Core Team


Jeff Missling

Chief Executive Officer, Chairman of the Board of Directors

Jeff Missling is the founder and CEO of SpineThera. He has built SpineThera as a semi-virtual company with in-house formulation development and pilot plant operations and contracted services for all supporting functions. Jeff has further established a world class team of clinical and regulatory consultants (C-level and FDA director level). Mr Missling has an extensive background in formulation, preclinical, and clinical development of polymeric, sustained release products including biodegradable microspheres, ophthalmic implants, drug coated medical devices, and biodegradable implants. Before founding SpineThera, Jeff led the formulation development and clinical study manufacturing of a sustained release steroid implant for ocular administration that was licensed to Merck for $40M. A chemical engineer trained at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Jeff has spent his career developing functional polymeric materials including polymeric batteries, medical devices, and sustained-release drug products.


Emily Meyering, M.S.

Director of Research & Development

Emily is an experienced formulation and polymer chemist with a focus on drug-eluting coatings, hydrogels and implants. Ms. Meyering is also skilled in small molecule and polymer synthesis for medical applications. She has significant expertise in developing novel animal models for use in new therapy testing both for medical devices and pharmaceuticals. Her passions include the Biodesign unmet needs analysis for new technologies and intellectual property. Previously, Emily has led technical teams as a Principal Research Scientist at both Minnetronix and American Medical Systems. Prior experience includes positions as a Senior Scientist at SurModics and Associate Scientist at Medtronic. She has an M.S. Organic Chemistry at the University of California - San Diego and B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of St. Thomas.



Houghton image black and white (1) (1).jpg

Board of Directors


Celeste Ondich


Celeste has over 12 years of experience with USP testing and quality control in pharmaceuticals for raw materials and finished products. She also has experience with method development and quality assurance. Additionally, she has experience in federal regulation compliance. Celeste has worked as a chemist in several industries including pharmaceuticals, environmental testing, and metallurgy. She graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry from Minnesota State University, Mankato.


Henry Meyer

Sr. Development Engineer

Henry is an experienced chemical engineer with expertise in polymer synthesis, formulation and structure-property characterization. He also has experience in process development, equipment design and commissioning and scale-up. Henry has a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Wisconsin.


William houghton, m.d.

Chief Medical Officer

Dr. Houghton was formerly the Chief Medical Officer at Xenome, Anesiva, and Orphan Medical, and completed his Anesthesiology residency at Sydney University, Sydney, Australia. Bill provides guidance and insight to optimize SpineThera's pre-clinical and clinical study plans, and defines product requirements from the clinical perspective.


paul lopez, mba

Executive Business Advisor

Mr. Lopez is an experienced pharmaceutical executive with sales, finance, operations, and business development experience in both public and private companies.


aliasger salem, pHd

Formulation Development Advisor

Bighley Professor and Head, Division of Pharmaceutics and Translational Therapeutics at the College of Pharmacy, University of Iowa. Aliasger Salem advises SpineThera on formulation development.


john foster

Board Member

John Foster has more than 30 years of executive management experience and proven expertise in developing and bringing specialty pharmaceuticals and drug-device combination products to market. Mr. Foster is currently CEO and Chairman of NTF Therapeutics. He was previously the founder and CEO of CNS Therapeutics, a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on developing and marketing intrathecal drugs for neurological disorders and pain. CNS was sold to Covidien/Mallinckrodt (October 2012). Mr. Foster also serves as Vice Chairman of Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare.


jerome k. jerome

Board Member

Jerry is a successful entrepreneur who built and sold a branded food products company valued at over $300 million.


Wayne Kelly

Board Member

Wayne has spent his career as a business owner and operator in the life science industry and currently owns ProMed Molded Products and ProMed Pharma LLC.


David Wood

Board Member

David Wood is an experienced life sciences executive who most recently was the CEO of Spinal Modulation, a venture backed company that developed and commercialized a novel, implantable neuro-stimulator designed to treat intractable neuropathic pain. Mr. Wood developed extensive relationships with leading interventional pain physicians, the same sub-specialty that performs a significant portion of epidural steroid injections. Spinal Modulation was acquired by St. Jude Medical, Inc. in May 2015. He was previously President and COO of CardioNet, and VP and General Manager of the Drug Delivery Business Unit at SurModics.