MDC is a partnership of physicians, engineers, and entrepreneurs working to improve healthcare. Our team combines diverse skills, knowledge and experience to generate solutions to medical problems and build devices and companies.
Gil Blankenship, PhD
CEO, ChairmanRead Full Bio
Gil Blankenship, PhDGil Blankenship is the Managing Partner and CEO of the Maryland Development Center. In addition to his responsibilities at MDC, Dr. Blankenship is a Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park, where he teaches courses in signal processing, control systems, and robotics. His past students work and teach at institutions around the world. Dr. Blankenship has founded several high technology companies, including Techno-Sciences, Inc. (Maryland High Tech Company of the Year 2010, Deloitte Fast 500 2009-2011), the world leader in satellite aided search and rescue with installations in 30 countries. The McMurdo-Orolia Group acquired TSi in 2014. The Tech Council of Maryland named Dr. Blankenship an International Business Leader of the Year in 2008 for his work at TSi. He is also co-founder and Director of TRX Systems, Inc. (Global Security Challenge Winner 2009, Tibbetts Award 2012, Edison Award 2015, Motorola Ventures investment 2013), the premier company in personnel tracking and mapping. TRX has 29 US patents including 25 international patents issued or pending. He is also co-founder and Director of the MDC portfolio companies Sonosa Medical, Inc., Surgical Vision Systems, LLC., Connected Care Systems, LLC., and Awarables, Inc. He received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from MIT in Cambridge MA. Dr. Blankenship is a Life Fellow of the IEEE.
Stephen Restaino, PhD
Vice-President and Director of EngineeringRead Full Bio
Stephen Restaino, PhDDr. Stephen Restaino is a biomedical engineer with a passion for developing portable technologies that can deliver advanced medical care in any environment. In the fall of 2017, Stephen earned a PhD from the University of Maryland, College Park for work on portable biosensing technologies. His sensor designs incorporated novel fluidic and biochemical systems to advance rapid diagnostic technologies for infectious diseases and chemical toxins. His graduate research led to 3 patent applications, multiple academic publications, and presentations at international conferences. Prior to graduate school, he worked at the FDA studying physiological and regulatory implications of implantable nerve stimulators. His efforts garnered recognition as a “Leader of Tomorrow” in biotechnology by the Biohealth Capital Region Forum. There he was a finalist in the inaugural pitch competition.
Charlene Hafer-Macko, MD
Neurologist–Neuromuscular RehabilitationRead Full Bio
Charlene Hafer-Macko, MDDr. Charlene Hafer-Macko is a Medical Advisor to the Maryland Development Center. Dr. Hafer-Macko, together with Dr. Aldo Iacono, and Gil Blankenship, is a co-founder of MDC client company Connected Care Systems, LLC, which specializes in services for Alzheimer's patients and their caregivers and for patients undergoing post-op treatment at home. In addition to her responsibilities at MDC, Dr. Hafer-Macko is Associate Professor of Neurology, Neuromuscular, and Neurorehabilitation Divisions in the Department of Neurology with appointments in the Departments of Medicine and Physical Therapy at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Dr. Hafer-Macko's research interests center on neuromuscular disorders, especially myasthenia gravis. Dr. Macko received her MD at the Ohio State University - College of Medicine. She interned at Olive View County Medical Center - Department of Medicine; Los Angeles and the UCLA/Sepulveda Veterans Administration Hospital, Sepulveda, CA. She completed a Neurology Residency at the University of California at Los Angeles, Department of Neurology. She completed fellowships in Clinical Neuromuscular and Electromyography at UCLA and in Peripheral Nerve and Neuromuscular Disease at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Department of Neurology.
Aldo Iacono, MD
Medical Director Lung Transplant ProgramRead Full Bio
Aldo Iacono, MDDr. Aldo Iacono is a Medical Advisor of the Maryland Development Center. Dr. Iacono is co-founder of the MDC portfolio companies Aerea Medical Systems, Inc. and Connected Care Systems, LLC. In addition to his responsibilities at MDC, Dr. Iacono is Director of Lung Transplant Surgery and Hamish S. and Christine C. Osborne Professor in Advanced Pulmonary Care at the University of Maryland Medical School. Dr. Iacono joined the University of Maryland faculty from University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine where he served as Medical Director of Lung Transplantation.
Dr. Iacono has established a national reputation as an outstanding transplant pulmonologist and a translational investigator focusing on novel anti-rejection therapies. He has been a leader in developing aerosolized antirejection therapy to reduce the incidence of chronic lung transplant rejection and minimize systemic side effects of antirejection medications.An introductory video of Dr. Iacono is here.
Steve Ludwig, MD
Orthopedic Spine SurgeryRead Full Bio
Steve Ludwig, MDDr. Steven Ludwig is a Medical Advisor to the Maryland Development Center. Together with Dr. Charles Sansur, Dr. Ludwig is the inventor of the Dura Patch Kit and the co-founder of MDC company Advanced Surgical Design, LLC. In addition to his responsibilities at MDC, Dr. Ludwig is head of the Division of Spine Surgery in the Department of Orthopaedics and Professor of Orthopedics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He oversees spinal surgery at the University of Maryland Medical Center, the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, the Baltimore VA Medical Center, and the University of Maryland Rehabilitation & Orthopaedic Institute. Dr. Ludwig earned his MD at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, where he graduated first in his class. He completed an internship in general surgery and a residency in orthopaedic surgery at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. He went on to complete a fellowship in spine surgery at Emory University Hospital. Dr. Ludwig is board certified in orthopaedic surgery. Before coming to the School of Medicine, he was an Assistant Professor of Orthopaedics at the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine at The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center from 1999 to 2001. The recipient of the American Orthopaedic Association Research Award, the Cervical Spine Research Society Award, the North American Spine Society Research Award, and the Pennsylvania Orthopaedic Society Award, Dr. Ludwig is an active member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the North American Spine Society, the Cervical Spine Research Society, AO North American Spine, the Society for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery, the American Orthopaedic Association, and the Orthopaedic Trauma Association. He is also a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery.
Richard Macko, MD
Neurologist–Rehabilitation RoboticsRead Full Bio
Richard Macko, MDDr. Richard Macko is a Medical Advisor to the Maryland Development Center. He is also co-founder of the MDC portfolio company Next Step Robotics, Inc. In addition to his responsibilities at MDC, Dr. Macko is Professor in the Departments of Neurology and Medicine, Geriatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He is Associate Director of Research for the Geriatrics Research, Education and Clinical Center (GRECC). He has conducted numerous projects with the Claude D. Pepper Functional Independence in Older Americans Center (Pepper Center). Most recently Dr. Macko served as a panel member on the 2018 Health and Human Services Presidential Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Panel (PAGAC). Dr. Macko received his MD at the Ohio State University, Columbus, OH. He interned at Riverside Methodist Hospital, Columbus, OH in medicine and completed a residency in neurology at University of California, Los Angeles, CA. He was a National Association Stroke Fellow at UCLA.
Jonathan Pearl, MD
Chief, Advanced GI and Minimally Invasive SurgeryRead Full Bio
Jonathan Pearl, MDDr. Jonathan Pearl is a Medical Advisor to the Maryland Development Center. He is also co-founder of the MDC portfolio company Surgical Vision Systems, LLC. Dr. Pearl is the inventor of the Surgical Vision Thermal Endoscope and the Laser Enhanced Thermography Scanner for assessment of ischemia. In addition to his responsibilities at MDC, Dr. Pearl is an Associate Professor of Surgery in the Division of General and Oncologic Surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, where he is Chief, Section of Advanced Gi And Minimally Invasive Surgery. He is also the Chief of General Surgery at the Baltimore VA Medical Center. He is a nationally recognized expert in Advanced Laparoscopic Surgery and Surgical Endoscopy. His clinical practice focuses on complicated surgical disorders of the esophagus and stomach. He also has expertise in repair of complex hernias, including multiple recurrent hernias. Dr. Pearl is widely published in leading surgical journals and textbooks. His clinical research focuses on hernia outcomes and techniques. He also has an interest in surgical simulation and resident education. Dr. Pearl is a Veteran of the United States Navy. His tours of duty included the USS George Washington, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom (Kuwait). He received several awards during his Navy career including the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, National Defense Ribbon, and the Navy Commendation Medal (2). He was also qualified to wear the Surface Warfare Insignia (Medical Department Officer) and the Fleet Marine Force Warfare Insignia (Officer). Dr. Pearl joined the faculty at the University of Maryland after serving in the United States Navy as a General Surgeon. He completed his residency in General Surgery at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD and received his fellowship training in Advanced Laparoscopy and Endoscopy at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH.
Rajabrata Sarkar, MD, PhD
Vascular Surgeon, Chief of Vascular SurgeryRead Full Bio
Rajabrata Sarkar, MD, PhDRajabrata Sarkar is a Medical Advisor to the Maryland Development Center. He is co-founder of MDC portfolio company Vascular Rescue Systems, LLC. and the inventor of the MDC vascular access and automatic tourniquet devices, and co-inventor with MDC Partners Dr. Aldo Iacono and Dr. Jeffrey Wolf, and MDC Chief Technology Officer Dr. Rasa Ghaffarian of the EO2 Emergency Resuscitation device. In addition to his responsibilities at MDC, Dr. Sarkar is Chief of Vascular Surgery, and Barbara Baur Dunlap Professor of Surgery and Physiology at the University of Maryland Medical School. In 2019 he served as Interim Chair of the Department of Surgery at the School of Medicine. Dr. Sarkar is an expert in treating blood vessel disorders and a nationally known researcher in blood vessel growth and development, with additional special interests in deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. Dr. Sarkar came from the University of California, San Francisco, where he was an associate professor of surgery and a vascular surgeon since 1999. He received his medical degree and a Ph.D. in physiology from the University of Michigan Medical School. He completed his surgical training at UCLA and was trained in vascular surgery at the University of Michigan. An introductory video of Dr. Sarkar is here.
Charles Sansur, MD
Neurosurgeon–Spine SurgeryRead Full Bio
Charles Sansur, MDDr. Charles Sansur, MD is a Medical Advisor to the Maryland Development Center. Together with MDC Advisor Steven Ludwig he is the inventor of the Dura Patch Kit and the co-founder of MDC portfolio company Advanced Surgical Design, LLC. In addition to his responsibilities at MDC and ASD, Dr. Sansur is the director of Spine Surgery for the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of Maryland. In this role, Dr. Sansur sees a large volume of patients with spinal deformity, degenerative disease, spinal oncology and spine trauma. He frequently performs surgeries that cannot be performed in the community hospital setting. Nationally recognized as an expert in spine surgery, he is regularly am asked to speak at well spine society meetings, including the American Association of Neurological Surgery, The Congress of Neurological Surgeons, and the ONESpine meetings at the Swedish Neuroscience Institute. Dr. Sansur received his training at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Duke University, the University of Virginia, and Auckland City Hospital.
Highlighted PublicationsSansur CA, Fu KM, Oskouian RJ, Jagannathan J, Kuntz C, Shaffrey CI. Surgical Management of Global Sagittal Deformity in Ankylosing Spondylitis. Neurosurg Focus 2008;24(1):E8 Review Sansur CA, Reames Di, Smith JS, Hamilton DK, Berven Sh, Broadstone PA, Choma TJ, Goytan MJ, Noordeen HH, Knapp DR, Hart RA, Zeller RD, Donaldson WF, Polly DW, Perra JH, Boachie-Adjei O, Shaffrey Ci. Morbidity and Mortality in the surgical treatment of 10,242 adults with spondylolistheis. J Neurosurg Spine. 2010 Mpv 23;13(5):589-593. William BJ, Sansur CA, Smith JS, Berven SH, Broadstone PA, Choma TJ, Goytan MJ, Noordeen HH, Knapp Dr Jr., Hart RA, Zeller RD, Donaldson WF 3rd, Polly DW Jr, Perra Jh, Boachie-Adjei O, Shaffrey CI. Incidence of unintended durotomy in spine surgery based on 108,478 cases. Neurosurgery. 2011 Jan;68(1):117-23;discussion 123-4. Sansur CA, Smith JS, Coe JD, Glassman SD, Berven SH, Polly DW Jr., Perra JH, Boachie-Adjei O, Shaffrey CI. Scoliosis research society morbidity and mortality of adult scoliosis surgery. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2011 April 20;36(9);E953-7. Smith JS, Sansur CA, Donaldson WF 3rd, Perra JH, Mudiyam R, Choma TJ, Zeller RD, Knapp DR Jr., Nordeen HH, Berven Sh, Goytan MJ, Boachi-Adjei O, Shaffrey CI. Short-term morbidty and mortality associated with correction of thoracolumbar fixed sagittal plane deformity: a report from the scoliosis research morbidity and mortality committee. Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2011 May 20;36(12):958-64.
Jeffery S. Wolf, MD
Otorhinolaryngology–Head and Neck SurgeryRead Full Bio
Jeffery S. Wolf, MDDr. Jeffrey Wolf is a Medical Advisor of the Maryland Development Center. He is the co-founder of MDC Portfolio company SONOSA Medical, Inc. Dr. Wolf is the co-inventor with Dr. Amal Isaiah and Dr. Stephen Restaino of the MDC SONOSA device for detecting, classifying, and treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea. He is co-inventor with Dr. Aldo Iacono, Dr. Rajabrata Sarkar, and Dr. Rasa Ghaffarian of the MDC EO2 Emergency Resuscitation device. In addition to his responsibilities at MDC, Dr. Wolf is Professor and Medical Director as well as Associate Chair of Clinical Practice in the Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He is also a member of the Program in Oncology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Dr. Wolf received his MD at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and did his residency in Otolaryngology at the University of Maryland Medical Center. He has been faculty at the University of Maryland since 2001. He is an active clinician in Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Oncology and has been recognized as a Baltimore, Washington D.C. and National Top Doctor. His areas of clinical expertise include head and neck cancer, sleep apnea, airway, and sinonasal disease. Dr. Wolf has been the principal investigator in funded research in basic science, clinical trials, and device development.
Highlighted PublicationsWolf, J.S., Li, G., Varadhachary, A., Petrak, K., Schneyer, M., Li, D., Ongkasuwan, J., Zhang, X., Taylor, R.J., Strome, S.E., O’Malley, Jr., B.W.: Oral Lactoferrin Results in T-cell Dependent Tumor Inhibition of Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma in vivo. Clinical Cancer Research; 2007:13:1601-10. Taylor, R.J., Chiu, A.G., Palmer, J.N., Schofield, K., O’Malley, B.W., Wolf, J.S.: Informed Consent in Sinus Surgery: Link between Demographics and Patient Desires. Laryngoscope 2005: 115(5): 826-831. Wolf, J.S., Chiu, A.G., Palmer, J.N., Schofield, K., O’Malley, B.W., Taylor, R.J.: Informed Consent in Endoscopic Sinus Surgery: The Patient Perspective. Laryngoscope 2005: 115(3):492-494. Suntharalingam M., Kwok Y., Goloubeva O., Parekh A,. Taylor R., Wolf J. Zimrin A. Strome S. Ord R. Cullen KJ. Phase II study evaluating the addition of cetuximab to the concurrent delivery of weekly carboplatin, paclitaxel, and daily radiotherapy for patients with locally advanced squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck. International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics, 2012: 82 (1845-50). Hatten, K., Morales, R.E., Wolf, J.S., Intraorbital Erosion of a malar implant resulting in mastication-induced vision changes, ENT Journal, 2012: 91:E23 (online). Strongin A. Yovino S. Taylor R. Wolf J. Cullen K. Zimrin A. Strome S. Regine W. Suntharalingam M. Primary tumor volume is an important predictor of clinical outcomes among patients with locally advanced squamous cell cancer of the head and neck treated with definitive chemoradiotherapy. International Journal of Radiation Oncology, Biology, Physics, 2012: 82 :1823-30. Voskens, C.J., Sewell, D., Hertzano, R., Desanto, J., Rollings, S., Lee, M., Taylor, R., Wolf, J., Suntharalingam, M., Gastman, B., Papadimitriou, J.C., Lu, C., Tan, R., Cullen, K., Celis, E., Mann, D., Strome, S.E. Induction of MAGE-A# and HPV-16 immunity by Trojan vaccines in patients with head and neck carcinoma. Head & Neck, 2012: 34: 1734-46. Zandberg, D.P., Liu, S., Goloubeva, O., Ord, R., Strome, S.E., Suntharalingam, M., Taylor, R., Morales, R.E., Wolf, J.S., Zimrin, A., Lubek, J.E., Schumaker, L.M., Cullen, K.J. Oropharyngeal Cancer (OPC) Drives Racial Outcome Disparities in Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck (HNSCC): Ten Year Experience at the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center (UMGCC). Head and Neck, 2015:38:564-72. Zandberg, D.P., Rollings, S., Goloubeva, O., Morales, R.E., Tan, M., Taylor, R., Wolf, J.S., Schumaker, L.M., Cullen, K.J., Zimrin, A., Ord, R., Lubek, J.E., Suntharalingam, M., Papadimitriou, J.C. Mann, D., Strome, S.E., Edelman, M.J. A Phase I Dose Escalation Trial of MAGE-A3 and HPV16 Specific Peptide Immunomodulatory Vaccines in Patients with Recurrent / Metastatic (RM) Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Head and Neck (SCCHN). Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy, 2015: 64:367-379.
PatentsTechniques for Emergency Apneic Oxygenation PCT/US2013/051739 Ultrasound Localization of Obstruction for Obstructive Sleep Apnea PCT/US2015/01349 System and Method for Emergency Apneic Oxygenation PCT/US/2015/012465 (CIP) Apparatus and Method for Placement of Device along Wall of a Body Lumen PCT/US2016/033917 Apparatus and Method for Placement of Device along theWall of a Body Lumen (CIP) PCT/US/2016/063495 Automatic Ultrasound Titration of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Treatment for Sleep Apnea US Provisional Patent Application: 62/291,937 Automated Emergency Airway Ventilation Device US Provisional Patent Application: 62/333,299 Detachable Optical Extension Apparatus US Provisional Patent Application: 62/340,601
Awards2010 Baltimore Magazine “Top Doc” for Otolaryngology 2010 Baltimore Magazine “Top Doc” for Head and Neck Oncology 2011 Washington, DC-Baltimore “Super Doctors” 2011 US News “Top Doc” 2011 Castle-Connolly “Top Doc” 2012 Washington, DC-Baltimore “Super Doctors” 2012 Castle-Connolly “Top Doc” 2012 US News “Top Doc” 2012 Baltimore Magazine “Top Doc” for Otolaryngology 2012 Baltimore Magazine “Top Doc” for Head and Neck Oncology 2012 University of Maryland Otolaryngology Outstanding Teaching Award 2013 Washington, DC-Baltimore “Super Doctors” 2013 Castle-Connolly “Top Doc” 2013 US News “Top Doc” 2014 Castle-Connolly “Top Doc” 2014 Baltimore Magazine “Top Doc” for Otolaryngology 2014 Baltimore Magazine “Top Doc” for Head and Neck Oncology 2015 Castle-Connolly “Top Doc” 2016 Castle-Connolly “Top Doc” 2016 Baltimore Magazine “Top Doc” for Otolaryngology 2016 University of Maryland Otolaryngology Outstanding Teaching Award
Bio EngineerRead Full Bio
Riddhi GopalRiddhi graduated from the University of Maryland College Park after majoring in Bioengineering with a specialization in Biomechanics and a minor in Art History. At the Maryland Development Center, Riddhi is focusing on the design of novel medical devices utilizing her background in CAD, 3D printing, and programming. While at UMD, Riddhi participated in the Gemstone Honors Research Program as a member of Team VIRUS and received an honors citation. She researched the effects of HSV-1 on the glymphatic system, a waste clearance system in the brain linked to Alzheimer’s Disease. Additionally, Riddhi conducted research in the Bioinspired Advanced Manufacturing Lab as part of an undergraduate-led team where they developed a more precise and efficient method of studying cellular migration using nano-3D printing. In January 2017, the team presented their findings at the IEEE MEMS conference. As a Clark School Ambassador, Riddhi taught high school students about the principles of engineering and mentored students from elementary school to high school with an interest in STEM. Additionally, Riddhi was an undergraduate TA in the Gemstone Program and worked to emphasize the importance of service and community in the students’ understanding of research. Riddhi was inducted into Tau Beta Pi, the national engineering honor society in May 2016.
Computer EngineerRead Full Bio
Kyle MontemayorKyle graduated from the University of Maryland College Park with a bachelors in Computer Engineering. While at UMD, Kyle was an undergraduate teaching fellow for the Electrical and Computer Engineering department, and helped teach several courses. Kyle also worked in the Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory, and researched polymer processing. Kyle has a long background in robotics, and is currently applying his experience in the field to the Connected Care project.
Bio EngineerRead Full Bio
Kegan SowersKegan graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with a Master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering. At MDC, Kegan is utilizing his background with 3D printing, cad and engineering principles to develop novel medical devices. During his graduate studies at VCU, Kegan worked on dental implant surface modification to influence the immune system in implantation. His research at VCU led to a publication and presentation at a competition as a Young Investigator at the International Association of Dental Research. In addition, research into Biomaterials provided the opportunity for an oral presentation at the Biomedical Engineering Society conference in 2018. Kegan also participated in the Dean’s Early Research Initiative (DERI) and mentored a high school student through a year-long engineering research project. In addition to his research, Kegan worked at the VCU Technology Transfer Office as a Licensing Liaison. His role provided the bridge between university staff and intellectual property protection through patents, confidentiality agreements and material transfer agreements. Kegan uses these skills and prior knowledge to provide insight to the MDC team during the device design process.
Business ManagerRead Full Bio
Amy HizouneAmy serves as MDC's Business and Contracts manager. She Hizoune has more than 30 years experience in the US Government contract environment including multiple, successful start-up and spin-off companies. Her expertise ranges from: Company Creation, Accounting System Setup, Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) Compliance and Audits for Cost Type Contracts, Contract Negotiation, Purchasing and Subcontracts, Customer Billings, Payroll, Human Resources, Project Reporting, and Tax Returns. Amy’s resume includes several hundred million USD in US Government and Export Sales contracts to more than 20 countries world-wide.
Amy leads the MDC management team with a hands on approach to ensure a smooth startup for each affiliate. Her approach ensures that all MDC affiliates are properly formed and efficiently operating with the support of MDC with the goal of creating the best possible success for the MDC affiliate.