Iowa Medtech Innovation Symposium

May 6, 2022

01:30 PM - 04:00 PM

Pediatric Conference Center, Auditorium 2415

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The office of the chief innovation officer and Department of Neurosurgery are hosting a Medtech Innovation Symposium on May 6 featuring innovators with ties to Iowa who stand out in their fields and have made significant impact on patient care.  Keynote speakers include Art Krieg, MD from Checkmate Pharmaceuticals, Chris Caldarone, MD from Texas Children's Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine, and Leslie Williams, MBA from hC Bioscience, each presenting their involvement in bringing novel technologies to patients. 

A fireside chat will feature Drew Oetting from 8VC who have invested in University of Iowa faculty start ups: Digital Diagnostics, hC BioSciences, followed by presentations of current work by two current faculty members Chris Ahern, Ph.D from Molecular Phys and Biophysics, and Chris Sales, MD from Ophthalmology.  

Arthur M. Krieg, MD, a former Professor of Internal Medicine at University of Iowa has worked in the oligonucleotide field for more than 30 years. Most recently he founded Checkmate Pharmaceuticals, where he is CSO. Previously Art was CSO at Sarepta until July 2014; co-founder and CEO at RaNA Therapeutics from 2011 to 2013; CSO of Pfizer’s Oligonucleotide Therapeutics Unit from 2008 to 2011; and co-founder, CSO of Coley Pharmaceutical Group from 1997 to 2008. Art co-founded the first anti-sense journal, Nucleic Acid Therapeutics, which he edited for 16 years, and the Oligonucleotide Therapeutics Society, for which he recently served as President. He has published more than 250 scientific papers and is an inventor on more than 50 issued US patents covering oligonucleotide technologies.

Christopher Caldarone, MD, is the Chief of Cardiac Surgery, Professor, and Donovan Chair at Texas Children's Hospital and Baylor College of Medicine. Prior appointments include Surgeon-in-Chief at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and Chair of the Division of Cardiac Surgery at the University of Toronto, and Director of Congenital Heart Surgery at the Children's Hospital of Iowa. In addition to his work as a surgeon, Dr. Caldarone was a co-Founder of CellAegis Inc which commercialized a method to harness remote ischemic conditioning as a method to ameliorate ischemia reperfusion injury and progressed to phase 3 trials. He holds 11 patents on remote ischemic conditioning. Current research interests include pulmonary vein stenosis and early myocardial failure after single ventricle palliation.

Leslie Williams, MBA is founding CEO, President & Director of hC Bioscience, Inc. an innovator and leader in protein editing with tRNA based therapeutics. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Ocular Therapeutix (OCUL), Windtree Therapeutics (WINT), and CSCRI (Coral Sea Clinical Research Institute). In addition, she serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of Life Science Leader, the Advisory Board of Life Science Cares and serves as an EIR at UVA and University of Iowa. Ms. Williams was formerly the founder and CEO of ImmusanT, developing immunotherapies for autoimmune diseases and was CEO at Ventaira Pharmaceuticals developing therapies using the lung as a portal for delivery. Williams prior pharmaceutical experience includes INO Therapeutics, Merck and GSK. She was also a venture partner at Battelle Ventures where she sourced and evaluated deals and assisted early-stage technology companies with strategy, management, business development and M&A. Before entering the industry, she was a critical-care nurse at Duke University, Medical College of Virginia and at the University of Iowa.

Drew Oetting an Iowa City native, is a founding partner of 8VC, a renowned investment firm. He focuses investments across various stage and sectors including vertical software, health delivery, and biomanufacturing. He is also a founding Board Director of Affinity Technologies, an early stage enterprise software company. Previously Drew was a partner at Formation 8 and served as chief of staff to Joe Lonsdale. Drew serves on the Competitiveness Council for Cerberus Capital Management. He is also a Trustee to LivingOnOne, a non-profit impact production studio; WeAreThorn, a NGO which leverages technology to eliminate child trafficking; and the Claremont McKenna College Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Chris Ahern, PhD is a Professor in the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics at the Carver College of Medicine. Since 2012, Dr. Ahern has been at the University of Iowa where his research group has developed methods which use transfer RNAs to advance the molecular basis for electrical signaling and for the repair of premature termination codons. In 2021 he co-founded hC Bioscience as a spinout of his research.

Christopher Sales, MD is an Associate Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Iowa. Dr. Sales specializes in minimally-invasive corneal transplant surgery, vision correction with LASIK/PRK and Intraocular Contact Lenses (ICLs), intraocular lens implant exchange and iris reconstruction, and the medical and surgical treatment of corneal and external disease, including Fuchs’ endothelial dystrophy and Keratoconus.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa–sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact in advance at

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