Medical Advisors - Verséa

Scientific Advisory Team
Regardless of which division within Verséa, our committed medical and executive team provides transformative health solutions for patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals, delivered with care!


Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Verséa Discovery

“Dr Toby” is also the Chief Medical Officer of Summit Institute and Desert Clinic Pain Institute that has 17 locations in Southern California. Prior to going into private practice, he held an appointment as associate clinical professor of anesthesiology and psychiatry and as the director of clinical pain research at the University of California San Diego. He is double-board certified in Anesthesiology and Pain Management and became an assistant clinical professor and enrolled in the masters program for clinical research. He joined the VA San Diego Healthcare System and established his pain clinic there serving the Veteran population. Dr. Toby also serves as the Director of Research with Vitamed Research, LLC., conducting research projects and trials in the field of pain and neurosciences. Dr. Toby served as the director for clinical pain research at UCSD, is well published and is an associate clinical professor (voluntary) with the University of California Riverside School of Medicine. Toby was part of the founding team of Verséa, where he understands that there is an unmet need to further the science of the Endocannabinoid System to find solutions for patients looking for alternative therapy treatments.
Head of Medical AffairsJEFF GUDIN, M.D.

Dr. Gudin is board certified in pain management, anesthesiology, addiction medicine, and hospice and palliative medicine. In addition, he is a medical acupuncturist and the former New Jersey State Representative for the American Academy of Pain Medicine. He received his medical degree from Albany Medical College in Albany, New York. He completed his residency in anesthesiology at the Yale University School of Medicine and his fellowship at The Yale Center for Pain Management, New Haven, Connecticut. While in New Haven, he also trained in addiction medicine and directed a substance abuse treatment center. For the past 19 years, Dr. Gudin was Director of Pain Management and Palliative Care at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center. He is now a Clinical Associate Professor of Anesthesiology at the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. He remains active in teaching and research, and has lectured internationally on a variety of topics in pain management, palliative care, and addiction medicine. He attends and has presented at the American Pain Society, American Academy of Pain Management, American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, as well as many other national venues. He serves as a consultant to state medical boards on challenging cases, as well as to industry on novel analgesic products and risk management associated with opioids.
Chief Scientific Officer - Verséa DiscoveryProf. HEMAL PATEL, Ph.D.

Dr. Patel was appointed as CSO of Versea Discovery in December 2021. He is also a Professor and Vice-Chair for Research in the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of California, San Diego, where he has been since 2002. Dr. Patel’s career has focused on developing an integrated understanding of the organism by studying whole animal and cell physiology techniques focusing on bio-membranes and cellular energetics.

He has broad interests in cardiovascular disease, cancer biology, neuroscience, aging, and diabetes. Recent work in his laboratory has focused on the biological potential of human blood for therapeutic discovery and personalized medicine approaches for therapy optimization. He has published over 170 original manuscripts, reviews, and book chapters featured in prominent journals such as Science, Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences, Nature Communications, Journal of Biological Chemistry, FASEB Journal, and Circulation. He has given over 70 research seminars nationally and internationally.

He serves as a senior editor and editorial board member for seven international journals and reviews grants for the National Institutes of Health, Veterans Administration, and many national and international foundations. Research grants have continuously funded his laboratory since 2005. Dr. Patel has developed international expertise in mitochondrial biology and unique approaches to assess the impact of molecules, biologics, and complex mixtures in regulating mitochondrial function, structure, and dynamics. Dr. Patel will bring his wealth of expertise in biology and mitochondria to the development of Versea Discovery in multiple ventures to provide platforms for the advancement of therapies in multiple disciplines.
Strategic Advisor, Verséa CorporateDr. KARENA WU

Karena Wu, PT, DPT, COMT, CSCS, CKTP, CPI Dr. Karena Wu is Owner and Clinical Director of ActiveCare Physical Therapy® in NYC and Mumbai. She is a native of Los Angeles, California and has a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of California at Riverside. She has been practicing physical therapy for over 19 years in New York City. She graduated with a Masters Degree in Physical Therapy from the Program In Physical Therapy at Columbia University and received her Clinical Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Temple University. She has advanced training in manual therapies, specifically in the Maitland Australian Approach and Myofascial Release. She is a Board-Certified Clinical Specialist in Orthopedic Physical Therapy, a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists and on Maitland Australian Physiotherapy Seminars (MAPS) Faculty. Karena is also a Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist, Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Kinesiology Tape Practitioner and Pilates Instructor. She holds LSVT BIG, FMS and SFMA Level 1 certifications as well. Karena actively networks with a team of physicians, chiropractors, acupuncturists, massage therapists, personal trainers and Pilates instructors regarding optimum treatment options for patients. Her patient population consists of high net worth professionals, international royalty, professional athletes, dancers, chefs, celebrity Broadway/TV/film stars, and NYPD/FDNY. Karena is used as a healthcare expert on CBS, NBC, NY1, PIX11, Facebook Live, Verizon Fios, Fox News, The Doctors and Dr. Oz. She is the Medical Director for the Association of Volleyball Professionals (AVP), the US professional beach volleyball tournament series. Karena was also the Director of Education for SpiderTech Kinesiology Tape.
Chief Scientific Officer, Verséa AgroTechPERRY DAVID LIDSTER, Ph.D.

Perry David Lidster, Ph.D. is an awarded scientist, innovator, and successful businessman with impressive agriculture expertise. He has built and managed several commercial organizations where he used his expertise to develop novel agricultural solutions.

As President & CEO of iFood Packaging Systems Corp. (2015-2022)  Dr. Lidster developed novel, natural food safe packaging facilities and materials for fresh produce and an international model for the manufacture, sales and marketing of modified atmosphere boxes and sanitizing applications for Worldwide application.

As Chief Operating Officer of The SunBlush Technologies Corporation (1997-2009), Dr Lidster successfully restructured the company and created a profitable new company FreshXtend Technologies Corp. He developed a revenue generating portfolio that included proprietary products and processes for fresh-cut fruit, vegetables and flowers (patented range of antioxidants for fresh-cut fruit and vegetables, patented universal fruit base for all natural nutriceutical beverages, MAP applications for fresh-cut kiwi fruit, nitric oxide for preservations of fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers, modified atmosphere production systems for fresh greenhouse crops). Dr. Lidster negotiated and implemented international and world-wide licenses for: fresh cut fruits and vegetables, universal fruit bases, modified atmosphere process for grape tomatoes and vine sweet mini peppers, and modified atmosphere transport of produce.

Dr. Lidster also gained extensive experience in operational management of large research programmes and centres in both government (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Research Branch – EX02 level, 1978 to 1997), public and private industry organizations. He was a Director of Agassiz and Lacombe / Beaverlodge / Fort Vermilion Research Centres and fruit, vegetable and flower postharvest physiology research scientist.

As Managing Director of Advanced Food and Materials Network (2011 to 2015), Dr. Lidster managed an International Food research Network for the Canadian National Centers of Excellence, and as President & CEO of AG-WEST BIO INC. (2009 to 2010), he developed a five-year strategic plan and an investment consortia to support a wide range of developing agricultural and forestry biotechnology businesses in Saskatchewan.

Dr. Lidster developed collaborative research and development programs with Universities and Government research organizations in Canada, United States, New Zealand, Australia, England and Europe.

His scientific credentials include 16 patents, 55 refereed research publications, and 160+ miscellaneous technical and research publications. He was awarded a Silver Medal for contributions to Agricultural Research by the Royal Society of Arts (London, England, UK) in 1987.
Strategic Advisor, Verséa CorporateDAVID KLOTH, M.D.

Dr. David Kloth specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of complex chronic pain and has been practicing full-time interventional pain management since 1991. He is currently the Section Chief and Medical Director for Interventional Pain Management at OrthoConnecticut, a multispecialty practice with 9 offices throughout the state of Connecticut. Dr. Kloth originally founded Connecticut Pain Care, now a division of OrthoConnecticut, in 1995. Dr. Kloth has been a national and local leader in pain management for more than 20 years. He frequently lectures at national meetings and regularly teaches physicians in training. He has co-authored numerous articles and a book for patients, Pain Wise (available on Amazon, all proceeds go to ASIPP). His education includes graduating from Union College in 1983 and medical school at New York University School of Medicine, where he graduated in 1987. In 1991 he completed his formal training in anesthesiology and pain management through the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Kloth is an anesthesiologist by background and is board certified by the ABA in Anesthesiology with Added qualifications in Pain Management. He was the first physician in the state of Connecticut to be certified by the American Board of Interventional Pain Physicians (ABIPP). Dr. Kloth has served as President of two national medical societies, the North American Neuromodulation Society (NANS), and the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians (ASIPP). He joined the board of the North American Neuromodulation Society in 2007 and continues to have an active role with the society as a Senior Advisor to the board and Co-chair of the Advocacy and Policy Committee. He served on the board of the American Society of Interventional Pain Physicians (ASIPP) from its inception in 1998 until 2014. In 2000, Dr. Kloth founded the Connecticut Pain Society and served as their President for 10 years, he continues as their Senior Advisor.
Strategic Advisor, Verséa CorporateADAM SACKSTEIN, M.D.

With nearly 30 years experience in the field, Dr. Sackstein brings an immense amount of knowledge in the pain management field to his work as director of Pain Center at Hamilton and founding partner at Pain Control Associates PC.

After earning his Doctor of Medicine from State University of New York, he completed an internal medicine internship at Staten University Hospital in New York and an anesthesiology residency at Yale New Haven Hospital in Connecticut.

Dr. Sackstein has worked as director of the Pain Center at Hamilton since 1996. He became a founding partner at Pain Control Associates PC in 1995. He served as president of the New Jersey Society of Interventional Pain Physicians in 2009 and has been a member of their executive committee for more than a decade. Dr. Sackstein is also chairman of the executive committee at The Surgery Center at Hamilton in New Jersey and treasurer of Premier Surgical Center in Marlton NJ.

Looking at the future of pain management, Dr. Sackstein is excited by the advancements in neurostimulation as well as regenerative medicine. He also believes there will be an expanded role for CBD and cannabinoids in treatment.

Medication management, such as using opioid analgesics and a variety of adjuvant medications, is part of a multi-pronged approach Dr. Sackstein takes with patient treatment. “I believe that it is essential that a patient be well informed, ask questions and participate in the decisions surrounding their treatment.”
Head of Clinical DevelopmentMONIL SHAH, PharmD, MBA

Monil Shah is a Senior, C-level executive with over 20 years of pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry experience in oncology, dermal, and pain drug development. Dr. Shah is the Chief Development Officer at WindMIL Therapeutics and Clinical Development consultant at TKL Research working on optimizing dermal and pain therapeutics. He was the Chief Operating Officer of IRX Therapeutics /Brooklyn ImmunoTherapeutics. Prior to that, he was the Medical Affairs Lead for Immuno-Oncology at Bristol Myers Squibb. Dr. Shah was Head of Clinical Operations and Development at Ventrus Biosciences working on their GI pain NCE/NME and 505(b)(2) portfolio prior to its merger with Assembly Biosciences. Prior to Ventrus, Dr. Shah led the solid tumor development programs and led the clinical portfolio and strategic planning function at Celgene Corporation. He led the Oncology Development and Operations activities at Fibrogen and Novacea. Dr. Shah began his career at Novartis in the Oncology Early Development Group leading clinical trials prior to joining the Medical Sciences Group at Amgen. Dr. Shah received his BS and PharmD degrees from Rutgers University in New Jersey and his MBA from Florida Institute of Technology.
Head of Regulatory AffairsKIP VOUGHT

Senior pharmaceutical R&D and regulatory executive with over 20 years of industry experience across major global markets with an underlying philosophy that R&D supports commercial. Highly experienced in determining and executing efficient and cost-effective global development program. Successful leadership in preparation and conduct of Agency meetings (PIND and equivalent, EOP1,EOP2, and PNDA/MAA and regional equivalents) obtaining agreement on data requirements for introducing pharmaceutical products to the clinic, progressing through development including conduct of pivotal studies, and preparation/submission of market applications. Regulatory strategy development includes obtaining orphan drug status, Fast Track status (and global equivalents), and accelerated approval for orphan indications and/or breakthrough therapies. Successful leadership in the execution of development programs through preclinical development to market approvals, and supporting commercial products (i.e., post-approval studies to support label changes, promotional materials, and CMC changes). Indications include oncology, analgesia, dermatology, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, anti-infectives, and pulmonary/respiratory. Experience extends to NCE/NMEs, repurposed drugs (505(b)(2)/10(c) and equivalents), siRNAs, monoclonal antibodies, oligonucleotides, biologics, high-value generics, and over-the-counter (OTC) products (including novel dosage forms). Dosage forms include solid oral (including modified release), topical/transdermal (patches, creams, ointments, gels, etc.), sprays (oral and topical), inhalation, nasal, and parenteral. Lead in technical due diligence in both in-licensing and out-licensing business development, including M&A. Served as primary lead in technical due diligence on behalf of financial institutions (private equity, venture capital, investment banks).
Medical Advisor - OphthalmologyVICENTE DIAZ, MD, MBA

Dr. Vicente Diaz specializes in ocular inflammatory and infectious diseases. Dr. Diaz’ practice also includes Comprehensive Ophthalmology, treating ailments such as Dry Eye Syndrome, Glaucoma, and Cataracts. His research interests include novel immunomodulatory therapies for the treatment of non-infectious inflammatory disease, management of Stevens Johnson’s Syndrome, a potentially lethal autoimmune disease, and innovative therapies in glaucoma.

Dr. Diaz is an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Science and Chief of Ophthalmology at the Yale Health Plan, addressing the eye needs of the Yale faculty, students, employees, and their families. He is the Director of Diversity and Inclusion for the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science at Yale University. Dr. Diaz is also Director of Ophthalmology for the Bridgeport Hospital Burn Unit, where he oversees the care of all patients with Stevens Johnson’s Syndrome in the state of Connecticut.

Dr. Diaz was voted among the top eye doctors in Fairfield County in the Fairfield Advocate’s 2012 and 2013 reader’s polls. After graduating from Ophthalmology residency at Yale University, he completed a fellowship in Ocular Immunology & Infectious Disease at The New York Eye & Ear Infirmary where he was recently on the clinical and research faculty. He is currently a co-investigator on several FDA clinical trials of novel immunomodulatory therapies for inflammatory diseases, sponsored by companies such as Abbott, Novartis, and Lux Biosciences.

Dr. Diaz is also active in the surrounding community, with a presence that has grown consistently throughout his tenure in the Tri-State, including an appointment as keynote speaker at the 2011 Puerto Rican Festival in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Dr. Diaz founded the La Unidad Latina Medical Guild and was the architect of their annual medical mission to the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, and Honduras where he performs surgery, teaches medical residents, and cares for patients in need; the team created by Dr. Diaz sees between 3,000 – 5,000 patients abroad annually. Dr. Diaz received his BA from Brown University, his MD from Yale School of Medicine, and his MBA at Yale School of Management.
Medical AdvisorMICHAEL WAX, D.C.
Dr. Michael Wax was born and raised in Pennsylvania. He moved to Atlanta, Georgia in the early 1990’s to pursue his healthcare education. After successfully owning and operating 4 multispecialty practices Dr. Wax sold in 2014 to pursue another healthcare focused business.
In 2006 Dr. Wax, along with his partner created the largest SAAS injury network in Georgia. The model was designed to assist law firms and their clients who are often the under and uninsured get proper medical care after being injured. The model has been coined the Facebook or Linked in of Injuries and they are now expanding in multiple states.
Dr. Michael Wax has spoken and continues to speak on various topics to state associations and organizations about pain management, injury care and prevention and best practices across multiple practice types.
Medical AdvisorBEN SEEMAN, D.O.

After graduating from the University of Georgia in 1997, he attended and earned his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) from the acclaimed Des Moines University School of Osteopathic Medicine. In 2002, Ben came to Richmond, Virginia to further his training. His first year was with Chesterfield Family Practice participating in a rotating internship in Family Medicine. Then he completed a three-year residency in the prestigious Virginia Commonwealth University/ Medical College of Virginia’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. In 2006, Dr. Seeman was awarded a select fellowship at VCU/MCV in interventional pain management. Following completion of the fellowship, he worked with Tuckahoe Orthopedic Group, in Richmond, VA. Ben opened his own practice in 2008 to pursue his vision of integrative pain care to treat patients through a combination of traditional and alternative therapies. Ben is board-certified through the American Board of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation with a certification in the sub-specialty of Pain Medicine. He is an active member of many professional societies, including the International Spine Intervention Society, the North American Spine Society, and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
Medical AdvisorROBERT NORTON, M.D.

Robert Norton, M.D. Dr. Norton obtained his medical training from the prestigious Jefferson Medical College, graduating Magna Cum Laude and with the highest honor of being inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society. He then completed an orthopaedic surgery residency at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital. While at Miami, he was appointed Administrative Chief Resident and had the fortune of training with nationally recognized orthopaedic and neurosurgical academic spine surgeons. Following residency, Dr. Norton completed advanced training in spine surgery at the New York University Hospital for Joint Diseases, one of the most sought after and prestigious spine fellowship in the country. While at NYU, he obtained specialized instruction in the surgical and non-operative management of complex spinal conditions by several pioneers in the field. Throughout his career, Dr. Norton has authored multiple publications on a variety of topics related to spine surgery in numerous peer-reviewed journals and textbooks. He has received several research grants. Skilled in the most advanced surgical techniques and emerging technologies, Dr. Norton offers expertise in all aspects of spine care. Procedures that he specializes in range from non-operative management options such as epidural and facet injections to degenerative or deformity conditions of the spine demanding complex surgical reconstruction.
Medical AdvisorMARK WALLACE, M.D.

Dr. Wallace, MD, is a board-certified anesthesiologist who specializes in multi-modal pain management. As a pain management specialist, he evaluates, diagnoses and treats all forms of pain, though most of his patients are affected by chronic pain. Since 1996, Dr. Wallace has been program director of UC San Diego Health’s Center for Pain Medicine, which is dedicated to reducing and eliminating suffering, and improving function in individuals with lower-back or other spine-related pain issues, joint and muscular-skeletal pain or pain due to surgery, injury, nerve damage, psychological factors and metabolic problems such as diabetes. He has been researching and utilizing Cannabis in chronic pain for over 24 years. He was awarded the first research grant collaboration with the FDA and medical cannabis back in 1996 and continues to speak worldwide on the topic Dr Wallace has been published 155 times and has been a lead investigator in 4 clinical trials.
Medical AdvisorBRIAN BURROUGH, M.D.

Dr. Burrough is a board-certified anesthesiologist with subspecialty certification in Pain Medicine. Prior to pursuing a career in medicine, he earned a master’s degree in Physical Therapy and practiced in South Florida for 3 years. He then earned a medical degree from the University of Miami and went on to complete residency in Anesthesia at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. After completing residency, he accepted a position as clinical fellow in Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School. During fellowship at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Dr. Burrough completed training in Interventional Pain Medicine. Upon completion of training, he returned to South Florida, where he has been in private practice treating patients with painful conditions. Dr. Burrough practices interventional pain medicine alongside his partners at Florida Spine Associates. He is well versed in the field of neuromodulation and helps many patients with spinal cord stimulation therapy. He also has a special interest in the emerging field of regenerative medicine.
Medical AdvisorAARON HAIRE, DPM

Focus on foot and ankle injuries and sports medicine.
Undergraduate, South Carolina State University
Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine
Surgical training, MetroWest Medical Center
Member, American Podiatric Medical Association
Member, South Carolina Podiatric Medical Association
Board qualified, American Board of Podiatric Medicine
Associate, American College of Foot & Ankle Orthopedics and Medicine.
Medical AdvisorIGOR TUROK, M.D.

Igor Turok, MD, is the expert interventional pain management physician at Comprehensive Neurology and Pain Center of Connecticut. At his practice locations in Wallingford and Stamford, Connecticut, Dr. Turok takes a holistic approach to every patient’s medical or aesthetic situation. He is one of 200 physicians in the nation who is board-certified in Neurology and Anesthesia, Interventional Pain Management.

Dr. Turok received his interventional pain management training at Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City—one of the top interventional pain management programs in the nation. He completed his neurology training at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, which is one of the highest-ranked departments in the Northeast and one of the leading programs in the nation.

Before opening his private practice, Dr. Turok was a Director of Neurology and Pain Management at Masonicare Health Center at the Wallingford and Newtown, Connecticut, locations. He also worked as a Director of Neurology and Pain Management at Gracie Square Hospital in New York City. Dr. Turok has been involved in palliative care and hospice settings, and acted as a Medical Director at Jakow Perlow Hospice of New York. As a pain management specialist, Dr. Turok had been exposed to the field of addiction, which led him to become a Director of St. Vincent’s Methadone Clinic.

Remaining active in his field, Dr. Turok maintains memberships with the American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine, the American Academy of Neurology and Psychiatry, the American Society of Anesthesiologists, and the International Spine Intervention Society