Harlem Biospace is founded by Samuel Sia and Christine Kovich, in collaboration with, and with financial support from, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC).


Sam Sia (Co-founder)

Sam is a faculty member of the biomedical engineering department at Columbia University. His lab focuses on using microfluidics to improve patient health. His lab’s work has been supported by the NIH, NSF, USAID/Gates Foundation/World Bank/Governments of Norway and Canada, Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, American Heart Association, and World Health Organization. He has been named one of the world’s top young innovators by MIT Technology Review and is an inducted fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. He is the founder of Claros Diagnostics, a venture capital-backed company which was acquired by Opko Health in 2011. His lab has invented a large number of new technologies currently covered by patents filed by Columbia University. As a scientist and an inventor, Sam can’t think of a better city than New York City to start a company. Contact:


Christine kovich (co-founder)

Christine has spent 14 years in the payments industry, most recently creating partnerships with start-ups that are disrupting the financial services industry. Prior to that, she worked on the development and deployment of an industry leading contactless payment solution from pilot to commercial roll-out.  She has an International MBA from the Schulich School of Business at York University which eventually brought her to NYC as a Russia specialist. She looks forward to creating an environment where biotech start-ups can thrive in the city she loves. Perched on her fold-up bike, Christine can be seen biking to meetings on one of NYC’s many bike paths. Contact:


Matt owens (advisor)

Matt was an early team member of the NYC-based global education start-up, General Assembly, and helped spearhead GA’s first programs in NYC and Los Angeles. Before this, he worked as a strategy consultant with Stax, Inc. in Boston and as an analyst for a SF-based start-up, Gratio Capital. Matt has also worked with the founding teams of several science based ventures, including Agile Sciences and Innova Dynamics. He is a graduate of the Management and Technology and Integrated Product Design (MSE) programs at the University of Pennsylvania. In Philadelphia, Matt served on the board of Philly Startup Leaders and as an Engagement Manager for the cleantech practice of Wharton’s Small Business Development Center. He is an avid runner and when not at Harlem Biospace he can likely be found running through the city. Contact:


Lindsay Testa (Website coordinator/former site manager)

Lindsay is in her third year of studying biomedical engineering at Columbia University's School of Engineering and Applied Science. Last summer, she interned at the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Lab for Neural Engineering and Control at Columbia University. Lindsay plays for Columbia's intramural soccer team and serves on the cabinet in her sorority. When not at school, she enjoys going to zumba classes and sampling the NYC food scene. Contact:

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Jaskirti Ghataure (SITE DIRECTOr)

Jaskirti grew up in India and received her Bachelors in Biotechnology Engineering from Panjab University, Chandigarh and Masters in Biomedical Engineering from Columbia University, New York. While in India, she enjoyed theatre and was a participant in various stage & street plays and short movies. She was also part of an NGO that engaged with rural areas and educated people on appropriate methods of waste disposal and hygiene. Her research at Regenerative Engineering Laboratory (College of Dental Medicine, Columbia University) focused on developing injectable hydrogel solutions for menisci tears, ensuring native cell regeneration via cell homing. She was also a part of a clinical research team focused on developing a novel biomedical device to improve the compliance of incentive spirometers in post-surgery patients. She enjoys yoga, calligraphy and cooking in her free time. Contact:

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Shilpika (Pi) Chowdhury (Program manager)

Shilpika is a graduate student at Columbia University, pursuing her Master’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering in 2015. While in California, her research focused on the protein tubulin, electron microscopy, and drug delivery of biologics. After graduating, Shilpika worked at Medtronic PLC on implantable device miniaturization and new technology development for the Cardiac Rhythm & Heart Failure business unit. In addition to her work as a process engineer, she led a campus innovation group focused on connecting employees and enabling creativity. Shilpika’s goal in life is to build things, from art to engineering. She also loves connecting people and reads voraciously in her free time. Contact:



New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) is the City’s primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC’s mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity, and strengthen the city’s competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City’s many opportunities. Visit the website and blog to learn more about NYCEDC projects and initiatives.