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Leadership Team

Mark Shaver

Mark Shaver, M.B.A.

Senior Director

As the Senior Director of Business Development and Strategic Alliances, Mark Shaver leads the unit within Johns Hopkins Medicine—charged with leading the exploration, expansion, development, and management of business opportunities with corporate and strategic partners. In this role, Mr. Shaver works in partnership with a wide range of Johns Hopkins faculty and senior leadership across the Johns Hopkins medical enterprise.

Most recently he led the business development efforts related to the acquisition of All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg Florida and formation a unique joint venture with Walgreens along with key strategic collaborations ranging from start-up entities Clinically Home and Medimetrix Exchange to publically traded firms such as GE Healthcare and Healthways. In addition Mr. Shaver led the efforts to fully acquire Sleep Services of America from Vital Signs, a GE Health Care subsidiary.

Previously, Mr. Shaver served as head of strategic alliances and was a member of the executive committee for Johns Hopkins Medicine International (JHI), responsible for cultivating and leading key partnerships and business development activities. During his tenure with JHI, Mr. Shaver served as the group managing director for the Global Services DepartmentPrior to that, Mr. Shaver served JHI as a managing director, responsible for securing and overseeing key health care affiliations and partnerships in Japan, Mexico, Panama and Trinidad and Tobago, which have produced over $80 million in revenues for Johns.

Mr. Shaver holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Towson State University and an M.B.A. from the University of Maryland’s R.H. Smith School of Business. He serves on the board of the Maryland Chapter of the Association of Corporate Growth, is a United Way of Central Maryland ELU Ambassador and formerly served as the Board Chair for Baltimore Medical Systems, the largest FQHC in the mid-Atlantic.

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Jonathan Zenilman M.D.

Jonathan Zenilman M.D., FACP, FIDSA

Executive Medical Director

  • Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Infectious Diseases Division at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center
  • Associate Medical Director of the Johns Hopkins Wound Center
  • Joint appointments at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the Department of Population and Family Health Sciences; Department of Epidemiology.

Dr. Zenilman is known internationally for his work in infectious disease epidemiology. Prior to coming to Johns Hopkins in 1989, he was a medical epidemiologist at the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) where he conceived, developed, and implemented the National Gonococcal Isolate Surveillance Program (GISP). GISP operated continuously since 1987, and has been responsible for identifying multiple types of resistant strains before they became large clinical problems.

In Baltimore, his activities have included directing the Baltimore City Health Department Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) program and developing the multi School Johns Hopkins Center for STI Prevention and Training.  He was one of the first to apply GIS technology to public health, and his syphilis mapping project was highlighted in Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point”. In addition to being a productive researcher and clinician, he has been active in health policy, has served as a was a Senior Medical Advisor for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (DHHS) 1995-1997, and has testified before Congress and the Maryland legislature on infectious diseases related issues.

He became Chief of the Infectious Diseases Division at Johns Hopkins Bayview in 2003. Under his leadership, the Bayview Division has increased from 1.5 to 9 faculty members, and developed major clinical and research programs in STIs, hospital epidemiology, antibiotic stewardship and skin and soft tissue infections. Bayview has also become a center for Phase1 through Phase 3 clinical trials for new antimicrobials and wound care products.

Dr. Zenilman has >290 publications and is can active teacher, and has mentored > 40 fellows and residents during his career. He received his BA from Cornell University in chemistry his MD from SUNY-Downstate in Brooklyn NY, and trained at SUNY-Kings County Hospital in Internal Medicine and did his infectious diseases fellowship at Emory University in Atlanta. He is board-certified in internal medicine and infectious diseases, and is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and of the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

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Dr. Bruce Leff, photo

Bruce Leff, M.D., F.A.C.P., A.G.S.F.

Medical Director

  • Professor of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University
  • Joint Appointment in the Department of Health Policy and Management
  • Director, Center on Aging and Health Program in Geriatric Health Services Research

Dr. Leff is an internationally recognized leader and researcher in the development, evaluation, and dissemination of novel models of care for older adults, including the Hospital at HomeGuided Care, geriatric service line models (, and medical house call practices ( In addition, his research interests extend to issues related to multi-morbidity, performance measurement, and case-mix issues. He has a strong interest in health policy issues, is a Health and Aging Policy Fellow of the American Political Science Association, and has served on multiple technical expert panels for the center for Medicare and Medicaid services. Dr. Leff is an award-winning teacher and mentor and is also involved in directing the basic Medicine Clerkship in the School of Medicine. He currently serves as President of the American Academy of Home Care Physicians as well as a member of the Board of Regents of the American College of Physicians.

As medical director, Dr. Leff will represent faculty, clinical staff, and researchers at Johns Hopkins and sever as a liaison with the business development team. In this capacity he will serve as an advisor to the team for any academic issues and considerations in the ongoing development of projects and products. 

Dr. Leff received his B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1983 and his M.D. from New York University in 1987. After residency and fellowship training at Johns Hopkins, he served as a medical officer in the US army in Seoul, Korea, before joining the faculty in the Department of Medicine in 1994.  He serves on the scientific advisory board of Amedysis (AMED) and the clinical systems innovation community for the West Health Institute.

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photo of Drew Pardoll

Drew Pardoll, M.D., Ph.D.

Medical Director

  • Professor of Oncology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
  • Director, Cancer Immunology Program, The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center

Dr. Pardoll is an Abeloff Professor of Oncology, Medicine, Pathology and Molecular Biology and Genetics at the Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine. He is Director of the Cancer Immunology in the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dr. Pardoll completed his M.D., Ph.D, Medical Residency and Oncology Fellowship at Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Pardoll has published over 250 papers as well as over 20 book chapters on the subject of T cell immunology and cancer vaccines. He has served on the editorial board of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute and Cancer Cell, and has served as a member of  scientific advisory boards for:

  • The Cancer Research Institute
  • The University of Pennsylvania Human Gene Therapy Gene Institute
  • Biologic Resources Branch of the National Cancer Institute
  • Harvard-Dana Farber Cancer Center
  • Cerus Corporation
  • Global Medical Products Corporation
  • Genencor Corporation
  • CellGenesys Corporation
  • Mojave Therapeutics
  • The American Association of Clinical Oncology
  • The American Association of Cancer Research

Dr. Pardoll has made a number of basic advances in Cellular Immunology, including the discovery of gamma - delta T cells, NKT cells and interferon-producing killer dendritic cells. Over the past two decades, Dr. Pardoll has studied molecular aspects of dendritic cell biology and immune regulation, particularly related to mechanisms by which cancer cells evade elimination by the immune system. He is an inventor of a number of immunotherapies, including GVAX cancer vaccines and Listeria monocytogenes based cancer vaccines.

Dr. Pardoll’s basic immunology discoveries include the identification of specific T cell populations, NKT cells and IKDC. He elucidated the role of Stat3 signaling in tumor immune evasion and in Th17 development, leading to the discovery that Stat3-driven Th17 responses promote carcinogenesis. Dr. Pardoll discovered one of the two ligands for the PD-1 inhibitory receptor and leads the Hopkins cancer immunology program that developed PD-1 pathway-targeted antibodies, demonstrating their clinical activity in multiple cancer types. His more than 250 articles cover cancer vaccines, gene therapies, cancer prevention technologies, recombinant immune modulatory agents for specific pathways that regulate immunity to cancer and infectious diseases.

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Annastasiah Mudiwa Mhaka, PhD

Annastasiah Mudiwa Mhaka, Ph.D.

Director of Life Sciences

As Director of Life Sciences, Dr. Mhaka works closely with the key faculty and leadership in identifying and developing external partnerships that maximize the benefit and impact for Johns Hopkins Medicine. In her role, Dr. Mhaka explores opportunities both within JHM and externally, and manages and implements those partnerships with the business community.  

Dr. Mhaka most recently worked at Booz & Company, developing market entry strategy, business unit diversification, portfolio prioritization and financing strategies for Pharma and Biotech companies. Previously, she was with Acidophil, LLC, as an entrepreneurial manager, helping to build new biotechnology companies, successfully co-launching two initiatives that address underserved needs in cardiovascular disease and environmental sustainability.  

While pursuing her Ph.D. in cellular and molecular medicine here at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Mhaka led the synthetic chemistry effort in a biologically-oriented group to discover new therapeutics for treatment of cancer and generated a chemical entity currently in Phase I/II clinical trials. Dr. Mhaka received a B.S. in chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh.

Originally from Zimbabwe, Dr. Mhaka witnessed first-hand the ravages of disease as loved ones succumbed to preventable illnesses. She came to a very early and acute understanding of the urgency of disease prevention and cure. Dr. Mhaka remains focused on developing solutions to some of the most fundamental health challenges that face our world today.

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Nancy Riess

Nancy Riess, M.B.A.


Nancy brings valuable experience in marketing, technology and product development to Johns Hopkins Medicine. She has a proven ability to analyze the marketplace, build insights and understand trends, and transform concepts into tangible results.

Most recently, Nancy Riess served as a strategic consultant to the Johns Hopkins University senior leadership team to develop business cases and executive presentations, and develop and implement new initiatives.

Previously she served as a vice president for Interactive Technologies, a strategic marketing and technology solutions firm. In this capacity, Nancy led key engagements with large corporations and several educational institutions, including JHU.

As the Director of New Business at 180s Performance Apparel, Nancy successfully launched its private label business, partnering with high profile brands including Gap, Banana Republic, Land's End, and Joseph A Bank, among others. As part of the business development effort, Nancy initiated strategic relationships with the brands, defined the product opportunity and facilitated operational implementation. Separately, her team was awarded a $40 million apparel contract for the U.S. Marine Corps.

Nancy earned her M.B.A. from U.C. Berkeley's Haas School of Business and holds a B.S. from M.I.T. in Materials Engineering.

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Awais Akbar

Awais Akbar, M.B.A.

Senior Associate

Awais Akbar's role as Senior Associate includes developing and growing strategic partnerships. Mr. Akbar most recently led a team within Johns Hopkins Medicine through the acquisition of controlling interest of Sleep Services of America; along with management of key strategic relationships with external partners, such as Walgreens. Additionally, Mr. Akbar focuses on the development of business strategies based on faculty initiated research, such as consulting relationships and private investment opportunities, while assisting faculty and other key leaders throughout the Johns Hopkins medical enterprise.

Mr. Akbar has been with Johns Hopkins Medicine since 2008, managing projects in the Middle East and North Africa, where he oversaw the creation and implementation of a clinical operation at a molecular imaging center in Abu Dhabi.  Mr. Akbar holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and information systems from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and an M.B.A. from Loyola University’s Sellinger School of Business and Management in Baltimore. He also serves as President on the Sellinger Graduate Alumni Board of Directors.

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Sean Evans

Sean L. Evans, Ph.D.

Commercialization Associate – Life Sciences Fellow

Dr. Evans joined Business Development & Strategic Alliances as the Office’s inaugural life sciences post-doctoral business fellow. As Commercialization Associate, he identifies and facilitates strategic partnerships between Johns Hopkins researchers and private business partners to commercialize university life sciences’ technology and know-how assets. Additionally, in this role, he reviews a variety of technologies, analyzes market data to understand technology value and trends, as well as manages faculty and business partner relationships.

Dr. Evans recently finished his graduate work in Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. His doctoral thesis focused on HIV-host protein interactions and developing methods to disrupt molecular interactions critical for HIV survival. Dr. Evans has co-authored eleven peer-reviewed journal articles, was a recipient of the Ruth L. Kirschtein National Research Service Award Pre-doctoral Fellowship, as well as co-authored and secured an NIH R21 grant for research related to his dissertation.

Recognizing his desire to utilize his life sciences research experience in a commercialization and business setting, Dr. Evans became a part-time Analyst Intern with the Johns Hopkins Office of Technology Transfer in his last year of graduate school. In this capacity, he reviewed new technologies from multiple fields as well as performed patent and market analyses in order to generate a technical report and marketing summary for each invention.

Dr. Evans’ desire to help develop and facilitate healthcare solutions to address our world’s leading public health challenges stems not only from his public health training in infectious disease, but also from his health and education volunteer experience as a Peace Corps volunteer in Tanzania.

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Sarah Feldman

Sarah Feldman


Sarah Feldman started her career with Johns Hopkins Medicine International (JHI) in 2008, where she served as a member of the Guest Services team, helping to coordinate care for the international patient community. She joined the Johns Hopkins Medicine International Business Development team in 2009, where she coordinated office logistics as well as project research.

Ms. Feldman’s current role as Associate includes office management and coordination, project analysis, and research. In addition, Ms. Feldman is passionate about Johns Hopkins Medicine’s efforts to support the local community, and is active in community outreach and special projects through the United Way of Central Maryland, and serves as a committee member for Emerging Leaders United (ELU). Ms. Feldman, who is fluent in Spanish, holds a bachelor's degree from Goucher College.

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Ashley Fennig

Ashley Fennig

Senior Associate

Ashley Fennig brings additional financial expertise to the Business Development team in her role as Senior Associate. Her talents support a number of key areas for the team, including business logistics and planning and coordination, along with financial and analytic support. Additionally, Ms. Fennig is involved with United Way of Central Maryland, as an Emerging Leaders United (ELU) Ambassador, and a team lead for RunUnited. Ms. Fennig has previously worked at IBM, serving as senior financial consultant. Her role there focused on the complex support of the U.S. Postal Service, specifically related to network operations, finance and strategic planning as well as forecasting activities. Ms. Fennig holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance from James Madison University.

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