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Leadership

Laura Philips, PHD, MBA
President and Chief Executive Officer
Founder and Chairman of the Board

Dr. Philips is the co-founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Spheryx, Inc. She serves on the Board of Boyce Thompson Plant Research Institute, a biological research institute associated with Cornell University where she is Chair of the Board; Diamir, an innovative diagnostics company focused on neurodegenerative disease, and The POGIL Project.

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She served on the Board of Delcath Systems (NASDAQ:DCTH) from 2007-16. Prior to co-founding Spheryx in 2014, Dr. Philips 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, for applications in consumer products, pet products and medical foods. From 2010-2011 Dr. Philips served on the board of directors of China Yongxin Phamaceuticals (OTCBB:CYXN). From 2003-06 Dr. Philips was Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer at NexGenix Pharmaceuticals. She held a variety of executive positions at Corning Incorporated, from 1997-2002.

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.
David G. Grier, PhD
Chair, Scientific Advisory Board
Founder and Member, Board of Directors

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.

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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.
Fook Chiong Cheong, PhD
Scientific Advisory Board
Chief Technology Officer
Founder

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.

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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, PhD
Vice-President, Research & Development

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.

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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. Ruffer was awarded the Robert L. Sells Memorial Scholarship and the Mary Wheeler Wigner Memorial Scholarship.
Nancy Pearson, MBA
Marketing Director

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.

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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.

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