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Elsa Abruzzo, CEO
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Dr. Barbara Wirostko, a serial entrepreneur, is the Chief Medical Officer and Co-Founder of Qlaris Bio. Dr. Wirostko is a board-certified practicing glaucoma specialist holding a Clinical Adjunct Professor position at the University of Utah, in Ophthalmology at Moran Eye Center and in the Dept. of Biomedical Engineering. She was previously the Chief Medical Officer of EyeGate Pharmaceuticals following its acquisition of Jade Therapeutics where Dr. Wirostko was Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer spearheading the strategy and operations for the preclinical and clinical development of the unique hyaluronic acid, Ocular Bandage Gel (OBG), for human use. For Jade Therapeutics, Dr Wirostko received upwards of 3 M in SBIR funding as the Principle Investigator for the OBG polymer from the Dept of Defense and National Science Foundation. Prior to Jade, she served as the Chief Medical Officer of Altheos, a glaucoma startup company, and held leadership positions in medical and clinical development at Pfizer in Ophthalmology, overseeing the global medical responsibilities for the Xalatan franchise as Senior Medical Director. She sits on various editorial boards including the prestigious Ophthalmology Glaucoma and Journal of Glaucoma, has published and written hundreds of peer reviewed papers, books, serves on numerous advisory boards, grant review committees, and holds fellowship positions with The Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology and the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
She has been invited globally to lecture on her area of clinical research expertise, exfoliation glaucoma. Dr. Wirostko received her MD from and completed her residency at Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons, NY, and holds a BA with distinction in Microbiology from Cornell University.
Following the death of their oldest son, Dr. Wirostko with her husband Dr. Joseph Morelli founded a nonprofit for young students with learning challenges. Started in 2014, under Dr. Wirostko’s directorship, the Joseph James Morelli Legacy Foundation is now a nationally recognized 501c3, having awarded 100s of students’ scholarships around the country, to help recognize and advocate for dyslexia. Her outreach and advocacy have included a TedX talk in April 2019 on the story of Joseph. Dr. Wirostko currently lives in Park City, Utah with her husband and children, enjoying skiing and the outdoors.
MD, JD, MBA, FACEP
John received his BA from Drake and his MD from the Rosalind Franklin. He completed his Emergency Medicine Residency at Christ Hospital where he was Chief Resident. John received his MBA in 1995, and his JD in 2005, both from ASU. In 2015, he completed his Six Sigma Black Belt from the Fulton School of Engineering. In 2019 he completed a certificate program in Artificial Intelligence at MIT. He founded NextCare Inc. in 1993 as well as numerous other health and non-health care businesses. He is the business manager and one of the founding partners of Empower Emergency Physicians and continues to practice emergency medicine. In 2010, John founded MeMD. MeMD is used by more than 500 providers in 50 states to virtually treat patients on-demand. MeMD sold to Walmart in June, 2021. In 2015, John founded Tribal EM, an emergency medicine staffing and management company dedicated to improving the delivery of healthcare for Indigenous People. He has authored 12 books on business, personal growth, leadership, and urgent care medicine and management.
Chris has over 25 years of experience in advancing cutting-edge biomedical information technology in the Healthcare & Life Sciences industry. Chris most recently operated Yoo & Co Accelerators, the premier business accelerator in Arizona for healthcare & life sciences startups. Chris is an active angel investor and, as a serial entrepreneur, has created value in new companies that accelerate the adoption of smarter, technology-based systems such as cognitive computing, big data analytics, and systems engineering. Some of his prior ventures include Systems Oncology, an oncology biotechnology company, Systems Imagination, a pioneer in advanced cognitive computing for drug discovery, and MedTrust Online, the world’s first and largest online community of cancer doctors. He has also developed some of the earliest solutions and strategies in personalized medicine for companies such as Cisco, Applied Biosystems, Oracle, and IBM. Chris participates on the boards of several companies where he enjoys working arm-in-arm with the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators. Chris is faculty at Arizona State University and Grand Canyon University teaching courses in molecular diagnostics and in entrepreneurship. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at UC Berkeley, his PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology from Yale University School of Medicine, and a B.S. in History and Biology from the University of Pennsylvania.