Screen Shot 2019-09-18 at 11.11.48 PM.png

The Annual PennHealthX Conference

Please join us on Saturday, November 16th to meet with individuals who are at the forefront of some of the most exciting frontiers in medicine and healthcare technology. They discover, they design, they deliver. These experts will discuss processes of developing novel ideas in the healthcare space and successfully bringing them to the public. We hope to give students and other attendees a fresh perspective on the intricacies of innovation in the healthcare space! Also, join us for the kickoff celebrations on the evening of Friday, November 15th - network with speakers and students alike in a casual atmosphere! Click below to RSVP!

Call for Pitch Competition Submissions

Calling all healthcare entrepreneurs, innovators, and inventors!

PennHealthX is looking for students or student-led groups to pitch their healthcare-related ideas at the 2019 PennHealthX Conference! Whether you’re running a start-up, have a new idea for a venture, or are working on an invention, sell your idea in a 5-minute Pitch to a group of experts in healthcare investment, technological development, and innovation! Prizes include PennHealthX Ventures seed funding and potential opportunities for mentorship.


Ali Behbahani, MD, MBA (General Partner @ NEA)

Alan Stein, MD, PhD (SVP @ Healthcare Analytics)

Brett Topche (Co-Founder & Managing Director @ Red & Blue Ventures)

Questions? Email

Pitch Section




Screen Shot 2019-09-08 at 1.28.07 PM.png

Roderick T. Wong, MD, MBA is the managing partner of RTW Investments LLC, a healthcare investment firm in New York. Dr. Wong's background includes previously serving as a portfolio manager and managing director at Davidson Kempner Capital Management LLC, where he was responsible for developing the firm's healthcare investment strategy. Dr. Wong has also worked as a healthcare analyst at Sigma Capital, and as a biotechnology research associate at SG Cowen.

Dr. Wong received his B.S. in Economics, Phi Beta Kappa, from Duke University, his M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School. He currently serves on the board of Penwest Pharmaceuticals.


David Fajgenbaum, MD, MBA, MSc, is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Co-Founder & Executive Director of the Castleman Disease Collaborative Network, and Associate Director of the Penn Orphan Disease Center. Dr. Fajgenbaum is PI of more than 10 basic, translational, and clinical research studies of idiopathic multicentric Castleman disease (iMCD), including the first-ever R01-funded study of iMCD. He is also an iMCD patient himself, who is in his longest remission ever thanks to a precision treatment that he identified. He is a leading advocate for leveraging multi-omic data to identify drugs already FDA approved (>1500+) for one indication to treat the 7,000+ diseases with no options. Dr. Fajgenbaum received a BS from Georgetown University, MSc from the University of Oxford, MD from the University of Pennsylvania, and MBA from The Wharton School. Dr. Fajgenbaum’s work has been profiled in the New York Times, Science, Today show, Forbes Magazine's 30 Under 30 Healthcare list, and his memoir, "Chasing My Cure: A Doctor's Race to Turn Hope Into Action."


Katherine A. High, MD, an accomplished hematologist with a longstanding interest in gene therapy for genetic disease, began her career studying the molecular basis of blood coagulation and the development of novel therapeutics for the treatment of bleeding disorders. 

Her pioneering bench-to-bedside studies of gene therapy for hemophilia led to a series of studies that characterized the human immune response to AAV vectors in a variety of target tissues. Kathy’s work has evolved to encompass clinical translation of potential gene therapies for multiple inherited disorders. As the director of the Center for Cellular and Molecular Therapeutics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Kathy assembled a multidisciplinary team of scientists and researchers working to discover new gene and cell therapies for genetic diseases and to facilitate rapid translation of preclinical discoveries into clinical application.

As President at Spark Therapeutics, she has led the development and regulatory approval of the first gene therapy for a genetic disease in the United States. Spark has shown human proof-of-concept of its leading gene therapy platform in both the retina and the liver, and has received breakthrough therapy designations for three different therapeutics across two different tissue targets, the eye and the liver.

Kathy was a long-time member of the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania and of the medical staff at CHOP, where she was also an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She served a five-year term on the FDA Advisory Committee on Cell, Tissue and Gene Therapies and is a past president of the American Society of Gene & Cell Therapy (ASGCT). She received her A.B. in chemistry from Harvard University, an M.D. from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, a business certification from the University of North Carolina Business School Management Institute for Hospital Administrators and an M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to her operational role, Kathy serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Spark.


Mark Turco, MD is an experienced scientific and business development executive with cross-industry expertise, who joined the University of Pennsylvania as the Chief Innovation and Corporate Outreach Officer in January 2017. Dr. Turco provides expertise for the University of Pennsylvania leaders, building relationships and partnerships with both internal and external clinicians, faculty and thought leaders, as part of the University’s efforts to expand innovation and translational opportunities regionally, nationally and globally. He is responsible for helping to successfully orchestrate external commercial partnerships for Penn-based technologies and inventions across all sectors of biopharma, med device, digital health and consumer-based products, as well as developing industry-academic partnerships to further the University’s efforts around innovation.

Dr. Turco spent 7 years working for large cap medical device companies, serving as Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of the vascular and neuro franchises for Medtronic, Inc. and Covidien, plc. In these roles, he informed strategy for complex business decisions regarding technologies and programs that encompassed patient considerations, clinical trial design, regulatory processes, physician training, evolving healthcare systems and value-based models—both domestically and internationally. He also evaluated opportunities for growth and investment through medical, business, payers, providers, and regulators lenses and was integral to the evaluation of new business development prospects along with gaining valuable insight from key opinion leaders in the field though the development of high level strategic advisory boards. Dr. Turco was instrumental in helping to build out Covidien’s vascular platform, which was subsequently a key component of Medtronic’s acquisition of Covidien. 

After receiving an undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Turco received his medical degree and internal medicine training at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C. and performed his cardiology training at Temple University Hospital and at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center in Philadelphia. He practiced as an interventional cardiologist in the Washington, D.C. area for 16 years, serving as Director of the Cardiovascular Research Center at Washington Adventist Hospital and maintained an active patient care practice across all fields of cardiovascular disease and responsible for clinical trial leadership as a regional and global principal investigator for large industry sponsored drug and device trials. Keys areas of academic interest and research were in the fields of cardiac arrest and cardiogenic shock, acute myocardial infarction, drug device delivery, embolic protection and structural or valvular heart disease. As a practicing cardiologist, Dr. Turco also played a role in the development from concept to commercialization of several medical devices currently being utilized in the field of cardiovascular medicine. 


Kristy M. Shine, MD, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and Director of Research at the Health Design Lab, a creative maker-space and educational facility applying design thinking to healthcare challenges.  At the Sidney Kimmel Medical College, she is Director of the Scholarly Inquiry in Design track, the first integrated longitudinal design program within a US medical school curriculum.  Dr. Shine is also core faculty for the Jefferson emergency medicine residency program and was recently honored as a Top 40 under 40 physician by the Pennsylvania Medical Society.  

An alumna of the emergency medicine residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Shine obtained her medical doctorate in the Physician Scientist Training Program at the University of Pittsburgh.  Prior to medicine, she also completed dual doctoral studies in mechanical engineering and medical engineering/medical physics from Harvard and MIT in the Division of Health Sciences and Technology (HST).  She is also an alumna of the Teaching and Learning Studio faculty program at the Hasso Plattner School of Design at Stanford University.  

As a physician innovator, Dr. Shine splits her time among treating patients clinically in the ER and research and academic programs involving design thinking, 3D printing for pre-surgical planning, simulation for education, medical product development, and community health.  She has worked in numerous laboratories on projects spanning human performance, aging, biomarkers of disease, wound healing/tissue regeneration, and implant design.  She currently consults in health and human-centered design for national and global leaders in healthcare administration, pharmaceuticals, medical device development, packaging, and marketing/design.  She is an advocate for women in STEM and believes strongly that training doctors to be compassionate innovators will change the future of health care.

Buch_Vivek_white coat.jpg

Vivek Buch, MD. Working at the highly innovative intersection of surgery, neuroscience, artificial intelligence, engineering, mathematics, and computer science, Vivek Buch is developing novel technologies that have the potential to fundamentally re-define the way we deliver state-of-the-art surgical care. He and his team are developing pipelines utilizing deep learning based AI and mixed reality holographic modeling to help pioneer the field of computer-enhanced surgery. The concept has garnered national interest and was selected by FedTech, a competitive government-sponsored accelerator program, as one of the most promising potentially high impact developing technologies of the year. Vivek’s potentially transformative technology could make surgery safer, enhance efficiency and training, and improve patient outcomes. This work is in the development stages and a company has been formed around some of it by the Penn Center for Innovation. Vivek is one of the Chief Residents in the Department of Neurosurgery and has expertise in surgery, computational neuroscience, and machine learning.


Ali Behbahani, MD, MBA joined NEA in 2007 and is currently a General Partner on the healthcare team. He specializes in investments in the biopharmaceutical, medical device, specialty pharmaceutical and healthcare services sectors. Prior to joining NEA, Ali worked as an intern and later as a consultant in business development at The Medicines Company, a specialty pharmaceutical company developing acute care cardiovascular products. He previously held positions as a Venture Associate at Morgan Stanley Venture Partners and as a Healthcare Investment Banking Analyst at Lehman Brothers. He conducted basic science research in the fields of viral fusion inhibition and structural proteomics at the National Institutes of Health and at Duke University. Ali concurrently earned his MD degree from The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and his MBA degree from The University of Pennsylvania Wharton School, where he graduated with Honors and was a Palmer Scholar. He graduated summa cum laude and received his bachelor’s degrees with distinction in Biomedical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Chemistry from Duke University..


Justin Barad, MD, Co-founder and CEO of Osso VR, is a board-eligible orthopaedic surgeon with a Bioengineering degree from UC Berkeley, and an MD from UCLA, where he graduated first in his class. He completed his residency at UCLA and his fellowship in pediatric orthopaedics at Harvard and Boston Children’s Hospital. Justin is currently practicing at the Orthopaedic Institute for Children. Justin, who has been a lifelong coder and has a game credit with Activision, originally wanted to be a game developer. When a personal family health incident introduced him to the world of healthcare, he decided to find a way to combine his passions and use his technology background to solve medical problems. During his residency, he identified what could be one of the most pressing medical challenges of this century: how we are training our surgeons. With a strong interest in gaming and a first-hand understanding of the challenges facing residents and experienced doctors, he co-founded Osso VR with a mission to improve patient safety and democratize access to modern surgical techniques.