Executive Faculty

Andrew Cornwell, PhD  |  Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center

Dr. Andrew Cornwell is the Associate Director of the Case-Coulter Translational Research Partnership (CCTRP) in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University.  In this role, he works directly with the Program's awardees to ensure the projects are moving efficiently toward patient care, and also interacts on the Program's behalf with strategic partners in industry, finance, and management.  Andy is also the director of the newly formed VA-TEAM Center, to bring translational and entrepreneurial mentorship and education to VA investigators across the country.

Alongside his role with the CCTRP, Andy serves as the Director for Industrial and Strategic Collaborations at the Cleveland FES Center, where he works to find homes for neurotechnology intellectual property coming out of the FES Center, and also maintains strong industrial ties to ensure strategic alignment between clinical needs, market realities, and research priorities.  He is the founder of a company using holographic visualizations of complex medical devices for physician engagement and training.

Andy earned a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University, and performed brain recording research for several years before becoming more involved in ways to accelerate and facilitate academic technology transfer.

Steve Fening, PhD  |  Case Western Reserve University

Stephen D. Fening is the Director of the Case-Coulter Translational Research Partnership (CCTRP) in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University. In this role, Steve drives innovation and translational research to move technologies to the market, where they can improve patient care. He received undergraduate and masters degrees in mechanical engineering, an interdisciplinary Ph.D. degree in biomedical engineering, and a postdoctoral fellowship in orthopaedic biomechanics. His career goal is to make a broad and substantial improvements to patient care through translational research and commercialization.

Dr. Fening is a co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Apto Orthopaedics Corporation, an early stage company focusing on non-invasive methods to adjust orthopaedic implants. He also has served as on the board of directors for several for- and not-for-profits.

Prior to joining Case Western Reserve University, Dr. Fening was the Director of Orthopaedic Devices at the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron and the Director of Orthopaedic Research for Summa Health Systems. Prior to that, he was the Director of Research for Cleveland Clinic Sports Health. His areas of research focus included the biomechanics of sports injuries to the knee, shoulder and head and in innovation more broadly across orthopaedic devices. In the last 10 years, he has received over $8.7M in grant funding, published more than 100 peer reviewed publications and presentation, and has several patents. He was a 2017 recipient of the Crain's Cleveland Business Forty Under 40, and is a member of several national and international professional societies. 

Sean Nagel, MD  |  Cleveland Clinic Neurological Institute

In 2013, after two years in practice at the regional level I trauma hospital, MetroHealth Medical Center, Dr. Sean Nagel joined the Center for Neurological Restoration at the Cleveland Clinic where he now focuses on the neurosurgical management of movement disorders, pain, cranial vault reconstruction, spasticity and hydrocephalus in the adult.

In this role, Nagel sets the strategic direction for the IFR, establishing partnerships with key stakeholders within industry, foundations, and donors. The IFR works to establish favorable regulatory and reimbursement policies and practices for neuromodulation systems intended to address the needs of orphan markets.

These devices include deep brain stimulator systems, epidural spinal cord stimulators, intrathecal programmable pumps and ventricular shunts. Nagel's clinical practice has influenced his clinical research activities. Nagel is studying how implantable neural devices and variations in surgical techniques influence outcomes. In their practice, they have established a model of care designed to improve and optimize outcomes through comprehensive patient evaluation. For example, adult patients with chronic hydrocephalus see a movement disorder neurologist, a neuropsychologist and frequently an expert in neurocognitive impairment.

This multidisciplinary approach has enabled them to tailor and update the care each patient receives as they age. Nagel also currently serves as the Cleveland Clinic site PI for the Adult Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network. Nagel oversees the post-market analysis of a directional deep brain stimulation lead at the Cleveland Clinic and will be the PI for the forthcoming Placebo-Controlled Effectiveness in INPH Shunting (PENS) Trial. Nagel is also involved in a collaborative effort to test the effect of intradural spinal cord stimulation in spasticity with the University of Iowa in addition to my role as a co-investigator in several other clinical trials based at the Cleveland Clinic main campus.

JoJo Platt  |  Platt & Associates

JoJo Platt is US Partnerships Lead at Corundum Neuroscience, where she focuses on sourcing promising early-stage neuroscience companies and research in the United States. She serves as the US Business Development Lead for Neo-Bionica, a neurotechnology-specific engineering and design firm. She is also the General Manager of a stealth-stage neurotechnology startup. She has over 15 years’ experience in the neurotechnology space and has built a powerful network within the neurotech community.  JoJo played a key role in the launch of the field of bioelectronic medicine. She serves on the organizing committees of some of the industry’s most significant conferences, including IEEE’s Neural Engineering Conference and EMBC, Rice University’s InterfaceRice, Neurotech Leaders Forum and Bioelectronic Medicine Forum and is a founding chair of the Cleveland NeuroDesign Entrepreneurs Workshop.

Christopher Pulliam, PhD |  Case Western Reserve University

Christopher Pulliam, PhD,  is an Assistant Professor at Case Western Reserve University and holds an appointment as a Biomedical Engineer at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center. His main research interest is in the development of new approaches to treating and assessing functional impairments resulting from neurological disease or injury. Before transitioning to academia, Dr. Pulliam established a track record of guiding high-impact projects from conception to commercialization in the medical device industry — in both small startups (Great Lakes NeuroTechnologies) and large global companies (Medtronic Neuromodulation). He contributed to the inception of Class II and III medical devices and is named inventor on more than 25 patents issued in the United States.

Dr. Pulliam was born in Baton Rouge, LA, and earned his BS, MS, and PhD degrees in Biomedical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University.

Jon Sakai, MSME  |  Cleveland Clinic Innovations

Jon Sakai is the director of commercialization at Cionic. Cionic builds wearable solutions that provide comprehensive analysis and precise augmentation to enhance human performance and improve quality of life. Our devices push the limits of integrated hardware, software, and algorithms, emphasizing functional wearability and personalized intelligence. We are a small teams of clinicians, scientists, engineers and designers, committed to making dramatic changes in the treatment of neuromuscular disease.