Who We Are

Learn more about the people shaping our
scientific progress, commercial growth, and global reach

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Meet The Team

Nikolay Kandul - Synvect Images

Nikolay Kandul

Nikolay Kandul is a co-founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), a co-inventor of the ngSIT technology platform, and a former senior project scientist at UCSD. He grew up and was educated in Russia before moving to the US for graduate education at Harvard University, Duke University, California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and UC San Diego (UCSD), and becoming a US citizen. Nikolay's scientific expertise encompasses multiple disciplines: entomology, evolution, genetics, molecular and cell biology, and genetic engineering. He brings the combination of deep domain knowledge, scientific rigor, leadership experience, and business knowledge. Nikolay is convinced that science-based transformative technologies are the solutions for safe and effective elimination of mosquito-borne diseases.

Omar Akbari - Synvect Images

Omar Akbari

Omar Akbari is a co-founder and Chief Scientific Office (CSO), a co-inventor of the ngSIT technology platform, and a professor at UCSD. Omar contributes extensive scientific expertise, guidance and advice for future technological innovations and developments, as well as a broad network of scientific experts and potential customers around the world. Omar’s academic team at UCSD is collaborating with Synvect’s team in designing and developing novel genetic tools and adapting the ngSIT technology for different mosquito species and arthropod vectors of human disease, such as ticks. This collaboration enables Synvect to focus on commercializing the existing academic innovations of the team.

Pooja Y. Patel - Synvect Images

Pooja Y. Patel

Pooja Y. Patel is the Founding Head of Commercial Strategy, an epidemiologist, and a biotech go-to-market leader. With two degrees from Columbia University, and a proven track record at Pfizer and venture-backed startups, Pooja brings a unique blend of healthcare expertise and commercial savvy to her role. Currently at the helm of Synvect, she is actively engaged in executing go-to-market strategies and building an impactful global customer network. Pooja's commitment extends beyond business; she is dedicated to improving public health outcomes, particularly in addressing the urgent mosquito problem.

Michelle Bui - Synvect Images

Michelle Bui

Michelle Bui is a Mosquito Facility Officer and a former graduate student at the laboratory of Prof Omar Akbari at UCSD. Michelle is an entomologist with a specific expertise in mosquito biology, ecology, and genetics. She has engineered multiple mosquito genetic strains, conducted countless experiments with mosquitoes, and has co-authored numerous peer-reviewed publications.

Ravi Solanki - Synvect Images

Ravi Solanki

Ravi Solanki is a co-founder of Synvect with a commitment to incubating and scaling technology startups to tackle major global health challenges. Ravi was educated in the US and pursued his medical degree and PhD in neuroscience at the University of Cambridge. With an extensive background in early stage investing with venture fund Primera Capital and early stage funds in the United Kingdom, Ravi translates his acumen to establishing the foundations of startups to supporting Synvect’s formation. He takes a long-term view to establishing healthcare ventures, and understands that transformative technology with a carefully curated commercial approach can yield outlasting change and value creation.

In addition to the core team, a number of advisors are committed to support Synvect on its journey

Prof Luke Alphey - Synvect Images

Prof Luke Alphey

Prof Luke Alphey is a founder and former CSO of Oxitec. Luke provides unparalleled expertise for mosquito biology, genetics, mass rearing, operation, regulation, and pilot design. Luke is currently a Professor at the University of York and runs an active research program in mosquito control. Luke has authored more than 137 peer-reviewed publications. His direct involvement reflects a wealth of past experience and confidence in Synvect’s technology, commitment, and business.

Raymond Siems - Synvect Images

Raymond Siems

Raymond Siems is a data scientist and serial entrepreneur. He has founded four software companies with two exits. His latest company Ravio has raised $15 million USD and serves more than 1,000 VC-backed technology companies. Raymond is Synvect’s data adviser and will orchestrate the design of Synvect’s end-to-end software to optimize deployments for consistent entomological suppression at diverse locations.

Prof Jim Ajioka - Synvect ImagesDr Orr Yarkoni - Synvect Images

Prof Jim Ajioka &
Dr Orr Yarkoni

Prof Jim Ajioka and Dr Orr Yarkoni are co-founders of Colorifix, Ltd, a UK-biotech producing safe textile dyes applying fermentation of engineered bacteria strains. These two academic entrepreneurs have successfully translated their research findings into a venture-backed business securing over $40 million USD in funding to-date alongside commercial pilots globally, and provide unique guidance for the academic-to-business transition, business scaling, and global operations.