Our Advisors and Partners

Board of Directors

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Ashok Rao

Board Chairman

Ashok Rao is a decorated Serial Entrepreneur with five successful high technology start-ups of his own. Currently, he is an Angel Investor, investing in several start-ups, mentoring their founders, and serving on their boards. He has led and contributed to the successful exit of several startups. From 2014-2017, Ashok was the Chairman of Adhesys Medical, Inc. That year, he led the sale and acquisition of Adhesys to Grunenthal in April 2017. He now serves as the Chairman of their Advisory Board. In addition, Rao is the Chairman of BioMed X Innovation Center in Heidelberg, Germany, and Houston, TX and is the Principal Investor & Chairman of SiNode Systems. Rao is a member of the prestigious 20-member GOOSE Society of Texas (The Grand Order of Successful Entrepreneurs), founded by Dr. Jack Gill & Compaq founder Rod Canion. From 2011 to 2014, Ashok served as Chairman of TIE Global. He has a BS in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Delhi.  He received his masters from Marquette University. In addition, he received his diploma in Financial Management from the London.


David Motley, M.B.A.


Mr. Motley is Co-founder and General Partner at BlueTree Venture Fund, a Pittsburgh-based venture capital firm investing in med-tech and IT companies at the Series B stage. He is also Managing Director at Headwaters SC, a mid-cap investment banking firm that provides sell side and buy side transaction support, advisory services and growth capital to business-owning families. Previously, Mr. Motley held the position of Vice President and General Manager at Covidien, Inc. Surgical Devices, where his principal responsibilities were franchise management, portfolio management and strategy for its $2 billion portfoli of surgical products.

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Matt Kesinger


Mr. Kesinger was an EMT in Boston, MA for two years where he learned firsthand how hard it can be to diagnose a stroke with just a clinical exam. Upon attending the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, he conducted and ultimately published research on the difficulties of pre-hospital providers diagnosing stroke. His years of work on this problem led him to create AlphaStroke. In order to develop and bring it to market, Matt co-founded Forest Devices with Dan and Steve. Matt is on a leave of absence from Medical School, where he developed a deep understanding of the neuroscience behind our stroke detection method, and an understanding of urgent/emergency care in both pre-hospital and emergency room environments.


Ian Colrain, Ph.D.

Board Member
Ian Colrain, PhD is President of SRI Biosciences, one of the largest research organizations in the United States. SRI partners with organizations worldwide to bring new medicines and devices to market through basic research, technology discovery, preclinical development and clinical translation.

Ian is an internationally recognized leader in sleep research using EEG and evoked potentials. He has published over 300 articles, chapters, and abstracts, and he is a member of the Medical Advisory Board for Compumedics Pty. Ltd., a leading manufacturer of EEG-based diagnostic equipment. He has led the technical diligence for venture investments in numerous neurology companies.

He was the clinical senior research fellow in the Stanford University Sleep Disorders Center and held tenured faculty appointments at Auckland University in New Zealand and The University of Melbourne in Australia where he is currently a professorial fellow.

He served as a reserve officer in the Australian Army Psychology Corps and earned the Australian Defence Medal.


Larry Miller, M.B.A.

Board Observer

Mr. Miller is as an Executive in Residence at Innovation Works and Chair of Technology Deal Flow at Blue Tree Allied Angels. Larry works with the management teams of early-stage life sciences and medical device companies and other start-ups. He also helps entrepreneurs address their critical business issues including product and business development, fundraising, sales and marketing, and strategic planning. Larry has more than 20 years of experience in leading and managing medical device companies to identified commercializable IP and accelerates product development, raise venture capital, manage cash flow, identify market opportunities, generate sales, sustain profits, and implement productivity and quality improvement practices.


Alan West, E.I.R.

Board Observer

Alan West re-joined PLSG in 2017 as a Resident Entrepreneur following a successful career as CEO of Carmell Therapeutics, a PLSG portfolio company. He served as an EIR at the PLSG from 2005 to 2009, working with over 40 entrepreneurs and start-ups. He has more than 25 years of experience in managing medical device start-up companies with a track record that includes both large and small companies, including Johnson & Johnson, Advanced Mechanical Technologies, Boston Scientific Corporation (Microvasive), Vision Sciences Inc. (endoscopy company), and Assurance Medical Inc.(surgical oncology company).

He was VP of R&D at Boston Scientific prior to their successful IPO, has a broad technical and business background, and has developed and marketed products in the radiology, cardiology, vascular surgery, dermatology, neurosurgery, gastroenterology, oncology, general surgery, sports medicine, and orthopedic markets. In his career, he has raised more than $50M through private and public offerings and holds numerous patents and has published articles in scientific, medical, and history journals.

Mr. West also gained experience in technology-based economic development, company commercialization, and incubator management at the Michigan Tech SmartZone, where he was founder and CEO. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Brown University and a master’s in Design from Tufts University.

Our Advisors

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Mark Wholey, M.D.

Dr. Wholey is Director of the Center for Vascular and Neurovascular Interventions and Allegheny Health Network. He specializes in peripheral vascular procedures and is considered a pioneer in his field, having founded medical technology companies, developed popular medical devices and treated thousands of patients. He is a co-founder of EndoTex and Embolic Protection, both acquired by Boston Scientific Corp., and of Medrad. He is also the inventor of many medical devices, including the Wholey Wire.


Lawrence Wechsler, M.D.

Dr. Wechsler is a professor of neurology and neurological surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He is the founding director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Stroke Institute and has been very active in the treatment of stroke and its debilitating effects. Dr. Wechsler has served as local principal investigator for national and international clinical trials testing new treatments for acute stroke.


Patrick J Loughlin, Ph.D.

Patrick J. Loughlin, Ph.D. is a Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh, which he joined in 1993. He has made contributions to signal processing and bioengineering, including the development and application of nonstationary signal processing methods. Dr. Loughlin is an industry-leading mind with expertise in signal acquisition and interpretation; analysis and modeling of human postural control; sensorimotor integration and vibrotactile feedback; and development of a physical model of anesthetic uptake, for which he holds two US patents. His research has been supported by a variety of institutions, including NIH, NSF, DoD, Boeing, and the Whitaker Foundation.


Steve Fleck, M.B.A.

Mr. Fleck is the Founder and CEO of Careform, Inc. which provides an innovative software and service platform to the specialty pharmaceutical industry, enhancing the access and availability of specialty therapies to providers and patients. Previously Steven was co-founder of ClearCount Medical Solutions, the world’s first FDA-cleared RFID system for the surgical operating room. He provided business and technology leadership from the formation of the company in 2004 through successful commercialization to hospitals throughout the U.S.


Penn Krause, FACHE

Penn Krause is a healthcare operations and business development leader with management experience in hospitals and startups. As a member of the Community Health Systems' (CHS) senior team, Penn helped lead CHS through rapid growth and IPO. He became a champion of IT while CEO at Mercy Health System, which earned recognition as one of the “Top 100 Most Wired.” Mr. Krause possess an entrepreneurial knowledge of the healthcare industry and delivering new technologies, having developed and grown health IT startups which serve some of the nation's premier health systems.


Angelo Butera, M.B.A.

Angelo Butera has enjoyed a long career as a "hands on" credit professional in the financial services industry, culminating in the position of Chief Credit Officer, Chief Risk Officer and eventually President at Textron Financial Corporation, the finance subsidiary of Textron, Inc. Butera is currently a credit executive at Citizens Bank in Pittsburgh. He served on the board audit and finance committees for Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island. He received his MBA from Carnegie Mellon's Tepper School of Business and was a long-time accounting instructor at the University of Pittsburgh.


John Shambroom

Over thirty years’ experience leading professionals in the identification of clinical needs, and development of cutting edge medical devices to meet those needs in acute care and consumer wellness settings. Very early stage start-up companies are my specialty. John served as Director of Engineering at Aspect medical and VP Scientific Affairs Research Engineering Operations at Zeo Inc.

Our Partners