HealthAdvance Team

Photo of Yair HarelYair Harel, MBA

Executive Director, New Ventures & Commercialization Funding

Prior to joining Rutgers, Yair spent 22 years engaged in the areas of industrial marketing, project management, business development and mergers and acquisitions. He has extensive experience in negotiating and structuring business deals. At Rutgers, Yair has been actively supporting all technology commercialization efforts of the university, specifically focusing on the creation and development of Rutgers start-ups.


Photo of Pragati SharmaPragati Sharma, PhD

HealthAdvance Manager

Pragati is responsible for all aspects of HealthAdvance, including program set-up and management. She has 13 years of research experience in an academic environment spanning both physical and life sciences: including development of CRISPR genetic engineering tools, early stage anti-fungal drug development, and basic science research in protein synthesis and DNA replication and repair molecular pathways.

Previously, she has served as a business consultant for a protein design and structural biophysical research CRO.  Pragati earned her PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Rutgers University, and holds an MS in Analytical Chemistry with Honors. 


Photo of Luis AhnLuis Ahn, MBA

Manager, New Ventures

Prior to joining Rutgers, Luis spent 15 years as an investor, principal and analyst covering all sectors globally. He started his career at Goldman Sachs and worked at both private and public investment funds with greater than $1B in assets. He also co-founded XPRS Capital, a fintech company focused on small business lending. At Rutgers, Luis supports the creation, funding and development of Rutgers startups. Luis holds a BS in Quantitative Economics and Computer Science from Tufts University and an MBA in Finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.


Photo of Sherry OnwellerSherry Onweller, MBA

HealthAdvance Associate

Sherry is a member of the HealthAdvance team, supporting all stages of the application and review process for the program. Prior to joining Rutgers, Sherry spent her corporate career working at Nabisco Foods in Supply Chain Management and Business Analysis. She also has a private professional organizing practice where she helps business professionals, academics and residential clients with efficiency, organization and time management. Sherry holds a B.S. in Supply Chain Management from Penn State University and an MBA in Finance from Seton Hall University.


Program Support Team

Judith Argon, Communications Specialist/Consultant, New Jersey Alliance for Clinical and Translational Science
Cassandra Burrows, Senior Grants Administrator, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
Faizan Ahmed, Director of IT, Office for Research
Alexander Lee, Application Programmer, Office for Research
Dalya Ewais, Director of Marketing, Communications, & Public Relations, Office for Research