The Leadership Team
Dr. Pravansu Mohanty
Pravansu Mohanty, Ph.D., is the founder of Somnio Global, LLC (Upkara, Inc. is a subsidiary). A materials scientist with 20 years of research and development experience, Dr. Mohanty holds the Paul K. Trojan Collegiate Professorship of Engineering at the University of Michigan. Dr. Mohanty attended McGill University, Montreal, where he completed his Ph. D. in Materials Science, and was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
Chief Operating Officer
Jon Evans, MBA, is the Chief Operating Officer of Upkara, inc. Mr Evans brings a wide and deep range of experience in healthcare, medical research and the innovation and commercialization of IP. Prior to joining the Upkara team, Mr. Evans served as CEO of an Australian Hospital Group; Director of a State-based Infectious Disease Reference Laboratory; CEO of Tellimed Health Services; Director of Health Strategy and Innovation for Victorian Government; Managing Partner of Fitzroy Health Asia Pacific- an Australian/US Health Commercialisation company and most recently as Managing Director, APAC Health Solutions Group. Mr Evans is also chairman of CEMTAS Australia.
Dr. Mary Retzlaff
Chief Scientific Officer
Mary Retzlaff, Ph.D., is the Chief Scientific Officer of Upkara, Inc. Prior to joining Upkara, Dr. Retzlaff was a Director at Merck Research Laboratories working in the area of vaccine development. Her areas of expertise include product characterization, commercialization, and development of Chemistry and Manufacturing Controls (CMC) strategies. Dr. Retzlaff is the author of more than twenty peer reviewed papers and holds a patent pertaining to the stabilization of biological materials for use as assay reagents. Dr. Retzlaff received her bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Dr. Laura Bronsart
Laura Bronsart, DVM, Ph.D., is the program manager for the Upkara, Inc. team, providing directional oversight of research activities and fostering external collaborations. She has over 14 years of research and development experience in the areas of infectious disease, molecular imaging and exercise physiology. As a United States Army Officer, Dr. Bronsart led multiple research divisions and earned the Colonel George R. Lynch Leadership Award. Dr. Bronsart holds a Ph.D. in Integrative Organismal Biology from Stanford University and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Washington State University.
Dr. Subhendu Das
Senior Scientist, Biology
Subhendu Das, Ph.D., serves as a Senior scientist at Upkara, Inc., with a focus on evaluating the stability and function of candidate products. Dr. Das’s expertise is in molecular & cellular assay development, optimization and validation. Additional areas of expertise include the development of molecular diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics. Prior to joining Upkara, Dr. Das was a postdoctoral fellow at UT-Southwestern Med Ctr, Dallas, TX and Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH, and research scientist at Wayne State University, Detroit, MI.
Design & Engineering Lead
Mr. Wang is the design head for the Upkara engineering team. Mr. Wang focuses on product and process development, including the design and production of proof-of-concept biopreservation units for manufacturing scale-up. Mr. Wang’s expertise is in mechanical design, fabrication and material analysis, with an emphasis on rapid prototyping and electrospinning. Mr. Wang holds a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering from University of Michigan.