The Leadership Team
CEO and Chairman
Alan Turfe, MBA, has a distinguished career spanning the automotive, e-commerce, biotechnology, life sciences, and pharmaceutical technology and distribution industries, beginning his career with General Motors (GM) as a financial analyst. Alan comes to Upkara from Thomas H. Lee Partners, a Boston based private equity firm, where he serves as a consultant and strategic advisor. Alan has also served as Business Unit President with global and full P&L responsibilities at NYSE companies including Thermo Fisher Scientific, IDEX Corporation, and General Motors Corporation. Earlier in his career, he held various finance, operations, procurement, commercial and merchandising leadership positions. He has served in functional roles ranging from European segment CFO while at GM to SVP and Chief Procurement and Supply Chain Officer at Fresenius Medical Care. Mr. Turfe received both his BS and MBA degrees from the University of Michigan.
For his leadership in the communities where he has served, Alan was appointed to the Western Michigan Board of Trustees in 2020 by Governor Gretchen Whitmer and serves on the Advisory Board of the Virginia Tech Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) since 2017.
Pravansu Mohanty, Ph.D.
Founder and Chief Innovation Officer
Pravansu Mohanty, Ph.D., is the founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Upkara. 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 Financial Officer
Jamal is a strategic finance and operations executive with over 20 years of global experience maximizing revenue and operating margins, raising and managing debt and equity capital, and increasing shareholder value for privately held and publicly traded companies. Jamal has extensive experience in the life science, medical device, and biopharma space; most recently leading a $20M capital raise resulting in a reverse merger with a NASDAQ listed company. He also serves on the Board of STEL Technologies, a regenerative medicine company that engineers biological tissue implants for tissue replacements and repairs of musculoskeletal injuries. Earlier in his career, Jamal held various senior finance positions with Thermo Fisher Scientific.
Chief Scientific Officer
Mary Retzlaff, Ph.D., was formerly a Director at Merck Research Laboratories where she worked for 20 years on vaccine development with expertise in product characterization, commercialization, and development of CMC strategies. Dr. Retzlaff has a PhD in Chemistry from University of Illinois-UC and received her BS from Princeton University.
Senior Director Operations and Product Development
Laura Bronsart, DVM, Ph.D., is the Program Director for the Upkara, Inc. scientific team, driving research activities and fostering external collaborations. She has over 14 years of research and development experience. 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.