Joint Steering Committee

Brian Bizoza, MD, is a Partner on the Pharmaceutical team at Deerfield and provides extensive research and analysis on individual companies operating in the healthcare industry. Brian joined Deerfield in 2012 after seven years as a Portfolio Manager at S Squared Technology, where he was responsible for investments across the healthcare sector. Before S Squared, Brian was an analyst at Amaranth Advisors, focused on pharmaceuticals and biotechnology stocks. Prior to Amaranth, Brian started his career in healthcare research as an equity analyst at both Lehman Brothers and Lazard Freres. Brian holds a B.A. in Natural Sciences/Public Health from Johns Hopkins University, and he earned his M.D. from the State University of New York at Syracuse, where he graduated as a member of Alpha Omega Alpha.

Jana Jensen, Ph.D., is Chief Operating Officer for Deerfield Discovery and Development, LLC and joined Deerfield in 2019. Prior to Deerfield, Dr. Jensen was Vice President and Head of Business Operations at Covance. Before Covance, Dr. Jensen spent almost 11 years at Bristol-Myers Squibb, where she was Head of Development Business Operations and R&D Collaboration, and prior to that, she was Director of Vendor and Outsourcing Management and Associate Director of Project Planning and Management. Dr. Jensen spent six years at Pfizer as a research scientist and began her career as a chemist at Merck. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Kansas and an M.B.A. from Rutgers University.

Joe Pearlberg, M.D., Ph.D., is the Vice President of Scientific Affairs at Deerfield, which he joined in July 2017. Prior to joining Deerfield he was the Vice President of Clinical Development at Infinity Pharmaceuticals from December 2015 until July 2017. Prior to Infinity Pharmaceuticals, Dr. Pearlberg worked as a Medical Director in the oncology unit of Sanofi from November 2010 until September 2014. Dr. Pearlberg received his M.D. at the University of California, San Francisco, and completed his clinical training at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Dr. Pearlberg also received his Ph.D. in molecular biology from Harvard University and was a Lecturer in the Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School.

Jorge Aquino is Director of Ventures for Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures (JHTV). He joined JHTV in 2015 to provide leadership and guidance to Johns Hopkins University’s FastForward accelerator program to assist in the development and growth of high value startup companies. Prior to joining Johns Hopkins University Mr. Aquino was with Canon Biomedical, Inc. helping to lead M&A and strategic partnering activities for the lifesciences division of Canon USA, Inc. Previously Mr. Aquino was Senior Manager of Business Development for Emergent BioSolutions Inc. where he was involved in numerous M&A transactions including the acquisition of Trubion Pharmaceuticals and Cangene, Inc. Before joining Emergent Mr. Aquino managed the biotech portfolio of Maryland Venture Fund, a division of the Maryland Dept. of Business & Economic Development. Mr. Aquino received his B.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of Maryland, M.S. in Biotechnology from the Johns Hopkins University, and MBA from Loyola University of Maryland.

Jeanine Pennington is the Portfolio Director of the Therapeutics and Diagnostics licensing teams for Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures where she facilitates partnering and licensing of JHU’s life sciences innovations. Jeanine joined JHU in 2013 after four years as a licensing associate for the Texas A&M University System where she focused on licensing of their healthcare, veterinary and life science portfolio. Jeanine’s education includes a B.S. in Biochemistry from Beloit College in Beloit, Wisconsin and a Ph.D in Cellular and Molecular Biology from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas.

Barbara Slusher, Ph.D., MAS, is Professor of Neurology (primary), Medicine, Psychiatry, and Neuroscience at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the Director of Johns Hopkins Drug Discovery. Dr. Slusher received her undergraduate degree from Dickinson College where she graduated valedictorian, majoring in Chemistry. She received her Ph.D. in Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine while simultaneously earning her Master’s degree in Administrative Science from the Johns Hopkins Carey School of Business (formerly the Hopkins’ School of Continuing Studies). Before joining Johns Hopkins in 2010, Dr. Slusher spent 18 years in the pharmaceutical industry, including several years at the level of Senior Vice President of Research and Translational Development. She has extensive experience in drug discovery through early clinical development and was involved in the successful development, launch and/or post marketing support of several branded medicines including Quetiapine (Seroquel TM) for schizophrenia, Palonosetron (Aloxi TM) for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, Azacytodine (Dacogen TM) for myelodysplastic syndrome, and Fospropofol (Lucedra TM) for monitored anesthesia care (MAC) sedation. At Johns Hopkins, she leads the largest integrated drug discovery program on campus, responsible for translating basic science discoveries at Hopkins into novel small molecule therapeutics. Her veteran drug discovery team consists of medicinal chemists, assay developers, pharmacologists, toxicologists, and pharmacokinetic/drug metabolism experts, with an average of 15 years Pharma R&D drug discovery experience. She has also published over 175 scientific articles and is the inventor on 75 issued patents and applications. She co-founded a new biotechnology company in Baltimore called Cerecor and is leading the first-ever International Consortium of over 130 Academic Drug Discovery Centers with over 1500 members in an effort to coordinate and enhance university-led drug discovery efforts.