Leadership

Joseph A. Pugar

While studying engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, Joe researched many of the surface science principles that Aruga technology is based upon. In 2015, he joined a research collaboration between Pitt's chemical engineering department and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's (UPMC) vascular surgery group. As the group's research on improved vascular implants developed, so did the commercial vision for the technology. Ultimately, Joe spun Aruga out of the University of Pittsburgh in Spring of 2018 and is a cofounder and the CEO.

Luka Pocivavsek M.D., Ph.D.

After Luka graduated from the University of Chicago with his M.D. in surgery and a Ph.D. in physical chemistry in 2011, he performed his residency in general surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. During his residency he become integral in the research collaboration between Pitt and UPMC and was the company original principle investigator. As the primary inventor of Aruga technology, he identified the commercial impact of the work being done and began translating the technology out of the academic setting. Luka is a cofounder and the Chief Technology Officer at Aruga while also being an associate research professor at The University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.

Advisors

Edith Tzeng M.D.

Dr. Edith Tzeng is the Chief of Vascular Surgery at the Pittsburgh Veterans Hospital and a Professor of Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School. She has lead Aruga's advising group since 2018 and performed some of the very first surgical experiments of Aruga technology.

Robert Kormos M.D.

Dr. Robert Kormos is the Division Vice President of Global Medical Affairs & Heart Failure at Abbott Laboratories in Austin, TX. He was formerly the Director of the UPMC Artificial Heart Program and Co-Director of the UPMC Heart Transplantation Program. Dr. Kormos has been an advisor to Aruga since 2018.

Ross Milner M.D.

Dr. Ross Milner is the Director of Aortic Diseases at the University of Chicago. He has been advising Aruga since 2019.

Jacques Chirazi

With a passion for learning about the natural world and an understanding of how nature could transform the corporate environment, Jacques brings this novel biomimicry approach to foster the next generation of sustainable entrepreneurs and their revolutionary businesses. Jacques advises a number of biomimicry startups.  

Jacques is a Biomimicry Professional, holds Master degree from Arizona State University School of Life Sciences in Biomimicry, a  Master degree from University of California San Diego’s Graduate School of International Relations & Pacific Studies with an emphasis in International Environmental Policy and a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from San Diego State University’s School of Business Administration. He teaches sustainability and clean technology courses to students at the University of California, San Diego Extension. Finally, Jacques is a Certified Energy Manager (C.E.M), and LEED-GA.

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