Case Western Reserve University boasts some of the world’s brightest young minds. Their influence is not limited to the lab, office or classroom; often, it’s far-reaching—impacting the surrounding community and sometimes even society as a whole.

Four such catalysts—current faculty, staff and students—have been named to the prestigious Crain’s Cleveland Business “Forty Under 40” class of 2015 for their professional success and civic contributions in the field of business:

Jeffrey Capadona

Age: 37

Jeffrey Capadona

Jeffrey Capadona

Jeffrey Capadona raises two young girls and coaches little league.

He’s also an associate professor and associate chair in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, a research health scientist at the Advanced Platform Technology Center at Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, and a prolific writer.

Capadona joined the faculty at Case Western Reserve in 2010 and focuses his research on improving the performance of brain implants by minimizing infection and the body’s immune response to the implant. His work has been published in a multitude of academic journals around the world and “referenced in other scientific publications several thousand times,” Capadona said.

“That means a lot because it shows that we are doing work that matters to the broader scientific community, and not just to me,” Capadona said.

In 2011, he was awarded the Department of Veteran Affairs’ Presidential Early Career Award for Scientist and Engineers for his work developing materials that mimic the defense mechanism of sea creatures in hopes of creating a new platform for brain implants.

“I laughed when I was asked about my eligibility to be nominated,” Capadona said. “On a daily basis, I focus on inspiring the 20 students working in my lab, or those in my classes—never the entire city of Cleveland. I thought, ‘How can my little world of research and education compare to what people are doing to impact broader communities, by creating jobs, impacting policy and legislation, changing the culture of Cleveland and more?’”

But his work in the lab and beyond proves his effect on the community.

“It is truly a humbling honor to be a part of this year’s awardees, and the legacy that Crain’s Cleveland Business has created with this award.”

Anant Madabhushi

Age: 39

Anant Madabhushi

Anant Madabhushi

Three years ago, Anant Madabhushi moved from Rutgers University in New Jersey to Case Western Reserve to assume directorship of the Center for Computational Imaging and Personalized Diagnostics, bringing 12 students, postdocs and research faculty with him. Today, his research group has expanded to more than 30 people.

“It gives me great pleasure to know that I have, in my own way, contributed to the local economy by bringing so many scientists and students from all over the world to CWRU and Cleveland,” said Madabhushi, a professor of biomedical engineering.

His work is focused on computational imaging—more specifically, developing advanced machine learning and pattern-recognition methods to identify subtle, sub-visual disease cues from medical and tissue images.

“These artificial intelligence programs aim to inspect an MRI or CT scan and even digital images of tissue slides to find subtle features that could tell a physician not just about the presence of diseases like cancer, but also potentially inform on the aggressiveness of the disease,” Madabhushi said. “And, hence, [they] may help the clinician identify the appropriate treatment to deliver to a patient.”

Throughout the course of his career, Madabhushi has approximately 30 patents awarded or pending; a total of 16 of those patents have been successfully licensed to medical imaging and diagnostic companies. He has co-authored more than 230 peer-reviewed conference and journal publications in the areas of medical image analysis and computer-assisted diagnosis and was named a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering. Additionally, he co-founded and subsequently sold a cancer diagnostics company, Ibris Inc.

Julius N. Korley (MGT ’15)

Age: 39

Julius N. Korley (MGT ’15)

Julius N. Korley (MGT ’15)

In his position as associate director of the Case-Coulter Translational Research Partnership at Case Western Reserve, Julius Korley helps principal investigators commercialize their technology so their products can ultimately improve patient care—something he also hopes to achieve for his own company, Affinity Therapeutics LLC.

Co-founded by Korley in 2010, the CWRU-based Affinity Therapeutics is a biotech company focused on designing and delivering life-enhancing drug therapies. The company’s drug-release platform allows medicine to be “control-released, customized and calibrated to necessary levels for [disease] treatment or prevention,” Korley explained, noting it has potential uses across fields, including regenerative medicine, oncology and advanced wound therapy.

Aside from his professional career, Korley is an ordained deacon active in mentoring and encouraging young men through “Brother to Brother,” an event focused on mentoring pre-high-school and high-school youth about STEM fields and life. He received his PhD in biomedical engineering from Cornell University in 2010 and, this spring, completed his MBA at Case Western Reserve’s Weatherhead School of Management.

“It means so much to be named to Crain’s ‘Forty Under 40,’” Korley said. “It’s validation of my hard work and confirmation that I am the right person to continue leading Affinity Therapeutics to the next stage or inflection point.” 

Gino Banco

Age: 33

Gino Banco

Gino Banco

Gino Banco is a student in the Weatherhead School of Management’s executive MBA program. But he’s also the principal research and development engineer for medical devices at Parker Hannifin, responsible for leading innovative organic growth for the Parker Engineered Materials Group’s life sciences business.

His role involves identifying, evaluating, and developing ideas into commercially viable medical devices and technologies—a job that is anything but routine.

Banco often goes from brainstorming with physicians to understanding conceptual solutions of unmet needs, to working with engineering teams to design or test prototype devices, to working with sales and marketing teams to develop or implement commercialization strategies.

Aside from his direct role responsibilities, Banco is a mentor for Parker’s Engineering Leadership Development Program and is a member of the newly formed Industrial Advisory Board for the Advanced Platform Technology Center at Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center.

“I believe showing gratitude by giving back is an important part of life,” Banco said. “I particularly enjoy mentoring students, colleagues, and community members to share any knowledge or lessons learned to help them be successful.”

Banco’s other achievements include being awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study and conduct research at the RWTH Aachen University in Germany and earning a doctorate degree in mechanical engineering at Penn State University.

“I am truly honored and grateful to be recognized as one of Crain’s Cleveland Business’ ‘Forty Under 40,’” Banco said. “When I moved to the Cleveland area five years ago, I immediately noticed the energy that surrounds the reinvention of the city. I hope that being selected is an indication that I might be contributing in some small way to this impressive effort.”

Alumni Excellence

In addition to the four current members of the CWRU community, five alumni also were included in the class, resulting in nearly a quarter of the honorees having a direct affiliation with the university. The five alumni are:

  • Jacquelyn Adams (CWR ’02), president of Tareto Maa USA; ranger program advocate at Girl Scouts of North East Ohio
  • Carolyn Blake (LAW ’10), of counsel at Meyers, Roman, Friedberg & Lewis
  • Gordon Daily (CWR ’01), president of BoxCast
  • Allyson O’Keefe (LAW ’04), partner at Porter Wright Morris and Arthur LLP
  • Phillip M. Robinson Jr. (MGT ’14), executive director and vice president of City Year Cleveland

In 24 years, Crain’s “Forty Under 40” program has recognized more than 900 individuals.

The 2015 class will be honored at the 2015 Awards Party on Monday, Nov. 23, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Music Box Supper Club.

View the entire Crain’s Cleveland Business “Forty Under 40” class of 2015.