2023 Innovate Nebraska

October 3, 2023
Embassy Suites
La Vista, Nebraska
An Exclusive Look Into Nebraska’s Innovation Ecosystem

Innovate Nebraska will be an enlightening day filled with engaging TED Talk-Style presentations, informational presentations, and captivating keynote speakers, all centered around the state’s thriving ecosystem of MedTech innovation. Hear about the successes of other MedTech companies, the perspective of venture capitalists, and strategies for strengthening the existing MedTech sector in Nebraska.

Registration is $25 and includes lunch and an afternoon networking reception. Discover the remarkable opportunities and resources that set Nebraska apart in the world of medical technology.

Bio Nebraska is proud to be a sponsor.


10:30 AM: Check-In

11:00 – 11:20 AM: Welcome to Innovate Nebraska
Heath Mello, President and CEO, Greater Omaha Chamber

11:20 – 12:00 PM: Opening Keynote
“AI/ML in Medical Technology”
Dan Burnett, TheraNova

12:00 – 12:45 PM: Lunch

12:45 – 1:00 PM: TED Talk
“Untapped Opportunities”
Erica Wassinger, Proven Ventures

1:15 – 1:30 PM: TED Talk

1:30 – 2:30 PM:  Featured Speaker
“Design Thinking”
Doug Deitz, UNMC Design Thinking

2:30 – 2:45 PM: TED Talk
“Ask for Forgiveness not Permission”
Alexi Wellman, Altaba 

2:45 – 3:00 PM:  TED Talk
“iExcel Capabilities”
Michael Hollins, iExcel

3:00 – 3:10 PM: UNMC Core Units Overview
Ken Bayles, UNMC

3:10 – 3:30 PM: Break
Please visit the UNMC Core Stations and Sponsor Tables

3:30 – 4:00 PM: Closing Keynote

4:00 – 5:30 PM: Networking Reception
Sponsored by Bio Nebraska

Meet the Speakers
Dr. Kenneth W. Bayles, UNMC

Dr. Kenneth W. Bayles, a distinguished microbiologist and Vice Chancellor for Research at UNMC, earned his Ph.D. from Kansas State University in 1989. Supported by multiple NIH grants, his research focuses on bacterial cell death regulation and biofilm development. Dr. Bayles has also contributed to Department of Defense initiatives, and was honored with a recent induction into the American Academy of Microbiology for his contributions

Michael Hollins, iEXCEL UNMC

Michael Hollins is the Director of Community & Business Engagement for the iEXCEL program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Previously, he served as Chief Creative Officer for community and arts organizations such as KANEKO and Pottawattamie Arts, Culture & Entertainment (PACE). He is currently pursuing a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO).

Erica Wassinger, Proven Ventures

Erica is a go‐to investor for new companies as they pursue growth in Nebraska. Erica has worked with hundreds of founders, helping them find product-market fit and execute growth strategies. She has a Journalism degree from Kansas State University, a Wharton Executive MBA certificate in venture capital, and University of California Berkeley venture capital certificate.

Alexi Wellman, Altaba Inc.

Alexi Wellman is currently the CEO of Altaba Inc. (formerly Yahoo). Previously, Alexi was VP and Global Controller of Yahoo, CFO of Nebraska Book Company, and Partner at KPMG LLP. Alexi serves on the board for Werner Enterprises and ESS Inc., and UNeMed. Alexi is a VenturePartner at Springtide Capital, Investment Committee member at MOVE Venture Capital and a senior advisor to the Master of Accounting program at the University of Cambridge.

Dr. Dan Burnett, TheraNova

Dr. Burnett is a veteran in the medical device industry having founded many successful companies at various stages. A licensed physician in the state of California, he finished his one-year internship at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida and matched for a residency, which he deferred while he worked on starting his first venture, BAROnova. Since 2006, Dr. Burnett has raised, or helped raise, over $375MM from various sources for Theranova spinouts. He holds a position as Assistant Professor in the Bioengineering Department at the University of California San Francisco and functions as the Industry Director for the Masters of Translational Medicine Program.

Doug Dietz

Doug began his career at Texas Instruments, where he earned numerous patents for his work, including the first flatbed scanner, laptop computer, and the TI/90 calculator line.

Doug joined GE in 1989, where he designed products in all of the healthcare imaging modalities: MRI, CT, X-Ray and Ultrasound. He received an EDISON Innovation Award for Social Impact and the Children’s National Medical Center Innovation Award for his work.

Since retirement, Doug has continued his work in design thinking. Doug also serves as an external advisory board member and collaborator with UNMC Design Thinking.


Embassy Suites La Vista Conference Center
12520 Westport Pkwy
La Vista, NE 68128