The Virus Project Team


The Virus Project is a start-up that has attracted an extraordinary group of talented professionals who have volunteered significant amounts of time and expertise to launch this critical resource.

Brett Johnson is the founder and has launched numerous media properties including magazines, directories and conferences over a 25 year career in the fields of business, environment, politics, law, Internet and medical technology.  He is the co-founder and CEO of the Altru Institute.

Jasmin Siegle PhD,  trained in stem cell and cancer biology expert in commercializing medical technology. She leads our University research teams in both Europe and US on finding the companies and technologies that offer greatest promise.  

Anna E. Hall, educator and teacher training professional. Created mentoring program for new instructors at the US Foreign Service Institute. Adjunct professor at JHU / SAIS.  Background in law, political science, translation, acting.  Bilingual / bicultural (German / English.) 

Emily Gold Mears J.D. is a lawyer by training, but her passion is health technology and the human genome. In the process of writing her first book on immunotherapy she has conducted exhaustive research on health, longevity and how to develop an immune systems to reduce risk of viral infection.

Theresa Hohgrawe understands the needs of individuals and companies at the forefront of the development and distribution of solutions for COVID-19.  Theresa works closely with marketing and sales teams, connecting like minded individuals and companies, fostering kinship and success. 

Polly Whittell a career journalist that has made the COVID a core focus. She is as widely read as any on the topic and consumes hundreds of stories, articles, and podcasts weekly to identify those with greatest credibility and value.  

Mark Jacobson is founder of a successful Internet services and technology company. He is applying his IT skill to develop the backend technology and to create a highly scalable platform.

Kevin Kirwan brings 20 plus years of experience in Web design and will guide the development of functionality as the site adds more advanced and collaborative functions such as a forum/debate.

Oleksandra Kabachna is a talented video producer editor who develops multi media content and our visual presentations. 

Magdelana Kulbiz is a social media expert and runs a consultancy helping companies leverage the power of social media and is developing our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram strategies.

Investment Advisory Team

A core competency of the management and advisors is in the evaluation of emerging medical technologies. Dr. Chang and Dr. Steinberger co-chaired the OneMedMarket advisory, which ran investment conferences including the OneMedForum which was the first satellite conference during the JP Morgan Healthcare conference. For ten years starting in 2008 nearly 500 presented at those conferences as well as others run by Brett Johnson who was the founder of OneMedMarket. This expertise provides a foundation for identifying the most promising technologies applied to the COVID War and the development of the Virus Project Innovation Platform to showcase selected technologies. An Impact Investment Network is now being developed to bring together investors who wish to fund such companies.

Jonathan Steinberger is an interventional radiologist at Cedar Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles and is a graduate of the Stanford Biodesign where he developed a medical device that received venture funding. His passion for medical technology and the future of healthcare delivery.

William Johnson Received a Master’s degree in Molecular Neuroscience from the Mayo Clinic and has been a research scientist in the biotech and pharmaceutical field for over 25 years at such institutions as Novartis, Wythe, Broad institute, Harvard, Dana Farber and Scripps Research Institute.  

Stephen Chang PhD. has a long history in the biotechnology as a scientist, executive, and entrepreneur. He was an early pioneer gene therapy and ran research at the New York Stem Cell foundation. He offers unique to assists in evaluating technologies.

Full Biographical Profiles are below.  

Stephen Chang PhD.  Dr. Chang  brings a distinguished track record in science and business.  Steve history includes serving as VP for R&D at The New York Stem Cell Foundation where he was responsibile for planning, coordinating, and managing its research. He was Chief Scientific Officer of Stemgent and as CEO of Multicell Technologies. Dr. Chang is president of CURES, a coalition of patient advocates, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, and venture capitalists dedicated to ensuring the safety, research, and development of innovative lifesaving medications. He is a board member of Histogen, Inc., a privately held company in regenerative medicine. Dr. Chang received his PhD in biological chemistry, molecular biology, and biochemistry from the University of California, Irvine.


Emily Gold Mears currently manages a variety of investments, as well as being committed to philanthropy.  Gold Mears was born and raised in Los Angeles and received her B.A. at U.C. Berkeley.  She practiced Real Estate Law for a number of years and has now transitioned to research analysis in the area of science.  She is a Board member of the UCLA Longevity Center; a Board member of KCRW Foundation; serves on the Society of Fellows Advisory Committee for the Aspen Institute, on the advisory board for the Aspen Brain Institute and on the advisory board of the Franca Fund/Genomes to People.


William Johnson has over 25 years experience working in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical fields. He previously held positions as research scientist at EMD Millipore, and as a consultant at Bullet Biotechnology in Menlo Park, CA. Prior to this, William held key research leadership and supervisory positions at Novartis, Wyeth, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Mayo Clinic, The Scripps Research Institute, and others. William holds a Master of Science in Molecular Neuroscience from the Mayo Clinic Graduate School and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Oregon.


Jasmin Siegle, PhD  Jasmin is a Principal with Aquilae Consulting Group where she helps life science companies bring new innovations to market by devising global commercial strategies for projects at the asset, franchise, and corporate-levels. Her long-held interest in business coupled with her passion for science led Jasmin to dedicate her career to consulting for biotech start-ups, pharmaceutical companies of all sizes and investors. She holds a Ph.D. in Stem Cell and Cancer Biology at New York University.


Polly Whittell is a seasoned journalist and long time a board member of the Deadline Club of New York, The New York Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. She has most recently been working as a freelance writer and editor/copy editor for a variety of websites and magazines covering general, current-events, business, travel, sports, science and health news. Previously, she was a senior editor/feature writer at Hearst Magazines, where she wrote adventure, travel and lifestyle stories and did investigative pieces on drug smuggling as well as celebrity interviews/profiles. One of her articles won an environmental award and several were included in the anthology Against the Sea. A graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, she also attended Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and completed the Harvard-Radcliffe publishing program.


Edward Borrelli is an accomplished corporate finance and business development advisor with more than thirty years of experience with a focus in healthcare. He was the Director of European International Sales at Associated Investment Banks in New York City from 1992 to 2004. In 2010 he founded Proactive Investors USA, a financial media portal and investor event forum business in the United States which provided breaking news, commentary and analysis on hundreds of listed companies and businesses across the globe for financial markets of the United States, UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, and Asia and engaged over sixty public companies to the platform in the life sciences & natural resource sectors. Mr. Borrelli graduatd from Ithaca college with a bachelor’s degree in Healthcare Administration and attened the the London School of Economics & Political Science.


Brett Johnson is Co-founder & CEO of the Altru Institute, think tank focused on complex global challenges. Prior to Altru he was CEO of OneMedMarket, a New York based research and media company whose mission is to identify and provide a platform for the most promising emerging growth companies in health care and life sciences globally, and OneMedForum, an annual conference showcasing promising healthcare companies.  Brett founded the Minnesota Collaborative a regional network that assists emerging companies. He was also founder and editor-in-chief of Minnesota Ventures magazine and founder and publisher of Law & Politics magazine, now a Thomson Reuters publication called SuperLawyers. He founded, where as CEO, he built an online network of almost 2,000 local drugstores throughout the U.S.  He was founder of the Environmental Initiative to address regional environmental issues by bringing together environmental groups, industry and government. He received his degree in economics from Harvard University




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