Our Team

Ruby Rafanan, Founder & CSO

PhD Molecular Science

MSc Molecular Science

BSc Applied Chemistry & Biology

Ruby Rafanan, the founding scientist at Tala, has nearly 10 years of combined research experience on structuring complex matrices. She completed her MSc and PhD in the Molecular Science program at Ryerson University in Toronto. Her graduate research in Food Science focused on characterizing food-based dispersions and manipulating microscopic characteristics to control texture and release of encapsulated compounds.

Julia Peng, Business Advisor

BS Economics, Wharton

Julia has experience in launching healthcare & biomaterials products, from managing R&D stage projects to commercialization.

Ben Merrick, Business Dev

MSc Biomedical Commercialization, McMaster University

BSc Life Sciences, Queen University, Smith School of Business

Jaye Zhou, Research Assistant

PhD Microbiology, Zhejiang University

BSc Biotechnology, Zhejiang University 

Guangqi (Jaye) Zhou has previously worked in University of Toronto, as an independent Postdoctoral fellow of the Legionella pneumophila evolution program. She has experience in lab bench work, data analysis, and research project management. Jaye studied at Zhejiang University, China where she completed her Ph.D. in Microbiology.

Alice Yang, Science Advisor

MSc Immunology, University of Toronto

H. BSc Immunology & Human Biology, University of Toronto

Alice Yang has experience as researcher at the Sunnybrook Research Institute, and a visiting researcher at the University of Szeged. Her areas of technical expertise include protein thermodynamics, with most of her research work in molecular interactions and preclinicals.

Carlos Santana, Ops Manager

BEng Biomedical Engineering, Ryerson University

Ben Merrick is a graduate of the Master of Biomedical Discovery and Commercialization (MBDC) program at McMaster University, which provided him with extensive training at the interface of biomedical science and business. Prior to this, he graduated from Queen's University with a Major in Life Sciences and a Certificate in Business Studies. His areas of interest include the process of developing and commercializing medical discoveries into commercial realities.

Carlos Santana has previously worked for the Biomedical Zone, a medical and health-tech incubator based in St.Michael's Hospital, as one of the Project Leads for the Co-Development Lab program. He has experience in product development, project management,  administration, and logistics. Carlos studied at Ryerson University where he completed his BEng in Biomedical Engineering.

Stephen Catapano, Business Dev

MSc Biomedical Commercialization, McMaster University

BHSc Biomedical Commercialization, McMaster University 

Kathleen Simms, Clinical Outreach

HBHum Humanities, Carleton University 

MD Candidate, University of Toronto

Stephen Catapano has previously worked in the medical devices industry with a focus on product development, testing and certification. He also has experience in developing market entry strategies for medical devices. Stephen studied at McMaster University where he completed both his MSc in Biomedical Commercialization and BHSc.

Kathleen Simms is studying at the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine. She was the recipient of the Medical Student Research Grant from the Association of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Disease Canada for a project on the prevalence of intermittent antibiotic resistant organism carriage in fecal microbiota transplant donors. Kathleen's interests include research and knowledge translation. 

Our Advisors

Ray Muzyka 

Business Advisor

Founder/CEO, BioWare

Founder/CEO, Threshold Impact

Order of Canada

Helen Manich 

Business Advisor

President, Manich Strategies Inc.

CMO, Talk America

VP Marketing, McCaw (AT&T) Advisor

Geoff Werth 

Business Advisor

Senior VP, Wynne Health

Director, McKesson Oncology

Bryan Koivisto

Science Advisor

PI, Koivisto Labs

Professor of Chemistry

Director, Science Discovery Zone


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Tala Biosciences 2020, All rights reserved.

209 Victoria Street (Suite 774)

Toronto, ON, M5B 1T8