Our Team

The Founder and CEO of AxoMax Technologies, Inc. is Dr. Kacey Marra. Dr. Marra is a tenured full Professor in the Departments of Plastic Surgery (primary) and Bioengineering (secondary), as well as Vice Chair of Research in the Department of Plastic Surgery, at the University of Pittsburgh. She is also a core faculty member in the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, where she has served as a member of the Executive Committee since 2004. After earning her PhD in organic chemistry in 1996 from the University of Pittsburgh, she was a post-doctoral fellow for Elliot Chaikof at Emory University. Following four years as a research scientist at Carnegie Mellon University conducting bone tissue engineering research, she became the Director of Plastic Surgery Research at the University of Pittsburgh in 2002. She has a publication record of over 150 peer-reviewed articles and over 600 abstracts in the areas of peripheral nerve repair, adipose stem cells, bioreactors, tissue engineering, wound healing, adipose stem cells, and diabetes. Her funding includes NIH, NSF, and DoD grants in the area of regenerative medicine, (including the Armed Forces Institute for Regenerative Medicine, (AFIRM)). She is the Enabling Technology Core Focus Area Leader in AFIRM II.  She was Co-Chair of the 2015 Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society (TERMIS) World Congress, held in Boston.  She served on the CDMRP PRORP Steering Committee from 2015-2018.

Kacey Marra, PhD
Founder and CEO

Chief Technology Officer:

Benjamin Schilling is currently a graduate student pursing a doctoral degree in bioengineering, and has industrial experience with history of product design, manufacturing transfer, and commercialization. His experience includes benchtop-to-bedside development of human cell and tissue products (HCT/Ps) through engineering of decellularized adipose-derived extracellular matrix allografts for Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation (MTF) into RenuvaTM, a currently-marketed medical product. His experience has placed significant emphasis on interdepartmental and multidisciplinary teamwork, design feedback, along with reviews with end users for the translation of customer needs into innovations. Ben earned his BS in Biomedical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2012 and an MS in Medical Product Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh in 2017.

Benjamin Schilling, MS
Chief Technology Officer

Strategic Business Advisor:

Craig S. Markovitz is an Entrepreneur in Residence in the Swartz Center for Entrepreneurship and an Assistant Teaching Professor of Entrepreneurship in the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). He is co-founder of Blue Belt Technologies, Inc., a spinoff from the Robotics Institute at CMU and served as the company’s Chief Executive Officer for over 7 years. In this capacity, he launched the company, raised capital, managed operations, and led a January 2011 merger with HealthpointCapital. He then transitioned to Chief Operating Officer and helped to lead substantial growth of the company from pre revenue and 18 employees to multi-million in revenue and 150 employees. Craig was a key member of the deal team that led to an acquisition by Smith and Nephew, plc in January 2016 for $275,000,000. In addition, Markovitz was Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Spotlight Medical, Inc. Spotlight was a spinoff company based on technology developed jointly by Carnegie Mellon University and The University of Pittsburgh. He managed this company to a successful exit as well. Prior to founding Blue Belt and Spotlight, Craig worked with The Redleaf Group, Inc., a $285 million early-stage venture capital fund, as the Chief Operating Officer of PenNetWorks, LLC at the University of Pennsylvania. He was the recipient of the 2016 Carnegie Science Center Entrepreneur and the 2016 Pittsburgh Venture Capital Association Outstanding Entrepreneur Awards. Markovitz graduated with distinction from the MBA program at the Charles H. Kellstadt Graduate School of Business at DePaul University in Chicago with a degree in Entrepreneurship, and graduated cum laude from Washington and Jefferson College in Washington, PA, with a BA in Management. 

Craig Markowitz, MBA
Strategic Business Advisor

Board of Directors:

Dr. Arta Kelmendi-Doko works for 3M Health Information Systems as a Product Owner of a cutting-edge AI-powered Clinical Decision Support platform which helps physicians on their day-to-day tasks for patient treatment. In addition to her expertise in AI application in clinical settings, she also has extensive experience with drug delivery systems and soft tissue regeneration. Arta holds a MD degree from University of Pristina as well as a PhD degree in Bioengineering from University of Pittsburgh. As a Research Fellow in the Adipose Stem Cell Center in the Department of Plastic Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh, she developed and executed pre-clinical protocols for adipose tissue reconstruction in trauma, malformation and malignancy cases. Furthermore, she researched and optimized different protocols for fabricating micro-particles as drug delivery systems.

Arta Kelmendi-Doko, MD, PhD
Board Member

Dr. Kia M. Washington is an Associate Professor in the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the University of Colorado – Anschutz Medical School.  Dr. Washington completed her undergraduate studies at Stanford University and earned her medical degree from the Duke University School of Medicine.  She completed her plastic and reconstructive surgery residency at the University of Pittsburgh.  During her training she dedicated two years to full-time basic science research as a fellow in the Thomas E. Starzl Transplant Institute, funded by an extra-mural NIH grant and research fellowship from the Plastic Surgery Foundation.  After completing residency, she pursued a hand and microsurgery fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh. She performs hand and upper extremity surgery, breast reduction and augmentation, and reconstructive microsurgery following trauma. She has specialty training in hand and upper extremity surgery.  She also serves as Director of Research and Vice Chair of Diversity and Inclusion for the Division of Plastic Surgery at the University of Colorado.  She is board certified in Plastic Surgery and Surgery of the Hand.  Dr. Washington is also a principal investigator. She has received many awards for her research, including the 2016 ARVO/Alcon Early Career Clinician-Scientist Research Award and the 2015 Military Health System Research Symposium’s Research award sponsored by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs.  Her work has been featured in Science magazine, STAT online magazine, Pittsburgh Business Times, Pittsburgh Tribune, Pitt Med Magazine, and on Radio Health Journal.

Kia Washington, MD
Board Member

Mr. Stephen Winowich has been the President of Procirca since 2010.  Prior to this, he was the Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer of Vital Engineering, a division of Procirca that arose from the UPMC Artificial Heart Program where he specialized in both adult and pediatric mechanical circulatory support (MCS) technologies.  He has held numerous technical and leadership roles in Vital Engineering and the UPMC Artificial Heart Program during his 30-year tenure and has participated in the care of over 1200 MCS patients.  Mr. Winowich assumed the role of Director of the Clinical Artificial Heart Program for UPMC in 1996, and presently serves as the Senior Advisor. Mr. Winowich has exceptional understanding of the development and clinical translation of advanced technologies.  He participated in the first ever HeartMate® II implant, served on the data safety and monitoring boards, and participated on clinical advisory committees for an array of circulatory support device manufacturers. At UPMC-Procirca, Mr. Winowich’s team supports the clinical application of the following VAD technologies:

  • Heartware HVAD
  • Heartmate III LVAD
  • Abiomed Impella
  • Centrimag VAD
  • Berlin Heart Excor
  • Jarvik 2000 LVAD
  • Syncardia TAH

He is also an Advisor for the Coulter Translational Research Partnership II Program in the Swanson School of Engineering, University of Pittsburgh., and the College Advisory Counsel for the College of Learning and Innovation at Carlow University. Mr. Winowich earned his BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh.

Steve Winowich
Board Member

Anthony J. Windebank, M.D., is a professor of neurology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. He earned his B.A. and M.A. degrees in biochemistry and B.M.B.Ch. degree from the University of Oxford in England, followed by postdoctoral training at the University of Oxford College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic and Washington University in St. Louis.Dr. Windebank served as the dean of Mayo Graduate School from 1992 to 1998 and the dean of Mayo Medical School from 1998 until 2005. Since 2005 he has been involved in the development and leadership of the Center for Clinical and Translational Science and the Center for Regenerative Medicine at Mayo Clinic. A neurologist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with diseases of the peripheral nervous system and spinal cord, Dr. Windebank has been involved in designing or conducting more than 50 clinical trials and clinical studies since 1980. Dr. Windebank is a fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, the Royal College of Physicians, the American Neurological Association and a member of the Society for Neuroscience. He has served on a number of other boards and associations. He is also past president of the Peripheral Nerve Society. Additionally, Dr. Windebank is a scientific reviewer and editorial board member for numerous journals. He has served on National Institutes of Health study sections and the scientific review panels for a number of foundations. He has published over 650 scholarly articles or abstracts, including more than 250 full-length publications in peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Windebank has been recognized by a number of national and international awards, including the Science Foundation Ireland E.T.S. Walton Visitor Award, adjunct professor of medicine at the National University of Ireland in Galway and a doctorate (honoris causa) from Paracelsus Medical University in Salzburg, Austria.

Anthony Windebank, MD
Board Member

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