Penn Center for Innovation

PCI Ventures

Michael D. Poisel, MS, MBA

Director, PCI Ventures

Mr. Poisel is responsible for managing PCI Ventures, including transitioning technologies into start-up companies, assisting the principal investigators with funding strategies including grant applications, as well as mentoring the developing companies.
Prior to UPenn, Michael made investments in enterprise software and business services for NewSpring Capital, Apax Partners and GE Capital spanning more than ten years in private equity. He began his career in manufacturing operations for General Electric/Lockheed Martin and participated in the successful completion of several commercial and government satellite programs.
Michael graduated with honors in Mechanical Engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, holds an M.S. in Systems Engineering from The Moore School of Engineering of the University of Pennsylvania, and has an M.B.A. in finance and entrepreneurial management from The Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania.

Dora Mitchell, PhD

Director, UPstart Program

Dr. Mitchell is responsible for working directly with UPstart portfolio company management teams to develop business strategies, fund raising plans, marketing materials, and commercialization grant applications in order to increase the overall visibility of the portfolio.
Prior to joining PCI Ventures, Dora was a member of the Health and Life Sciences team at Battelle Ventures, LP, where she evaluated technologies, made investment recommendations and participated in due diligence and fundraising. Dora was involved in various aspects of portfolio company management with a focus on early stage companies.
Dora has a broad background in the biological sciences having worked both in research and technology transfer after earning her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Princeton University.

Karina Sotnik

Digital Enterprise Portfolio Manager, PCI Ventures

Ms. Sotnik is responsible for helping PCI Ventures and UPstart companies with marketing and business development activities. She is also responsible for creating custom programs within PCI Ventures.
Prior to joining PCI Ventures, Karina gained two decades of experience in marketing and business development for companies large and small in Silicon Valley and beyond. She specializes in launch, operations and expansion of small businesses in the US and internationally.
In addition to consulting for PCI Ventures, Karina also serves as an advisor and mentor for incubators based at two of Russia's top universities. Her educational background is in engineering, with a master's degree in computer science. She lives in Philadelphia with her family.

Mike Dishowitz, PhD

Portfolio Manager, PCI Ventures

Dr. Dishowitz manages a portfolio of PCI Ventures UPstart companies focusing primarily on medical devices, biotechnology, and therapeutics. Additionally, he is the Director of DevelUPmed, Penn’s medical device accelerator, and manages several capital acquisition and business development programs, including Jolt Funding, UPtheOdds grant writing strategies, and the UPstart student volunteer program.
Prior to joining PCI Ventures, Mike was a member of ICON Commercialisation & Outcomes, a boutique consulting agency, where he specialized in Pricing & Market Access and Asset Valuation of life science technologies. Mike graduated with a B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Florida and a Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the University of Pennsylvania.

Whitney Magruder

Marketing & Logistics Specialist, PCI Ventures

Ms. Magruder is responsible for assisting with all aspects of company formation. She also designs marketing materials, manages web content, and is a notary.
Prior to joining Penn in 2015, Whitney worked as a Writing Consultant for a Philadelphia law firm. She was also an Editorial Assistant at Wolters Kluwer. Whitney received her B.A. in English from the University of California, Berkeley.