President & CEO
Tino Alavie, Ph.D.
Dr. Tino Alavie is the President and CEO of Qvella. Tino has the primary responsibility of leading the company’s full range of Research and Development initiatives. Prior to founding Qvella, he was founder, CEO and executive chairman of NOVX Systems Inc., a medical device company that focuses on physician productivity tools including diagnostic solutions for point of care testing and Electronic Medical Records. He was also co-founder and President of ElectroPhotonics Corporation, leading it through two successful rounds of private placement and acquisition by E-TEK Dynamics. Tino has served as a technical advisor and board member for a number of technology companies. He is a seminar leader and guest lecturer with the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering at the University of Toronto and has authored more than 50 journal articles and conference papers. He was recently awarded Florida Tech's College of Engineering Outstanding Alumnus Award for 2013. Tino earned his Ph.D. at Florida Institute of Technology in addition to completing post-doctoral work in fiber optics sensing at the University of Toronto.
Aye Aye Khine
Aye Aye Khine, Ph.D.
Dr. Aye Aye Khine is our Principal Scientist and one of the founders at Qvella. She has dedicated her career to innovative and advanced research in the field of diagnostic microbiology. During her graduate studies, Aye Aye’s research focused on the understanding of Escherichia coli-derived verotoxin intracellular targeting in the pathogenesis of hemolytic uremic syndrome. After completion of Ph.D., Aye Aye extended her post-doctoral fellowship in molecular virology at Amgen Research Institute. Her strong background in medical sciences and extensive research trainings allowed Aye Aye to consistently demonstrate leadership roles in diverse areas of research over 18 years. Aye Aye’s independent research and supervisory positions in her research career include a research associate scientist at St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto, in the field of inflammatory lung injury, a research scientist at Lorus Therapeutics Inc., Toronto, with a focus on anti-cancer molecular mechanism, a research scientist at NOVX Systems Inc., in the Research and Development of automated system for rapid diagnostic immunoassays and a senior scientist here at Qvella for innovation in diagnostic microbiology. Aye Aye received her Bachelor degree in Medicine from Institute of Medicine 1, Rangoon, Burma, and M.Sc. in Clinical Biochemistry and Ph.D. in Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, both from University of Toronto.
V.P. of Product Development
Robert Maaskant, P. ENG., Ph.D.
Dr. Robert Maaskant is Vice President of Product Development. Robert has a long history of successful technology product development and has held senior positions in both private start-ups as well as publicly held companies. After graduate school, he worked as a research associate at the Institute of Aerospace Studies, University of Toronto. He was a founding member of ElectroPhotonics Corporation, where he developed a number of fiber optic products and served as Director of Product Development and General Manager of the ElectroPhotonics Division. The company was acquired by ETEK Dynamics and subsequently merged with JDS Uniphase. In 2003, Robert joined NOVX Systems Inc., as Vice President of Engineering and directed the development of the iMDx platform, a point of collection drug screening system. He has a number of publications related to research in mechanics and fiber optics, and holds patents related to fiber optic devices and diagnostic systems. Robert received his Ph.D. in Structural Mechanics at the University of Waterloo.
Samad Talebpour, Ph.D.
Dr. Samad Talebpour is our Chief Scientist and one of the original founders at Qvella. Samad began his career as a laser physicist working on the interaction between high-power laser generated electric fields and biological matter at Laval University in Quebec City. After being awarded his Ph.D., Samad completed a two-year post-doctoral program at the National Research Council of Canada as a physical chemist working on the potential application of strong laser filaments in air for remote detection of chemical or biological agents. Samad next joined NOVX Systems Inc. as a founding member, initially working as an optical system engineer and later as a key member of the scientific team that helped define product requirements and advance clinical testing to achieve regulatory approval for a proprietary medical process. To date, Samad has authored more than 38 peer-reviewed articles and also been an inventor or co-inventor on over 35 patents and patent applications.
Chief Commercial Officer
Mr. Richard Brock is the Chief Commercial Officer. Richard started his distinguished career in sales in the UK. He comes to Qvella following a 19-year tenure with bioMérieux where he was most recently Executive Franchise Director with a focus on Automated Blood Culture, Culture Media, and Lab Automation. In this role, he managed the company’s in vitro diagnostic (IVD) product portfolio including life cycle management and new product development, encompassing microbiology and infectious disease applications including identification of infections, sepsis detection, and automation of the microbiology laboratory. Richard’s life sciences expertise spans a wide range of business functions, including R&D, strategic development, global marketing, and commercial sales. Richard holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Technology from Sheffield Hallam University.
Head of Intellectual Property
Stephen Leonard, Ph.D.
Dr. Stephen Leonard, a founder at Qvella, manages Qvella’s intellectual property portfolio and enjoys working strategically to support many groups within the company. After earning his Ph.D. in physics in 2001, Stephen began his career working in scientific roles at numerous startups in the telecom, software and medical diagnostics fields. As his business acumen grew, Stephen pivoted to new roles in business development, strategy and intellectual property, developing a unique ability to blend technical, scientific and business insights to create competitive and strategic results for a variety of companies. Currently, in addition to his role on the leadership team at Qvella, Stephen is also an associate at Hill and Schumacher, a boutique intellectual property firm, where he advises a wide variety of technology startups, teaching hospitals and academic institutions. Stephen has prosecuted over 1000 patent applications in his career.
Chief Financial Officer
Mr. Michael Fricker is the Chief Financial Officer at Qvella. Michael is an established executive with over 25 years of experience in various roles within the broader world of finance. He has worked with companies in a wide variety of industries and at various development stages, from earlier stage businesses like Qvella to well established, larger businesses with multi-national sales, marketing and manufacturing facilities. Prior to Michael’s years as a CFO, his experience included private equity and venture capital (investment side), corporate finance and investment banking (capital raising and M&A advisory roles) and commercial banking. The common thread throughout his career is working closely with great management teams of high growth, privately held, entrepreneurial businesses. Michael holds a BA (Economics) from Queen’s University (Ontario), and is a CPA (CA) and CFA charter holder.
David A. Haake
Chief Medical Officer
David A. Haake, M.D.
Dr. David Haake is Chief Medical Officer. David is an experienced clinician scientist in the fields of infectious diseases, bacterial pathogenesis, vaccine development, and in vitro diagnostics with a number of patents and patent applications and ~130 publications in the scientific literature. He has a strong track record of successful research grant applications from government agencies including over 25 years of continuous support for his research from the National Institutes of Health. He has special expertise in technology development in the areas of identification of microbial pathogens in clinical specimens and rapid antimicrobial resistance testing and is the former Chief Scientific Officer at MicrobeDx, a technology startup developing rapid diagnostics for urinary tract infection. After studying Chemistry at Harvard and receiving an M.D. from New York University, David went on to UCLA for training in Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases. David is Professor in Residence in the Departments of Medicine, Urology, and Microbiology, Immunology & Molecular Genetics at UCLA and remains an active physician at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and the Infectious Diseases Society of America.
V.P. of Medical Affairs
Susan Novak-Weekley, Ph.D., D(ABMM), S(M) ASCP
Dr. Susan Novak-Weekley is the Vice President of Medical Affairs at Qvella. Dr. Novak-Weekley completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Clinical and Public Health Microbiology at the University of California, Los Angeles Medical Center and Wadsworth Veterans Administration Medical Center, followed by a year in the SmithKline Beecham Clinical Microbiology Laboratory. Subsequently she joined the integrated healthcare network Kaiser Permanente spending 13 years as the Assistant Director and then 10 years as Director of Clinical Microbiology within the Kaiser Permanente Regional Reference Laboratories. Dr. Novak-Weekley was responsible for the high-volume clinical microbiology laboratory consisting of bacteriology, mycology, mycobacteriology, parasitology, virology, autoimmune and infectious disease serology, and molecular infectious disease testing. Dr. Novak-Weekley has been active in multiple elected and volunteer positions in several organizations including the American Society for Microbiology, the Pan American Society for Clinical Virology, and the Association for Molecular Pathology to name a few. She has presented at numerous scientific meetings and is an author or co-author of over 35 peer reviewed publications, multiple abstracts and multiple book chapters within the field of Microbiology. Susan obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology at Colorado State University in Microbiology and her Ph.D. in Microbiology at the University of Arizona in Microbiology.
V.P. of Manufacturing Operations
Ms. Mary-Kay Lippert is the Vice President of Manufacturing Operations at Qvella. Mary-Kay has 20+ years of experience in manufacturing, supply chain, facilities, safety & enterprise software in innovative, scientific companies. Mary-Kay provides business expertise in operational excellence, strategic planning & execution, and project management for manufacturing growth and expansion. Mary-Kay's diverse career began at Sony Music Canada as a Chemical Engineer. She received a number of promotions, culminating in the Director of Maintenance and Engineering position where she managed a compact disc production plant of 80 employees. Her next journey was with AB Sciex for a total of 11 years as Director of Manufacturing. Mary-Kay led manufacturing and supply chain for a mass spectrometer instrument operation of 220 employees. The team doubled production output in 18 months, achieved a 93% reduction in “lead time”, elimination of overtime, 100% “on time” delivery, and 40% WIP reduction through Lean manufacturing initiatives. She joined Fluidigm Corporation (formerly DVS Sciences Inc.) for a total of 8 years as their Vice President of Operations. She led the mass cytometry operations business for instrument & reagents manufacturing, supply chain, and facilities & safety management from business start-up through to rapid revenue growth. Before joining Qvella, she was the Director of Operations at Thornhill Medical, where Mary-Kay delivered unprecedented business growth for mobile ventilator and patient monitoring devices to support the Canadian Covid-19 efforts. Mary-Kay holds a Bachelor Degree in Applied Science, Chemical Engineering and Masters Business Administration.
V.P. of Business Development EMEA
Herbert Torfs, Ph.D., EMBA
Dr. Herbert Torfs is a seasoned Marketing and Business Development professional with 18 plus years of experience in the Clinical Diagnostics and Medical Device Industry. As the Vice President of Business Development EMEA, Herbert will develop Qvella’s organization in Europe and initiate the commercialization of the FAST-ID™ BSI System. Herbert has worked within large international companies as well with SME’s in the early start-up phase. He has launched multiple products worldwide that resulted in paradigm shifts in Diagnostic practices, based on Health Economic evidence with improved diagnostics for better patient outcome. Herbert is passionate about products and technologies that bring innovation and drive change resulting in increased access, quality of care and accurate diagnostics where and when it matters most. Herbert holds an MSc in Biology and Ph.D. in Physiology and Molecular Biology, both from the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. He completed his EMBA in 2014 from Hult-Ashridge Business school London Campus.
Qvella's Field Activated Sample Treatment (FAST) technology
Qvella was founded with a vision to enable faster clinical decisions for better patient outcomes in sepsis diagnosis by reducing time to actionable results. Qvella’s FAST Technology (Field Activated Sample Treatment) facilitates automation and acceleration of different stages of microbiology workflow to generate actionable information for bloodstream infections in minutes.