Management Team

Joseph Pugar

While studying chemical and petroleum engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, Joe researched many of the surface mechanics principles that Aruga technology is based on. In 2015 he joined a research collaboration between Pitt's chemical engineering department and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's (UPMC) vascular surgery group. As the group's research on improved vascular implants developed (publications in Nature Physics and Biomaterials), so did the commercial vision for the technology. Ultimately, Joe spun Aruga out of the University of Pittsburgh in Spring of 2018 and is a cofounder and the CEO. 

Luka Pocivavsek

After Luka graduated from the University of Chicago with his M.D. in surgery and a Ph.D. in physical chemistry in 2011, he performed his residency in general surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. During his residency he became integral in the research collaboration between Pitt and UPMC and is the first author on both of the group's publications. As the primary inventor of Aruga technology he identified the commercial impact of the work being done and began translating the technology out of the academic setting. Luka is a cofounder and the Cheif Technology Officer at Aruga while continuing to practice vascular surgery at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. 

Antonio Torres

Tony has mentored Aruga since 2015, oversaw the incorporation of the company, and now leads Aruga's board of managers. Tony has over 25 years of experience in private industry helping re-work, scale and globalize major engineering projects for large chemical companies, as well as becoming an entrepreneur himself. After successfully starting-up new divisions for companies and various spinouts of his own, he now works as an Entrepreneur in Residence at Pitt’s Innovation Institute and holds various company board positions.

Scientific Advisory Board & Incubator

Edith Tzeng

Dr. Edith Tzeng is the Cheif of Vascular Surgery at the Pittsburgh Veterans Hospital and a Professor of Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School. She advises Aruga on surgical and clinical matters.

Robert Kormos

Dr. Robert Kormos is the Director of the UPMC Artifical Heart Program and Co-Director of the UPMC Heart Transplantation Program. He advises Aruga on clinical impact and technology translation.

Ka Yee Lee

Dr. Ka Yee Lee is the Vice Provost of Research  and a professor of applied physics at the University of Chicago. She advises Aruga on sceintific matters related to the company's technology platform.

Sachin Velankar

Dr. Sachin Velankar is an associate professor of chemical engineering at the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering. He researched Aruga technology before commercialization and advises on engineering and product development.

Enrique Cerda

Dr. Enrique Cerda is a physical sciences professor at the University of Santiago in Chile. He advises Aruga on scientific matters related to the company's technology platform.

LifeX Ventures

Aruga became a LifeX portfolio company in October of 2018.