External Members

Andrew Firlik, MD

General Partner, Foundation Medical Partners

Dr. Firlik’s career spans neurosurgery, entrepreneurship, and venture capital. He joined Foundation Medical Partners to concentrate on medical device, healthcare information technology, and connected health investments. Prior to Foundation, he was a venture partner at Sprout Group and Managing Director of its healthcare technology spinout, New Leaf Venture Partners. Previously, he was a principal at Canaan Partners. Dr. Firlik has led numerous venture capital investments and has served as a founder, founding investor, or director of many early stage companies that have grown to become successful market leaders.

Dr. Firlik was a founder and an inventor of the core technology platform of Northstar Neuroscience, a medical device company that pioneered a novel approach to neuromodulation for the treatment of stroke and other disorders. Northstar went public in an IPO in 2006 (NASDAQ: NSTR) and was subsequently acquired by St. Jude Medical. He recently served as the Chairman of Intelect Medical (acquired by Boston Scientific, NYSE: BSX), a neuromodulation company, and recently served as Chairman of NovaVision, a medical therapeutics firm focusing on neuroplasticity for visual disorders. His current or recent board seats include BridgePoint Medical (acquired by Boston Scientific Corporation, NYSE: BSX), Clear Catheter Solutions, Explorys, Functional Neuromodulation, i1 Biometrics, NeuroVista, SetPoint Medical, Spine Wave, Vertos Medical, and Visiogen (acquired by Abbott, NYSE: ABT). Dr. Firlik is a member of the Innovation Advisory Board at Cleveland Clinic. He recently served as a member of the Administrative Board of the Cornell University Council and Chairman of its Technology Transfer Committee and also the Cornell University Biomedical Engineering Advisory Council and the Life Sciences Advisory Board.

Dr. Firlik spent 12 years in the healthcare profession during his medical training and practice as a neurological surgeon. He has published more than 50 articles in medical literature, written chapters for several medical textbooks, and is the co-editor of a book about cerebrovascular surgery. His scientific work has been presented at many international conferences. He has been an inventor of numerous issued patents.

He studied biology at Cornell University and Oxford University, received his Masters of Business Administration from the University of Pittsburgh, and his M.D. from Cornell University Medical College. As a board certified neurosurgeon, Dr. Firlik most recently served as Clinical Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery at the New York University School of Medicine.

David R. Fischell, PhD

CEO, Angel Medical Systems, Inc.

David Fischell is a serial entrepreneur who has founded nine biomedical device companies in the last fifteen years, including Angel Medical Systems. He is also a Director of eight biomedical technology companies (including five of those he founded) and was the primary designer of the BX Velocity™ and Cypher™ coronary stents for Cordis, a Johnson & Johnson Company.

David is chairman of the Cornell University Biomedical Engineering Advisory Board, and a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. Other companies founded by David include Neuralieve, Inc. (2002) a developer of transcranial magnetic stimulation systems for migraine headaches; and NeuroPace, Inc. (1997) a developer of implantable brain pacemakers to treat epilepsy.

After earning his Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Cornell University, David joined Bell Laboratories in 1979 where, for 11 years, he performed and directed a wide range of research and development projects. He left Bell Labs in 1991 to work full time on medical devices. He currently holds 85 issued U.S. patents, and has published numerous papers in the fields of telecommunications, cardiology, radiobiology, and radiation dosimetry.

Holly Sheffield

President, Cooper Surgical

Holly Sheffield is the President of CooperSurgical, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Cooper Companies (NYSE: COO) which is focused on medical devices, fertility, genomics.  Holly had previously joined The Cooper Companies as Executive Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer in June 2018. Prior to joining Cooper, Holly spent more than 20 years in investment banking. She served as Managing Director, Global Head of Medical Technology at UBS Securities LLC and also held leadership roles at Credit Suisse and Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette.

Holly holds a BS from Cornell and an MBA from Columbia Business School. She is also a member of the Cornell Dyson School Advisory Council and President’s Council of Cornell Women.

Judy Huret

Vice Chairman, Huret, Rothenberg & Company

Ms. Huret is the Vice Chairman of Huret, Rothenberg, and Co., a private investment company in San Francisco. Since 2001 she has invested across the health care spectrum in both private and public companies. She provides advice on strategy, growth and operational excellence to CEOs, management teams, and executives in transition.

During her career at Towers Perrin (now Willis Towers Watson), she managed the employee rewards practice in eight offices in the Western U.S. and led large multidisciplinary, global engagements that enabled clients to align their corporate and human resources strategy.  She built over 50 executive compensation client relationships in both the service and manufacturing/technology sectors, working with senior management teams and Boards on issues including pay levels, incentives, and stock options.  Much of this work involved integrating systems following mergers or acquisitions.

She served as an outside Director of Fluid, Inc., a digital design firm, from 2000 to 2011 and is now Director Emerita.

Examples of her Board service in the community include:

  • Smithsonian National Board:  Executive, Strategic Planning and Program, Nominating and Governance Committees
  • Cornell University:  Cornell University Council Human Resources Steering Committee (Chair)
  • Emerson College:  Executive, Finance, Compensation (Chair), Trusteeship Committees
  • World Learning:  Executive, Audit, Nominating Committees; received the organization’s highest award, the World Learning Citation in 2013

She and her husband, Bob, Cornell ’65, former Cornell Trustee and a founding partner of FTV Capital, live in Belvedere and Palo Alto, California and Kona Hawaii.

Michael Aberman, MD

Michael Aberman, M.D. is a biotechnology executive with over 20-years’ experience who is on the board or advising several early stage biotechnology companies.  Previously, he was the president and chief executive officer of Quentis Therapeutics, an early stage biotech company.  Prior to joining Quentis, Dr. Aberman spent over seven years at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals as the Senior Vice President of Investor Relations and Strategy.  In that role, Dr. Aberman was a member of the senior management team and was responsible for the investor relations, corporate communications, business development, and corporate strategy functions at Regeneron.  Prior to joining Regeneron, Dr. Aberman spent six years as a Wall Street research analyst covering the biotechnology industry at Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley. Before moving to Wall Street, Dr. Aberman was Director of Business Development at Antigenics, Inc., an oncology-focused biotechnology company. Dr. Aberman received B.A. from Cornell University (’93), his medical degree from the University of Toronto (’97), completed residency training at New York Presbyterian Hospital, and received an M.B.A. from The Wharton School of Business (’01).

Beckie Robertson

Managing Director, Versant Ventures

Beckie Robertson is a Managing Director specializing in early stage investing in medical devices and diagnostics at Versant. Beckie’s career encompasses 23 years of venture capital and operating experience in medical products as an engineer, entrepreneur, corporate executive and investor.

Before co-founding Versant, Beckie was a general partner at Institutional Venture Partners (IVP). From 1994-1996, Beckie served as Senior Vice President at Chiron Diagnostics, a division of Chiron Corporation, where she had responsibility for the $200 million Critical Care business unit. In addition, Beckie was Vice President of Business Development where she led numerous deals in support of Chiron Diagnostics business and technology objectives. Prior to joining Chiron, she was a co-founder and Vice President at Egis, an IVP portfolio company, and held senior management positions in operations and finance at Lifescan, a Johnson & Johnson company. During her seven-year term at Lifescan, the company grew from an early stage venture-funded company to a worldwide market leader in diabetes diagnostics.

Beckie holds a BA in Chemical Engineering from Cornell University.

William E. Rhodes

Former Senior Vice President, Corporate Strategy & Development, Becton, Dickinson & Co.; Worldwide President, BD Biosciences

William (Bill) Rhodes is the president of BD Biosciences Cell Analysis, a leading supplier of flow cytometry instruments and reagents for life sciences research and cell-based clinical diagnostics. Mr. Rhodes previously served as BD’s vice president of Business Development and Strategic Investments at their corporate offices, where he had worldwide responsibility for business development activities. He also managed BD Ventures L.L.C., a corporate venture capital fund operated by BD. The fund focuses on investments in seed and early stage medical device, cell therapy and diagnostics companies.

Rhodes has more than 25 years of experience in the healthcare industry, and has held senior business development positions in J&J and Pfizer, before joining Becton Dickinson in late 1998. From 1983 until 1993 he was the president of The William-James Co., a biomedical business consulting firm specializing in M&A activities and technology due diligence in the biotechnology industry. 

He holds a Master of Science degree in International Business from Seton Hall University, and served on their faculty in the W. Paul Stillman School of Business as an adjunct professor, teaching graduate courses in the management of technological innovation and mergers and acquisitions. Rhodes also holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Cornell University, and is the author of 10 U.S. patents and numerous articles in the field of biomedical product development and investing.

Anupendra Sharma

Former Global VP of Growth and BD, Siemens Healthineers

Anupendra Sharma is currently the Global VP of Growth & Business Development at Siemens Healthineers within Enterprise Services & Solutions. In this role he partners with innovative companies to create new business lines for Siemens.

For eleven years, he was Senior Investment Partner at Siemens Venture Capital / Next47. Anupendra served on the Board of USARAD, Seventh Sense, China Diagnostics (acquired by Actis & Orbimed), Sequenom (NASD: SQNM), BioImagene (acquired by Roche), Cylex (acquired by Viracor-IBT), Novira Therapeutics (Acquired by Johnson & Johnson) and Reflectance Medical (acquired by Zoll).

Prior to SVC, Anupendra spent eight years in M&A at JPMorgan, Salomon Smith Barney and Siemens. Anupendra also worked in strategy consulting for McKinsey, and Product Development Finance for Ford, where he was a member of the core team that set-up Ford in China and India.

Anupendra founded the Startup Leadership Program in 2006, which has educated 3,000 entrepreneurs in 28 cities in 13 countries who have started more than 1,500 companies that have raised $650 million. More than 60 startups have been acquired. He also co-created and teaches the Healthcare Innovation & Commercialization course at Harvard Medical School that has educated 700 MDs, PhDs, Postdocs and faculty. This program is core part of the Entrepreneurship Certification for PhDs being created at the Medical School. Anupendra also co-founded the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership at BITS Pilani, named one of India’s top five entrepreneurship centers in India. He also co-founded the Massachusetts Life Sciences Initiative Day (MALSI Day) which is an annual event recognizing the commercializable research coming out of the laboratories at the universities, and brings together the leading researchers, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. Anupendra serves as a mentor, reviewer or judge for several entrepreneurial organizations including National Cancer Institute, Harvard i-Lab, MIT, MassChallenge and TiE Scaleup.

Anupendra was Founder & Chairman of Mobile Medics Healthcare, named the Most Outstanding Social Venture of the Year at the Global Social Venture Competition in 2006 for tackling the last mile problem of healthcare. Mobile Medics became the foundation for Piramal Group’s eSwasthya which runs in hundreds of villages.

Anupendra Sharma is a passionate Cornellian. He led the creation of the Cornellians in Venture Capital Database. When he was at Cornell, he was recognized with the Johnson 10×2000 award for his efforts to make the Johnson School a top 10 school (it was ranked 8th when he graduated). He also judged the Entrepreneurship competition for two years, and mentored one of the companies to Angel and Series A rounds.

Anupendra holds an MBA from Cornell, Masters in Accounting & Finance from Manchester Business School, and Masters in Economics and Bachelors of Instrumentation Engineering from BITS Pilani.