People

Sigmund Kulessa, MD, MBA, MSE, President
Dr. Sigmund Kulessa joined Skelegen in October of 2014 as President. His broad range of experience in the life sciences industry spans medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and diagnostics. Most recently, he was Director of Business Development for Pivotal Therapeutics. Prior to that, he invested in early stage medical technologies for Johnson & Johnson. He holds an MD from UMDNJ – Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, an MBA from Rutgers University, and masters and undergraduate degrees in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania.

Kurt D. Hankenson, DVM, MS, PhD, Founder and Board Member
Dr. Hankenson received his DVM from the University of Illinois (1992), an MS from Purdue University (1997), and his PhD from the University of Washington (2001). A former equine veterinarian, he began his independent research career at the University of Michigan in 2002 as a faculty member in the Orthopaedic Research Laboratories. In 2006 he moved to the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, where he was the inaugural holder of the Dean W. Richardson Chair for Equine Disease Research. He has a long standing interest in musculoskeletal dysfunction and repair. In particular his laboratory explores the molecular and cellular basis for mesenchymal stem cell osteoblast differentiation and translates these findings to clinical bone regeneration.

Dr. Hankenson has published over 80 peer-reviewed manuscripts since the year 2000. He has been the recipient of numerous extramural grants as both PI and co-investigator (NIH, DoD, and DoE), receiving over $15 million dollars in extramural funding since 2002. He has submitted two US patents related to therapies to accelerate bone formation and repair, and as a co-founder of Skelegen is commercializing the development of Jagged-1 delivery as a therapeutic to build bone mass.

Michael Dishowitz, PhD, Founder and Board Member
Dr. Michael Dishowitz is an Associate at PCI Ventures, where he manages a portfolio of life science startups based on University of Pennsylvania technologies. As a board member for these companies, he recruits and advises top level management and supports business development and operations activities, investor relations, strategic partnership development. He is also director of a medical device accelerator and several capital acquisition support programs for Penn startups.

Prior to joining PCI Ventures, Dr. Dishowitz was a member of PriceSpective (now ICON Commercialisation & Outcomes), a boutique consulting agency, where he specialized in asset valuation and pricing & market access of life science technologies. Dr. Dishowitz graduated with a B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Florida and earned his Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania.

Jaimo Ahn, MD, PhD, FACS, Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Jaimo Ahn is a surgeon, scientist, academic leader, and teacher dedicated to improving the lives of his patients and all those with skeletal injury and disease. He is a firm believer that the scientific understanding of bone will lead to therapeutic applications that will define the next generation of biologic skeletal treatments for patients. After education/training at Stanford, UCSF, Perelman School of Medicine, Hospital for Special Surgery/Weil Cornell Medical College, University of Bern (Switzerland), he currently maintains both a busy surgical fracture practice at the University of Pennsylvania (as co-director of the orthopaedic trauma service) and leads a bone regeneration laboratory at the Philadelphia VAMC in collaboration with co-founder, Kurt Hankenson, DVM, PhD. He has published extensively in the clinical, educational, and scientific literature with over 70 peer-reviewed publications.

As a medical academic, he serves on the Boards of the American Physician Scientists Association and the Foundation for Orthopaedic Trauma and as a member of the evidence-based, quality, value, safety committee of the Orthopaedic Trauma Association, the New Initiatives committee of the Orthopaedic Research Association, the test development task force of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgeons (and previously the USMLE/NBME). His review service includes SBIR/STTR, Department of Defense CDMRP, VAMC regeneration panel (RR0), JAMA, Science Translational Medicine, Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Journal of Orthopaedic Trauma (associate editor).

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