Ms. Helena Cowley, MS, MBA, CEO

As the CEO, Ms. Cowley drives action with a solid scientific understanding and a result oriented focus. She holds a Master’s degree in Bioengineering and a MBA degree from the University of Florida.

Ms. Cowley started her career as a Research Engineer at Volvo Car Corporation, which followed by various research functions related to medical devices, and enzyme therapeutics.

Her research has resulted in two pending patents and she has been instrumental in Captozyme’s proof-of-principle in vivo studies and the receipt of five SBIR grants.
Qingshan Li, PhD, CSO

Dr. Qing-Shan Li is a co-founder and CSO of Captozyme. Qing-Shan graduated from East China University of Science and Technology in 1994 with a PhD in Biochemical Engineering.

From 1998 to 2001, he held post-doctoral research positions at Kyoto University and Stuttgart University. He subsequently entered into a Research Scientist position at the University of Kansas under the direction of Professor’s Robert Hanzlick and Robert Borchardt (2001-2005).

In 2005, Qing-Shan joined OxThera Inc. (Alachua, FL) where he continued to reside as a R&D Director until establishing Captozyme.
Aaron Cowley, PhD, MBA, COO

As the co-founder and COO, Dr. Cowley strives to build Captozyme into a renowned player in the biotech community. He holds a Bachelor’s (Biochemistry), PhD (Inorganic Chemistry) and MBA degree from Benedictine College, University of Kansas and the University of Florida, respectively.

He was the recipient of the prestigious Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service award for his post-doctoral work at the University of Georgia, and his work has culminated in 15 peer reviewed journal articles.

Dr. Cowley was a Scientist II/Preclinical Manager at OxThera Inc. (Alachua, FL) prior to establishing Captozyme in 2009.
 
Tracey Francis, MS, Bookkeeper

Tracey Francis graduated from the University of Florida with a Master's degree in Accounting and has been working in the accounting field for 25 years. Tracey has worked as an accountant for various private companies and as an accountant and auditor for the state of Florida.

Tracey currently tutors college-level accounting and economics and also works as a USA Archery tournament judge. As a part of the team, Tracey does the daily bookkeeping and accounting for Captozyme.
Jasmine Hagan, BS, Quality Assurance Manager

Jasmine Hagan earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biology with a focus in Chemistry and Biochemistry from the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC.

As Quality Assurance Manager, she is responsible for all aspects of the QA Document Control and the Product Data Group. She also manages and supports a variety of processes including material and finished goods release, equipment management, and change control.

Mrs. Hagan has extensive experience in Quality Management, working in ISO 17025, ISO 17065, cGMP, OSHA and laboratory management systems. Jasmine enjoys taking on new challenges and finding innovative, well thought out solutions to accomplishing goals.
Ryan Gerds,APR,CPRC,Director of Marketing

Mr. Gerds is a graduate of the University of Florida with a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise & Sports Science. He also earned his MBA from Saint Leo University.

His current role as Director of Marketing involves leading the marketing, advertising and public relations efforts of the company. His team serves as the voice of the consumer throughout the organization, from product development to consumer interactions and leads all corporate and branding marketing related efforts.

Mr. Gerds is Accredited in Public Relations (APR) by the Universal Accreditation Board and has earned his Certified Public Relations Counselor (CPRC) designation from the Florida Public Relations Association.
 
Colette Castleberry, PhD, Service Laboratory Manager

Dr. Colette Castleberry has a BS in Chemistry with honors and a PhD in Analytical Chemistry. Her undergraduate and graduate research applied instrumental techniques to molecular biology. Her industrial experience in R&D and QA expanded her instrumental knowledge and its application to food, ingredient, and trace level analysis.

As Service Lab Manager, Dr. Castleberry drives projects with both R&D and Q&A mindsets – always inspired by improving quality of life through new biochemical solutions.
Erik Nordwald, PhD, Senior Scientist

Dr. Nordwald has a BS in chemical engineering and a PhD in chemical and biological engineering. His thesis involved exploiting various types of protein engineering, such as post-translational modification and mutagenesis to understand protein thermodynamics and kinetics in solutions with high organic salt content and then use this information to engineer enzymes to have high stability in such media.

Dr. Nordwald hopes to use his skillset to bring new biological solutions to market to improve the quality of life across the world. Currently, he is working to bring solutions to oxalate-related disease via decreasing oxalate content in the body.
Isabella Ramos, BS, Marketing Manager

Mrs. Ramos earned a bachelor’s degree in advertising from the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications.

Her current role as Marketing Manager involves strategic, customer relations and project management of all marketing efforts for Captozyme and the launch of Nephure™.

Mrs. Ramos will apply past agency experience managing accounts from retail automotive to higher education toward the successful launch of Nephure™ and any other marketing or branding efforts.
 
Jeff Heslep, BS, Assistant Lab Manager (Client Services)

Mr. Heslep is a graduate of Santa Fe College with a Bachelor’s degree in Clinical Laboratory Science focusing on Biotechnology and Medical Technology.

His current role as a Assistant Laboratory Manager involves assisting in new method development for the efficient manufacturing of a live therapeutic. He also enjoys technical installations, equipment calibration, and keeping the laboratory equipment running properly.

Mr. Heslep completed his Medical Technologist internship at North Florida Regional Medical Center and is passionate about clinical research.
Peiyu Wang, MS, Lab Technician

Mr. Wang obtained his Master’s degree in materials engineering at the University of Florida. Prior to joining Captozyme, he worked in a bio-chemistry project at UF’s Chemical Engineering Department for one year.

Mr. Wang currently works in the R&D Laboratory of Captozyme. As a Laboratory Technician, his responsibilities include operating fermenters and perform experiments for Captozyme’s research and development.
Meekah Chaderton, BS, Assistant Lab Manager (QC)

Ms. Chaderton is a recent graduate of the University of Florida with a background in microbiology and cell science.

As Assistant Lab Manager, she is involved in product development, method development, optimization, and assay validations along with managing day-to-day activities within the QC laboratories. Ms. Chaderton is also a part of the Customer Relations Management team—furthering consumer knowledge about oxalates and kidney health.

Ms. Chaderton has past research experience with Shand’s Hospital at the University of Florida and aims to further her education in the medical field.
 
Ming Yang, BS, MS, Lab Technician

Ms. Yang received her Bachelor’s degree in Material Science and Engineering from Shandong University and a Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Florida.

As a Lab Technician in the Client Services Lab, she assists in stability studies of different kinds of lyophilized powder. Ms. Yang aims to develop her skills and knowledge in the microbiology field. She longs to make a bigger contribution to this growing group.
Courtney Hess, BA, Administrative Assistant

Mrs. Hess is a graduate of Florida State University with a Bachelor’s degree in English Education.

As the Administrative Assistant, Mrs. Hess oversees the daily purchasing, shipping, and receiving duties for the company. She plays an integral role in the development and implementation of many office processes by applying her extensive experience in office environments.

Mrs. Hess spent over ten years teaching at the secondary level and looks forward to being a part of the growth of Captozyme, backed with her experiences and expert organization and communication skills.
Mark Durham, MS, Research Associate

Mark is a research associate within the service lab. He graduated from Auburn University with a Master’s of Science in Plant Pathology, specializing in bacteriology.

From his education and experience, Mark has extensive experience working with biological products. He assists with fermentation process development and compliance with laboratory safety and regulations.

Mark enjoys working with microorganisms and facing the challenges it presents. He is also ardent about fostering a constructive, supportive and open environment for those he works with.
 
Jackie Strawbridge, Freelance Writer

Jackie Strawbridge is a writer and editor based in Gainesville, Florida. She helps businesses attract wider audiences by translating their work into compelling stories. Her background is in NYC local media.
Careers

We believe that “good people recognize good people”. We enjoy pushing the envelope, and breaking down barriers where others build walls. We are action oriented, and strive to make a big change in the world.

We work until it is done, do what it takes, and do not ask for praise or glory; we climb the mountain to see the world, not so that the world can see us.

Do you recognize us? If so, then we are looking for you - join us and start making a difference.
Michelle Ordax, Lab Technician

Ms. Ordax is a full time student pursuing her Bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering at the University of Florida.

As a Laboratory Technician, she takes care of inventory, prepares buffers and media, and assists in general laboratory organization and support.

Ms. Ordax aims to continue her education in biomedical engineering and take part in research in regenerative medicine.
 
Mitchel Harrah, BS, Lab Technician

Mr. Harrah is a full-time student pursuing his Bachelor's degree in Chemical engineering at the University of Florida.

As a laboratory technician, he prepares and analyzes foods for oxalate content using Ion Chromatography. Further, he is interested in the kinetics, stability, and activity of Nephure in various foods matrices.

Mr. Harrah plans on continuing his academic and professional careers by conducting further research in the biotechnology field.
Julie Castillo, BS, Lab Technician

Ms. Castillo is a student pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology and Cell science at the University of Florida. As a Laboratory Technician, she takes part in general laboratory support wherever needed.

Ms. Castillo has experience working in research at the University of Florida department of Environmental and Global Health along with the Biomedical Science department at Brigham Young University- Hawaii. Ms. Castillo aims to continue her education as an MD/PhD candidate combining her two passions, research and patient care.