MiNDERA is a SF Bay area VC-backed company developing and commercializing next-generation medical technology that utilizes molecular-genetic science to enable a new era of skin analytics. Our technology gives dermatologists the information they need to make personalized treatment decisions in the management of moderate to severe psoriasis and atopic dermatitis patients. The MiNDERA test is based on a non-invasive extraction of the patient’s transcriptome with our proprietary microneedle device (MND), followed by next-generation sequencing (NGS) and analysis


The skin is a person’s primary interface with the world, impacting both physical and emotional well-being. Yet, doctors and consumers rely heavily on visual observation of the skin, which is inherently subjective. The way inflammatory skin diseases (psoriasis, eczema, etc.) are diagnosed and monitored has changed minimally over the last several decades. MiNDERA's technique allows for the minimally invasive extraction of biomarkers (RNA, DNA, proteins) from the skin for molecular analysis, providing the ability truly understand the skin at a molecular level, and resulting in more effective treatment for skin disease.


At the core of MiNDERA's products is a proprietary microneedle device that enables pain free, minimally invasive and targeted extraction of mRNA from the skin, without requiring a skin biopsy.

These biomarkers are then eluted and analyzed by molecular techniques including qPCR and next-generation sequencing (NGS) to deliver a molecular profile of the sampled region.

MiNDERA's co-founders have complementary backgrounds with more than 40 years of combined industry experience. MiNDERA is headquartered in South San Francisco, California.


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Tobin Dickerson, Ph.D., President, Chief Scientific Officer, and Co-founder

Tobin Dickerson joins MiNDERA from the The Scripps Research Institute where he is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry and the Worm Institute for Research and Medicine. He completed his BS with high honors in Chemistry from the University of Virginia in 1999, and subsequently was awarded his MA in Chemistry in 2000. At that time, he matriculated to TSRI where he completed his PhD in 2004 in Chemical Biology. Toby was promoted to the TSRI faculty in 2005 where he has established a research program aimed at developing disruptive platform technologies for problems of emergent clinical significance. In particular, in addition to the MiNDERA technology platform, his laboratory has developed technologies that allow for the prediction of protein evolution, a universal screening system for protein-ligand interactions, and a metabolomics platform for the diagnosis of infectious disease in resource-limited areas.

At present, Toby has 85 publications, and has served as PI of both governmentally and corporately sponsored research from small biotech companies as well as major pharmaceutical firms. His scientific expertise includes diagnostic platform development, small molecule and vaccine discovery, metabolomics, scientific algorithm and software development, phage display, and neglected tropical diseases.




David Barker, Ph.D.

Dr. David L. Barker currently serves on the Boards of Directors of BioNano Genomics, AmideBio and Zephyrus Biosciences, Inc., and is Board Member and Chairman at Integrated Diagnostics and IntegenX, Inc. He is a scientific advisor to MiNDERA Corp. and to Illumina, Inc., where he was Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer from 2000 to 2007. He was previously on the Boards of NextBio, which was acquired by Illumina in 2013, and ProteinSimple, which was acquired by Bio-Techne in 2014. Dr. Barker served from 1998 to 2000 as Vice President and Chief Science Advisor at Amersham Biosciences, now part of General Electric. From 1988 to 1998, Dr. Barker held senior positions, including Vice President of Research and Business Development, at Molecular Dynamics, Inc., until the acquisition of Molecular Dynamics by Amersham.

In his academic career, Dr. Barker conducted interdisciplinary research in neurobiology as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School, Assistant Professor at the University of Oregon and Associate Professor at Oregon State University. Dr. Barker holds a BS with honors in Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology and a PhD in Biochemistry from Brandeis University.

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Christopher Dewees

Christopher Dewees is a corporate attorney and company advisor with over twenty-five years of experience, principally in Silicon Valley, representing and advising small, medium and large businesses.  In addition to MiNDERA, currently Chris is providing legal and business advice to NanoConversion Technologies, an innovator in materials science.

Chris previously held senior executive positions at Hitachi Global Storage Technologies, serving as General Counsel through to its successful sale to Western Digital and at JDS Uniphase, where he led the Legal and Corporate Development departments.  Prior to moving in-house, Chris practiced at Morrison & Foerster, LLP, in San Francisco, New York and Palo Alto.  Chris received his J.D. from Northwestern University and his Bachelor's Degree from Dartmouth College.

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Sherrif Ibrahim, M.D. Ph.D.

Dr. Sherrif F. Ibrahim is an Assistant Professor of Dermatology and Oncology at the University of Rochester Medical Center. His clinical practice is devoted to the diagnosis and management of skin cancer with research interests aimed to decipher the molecular underpinnings of these diseases.

He received his undergraduate degree from MIT, MD and PhD degrees from the University of Washington, with doctoral work conducted at the Institute for Systems Biology.   He then completed a fellowship in cutaneous oncology at the University of California, San Francisco.


Jim LaFrance

Jim LaFrance has extensive executive management level experience in healthcare diagnostics including commercial leadership, strategic design and execution, and sales & marketing planning. He is a Director of Vermillion (VRML) and was elected Chairman of the Board in December 2013. He served as President and Chief Executive Officer from April to December 2014. He is also a Director of HTG Molecular (HTGM).

Before that, Mr. LaFrance was head of digital pathology and acting CEO of Omnyx, LLC for GE Healthcare. Prior to that, he held a series of commercial, strategic marketing and business development leadership roles at Ventana Medical Systems (now Roche Tissue Diagnostics), including general manager of their North American and International commercial organizations. Prior to Ventana Mr. LaFrance served in leadership roles in strategic marketing and business development at Bayer Diagnostics. He was a member of the board at Mitomics, Inc. from 2010 to 2011. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Connecticut and an MBA from the University of Notre Dame.

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Niels Odum, M.D.

Niels Odum, M.D., DMSCi, is a professor in immunology and Director of Cancer & Inflammation at Department of Immunology and Microbiology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. He has broad experience in immunology and his current research focus on T cell biology with a special emphasis on cutaneous T cell lymphoma, novel biomarkers and therapies. As a recognized authority in the field, Dr. Odum has published more than 250 papers in international peer reviewed journals. He is member of the board of The Danish Research Council and advisor to other research councils, foundations, and international organizations.

Dr. Odum obtained his medical degree (MD) at the University of Copenhagen (UC). He received additional clinical training at the State University Hospital (Rigshospitalet), Copenhagen, before he joined the Department for clinical immunology where he performed his doctoral thesis work and obtained the degree of Doctor of Medical Sciences (DMSCi). Then he became research fellow at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, USA, and Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan and associate professor at UC. In 2003 he became a tenured professor at UC, Denmark.

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Christiane Querfeld, M.D.

Christiane Querfeld, M.D. is a dermatologist and dermatopathologist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of cutaneous lymphoma. She is an Assistant Professor and Director of the Cutaneous Lymphoma Program at City of Hope National Medical Center. Her research focus has been on investigations of the biology of cutaneous lymphomas and novel therapies for these diseases and she serves as co-principal investigator on several clinical Phase I and II trials of cutaneous T cell lymphomas (CTCL). She established and maintains a longitudinal cutaneous lymphoma database on over 900 patients that provides an important tool for ongoing research. A recognized authority in the field, Dr. Querfeld has published some 80 scholarly articles on cutaneous lymphoma.

Dr. Querfeld received her medical degree at the University of Cologne and a Ph.D. at the University of Heidelberg. She then received additional training at Johns Hopkins University, University of Chicago and Northwestern University, specializing in dermatopathology and cutaneous lymphoma diagnosis and treatment. Following her training, Dr. Querfeld worked in the dermatology department at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City before joining City of Hope’s Toni Stephenson Lymphoma Center in 2014.

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Thomas Vasicek, Ph.D.

Dr. Vasicek, is a seasoned life sciences industry executive with more than 30 years’ experience. He is CEO of Gila Therapeutics, Inc., developing a novel therapy for obesity based on delivery of satiety hormones to the oral mucosa.

Tom’s extensive career ranges from academic research programs to industry collaborations. As CSO at PanGenX, he led clinical genetics and bioinformatics in the selection and curation of the scientific literature in the company’s key therapeutic areas. At HTG and Ventana, Tom led innovative diagnostics development programs. At Medtronic, he managed global biotechnology opportunity assessment, and developed groundbreaking therapies by combining Medtronic’s delivery technologies with approved drugs. Tom initiated novel clinical studies of a hepatitis-c therapy, and led obesity therapeutic clinical and pre-clinical studies. Prior to Medtronic, Tom was VP of business development of Lynx Therapeutics, Inc. (later Solexa which was then acquired by Illumina Inc.), developing and applying next generation DNA sequencing technologies for high speed, economical, whole genome analysis. Dr. Vasicek served in various management and executive roles at Millennium Pharmaceuticals and Corning Advanced Life Science Products. He consults for numerous academic and commercial organizations around the world.

Tom received his B.S in chemistry from MIT and his Ph.D. in genetics from Harvard. He also completed postdoctoral training in developmental biology at Princeton. He has authored 26 peer reviewed publications and is an inventor on four patents.

Betty Yu

Betty Yu, Sc.D.

Betty Yu brings over 15 years of experience advancing new innovations that span numerous applications for companies including Johnson and Johnson, Merck, Dow Chemical Company and Hewlett Packard. She was a founding scientist and the head of skin technology development at Living Proof, a start-up company created by Polaris Venture Partners and MIT Institute Professor Robert Langer, now co-owned by celebrity Jennifer Aniston. At Living Proof, she led the discovery and development of a first-in-class, elastic skin biomimetic polymer platform that was launched in the professional channel via a global joint venture partnership with Valeant Pharmaceuticals.
Betty received her Doctor of Science in Chemical Engineering from MIT, where she studied the mechanisms of enhancing transdermal transport. Her work was recognized by the Controlled Release Society with the excellence in doctoral research award. She also holds a Master of Science in Engineering Practice from MIT and a Bachelor of Science in Bioengineering from the University of California, Berkeley.



Tobin Dickerson

Tahir Mahmood, Secretary and Co-founder

Tahir Mahmood has built and led teams and businesses across geographies, functions and therapeutic areas. He is Chief Business Officer and Co-founder at Applied Molecular Transport, a biotech developing next generation biotherapeutics for treating immune-mediated inflammation and metabolic diseases. Previously, Tahir led the US West Coast Life Sciences practice at the consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton and was Managing Director at Lake Sherwood Partners. As a consultant, he advised executives at life sciences, healthcare provider, public and private equity investment, and global health organizations. As Visiting Investigator at The Scripps Research Institute, he co-invented and developed the technology at the core of MiNDERA's platform. He was also Principal Business Analyst at Amgen, supporting BD, M&A and strategic venture fund transactions. Earlier, he was at Chienna (acquired by OctoPlus) and IsoTis (acquired by Integra Life Sciences).

Tahir has authored numerous peer-reviewed publications and is inventor on issued and pending patents. He received a MSc in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Toronto, and holds a PhD in Chemical & Biomedical Engineering from the University of Twente (The Netherlands) and MIT.

Andrew Offer

Andrew Offer joined SHD in 2007 and is the Chief Financial Officer and a Managing Director. Prior to joining SHD, he was a senior analyst and associate at Dallas-based Value Management Group (VMG Health). At VMG Health, Mr. Offer focused on business valuation exclusively in the healthcare industry. Mr. Offer graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.B.A. in Finance from the Mays School of Business at Texas A&M University. In addition, Mr. Offer earned the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation in 2009. Mr. Offer also serves as the Chief Financial Officer for multiple portfolio companies.

Patrick Rivelli

Patrick Rivelli has been a life sciences entrepreneur and angel investor for over 23 years. He is currently Co-founder and CEO of Sonogenix, Inc., a medical device company focusing on kidney disease. He is also head of the Life Sciences Track at MIT Angels, an angel investing group comprised of MIT alums and focusing on MIT-pedigreed start-ups with a deep science / technology foundation. Rivelli previously served as CEO of Bioabsorbable Therapeutics, Inc., an absorbable coronary stent company acquired by Multi Cell Corporation; and CEO of Smart Therapeutics, an intracranial stent company acquired by Boston Scientific. He holds or has held numerous Board positions, including Chestnut Medical Technologies (acquired by Covidien); 6 Sensor Labs; SQZ Biotech; and Vascular FX (acquired by Johnson & Johnson). Rivelli holds a BA from Harvard University and a MS from MIT Sloan School of Management.



MiNDERA is a privately held company backed by Scientific Health Development, Mountain Group Partners, Primer Capital, BSPB, MIT Angels and other private investors. Please contact us at if you are interested in finding out more about our company.

MiNDERA Corporation

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