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Walter Kowtoniuk


Walt is the father of two and spends his days playing with is kids, teaching them about the world, and having fun watching them grow up. Walt is also passionate about making a difference for patients. He spends his days focused on genetics and genomics and the insights they bring into disease biology. Walt works where science meets business and strategy, enabling insights from the lab to become the next generation of medicines that can change lives. He is enthusiastic about launching companies with emphatic, truly patient-centric cultures that effectively and efficiently execute drug discovery. He places priority on taking the time to listen to the patients whom we endeavor to help, recognizing that the value we aim to create is defined by the magnitude of the difference we can make in their lives.

Brett S. Abrahams


Brett S. Abrahams, Ph.D. is the Executive Vice President of Research & Development at Magnolia Neurosciences Corporation, a biotech start-up developing neuroprotective therapeutics for neurodegenerative disorders. Before joining Magnolia, Dr. Abrahams was Senior Director and Head, Pre-Clinical Biology at Ovid Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: OVID), a company developing new treatments for rare forms of autism and epilepsy. Prior to joining Ovid, Dr. Abrahams was a member of the faculty at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, where he retains an adjunct appointment. His lab used genomic strategies to identify genes that increase risk for neurocognitive disorders and study these in model systems and patients. Results from his scientific research have been widely disseminated through publication of high impact peer reviewed manuscripts (e.g. New England Journal of Medicine, Cell, Nature, and Science Translational Medicine) and coverage in the popular press (e.g. ABC News, BBC News, Reuters, The Telegraph, and Time Magazine).

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Federico Bolognani


Federico received his Medical Doctor (MD) degree from the National University of La Plata in Argentina, as well as a PhD from the same institution. He has 20 years of experience in translational neuroscience and drug development in Academic, Hospital, Biotechnology, and Pharmaceutical Industry settings.  He has worked at the Molecular Medicine Unit, School of Medicine, University of Manchester, UK; the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, USA as Research Assistant Professor; and at the Department of Neurosurgery in the Methodist Hospital at the Texas Medical Center in Houston, USA.  In 2009 he moved to Basel, Switzerland to lead the Novartis Safety Genomic group at the Novartis Institutes of Biomedical Research (NIBR) where he led a global group of MDs and PhDs involved in translational drug development. In 2013 he joined the Neuroscience Disease Area at Roche where he led clinical programs developing new drugs for Neurodevelopmental Disorders, especially Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  Since 2018 he has been working in the biotechnology sector developing drugs for Rare Diseases. He currently serves as Vice President and head of Clinical Science at VectivBio in Basel, Switzerland.  He has an extensive publication record, including original investigations, review papers, book chapters, and meeting presentations.

Jamil M. Beg


Jamil M. Beg joined 5AM Ventures in 2017 as a Principal and was promoted to Partner in 2020. Prior to 5AM, Mr. Beg was at Sage Therapeutics (NASDAQ: SAGE) where he contributed to building the company through business development, corporate strategy, medical affairs, health economics & outcomes research and commercialization roles. Previously, Mr. Beg was an investment professional at Quaker Partners and contributed to investments in the firm’s portfolio companies including EKR Therapeutics (acquired by Cornerstone Therapeutics), Transave Inhalation Therapeutics (acquired by Insmed), NuPathe (NASDAQ: PATH, acquired by Teva) and Cempra (NASDAQ: CEMP). Mr. Beg started his career at Cambridge Pharma Consultancy (acquired by IMS Health) with a focus on pricing, market access and health economics outcomes research strategies for the biopharma industry. Mr. Beg earned his B.S.E. in Bioengineering and Master of Biotechnology degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. He earned his M.B.A. in Healthcare Management and Entrepreneurial Management from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania where he was a recipient of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation Merit Award.


Shafali Jeste


Dr. Jeste is a behavioral child neurologist specializing in autism and related neurodevelopmental disorders. She is a Professor of Psychiatry, Neurology and Pediatrics at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, the director of the UCLA CARING Clinic, co-Director of the UCLA Tuberous Sclerosis Center of Excellence, and a lead investigator in the UCLA Center for Autism Research and Treatment (CART). After earning a BA in philosophy from Yale University in 1997 and her MD from Harvard Medical School in 2002, Dr. Jeste completed a residency in child neurology and a fellowship in behavioral child neurology at Boston Children’s Hospital. She joined UCLA in 2010. Dr. Jeste’s research is focused on developing methods to improve precision in the diagnosis and treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders. Her lab studies neurodevelopmental disorders from early infancy through late childhood. Dr. Jeste has designed innovative studies in early predictors of autism in Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC) that integrate biomarkers with behavior to define atypical development prior to the onset of autism. This work in TSC has led to the first randomized controlled clinical trial of behavioral intervention for these infants and has paved the way for other early intervention trials in rare genetic syndromes. Dr. Jeste’s research is directly inspired by her clinical work. To address the many gaps in medical care for rare genetic forms of neurodevelopmental disorders, she founded and directs the CARING (Care and Research in Neurogenetics) Clinic. This clinic has become the hub for several new clinical trials for genetic syndromes. Dr. Jeste’s work is funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense and the Simons Foundation. She holds several national and international leadership positions including the Board of Directors of the American Brain Foundation, Board of Directors of the National Organization for Rare Disorders, the Board of Directors of the International Society for Autism Research, and she is Chair of the International Baby Siblings Research Consortium. In 2019 she was awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers for her innovations in research in early predictors and intervention for genetic neurodevelopmental disorders.