Mentors and Instructors


John Osborne

Executive Administrator, Charleston Angel Partners
Co-Founder & Director, The Harbor Entrepreneur Center

As executive administrator, John is responsible for finding early stage companies with high growth opportunity run by a capable management team who are looking to raise investment capital and developing relationships with accredited investors, individual and institutional, who have an interest in investing in early stage private equity opportunities. In 2013, John cofounded the Harbor Entrepreneur Center to create collision amongst entrepreneurs. The primary initiative of the Harbor is a business accelerator program geared towards launching scaleable businesses in the Charleston area. Before that, John founded FundingCharleston to help connect local entrepreneurs to capital and capital to local entrepreneurs. John began his career  working in commercial banking and wealth management for about a decade.


Christine Dixon Thiesing

Founding Partner & CFO, CuRE Innovations, LLC
Associate Director, MUSC Foundation for Research & Development

In addition to being a founder of an advanced dental materials company, I am a staunch supporter of the life sciences in Charleston and South Carolina. In conjunction with the Harbor Entrepreneur Center, I co-founded PriMed, an accelerator dedicated to providing a sound foundation for startups developing medicals devices and therapeutics. In my role at the MUSC Foundation for Research Development, I advise MUSC startups on early-stage funding options, with a focus on SBIR/STTR grants and regional economic development resources.

Christine has broad experience in finance, accounting, marketing, and licensing of intellectual property in the medical field. During her time at CyDex, Inc., she developed expertise in raising capital, including closing on a $12MM Series A round. Her true passion, however, is building startups that have the skills, knowledge, and support network required to make them viable enterprises in the long-term.


Kathryn Cole Becker

Principal, Translation Science Solutions, LLC
Senior Consultant, Precision fo Medicine

Works with entrepreneurs and medical device manufacturers to assess regulatory pathways for new products and determine how to best position new products to meet FDA regulatory requirements. Guides preparation of FDA regulatory submissions for investigational studies and commercial marketing, including Pre-Submission (Pre-Sub) meeting requests, Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) applications, and 510(k) Premarket Notifications.


Richard Labaudiniere

President & CEO, FoldRX Pharmaceuticals

With over 20 years of pharmaceutical experience, Richard has great expertise in medicinal chemistry. FoldRx focuses on helping healthcare professionals and patients in the area of rare diseases. He has 19 years of international experience in drug discovery and development, including 16 years in multinational pharmaceutical companies, such as Glaxo, RPR and Aventis. Prior to FoldRx. Dr. Labaudinière is a graduate of Ecole Nationale Supérieure De Chimie in Montpellier, France and is author of over 70 publications and patents.


Sawan Hurst

CEO, Phi Life Sciences

Sawan is an entrepreneur that has driven revenue through R&D, go-to-market, and reimbursement strategies for biopharmaceutical, genomic, and molecular products. Over 15 years of expertise in biomedical research. He has  launched clinical genetic tests using multiple technology platforms. He was responsible for product development and commercialization of novel targeted genetic assays; including licensing from institutions such as Vanderbilt and John Hopkins.


Mark Semler

CEO & CTO, Institute for Applied Neurosciences at MUSC

For the past 18 years Mark has worked on commercializing multiple complex medical devices. Prior to joining ZIAN in 2012, Mark worked at Orthofix, a medical device manufacturer located in Lewisville, TX. As the Vice President of Engineering R&D for their Spinal Implants group, Mark lead a team of engineers and surgeons to commercialize several devices per year. He has patents and patents pending on several devices Orthofix distributes. Prior to Orthofix, Mark worked at Datascope Corp. in Montvale, NJ on endoscopic vascular staplers. Early in his career, he worked on IV fluid pumps including electronic packaging in a high-tech, rugged, splash-proof housing with a complex integrated motor, transmission and sensors, in addition to blood supply processing equipment, and site-specific drug delivery devices. Prior to his experience with medical technology, Mark spent a few years designing consumer electronics and developed Macintosh gaming software. He was educated at Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY where he earned his BS in Mechanical Engineering.


Darralyn Alexander

President, Reimbursement Strategies, LLC

A proven expert in medical technology. Darralyn has 20+ years of experience working in the healthcare delivery field, initially as a registered nurse in a clinical and surgical setting.  Her work also includes 15 years of product and service management experience working on the business development side of health care. Ms. Alexander has a demonstrated history of providing strategic and tactical advocacy, lobbying and consulting services that achieve the goals and advance the priorities of health care organizations in medical devices, diagnostics, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, payer, business, and health service organizations/associations.


John Vournakis

VP of R&D, Marine Polymer Technologies, Inc.

John N. Vournakis is Vice President for Research and Development at Marine Polymer Technologies, Inc. located in Burlington, MA. He also holds the position of Professor of Graduate Studies at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, SC where he has been Professor of Medicine and Associate Director of the Center for Molecular & Structural Biology since 1995. Dr. Vournakis is known for his early work on the physical chemistry of RNA structure, and on the mechanism of drug-DNA interactions. He has published more than 150 scholarly works, is a regular reviewer of grant applications for federal agencies, and has served on the editorial boards of several scientific journals. He is an inventor on 25 issued US and foreign patents. Dr. Vournakis has expertise in polymer science, and in the development and large-scale production of biopolymers for use in biomedical devices, particularly for applications in hemostasis and drug delivery. Dr. Vournakis received a PhD degree from the Cornell University Department of Chemistry in Physical Biochemistry in 1968. He trained as a post-doctoral and research associate at MIT and Harvard Universities in the fields of molecular biology and genetics between 1969-73.

Steve Gulick

Founder & Principal, ConnectDotMed Advisory Group, LLC

An industry sales executive with 20 years of proven success, Steve is a results driven executive leader focused on process driven goal attainment and forecast accuracy. Proven achievement in bringing disruptive technology to market in both direct and distributor based models. Experience with start-up's, mid sized and Fortune 500 companies. For more than 20 years he has had the privilege of introducing surgeons and other healthcare professionals to technology that allows them to provide the best care possible to their patients. Steve has a strong history of successful selling approaches with hospital decision-makers and proven ability to build and manage high-performing sales teams. He maintains close contact with extensive world wide executive network.


Rebecca Silveston

Associate, University Industry Demonstration Partnership

Rebecca Silveston-Keith's current role is a culmination of working between industry and academia over a 29 year career in industrial R&D in different consumer products and physical sciences companies, countries and languages. She consistently recognizes expertise that complements her own, works collaboratively to leverage internal and external resources, gets to the root of the development or manufacturing issue and commercialized products in start-ups to fortune 500 companies. She applies her broad chemistry experience, beyond the PhD in Physical & Surface Science and undergraduate in Engineering Chemistry, in property performance relationship and DOE's to tackle product issues like photo paper-ink adhesion, plain paper-ink curl, flame retardancy of nylon fibers for carpets, activated carbon pore size development, scan image quality perception, adhesion issues between materials, polymer rheology development .


Ryan Fiorini

President & Founder, Ryan N. Fiorini, LLC

As the former founder of Immunologix, which was acquired by Intrexon Corporation in October 2011, Ryan's  goal came to fruition by seeing the Immunologix mAbLogix platform grow within Intrexon. After leaving Intrexon in April 2013, he continued using his experience by working as a consultant for other companies (includes small biotech, public and private) in the field. In February 2014, Ryan accepted a position as Chief Executive Officer and President of Perle Bioscience. Perle has novel therapeutics for treating diabetes which will eliminate the need for insulin injections. At the end of 2015, after completing their goals for the company, he transitioned out of the company to spend more time with family and get back to consulting for various companies and serving on a few boards.


Jesse Goodwin

Associate Director, MUSC Foundation for Research & Development

Dr. Goodwin is the Deputy Director of the MUSC Foundation for Research Development (FRD), which serves as the technology transfer office for the Medical University of South Carolina. She is also the Technology Development Officer for the South Carolina Translational Research Institute (SCTR). In these capacities, Dr. Goodwin supports the translation of university innovations into products that improve patient care. A primary responsibility is in the management of the university’s patent portfolio, which was ranked 4th in Pipeline Power by IEEE in 2014.  She came to the position from a Boston-based Intellectual Property search and analysis firm where she served as the Medical Device Group Leader. Prior to that, Dr. Goodwin completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, where she was awarded an NIH fellowship. She holds a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Stony Brook University.


Chelsea Ex-Lubeskie 

Co-Founder, Tarian Braces
Marketing Analyst, MUSC Foundation for Research & Development

A former bioengineering graduate from Clemson University, Chelsea went on to co-found Tarian Orthotics.  Tarian was established in 2013 to commercialize functional braces for athletes and active individuals looking to return to activity post-injury. The company's vision is to be a national leader in the medical bracing industry, known for their clinically-based brace designs and ability to incorporate cutting-edge 3D-technology into their manufacturing processes. Chelsea currently works as a marketing analyst for MUSC's Foundation for Research and Development.


Becky DeLegge  

              Founder & BioEngineer,  DeLegge Medical

Becky is the Founder and BioEngineer of DeLegge Medical located in Mount Pleasant, SC.  DeLegge Medical is a woman-owned medical device design and education business technology acceleration and education since 1997.  Becky teams with husband Gastroenterologist (and former Director of Digest Disease at MUSC), Mark DeLegge to design, develop and consult on important devices and issues in GI / Surgical Field. Areas of focus include obesity, enteral feeding, stenting and physician education. The education portion of this business uses explants (recovered and purchased from USDA facility) for teaching physicians endoscopic and surgical procedures. Specialties: Patents in catheters, memory wire devices, enteral feeding, and obesity.


Phillip davis

Senior Reviewer – CDER/ODEIV/Division of Medical Imaging Products, US Food & Drug Administration

Phillip Davis grew up in Greenville, SC and is a graduate of the University of SC where he earned a B.S. in Biology and a Minor in Business Administration.  Phillip obtained his medical degree in 2004 from MUSC in Charleston, where he also completed an internship in Internal Medicine and a Nuclear Medicine residency.  He has 8 years experience working as a senior clinical reviewer at the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research and has helped review numerous IND, NDA and combination drug-device submissions.  Dr. Davis lives in Mt Pleasant with his wife, Angel, and their three children.