Advanced Surgery

Briteseed is a forward-thinking company committed to making minimally invasive surgery safer and more efficient. Our team is developing Briteseed Smart Tools, the next generation of laparoscopic and robotic surgical tools that provide real-time detection and visualization of hidden blood vessels, ureters, and other sensitive structures using advanced optics and artificial intelligence.

Core Team

  • Jonathan W. Gunn, JD, PhD

    Jonathan earned Doctoral degrees in Biomaterials Engineering and Nanotechnology from the University of Washington and a JD from Northwestern Law (cum laude). His training in intellectual property law coupled with a decade of experience in the biomedical engineering field provides the Briteseed team with unique expert insights into our legal and patent strategies. Jonathan has published over 15 peer-reviewed articles in the biomedical engineering field and earned his B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of California, San Diego.

  • Hariharan Subramanian, PhD
    VP of Research and Development

    Hariharan received his PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University where he currently serves as a Research Professor. His work has led to significant advancements in the fields of optical sensing systems and modern optical microscopy, which in turn played a crucial role in the development of Briteseed's Smart Tools. Hariharan received his Master's in Biomedical Engineering from Texas A&M University and has authored over 50 peer-reviewed articles.


  • David M. Mahvi, MD
    VP of Clinical Medicine

    David is the James R. Hines Professor and Vice Chair of Surgery and Chief of Gastrointestinal and Oncologic Surgery at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. He is an international authority in the field of hepatobiliary cancer, has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles and was recently appointed as Director of the American Board of Surgery. Widely regarded as a thought leader in the development of new biomedical devices, David holds five patents and is currently bringing several revolutionary devices to market including Briteseed.

  • Mayank Vijayvergia, MS
    Head of Business Development and Operations

    Mayank is directing the bench-top development of SafeSnips. He brings a wealth of experience guiding reimbursement strategies at a Florida-based medical equipment company coupled with a graduate-level training in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University. Prior to joining Briteseed, he co-invented a device for magnetic resonance elastography to non-invasive diagnose polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Mayank oversaw the development of the device from computational modeling through animal and clinical feasibility studies at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

  • Shetha Shukair, PhD
    Lead Research Scientist

    Shetha received her doctorate in Life and Medical Sciences from Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. She oversees Briteseed’s preclinical testing utilizing her expertise in translational research and engages with practicing surgeons to ensure that the engineering and design of each of Briteseed's devices incorporate direct user feedback.

  • Akshay Vadali, MS
    Lead Signal Processing Engineer

    As the Lead Signal Processing Engineer, Akshay applies his considerable experience in signal processing and machine learning towards developing Briteseed's Smart Tool Platform. He is committed to making surgeries safer by implementing new signal processing and machine learning techniques to optimize the tissue differentiation and localization capabilities of the system. He holds a MS in Electrical Engineering from the University of South Florida.

  • Jacob Altstadt, MS
    Research Engineer

    Jacob helps manage the pre-clinical experimentation and analysis of Briteseed's tool development. Additionally, he provides support for the development of machine learning networks, assists in the designing of prototypes, and interfaces with surgeons. Jacob earned both his BS and MS in Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern University.

  • Anna Lisa Somera, MS, MBA, MPH
    VP Quality and Regulatory Affairs

    Anna Lisa brings over a decade of serial start-up experience to Briteseed as a former venture capitalist, technology transfer specialist, biomedical researcher, and medical device consultant. She has held senior management positions in multiple start-ups and also played pivotal roles in securing significant dilutive and non-dilutive funding for several ventures. She currently leads the quality and regulatory activities for Briteseed.

  • Alex Holterman
    Grants and Operations Lead

    Alex manages Briteseed grant support, coordinates efforts to meet R&D and business milestones, and investigates new clinical opportunities. He provides several years of experience working for medical device startups in hardware design and development, establishing clinical partnerships, regulatory considerations, and quality management systems. He earned his BS in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University.

  • Alexander J. (A.J.) Czubak, MS
    Lead Electrical Engineer

    A.J. leads Briteseed's electrical engineering design and development initiatives. Coming from the defense industry with electrical design and testing experience at Kranze Technology Soutions and systems analysis and testing experience at Northrop Grumman, A.J. brings industry experience include PCB and electrical system design, programming language implementation, and performance analysis. A.J. earned his Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Bradley University and his Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology.


Advisory Board

  • Ronald A. Matricaria
    Former Chairman and CEO, St. Jude Medical

  • Hanson S. Gifford, III
    Managing Partner, The Foundry

  • David M. Clapper
    Former CEO, SurgRx
    Current CEO, Minerva Surgical

  • Robert E. Shaw
    Former President, Milex Products

  • Subhash C. Sahai, MD, ABFP
    Chief of Staff, Van Diest Medical Center in Iowa
    Former President, Webster City Medical Clinic
    in Iowa

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