Dr. Wack and Dr. Smith will provide a brief (<10 minute) background on their career experiences in the life sciences industry, while the majority of the program will be an interactive dialogue based on the audience questions. This also provides an opportunity to network with the speakers and other attendees.
Katy Wack, PhD, is a lead clinical scientist at the digital pathology company, Omnyx, a joint venture of UPMC and GE and Healthcare. In this role, she leads the scientific content development and analysis in the premarket approval (PMA) Omnyx Clinical Trial for premarket approval (PMA) from the FDA using the Omnyx© Integrated Digital Pathology (IDP) system. This study spans 4 sites across the U.S., consisting of over 2000 patient cases, and aims to demonstrate safety and effectiveness in using digital pathology for primary diagnosis across all organ systems and diagnoses. In addition to working on other clinical trials for Omnyx, Katy helps to design studies to demonstrate value in using the Omnyx system, to test new algorithms to aid pathologists in their diagnoses, and to demonstrate the health economic benefit of using the Omnyx digital pathology system. In her job, she depends on extensive collaboration with pathologists, engineers, regulatory experts, and many others to achieve progress. Katy received her B.S. from Carnegie Mellon, her M.S. in Toxicology in Biological Engineering from MIT and her PhD in Cell Biology at the University of Pittsburgh, working in the Center for Biological Engineering for her advisor, Donna Beer Stolz, PhD. In her thesis work, she demonstrated the role of podocyte injury in causing age-related chronic kidney disease in a mouse model of accelerated aging. Previously, Katy has been heavily involved in teaching and outreach at MIT, the University of Rochester and in the University of Pittsburgh’s histology course for medical students. She resides in Mt. Lebanon with her husband and daughter.
Jason Smith, PhD, PMP, is the Director of R&D at Carmell Therapeutics, an early stage company developing blood plasma-based biomaterials (PBMs) for use in tissue repair applications. Jason received his BS and PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Delaware, respectively, and has almost 15 years experience in cell, protein, and regenerative medicine research and development. While at the University of Delaware Dr. Smith’s research focused on cell and protein engineering for improved production of exotic enzymes for industrial applications. As a post-doctoral fellow via a Pittsburgh Tissue Engineering Initiative NIH training grant, he investigated bone tissue engineering technologies at Carnegie Mellon’s Institute for Complex Engineered Systems and Molecular Biosensor and Imaging Center, specifically focusing on directing angiogenesis through extracellular matrix modulation and growth factor patterning. Following the post-doctoral fellowship Dr. Smith worked for one year as Manager of R&D at Cohera Medical, a Pittsburgh-based start-up company developing novel tissue adhesives. He has been at Carmell Therapeutics since 2007 developing PBMs for soft and hard tissue repair applications, such as bone fracture, tendinitis, burns, and chronic wounds. At Carmell, Dr. Smith oversees R&D, preclinical testing, manufacturing, grants management, and QA/QC. The Company’s first product, the REPAIR™ Fracture Putty successfully completed its first human clinical study in 2014. Dr. Smith has received NIH Phase I and Phase II SBIR awards, is a SBIR/STTR NIH grant reviewer, and is a reviewer for the journal PLOS ONE.