2023 Program


5:30 pm Doors Open – Registration and Pre-Reception 

6:00 pm Welcome and Opening Remarks 

  • Nikki Hastings, CvilleBioHub
  • Rich Chylla, LVG

BioSpark Introduction and Winner Announcement

  • Nikki Hastings, CvilleBioHub

BioSparkVA Winner Presentation

Flashtalk Introduction

  • Evan Edwards, Kymanox


  • Beth Sharlow, KeVirX
  • Kevin Eisenfrats, Contraline
  • Allen Cunningham, Rivus Pharmaceuticals

Introducing the Keynote Conversation

  • Charlie Bird, Deloitte

The HealthTech Revolution and The Future of Human Health

  • Maya Desai, PhD, Director, Guidehouse
  • Rick Hamilton, Chief Technology Officer, Focused Ultrasound Foundation
  • Marty Weiner, Technical Guardian Angel, Luminoah

Moderator Kate Byrne, Chief Growth Officer, Goodlight Capital

Audience Q&A

Closing Remarks 

  • Nikki Hastings, CvilleBioHub

7:30 pm Reception

8:30 pm Event Adjourns


Kate Byrne

Kate Byrne

Kate Byrne is the Chief Growth Officer for Community and Partnership at Goodlight Capital, which is focused on providing capital and more for under-represented Founders.  She is also Advisor to GirlsWhoVC, and the podcast host for MediaVillage’s WomenAdvancing.org, Rebels with a Purpose, and soon to come In Things We Trust and In The Mixx.

Kate has been recognized as one of the 40 Most Influential People in Media and has held executive positions at SOCAP Global, Katapult X, Fast Company, BusinessWeek, INC., The Tides Foundation, The George Lucas Education Foundation, and Watermark. 

Kate is a contributor for Authority Magazine, MarketWatch, Conscious Company Magazine, and is a frequent speaker.

She graduated from Stanford with a B.A. in Psychology.


Allen Cunningham

Allen CunninghamAllen Cunningham is the Chief Operating Officer at Rivus. He brings more than twenty years of experience developing early-stage and venture-backed companies across a number of sectors, including biotechnology, information technology, and renewable energy. Allen has expertise in all aspects of early-stage company development, including operations management, intellectual property, product development, licensing and distribution, mergers and acquisition, and finance. Prior to Rivus, he co-founded and served as the CEO of Gencia Biotech. Allen graduated from the University of Virginia with a Bachelor of Arts in English.


Elizabeth Sharlow

Elizabeth Sharlow is the CEO of KeViRx, and an associate professor of research in pharmacology at the University of Virginia. She has over 25 years of drug discovery experience obtained in academia and industry with a focus on assay development, high throughput screening lead discovery, and preclinical development. Elizabeth has published more than 50 scientific manuscripts and reviews, and holds a BA in Genetics and a PhD in Pharmacology from Penn State University. 



Kevin Eisenfrats

Kevin Eisenfrats co-founded Contraline and has been CEO since its inception. At Contraline, Kevin provides vision, leads fundraising, and business development. He has a research background in immunotherapy and in vitro fertilization, and is an inventor on 35+ patents relating to novel contraceptive drugs and devices, biomaterials, drug delivery, and surgical devices. Kevin has been a keynote speaker or presenter at the American Urological Association, American Society of Andrology, Women’s Health Innovation Series, and International Consortium for Male Contraception. In 2017, Kevin was named on the Forbes “30 Under 30” in Healthcare. He has a degree in Nanomedicine Engineering and Chemistry from the University of Virginia.


Maya Desai, PhD

As a Director at Guidehouse, Maya K Desai, PhD is a pioneer and strategy expert at the interface of science, business, and technology. She heads commercialization transformation and digital health services for the life sciences sector in Guidehouse’s Health segment.

A neuroscientist and published thought leader, Maya has worked with biopharmaceutical, biotechnology, digital heath, and academic organizations across the US and globally since 2006. She is also a trusted advisor to investors, start-ups, and emerging companies. Maya takes a “healthcare ecosystem” lens to enterprise strategy, focusing on value creation, growth, and innovation.

She has a PhD in pharmacology from the University of Rochester, and a BS in Biochemistry and Cell Biology from UC San Diego. 


Rick Hamilton

Rick Hamilton

Rick Hamilton is Chief Technology Officer at the Focused Ultrasound Foundation, where he works to accelerate use of advanced therapeutic techniques to save time and save lives, improving patient outcomes. He is a named inventor on 1,048 issued US patents, placing him fifteenth on the list of most prolific inventors in world history–just behind Thomas Edison – and making him the most prolific inventor in IBM history. He has spoken on Machine Learning, cloud computing, Internet-of-Things, innovation, and Intellectual Property management in 32 countries, and trained thousands of people on best invention practices.

Before joining the Focused Ultrasound Foundation Rick developed the UnitedHealth Group Invention Program, positioning the company on an innovative footing to compete with technology giants. Rick holds a BS from the University of Tennessee, and graduate degrees from Southern Methodist University and the University of Texas.


Marty Weiner

Marty WeinerMarty Weiner
Marty Weiner is currently an advisor for Luminoah. Formerly he was Chief Technical Officer at Reddit, and founding engineer and architect of Pinterest, where he was responsible for all engineering, development and software architecture, strategy and execution. Marty holds a B.S. from Harvey Mudd College, and an M.S. from the University of Texas at Austin.

Companies Represented

Actalent Research Services

Activation Capital

Agile Search


Bank of America Private Bank

Bev Sidders Skincare


Bonumose, Inc.

Built Biotechnologies 


Coherus Biosciences 

CSC Leasing



El Sea

Empire Discovery Institute


Ernst & Young

Eventide Asset Management

First Citizens Bank

Green Valley Nutrition

HC Andersen Capital

ICAP Program George Mason University

KeViRx, Inc.


Lava Therapeutics

Lighthouse Instruments

Liquet Medical Inc.





Proto Intellectual Property Law Office

Rivanna Medical Inc.

Rivus Pharmaceuticals



Sentara Martha Jefferson

Silicon Valley Bank

The China Project

Thermo Fisher Scientific

University of Virginia

UVA Foundation


UVA School of Medicine

UVA-Darden School of Business

Virginia Bio

VCU da Vinci Center for Innovation

Virginia Commonwealth University

Virginia Small Business Development Center (SBDC)


Wilson Sonsini

Woods Rogers Vandeventer Black PLC