Mark Maroncelli, and next served a postdoctoral appointment at U.S. Naval Research Laboratory under Jeff Owrutsky investigating vibrational energy transfer using IR pump-probe spectroscopy. His education was followed by joining Spectral Dimensions, a provider of NIR imaging microscopes, as a global specialist in pharmaceuticals and other applications. After acquisition by Malvern Instruments, Kevin served as a technical expert on microspectroscopy and light scattering, including as a global resource for the Bioscience Development Initiative within Malvern.

After 10 years with Malvern, yearning for the mountains, Kevin moved to Colorado for the opportunity to build the Particle Characterization Core within KBI Biopharma, dedicated to characterization of particulates in therapeutic biologics, where he achieved the title of Director and managed a team of scientists in both R&D and GxP activities for 6 years. His work culminated in the founding of Particlese, a consultancy specializing in pharmaceutical particulates, where he has worked with clients supporting training, CMC investigations, lab start-up, and specialized analytical.

Jareslaw Blusewicz
Jaroslaw Blusewicz

Director, Scientific Software Development

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Jarek Blusewicz is Director, Scientific Software Development at Spheryx. He leads the team developing software that powers xSight and xStream. His responsibilities include planning and managing software projects, communicating and coordinating work with other teams, and interfacing with customers to gather their feedback and address their needs. He also actively contributes to all aspects of the software development itself, from hardware control and user interface, to computational modeling and performance tuning.

He joined Spheryx in 2015 as a Scientist, utilizing his background in physics to build early instrument prototypes and apply them to a variety of research and industrial problems, such as characterizing protein aggregates and CMP slurry agglomerates, and distinguishing different types of particle contaminants in wastewater.

Juliana Lumer
Juliana Lumer

Manager, Technical Operations

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Juliana Lumer is Product Development Manager at Spheryx. She is an experimental physicist with a focus in soft matter and specializing in particle characterization techniques. While developing and refining our products, Juliana is the link between our science, software and hardware teams, and customers - ensuring customer satisfaction while advancing our technology and products.

Juliana joined Spheryx in 2018 as a Scientist. She has performed studies on protein aggregates, CMP slurry agglomerates and a range of other particles of interest for our customers, resulting in multiple publications. She leads major product development projects, conducts on-site demonstrations, and leads projects in data analysis and presentation. Her role at Spheryx has expanded since she joined Spheryx to encompass all aspects of product development.

Nancy Pearson
Nancy Pearson, MBA

Director, Marketing

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Nancy Pearson has served in a variety of positions in the biotech, financial services, nonprofit, and entertainment sectors. She established Pearson Consulting in 2001 to help organizations successfully develop and implement strategic plans and marketing initiatives. As Marketing Director for Arryx, Inc., she supported the biotech start-up with investor relations, product development, competitive and marketplace strategies and communications. Previous positions include Director of Marketing for Chicago’s public television station, and various positions marketing Citibank Mastercard/Visa credit cards. She holds an MBA from New York University Stern School of Business.

David Grier
David G. Grier, PhD

Chair, Scientific Advisory Board; Founder and Member, Board of Directors

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David Grier is a Professor of Physics at New York University and Director of NYU's Center for Soft Matter Research. Raised in New York City, Prof. Grier attended Harvard College, where he graduated with high honors in Physics. He received his doctorate in Physics from the University of Michigan in 1989.

After two years as a postdoctoral fellow in the Condensed Matter Physics Department at AT&T Bell Laboratories, he accepted a faculty position at the University of Chicago, where he was a member of the Physics Department for twelve years. He moved to New York University in 2004 and served as Department Chair for eight years. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, was awarded a Packard Foundation Fellowship for Science and Engineering, and was named a Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum. He was named one of the Scientific American 50 and one of Discover Magazine's top 20 scientists under 40, and has won undergraduate teaching awards at both NYU and the University of Chicago.

Prof. Grier's research focuses on experimental soft condensed matter physics, a new and rapidly growing interdisciplinary field at the interface between physics, chemistry, biology and nanotechnology. Prof. Grier has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles on basic research in this area, and has been awarded more than fifty U.S. Patents for technology developed in the course of this research. The first commercial implementation of his holographic trapping technology was recognized with an R&D 100 Award in 2000.

Mike Dolence
Mike Dolence, MBA


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Mike Dolence is Controller at Spheryx. He is an experienced executive leader delivering results through profit improvement in growth environments. More than 25 years of financial experience and 15 years of operational experience with emphasis in multi-location businesses and diverse product lines and offerings. Skilled in developing strategic plans, implementing financial strategies, overseeing P&L management, and driving high performance teams. Proven track record of tackling complex business problems with innovative and hands-on approaches. Respected by colleagues and coworkers for work ethic, attitude, and leadership abilities. Experienced in procurement negotiation and startup/venture capital structuring. Mike lives in Indianapolis with his wife and daughters and enjoys swimming and coaching in his spare time.

Catherine Noden
Catherine Noden

Manager, Administration

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Catherine Noden is Manager, Administration. Her role includes managing purchasing, shipping, customer profiles and a variety of other administration responsibilities. Catherine has over 25 years experience of working for senior directors in FTSE 100 companies. Her extensive experience ranges from day to day office life supporting a Board director and interviewing candidates for other executive support roles, to the highs and lows of company takeovers and crisis situations.

She began her career in 1986 at Christie’s Fine Art Auctioneers rising over 8 years to the role of personal assistant to the Group Deputy Chairman. She spent 17 years at BP plc where she supported the same executive as he moved to various senior roles within the Group, culminating in his penultimate role of Chief Financial Officer, which he carried out for nine years. In August 2013 she set up her own company, which specialises in providing a bespoke virtual PA and administration service.

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