Women on the Cutting Edge
Join us on April 5 from 9:00 a.m. - 3:15 p.m. for the Women on the Cutting Edge Conference hosted in partnership with the Women's Health Institute at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, the New Jersey Black Women Physicians Association, the Association for Women in Science New Jersey, the New Jersey Health Foundation, and the Office for Research. New Jersey First Lady Tammy Murphy will be the keynote speaker.
Hear from speakers who will discuss the importance of female representation in research, scholarship, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
Jeana Wirtenberg, PhD
Jeana is Associate Professor of Professional Practice in Rutgers Business School and Associate Director of the Rutgers Institute for Corporate Social Innovation (RICSI). She is President & CEO of Transitioning to Green, LLC, a consulting company specializing in leadership, culture change, & learning and development for sustainability. Jeana is lead editor and author for The Sustainable Enterprise Fieldbook: Building New Bridges, first and second editions (Greenleaf, 2008; Routledge, 2019), and author, Building a Culture for Sustainability: People, Planet and Profits in a New Green Economy (Praeger, 2014). Jeana was HR Director at Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG), and held leadership positions in AT&T Human Resources. She received her Master’s degree and Ph.D. with honors in Psychology from U.C.L.A.
Toni Otway, MD
Toni Otway MD is a board certified OB/GYN currently residing in New Jersey. Her undergraduate degree in biology was completed at Florida Atlantic University. She completed medical school at the University of Miami and residency at Staten Island University hospital. After residency she went into private practice serving the community on Staten Island . There she also worked closely with organizations that provided medical care for the uninsured. She is currently a medical director for Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New jersey. Throughout her career she has been collaborated with several organizations to help promote education and wellness for women especially in communities of color. She recently joined New Jersey Black Women Physicians Association to help continue to promote awareness surrounding issues of maternal and child health.is a board certified OB/GYN currently residing in New Jersey. Her undergraduate degree in biology was completed at Florida Atlantic University. She completed medical school at the University of Miami and residency at Staten Island University hospital. After residency she went into private practice serving the community on Staten Island . There she also worked closely with organizations that provided medical care for the uninsured. She is currently a medical director for Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New jersey. Throughout her career she has been collaborated with several organizations to help promote education and wellness for women especially in communities of color. She recently joined New Jersey Black Women Physicians Association to help continue to promote awareness surrounding issues of maternal and child health.
Kathleen Coviello, Chief Economic Transformation Officer
Kathleen Coviello is the New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s (NJEDA’s) Chief Economic Transformation Officer. In this role, she oversees the Authority’s strategic sector, economic transformation products (corporate and real estate tax credit programs, clean energy products, innovation and venture products) and the Product Operations departments. The Division provides value-added business engagement and products targeted at commercial businesses within the state’s strategic sectors. As a leader across these departments, she works to support high-quality job creation, catalyze private investment, and build a diverse innovation ecosystem in New Jersey.
Kathleen most recently served as the NJEDA’s Executive Vice President for Technology, Life Sciences & Entrepreneurship, where she was responsible for working closely with the state’s emerging technology and life science companies and investors and delivering Edison Innovation Fund products to this community.
Under Kathleen’s leadership, the NJEDA has delivered over $1 billion in direct investments, business incentives, tax credits, and venture fund investments through the Edison Innovation Fund. During her tenure, the New Jersey Chapter of Golden Seeds was created, the NJ Accelerate and the NJ Ignite programs were launched along with the State’s Angel Tax Credit Program, the New Jersey Founders & Funders program was born, and federal State Small Business Credit Initiatives funds were deployed into several regional venture funds.
Kathleen joined the NJEDA in 2005 as a single contributor and has continuously elevated her position within the organization. Prior to joining the NJEDA, Kathleen spent over 17 years in the banking industry, with the last eight focused on the NJ Technology Venture Lending Market. Her venture lending experience includes employment at Silicon Valley Bank, Comerica Bank and Progress’ Techbanc.
Karin Calvinho, PhD
RenewCO2 Co-Founder & CTO
Karin Calvinho has over eight years of experience innovating in catalysis to convert CO₂ to value-added chemicals. She holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Rutgers University and published numerous papers on understanding reaction mechanisms at the catalyst surface. As CTO, Karin drives technological innovation and leads our R&D efforts to develop new system designs, novel catalysts, and electrolyzers. She contributes to the product development roadmap by accelerating research and building partnerships. She is passionate about fostering an inclusive and collaborative culture and applying technology to solve real-world problems. Karin was part of Chain Reaction Innovations at Argonne National Lab and is now a Breakthrough Energy fellow.
M. Maral Mouradian, MD
Dr. Mouradian is Distinguished Professor of Neurology, William Dow Lovett Endowed Chair for Parkinson’s Research, Founding Director of the Rutgers – Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS) Institute for Neurological Therapeutics, Vice Chancellor for Faculty Development at RBHS, and Chief of the Movement Disorders Division at RWJMS. She is an internationally recognized physician scientist whose research focuses on the molecular pathogenesis of Parkinson’s Disease and the identification and development of novel therapies. Her research is funded by the NIH, the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, the American Parkinson Disease Association, and other foundations. To date, she has authored over 230 scholarly publications and holds several patents. She is a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, a Fellow of the American Neurological Association, a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, and an alumna of the Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM). She serves on the Board of Directors of the American Neurological Association, grant review panels for the NIH and other national and international funding agencies, and is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the American Parkinson Disease Association. In addition, she is the Editor-in-Chief of the journal Neurotherapeutics and a founder of MentiNova, Inc. Throughout her career, Dr. Mouradian has trained and mentored over 75 scientists and clinicians both at the NIH intramural program prior to joining Rutgers and at RWJMS. Among her awards are the Norman H. Edelman Mentoring Award from RWJMS, the Excellence in Research Award from the New Jersey Health Foundation, the Outstanding Medical Research Scientist Award from the Edward J. Ill Excellence in Medicine Foundation, the Rutgers University Board of Trustees Award for Excellence in Research, the Honorary Alumni Award from RWJMS, the Daniel Gorenstein Memorial Award from Rutgers University, and the NIH award of Merit. She is a member of the Association of American Physicians.
Ariane Athena Vasilatis, PhD
Dr. Vasilatis completed her doctorate at Rutgers University in the Plant Biology Department, focusing on natural products chemistry and plant-derived products. Her research efforts involved diet-based human health, nutraceuticals, and phytochemical profiling for breeding programs. Currently, Dr. Vasilatis works as a research specialist in the Dr. Jim Simon lab and is the co-Founder and CEO of Zena Therapeutics, a small molecule drug discovery company and spin-out from Rutgers University. Her company’s focus is developing drugs to treat anxiety and addiction with the major goal of shifting the paradigm of drug development by including safety screenings to combat the rising cases of overdose. She enjoys the multiple facets and applications of her science as well as entrepreneurship and regularly engages in entrepreneurial programs provided by the National Science Foundation, Yale University, and the National Institute of Health.
Deborah Perez Fernandez, PhD
Deborah Perez Fernandez is the Acting Executive Director of Innovation Ventures. Prior to joining the office in 2010, Deb worked in an intellectual property law firm as a technology specialist, drafting patent applications and responses to U.S. and foreign office actions in various technological fields. Before that, she was a post-doctoral fellow at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary/Harvard Medical School studying degenerative changes in the cochlea that lead to hearing loss. Deb holds a MS in Chemical Engineering and Organic Chemistry from the University of Strasbourg, and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from ETH Zurich. Her Ph.D. work focused on aminoglycoside antibiotics that selectively target bacterial 16S ribosomal RNA. Deb also holds an MBA from the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst. She is a USPTO registered patent agent and a certified licensing professional.