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Mark Merrill

Strategy & Operations

Mark is a co-founder of Poncho Solutions.  He is a member of the founding group of Agilis Biotherapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company advancing innovative DNA therapeutics for rare genetic diseases that affect the central nervous system (CNS).  He also serves on the board of Genspace, a non-profit organization that is the world's first community biotechnology laboratory.  Mark was previously a managing director at Griffin Securities, Inc., where he specialized in identifying and analyzing emerging science & technology and facilitating its translatability to commercial value with a focus on biotechnology and synthetic biology.  He is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charterholder and holds a BA in Economics, with Distinction, from Carleton College.

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Mark Zizzamia

Business Development & Marketing

Mark is a co-founder of Poncho Solutions. He is a member of the founding group of Agilis Biotherapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company advancing innovative DNA therapeutics for rare genetic diseases that affect the central nervous system (CNS). He was most recently a managing director at Griffin Securities, Inc., where he focused exclusively on raising capital for early-stage biopharmaceutical companies from institutional clients. After working closely with the life science community for nearly two decades, Mark now wants to help bring the benefits of computer science to laboratory organizations worldwide. He holds a BA in Political Science from Ohio Weslyan University.

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Sylvain Niles

Technology & Product

Sylvain Niles is a veteran technology leader with over 20 years of experience. He specializes in building scalable teams and software, and he focuses on creating a culture of innovation and excellence within the organizations for which he works. Companies he has helped build include Sling Media, Rapleaf, Outright, Scripted, and Couchsurfing International. Sylvain is also an inventor of a core patent used in most Sling TV (Dish Networks) devices featuring place shifting/remote DVR technology.

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ERIC Klavins, Phd

Inventor & Senior Advisor

Eric Klavins is a professor of electrical engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle. He received a B.M. in Music in 1992 and a B.S. in computer science in 1996 from San Francisco State University. He received M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in computer science and engineering in 1999 and 2001 from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. From 2001 to 2003 he was a postdoctoral scholar in the Control and Dynamical Systems Department at the California Institute of Technology where he worked with Richard Murray. In 2003 Eric was hired in Electrical Engineering at the University of Washington in Seattle; he received tenure in 2009. He holds adjunct appointments in Computer Science and Engineering and in Bioengineering and is the Director for the UW Center for Synthetic Biology.

Until approximately 2008, Klavins’ research was primarily in computer science and control systems, focusing on stochastic processes, robotics and self-assembly. At about this time, he learned the basics of genetic engineering. In the next few years he switched fields to synthetic biology and now runs an interdisciplinary group of engineers, biologists, experimentalists, and theorists — all focused on engineering life. His current projects include synthetic multicellular systems with engineered bacteria and yeast, modeling and design for synthetic multicellular systems, and laboratory automation.