top of page

Our Team

Chemyong Jay Ko, PhD

Founder, CEO

Dr. Ko received his PhD from Seoul National University and his postdoctoral training from the University of Kentucky. He is a professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he maintains an active research program. Before moving to Illinois, he worked as a professor in the Medical Center of the University of Kentucky for 10 years. In 2016, Dr. Ko founded Epivara with Dr. Eui Yul Choi at the University of Illinois’ Research Park. With 25 years of research experience in reproductive endocrinology, Dr. Ko is ideally positioned to guide Epivara's project to success.

Byron Wittenberg, MBA


Mr. Wittenberg received his Bachelor of Science in Accountancy from Florida State University, a Master of Accountancy from the University of Notre Dame, and a Master of Business Administration from Pepperdine University. He has extensive experience in business consulting with PwC and E&Y, as well as managing finance, operations, and strategy organizations across a number of private equity backed companies. Mr. Wittenberg brings 20 years of finance, accounting, and business operations experience to Epivara’s team.

Rex Hess, PhD

Director of Science

Dr. Hess is Epivara's Director of Science and Professor Emeritus of Reproductive Biology at the University of Illinois, and a prolific fundraiser and publisher. Since 1986 when he completed his post-doc at the EPA, he has raised several million dollars for research funding, authored or co-authored over 235 scientific papers and book chapters, and has over 20,000 citations, with an i10-index of 202. Over 60 of his publications have 100 or more citations each. In his more than 30 years at the University of Illinois, he has served as Director of Center for Microscopic Imaging, held positions on grant-review panels, served on numerous scientific journal Editorial Boards, and as Secretary and Treasurer of the American Society of Andrology. In the last four years, he has published 25 peer-reviewed papers and authored two book chapters.

Chanjin Park, PhD

Vice President of R&D

Dr. Park, with a PhD in Reproductive Biology from Hanyang University and postdoctoral training from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, now contributes as an Adjunct Research Assistant Professor. His expertise encompasses the reproductive biology of diverse vertebrates, backed by a strong portfolio of publications. Since joining Epivara in 2020, Dr. Park has taken the helm in research design, data analysis, and scholarly reporting. His role extends beyond the lab, as he spearheads Epivara's intellectual property efforts, including patent filings, and ensures compliance with FDA regulations, positioning the company at the forefront of reproductive biotechnology innovation.

Dr. Janice Bahr, PhD

Board member

Dr. Bahr is a renowned reproductive biologist who is currently an Emeritus Professor in the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. During her over 40-year career as a comparative reproductive biologist, she has investigated reproductive functions in a wide variety of species, including the chicken, black bear, domestic rabbit, ferret, and sunfish. She has published over 180 manuscripts. Janice was the President of the Society for the Study of Reproduction and an interim Vice Chancellor of Research of the University of Illinois. She currently serves on several notable board positions, including the Champaign County Humane Society. 

Sherry Qi Zhou, MS, MD

Senior Scientist

Dr. Zhou holds an MS in Cardiovascular Physiology and an MD from Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology. Her expertise in reproductive endocrinology was honed at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she managed leading departments and labs. Joining Epivara in 2020, Dr. Zhou now oversees the research laboratory's daily operations, drawing upon her extensive experience. She specializes in a range of essential techniques, from gene expression analysis and hormone assays to histology and immunohistochemistry, essential for propelling Epivara’s research to new heights. Her scientific acumen and leadership continue to be invaluable assets to the Epivara team.

Sandra Soto, DVM, PhD

Senior Scientist

Dr. Soto, a distinguished alumna of the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain, holds both a DVM and a PhD. She further honed her expertise during her postdoctoral training at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Over the past nine years, Dr. Soto has dedicated her research to unraveling the intricacies of fertility in both males and females at the cellular level. Her prolific contributions to reproduction and veterinary science journals underscore her extensive knowledge in these fields. In 2022, Dr. Soto joined Epivara, where she leads research projects focusing on cats and cattle. Leveraging her deep understanding of reproductive biology, Dr. Soto is committed to devising solutions that enhance the well-being of our beloved pets and community animals.

Lindsey Reinacher, BS

Junior Scientist

Ms. Reinacher is a dedicated professional with a passion for all things related to animals. She earned her bachelor's degree in Animal Sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) in December of 2021. Following her graduation, Ms. Reinacher gained valuable experience as a Nutrition Research Technician at the UIUC Swine Research Center. A year later, she joined Epivara as a Junior Scientist. At Epivara, Ms. Reinacher plays a pivotal role in R&D by performing hands-on work with research animals, conducting lab experiments, and providing support to the senior scientists on the team. Her profound love for all animals is the driving force behind her work at Epivara, where she contributes to the field of reproductive biology by exploring alternative methods to sterilization in companion animals and livestock.

Dr. Edwin Moore, PhD

Board member

Ed earned his PhD in Physical Biochemistry from Cornell University. He brings 40 years of biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and clinical diagnostic industry experience from global companies, including Baxter Healthcare Corp and Abbott Laboratories, in R&D product development. He has held positions ranging from bench scientist, to R&D Product Development, to Sr. Director, and Global Analytical Method Development and Validation. In 2014, Ed co-founded BioPhia Consulting, Inc., and is a Clinical Professor for the Technology Entrepreneur Center at University of Illinois, Champaign.  

Katie Chai, BS

Data Scientist

Ms. Chai is an enthusiastic individual with a strong foundation in data analysis and a passion for data-driven excellence. Holding dual bachelor's degrees in Statistics and Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Ms. Chai brings a unique fusion of analytical prowess and engineering insight to her role as a Data Scientist and takes on the essential responsibility of exploring extensive datasets, extracting meaningful insights, and creating predictive models. Her talent extends to transforming complex data into engaging visualizations, establishing ideal designs for research studies, and facilitating productive collaboration across teams.

bottom of page