Roy Doumani, JD

Executive Director | UCLA Business of Science Center

Roy Doumani is Executive Director of the Business of Science Center and a professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA teaching “The Business of Science”, “MedTech Innovations”, and “Healthcare Technology” to graduate students. He currently serves as Co-Chairman of the Zhejiang California NanoSystems Institute in China.

With a background in international finance, banking, and real estate, Roy holds an equity position in and served as Director of the first joint venture bank in the PRC, Xiamen International Bank and has been involved with numerous financial institutions: Founder and Director of First Los Angeles Bank; Chairman of First Interstate Bank of Hawaii; Director of HonFed Bank; Chairman of World Trade Bank in Los Angeles. Roy has served as a board member and advisor to companies in the United States, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Roy was also involved in many startups included Agensys and Kite Pharma. Roy was a founder, investor, and director at Agensys, which sold for approximately $650 million. Currently Roy is a founder, investor, and director at Kite Pharma. Roy also is Chairman of Neural Analytics.

Roy is a member of the Pacific Pension Institute’s advisory board. He has established endowed chairs at UCLA, in the Departments of Medical and Molecular Pharmacology and Urological Oncology.

Roy Doumani graduated from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) with a degree in Business and Finance and received a law degree from the University of Southern California.


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Jemima Escamilla, PhD

Venture Associate | Option3, LLC

Jemima identifies and analyzes various project opportunities through research and clinical relationships and is instrumental in moving the process of product selection & development forward. Prior to joining Option3, she was a Fellow in UCLA’s MedTech Innovations Program as well as a freelance technical consultant. Jemima completed her Bachelors degree and PhD studies in Molecular and Medical Pharmacology at UCLA. She co-founded the Advancing Women in Science and Engineering (AWiSE) program whose mission is to provide women in science and engineering with the tools and mentorships to land high-ranking leadership positions. In her spare time, she is passionate about fine art and health & fitness and you can often find her out and about seeking out the latest trends in both.


Jeffrey Higashi

Faculty Member | Art Center College of Design

Founding Member | G2V Products

Visiting Scholar | UCLA Business of Science Center

Founding Member | Designfunhouse Enterprises

Jeff Higashi is a creative professional who loves to design products that solve human needs. Early in his career he was intrigued with the opportunity to stay connected with people and joined Nokia Mobile Phones to create some of the World’s first consumer-based cell phones. Continuing that passion, Jeff joined Samsung in 2001 to help the company develop products and strategies focussed on North America. At Samsung Jeff was a direct report of the CEO and Vice Chairman and was able to gain the creative and business influence to help the company achieve market share leadership. 

In 2008 he pursued his dreams of becoming an entrepreneur and built G2V Products, a company focussed on delivering high-performance, sustainable goods that serve everyday human needs. Today, Jeff divides his time between G2V Products and helping others pursue their dreams in design as a faculty member at ArtCenter teaching courses in product and interaction design. He also has a passion for medical health/wellness and serves as a visiting scholar at UCLA and Caltech where he teaches courses on MedTech Innovation and Design for Disabilities.


Samantha Katz, MBA, MEM

Lead Venture Architect | BCG Digital Ventures

Samantha is a Lead Venture Architect at BCG Digital Ventures.  She is passionate about helping companies across the care continuum build new businesses that enable people facing diseases to live more enjoyable and fulfilling lives.

Previously, Sam was Digital Health Lead at Continuum, a global design and innovation consultancy, where she advised a broad set of healthcare clients and served as a business development and thought leader.  She also spent over five years at Medtronic Diabetes, leading product planning and development for its mobile technology and glucose sensor pipelines and managing branding and commercialization strategies for its next-gen insulin delivery portfolio.

Sam holds a BS in Economics from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, an MBA from The Kellogg School of Management, and a Master of Engineering Management in Design from the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science at Northwestern University.


Raghuveer Mendu, MBA

Co-Founder and General Partner | Ventureast

Raghu is a co-founder and general partner of Ventureast. He was part of the team that was responsible for the pioneering privatization of a venture capital fund in India. He is a technology professional by training, and his investment focus covers the broad technology and services space including IT, mobile, education, hospitality, alternative energy and water. He operates as Ventureast's partner based in the US.

Prior to co-founding Ventureast, Raghu had extensive corporate, entrepreneurial, and investment experience in the IT and banking industries in the US. He started a new subsidiary for Union Bank in Los Angeles called Union Bancsystems in the mid 1980s, and helped it grow to over $10Million in two years. Prior to this he was with Nixdorf Computer, first responsible for product development, and then for establishing the overall strategy and sales infrastructure for Nixdorf's Financial Industries Group. As an entrepreneur, Raghu has built and sold three companies including one of the earliest technology product companies in India. He has also been involved in the acquisition of over eight companies as part of a US publicly listed rollup.

Raghu has a Bachelor of Technology degree from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, and an MBA from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Along with his wife, Raghu has co-founded the "Heart of a Child Foundation", a charitable organization focused on supporting research in the area of congenital heart defects. He is an avid foodie, sport buff, and enjoys traveling and spending time outdoors. 


Jenell Robinson, MSN, RN

Vice President, Clinical Value and Provider Relations | MedTech Innovator

Jenell Paul-Robinson, MSN, RN is Vice President, Clinical Value and Provider Relations at MedTech Innovator. She received her master’s degree in Nursing Administration from UCLA. Jenell brings over 20 years clinical nursing, strategic sourcing, and hospital organization value analysis experience to the team. She served on several national supply chain and academic medical center value analysis professional committees.


Alex Vasilescu, PhD

Associate Director | Computer Graphics and Vision Lab

Chief Science Officer | Tensor Vision Technologies

M. Alex O. Vasilescu received her education at MIT and the University of Toronto. She was a research scientist at the MIT Media Lab from 2005–07 and at New York University’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences from 2001–05. She has pioneered the development of multilinear (tensor) algebra for computer vision, computer graphics and machine learning. She has published papers in computer vision and computer graphics, particularly in the areas of face recognition, human motion analysis/synthesis, image-based rendering, and physics-based modeling (deformable models). She has given several invited talks and keynote addresses about her work and has several patents and patents pending. Her face recognition research, known as TensorFaces, has been funded by the TSWG, the Department of Defense’s Combating Terrorism Support Program. Her work was featured on the cover of Computer World, and in articles in the New York Times, Washington Times, etc. MIT’s Technology Review Magazine named her to their TR100 List of Top 100 Young Innovators.