This annual conference brings hiring managers and human resource professionals from the industry together with faculty from colleges and universities who are directly involved with developing programs to educate our next generation of innovators. This year’s program will feature roundtable discussions on how immigration law affects the region’s life science community; specific technical competencies sought after in the fields of bioinformatics and biomanufacturing; the professional skills so essential to career success; and more. Updates on the overall hiring trends in the industry will be presented. We invite you to attend and contribute your thoughts to this important dialogue.
Location: Northeastern University Interdisciplinary Science & Engineering Complex 805 Columbus Ave, Boston, MA 02120
Massachusetts Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development
Prior to joining the Baker-Polito Administration, Secretary Acosta spent over thirty years in the banking industry and is known for her ability to drive positive performance outcomes aligned with a company’s mission. She has been named one of Boston’s Most Influential Women from the Women of the Harvard Club, El Planeta’s Top 100 Most Influential Hispanics in Massachusetts, and Get Konnected’s 100 Most Influential People of Color in Boston, to name a few. Her work as Board member of The Boston Foundation, Board Overseer at Boston Children’s Hospital where she was a founding member of Milagros Para Niño’s, and Corporate Advisory Board member for the Boston Chapter of the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA) has touched the lives of many. In addition to her non-profit work, Secretary Acosta was a Director and Planning Member of the Merrimack Valley Workforce Investment Board and was appointed a Northern Essex Community College Trustee by Governor Baker. Born in Cuba, she earned a Bachelor of Arts from Wesleyan University in Connecticut where she was a member of the Women’s Varsity Ice Hockey Team. She is the proud mother of five children.
A biopharmaceutical executive, Charlene Banard leads global, multi-functional teams to bring innovative, transformational biopharmaceutical solutions to patients. She Drives innovative strategies for effective, efficient and compliant integration of people, processes and systems across the enterprise to execute successful initiatives. Her experience encompasses clinical development, product design through product launch and life cycle management with a variety of technology platforms including devices, complex recombinant and plasma derived protein therapeutics, cell and gene therapies, and small molecules. Since joining Shire in 2011 (acquired by Takeda in 2019), Charlene has held senior executive positions overseeing global quality. Prior, she held senior leadership roles at Gilead Sciences, Cell Genesys and Chiron Corporation. She is a member of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association, Healthcare & Life Sciences affinity group in The Boston Club, and is a 2018 Fellow of the International Women’ Forum. Charlene holds an MBA degree with honors from Saint Mary’s College of California; and BS in Biochemistry, from UC Davis.
Director of Biotechnology Technician Program, Middlesex Community College
Mariluci (Toloza) Bladon was born in Brazil. She received her bachelor’s degree in Biology from the Catholic University. She was awarded the International Fulbright Fellowship for her Graduate studies in the United States. She received her MS in biology from the University of Pittsburgh and her PhD in Human Genetics from the University of Michigan. Her post-doctoral work in Human Genetics was done at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center and Harvard Medical School. She worked as both an Adjunct Professor in Human Genetics at Northeastern University and the Biotechnology Industry (Dupont, Genentech and Matritech) for a total of 10 years. Dr. Bladon was brought on to teach at the onset of the first Biotechnology Program at Middlesex Community College, where she has taught for over 30 years and now serves as Chair for Biotechnology Department. Many graduates of the program now serve in leadership roles at biotechnology companies throughout Massachusetts.
Senior Vice President of Technical Operations and Quality, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals
Al is Senior Vice President of Technical Operations and Quality for Alnylam Pharmaceuticals. He leads a global organization responsible for all aspects of siRNA process and analytical development, clinical and commercial manufacturing, supply chain operations, engineering, facilities and real estate operations, and quality assurance and quality control oversight for all GxP activities. Prior to joining Alnylam in 2015, Al worked for a number of global biotechnology, chemical and pharmaceutical companies including Alexion, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Hercules, Akzo-Nobel and Celgene. Al holds a PhD in Microbiology from Rutgers University and BS and MS degrees in Environmental and Forest Biology from The State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry.
Rachel founded Casseus Law in 2011 with the mission to provide high-quality business immigration legal representation. Rachel, alongside her sister Sabine Casseus, Esq., and her team, advise research institutes, for-profit companies, non-profits, start-ups and individuals on employment-based visas, permanent residence and citizenship. She speaks at universities and conferences on the topics of labor certification waived permanent residence “green cards” and visa categories, including the National Interest Waiver (NIW), Extraordinary Ability (EB-1A), Outstanding Researcher and Professor (EB-1B), Manager or Executive Transferee (EB-1C) and Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement (O-1A) visas. Casseus Law represents companies and extraordinary-ability individuals primarily in the fields of life-science, biotech, pharma, engineering, technology, sports, music and architecture. Rachel was named a HUBweek ChangeMaker in 2017. She is currently serving on the board of her alma mater, The Winsor School. Rachel graduated from Dartmouth College and received her JD from Suffolk University.
Anne Cheung is a biochemist with a passion for empowering students, especially women, through education. Anne spent 18 years in the Protein Biochemistry group at Biogen, developing biologics to fight cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, before joining the team at Ribon Therapeutics, a start-up company focused on developing small molecule inhibitors to target cancer. She received a master’s degree in biochemistry from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. She serves on the Just-A-Start Biomedical Careers Program Advisory Board and has volunteered for over 15 years in the Biogen Community Lab. She is the co-founder of A2Empowerment, an all-volunteer nonprofit that works mainly with Peace Corps Volunteers to provide high school scholarships and mentoring for young women in Cameroon. She received the Women in the Enterprise of Science and Technology Giving Back Award in 2016 and was named a Fortune Magazine Hero of the 500 in 2015 for her work.
Gale Cohen supports the Global Product Development and Supply Organization. In her role, she is responsible for an integrated talent strategy that encompasses talent management, workforce planning, and recruitment. She is based at the Biologics Manufacturing Site in Devens, MA. During her tenure at BMS for the past 4 years, she has held the site HR Director role in Devens, as well as HR Business Partner support for the Manufacturing Sciences and Technology groups. Prior to joining BMS, Gale was an HRBP at AstraZeneca for over 10 years at their R&D site in Waltham, MA, accountable for recruiting, talent management, and workforce planning.
As President and CEO of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, Bob’s mission is to advance Massachusetts' leadership in the life sciences to grow the industry, add value to the healthcare system and improve patient lives. Over the last decade, Bob has truly become a champion for patients by ensuring innovative companies have the best environment possible to research, develop, and commercialize breakthrough therapies and cures for people around the world who need and deserve them.
Bob has spent his career in both the public and private sectors. Before joining MassBio, he served as the Undersecretary of Economic Development within Governor Deval Patrick's administration, where he prioritized both healthcare and economic development issues and was a strong advocate for the life sciences industry in Massachusetts. Prior to that, he was elected as State Representative to the 11th Norfolk district for three terms. Bob has also held senior executive positions in the environmental services, capital management and venture capital industries. He brings passion and energy to all of his endeavors.
Recruiter, Diversity Outreach & University Talent Acquisition, Sanofi Genzyme
Katie has been in university recruiting at Sanofi since 2012. Prior to Sanofi she worked in career services at MIT and Suffolk University and worked in the travel industry at EF Education. Katie received her Bachelor of Arts in American Cultural Studies at Bates College and her Master of Education in Administration of Higher Education at Suffolk University.
Education Director, Gloucester Marine Genomics Institute
John Doyle has served as the Education Director at Gloucester Biotechnology Academy since June of 2015. Prior to working at the Academy, John spent eight years teaching and coaching at public high schools in New Jersey and Massachusetts. In addition, John taught classes in the Department of Marine Sciences and the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Connecticut, as well as the Department of Physics and Earth Sciences at Framingham State University. He is passionate about designing curricula that foster experiential learning, encourage a sense of curiosity, and teach students to use science to effectively communicate and solve problems. John holds a B.S. in Biology with a minor in English from Saint Peter’s University, an MS in Molecular Biology from Montclair State University, and a PhD in Oceanography from the University of Connecticut.
Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Blueprint Medicinces
Debbie has led the Blueprint Medicines global Human Resources organization since April 2015, working in collaboration with leaders across the high-growth company to achieve Blueprints strategic business and people priorities. Prior to joining Blueprint Medicines, Debbie served as the interim head of Human Resources at Cubist Pharmaceuticals when she led the post-merger human resource integration following the acquisition of Cubist by Merck. Earlier in her career, she served as the North American Manager of Talent Acquisition and Workforce Planning at Holcim, Inc. She serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation. Debbie earned a BS in Business Management from Bentley University.
Vice President of Human Resources, Kintai Therapeutics
In her role, Lisa works to develop the Human Resources function to support the growing organization, which focuses on attracting, engaging and developing Kintai employees. Her experience in human resources extends across multiple industries, including Healthcare, Technology and Life Sciences. Most recently, Lisa built the HR function at Keryx Biopharmaceuticals, growing the business from pre-approval to commercial stage. Before joining Keryx, she played a key role in building the commercial business unit for Ironwood’s first product launch. Lisa holds a BA in Sociology from Ithaca College.
Assistant Dean, Career & Professional Development, UMass Medical School
Cynthia Fuhrmann, Ph.D., is also Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology at UMass Medical. She has 15 years of experience directing programs in professional skills training and career planning for early-career biomedical scientists. She founded and directs UMassMed’s Center for Biomedical Career Development. Her early research on the career interests of biomedical PhD students contributed to the growing national dialog over the past decade on the training needs of PhD scientists, including citations in reports by the NIH, Council of Graduate Schools, Science, Nature Careers, Inside Higher Ed, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. She co-authored myIDP, an interactive career-planning website hosted by the AAAS that is used by more than 190,000 early-career scientists worldwide. She serves on the advisory board for the Association of American Universities’ PhD Education Initiative. Fuhrmann holds a BS in Chemistry from UC Davis and a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from UCSF.
Executive Director, Center for the Future of Higher Education & Talent Strategy, Northeastern
Dr. Sean Gallagher joined Northeastern in 2009 and is a nationally recognized expert with nearly 20 years of experience in higher education. As Chief Strategy Officer for Northeastern’s Global Network, Sean built a central strategy function unique among universities – working across colleges and academic domains to launch growth initiatives including the development of new campuses and degree programs. Prior to Northeastern, Sean worked for a decade at Edventures, advising executives at hundreds of universities, education companies, and investors. Sean’s writing and commentary have been featured in leading media outlets such as The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and CBS Television. His book, "The Future of University Credentials: New Developments at the Intersection of Higher Education and Hiring," was published in 2016 by Harvard Education Press. Sean holds a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) degree from Northeastern University; an M.B.A. from the New York Institute of Technology; and a BS in Marketing from Northeastern.
Rainer Gawlick has held executive sales and marketing positions at a broad range of technology companies including AspenTech, Lightship Telecom, SolidWorks, Sophos, and Intralinks. Most recently he was President of Perfecto Mobile. He is on the board of several technology companies including Proto Labs (NYSE: PRLB), Progress (NASDAQ: PRGS), Chyronhego, Meltwater, and Cloudsense. Rainer is active in the area of workforce development as the chair of the Massachusetts Apprenti Board (Apprenti provides tech apprenticeships for Massachusetts employers) and as a member of the MassHire State Workforce Board. Rainer started his career at McKinsey & Company after earning a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT. He was born in Germany.
Jayson C. Gilberti is the Chief Executive Officer of MVPvets, a veteran non-profit with the mission to create an enduring platform dedicated to assisting and preparing transitioning military veterans into meaningful employment in life science companies. Previously, Jayson served for over 25 years as a U.S. Army Combat Engineer, Paratrooper and Ranger inspiring, training, developing, and commanding the most challenging engineer formations in the Army. A veteran with multiple overseas assignments and deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan, Jayson knows first-hand what it takes to transform ideas into action, to connect & collaborate, and lead change. He is passionate about continuing to serve those who serve. He’s a graduate of the UMass Amherst with a bachelor’s in business administration, holds a MA in Management from Webster University, and completed a U.S. Army War College Fellowship at MIT with the Security Studies Program.
Eduart is an Associate Director of Manufacturing at Takeda Pharmaceuticals and an Adjunct Professor in the Biotechnology Program at Quincy College. Beginning as a manufacturing technician, he has held various roles within medical device and biotechnology manufacturing. He specializes in single-use/disposable manufacturing and assisted in launching a first-in-class disposable facility. Eduart is a strong believer in diversity bringing the best out of a team and enjoys working with students and colleagues from different backgrounds to identify ingenious solutions to manufacturing challenges. Eduart holds a BS in Biochemistry from UMass Boston. He enjoys listening to audiobooks during his commute and spending time on the beach with his family.
Director of Talent Acquisition, Kaleido Biosciences
Ryan Goodwin has served as Kaleido Biosciences - Director of Talent Acquisition (TA) since November 2017. Ryan brings more than 15 years of experience in Talent Acquisition activities including extensive work in the bio-pharmaceutical industry. Prior to joining Kaleido, Ryan has held a variety of roles of increasing responsibility, helping lead the TA activities during periods of significant growth, through the development and execution of innovative and strategic planning initiatives. Ryan has been responsible for implementing Talent and Engagement processes & initiatives, Workforce Planning, Executive Recruiting, Business Partnership Development, Behavioral Interview Training, Succession Planning, Applicant Tracking Systems, and Employer Branding. Ryan received his BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern Maine.
Senior Scientist, People Analytics, The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
Shuba Gopal is a data scientist and Senior People Scientist in the People Insights group at the Broad Institute. She develops data-driven approaches to support the Broad community as it seeks to accelerate the understanding and treatment of human diseases. She studies how scientific teams collaborate and explores ways to model how people engage with each other, their physical environment and with the institute. Previously, she was a computational biologist, developing algorithms and statistical methods to predict clinical outcomes in diseases states. Gopal was co-chair of an institute-wide strategic planning exercise known as Broadnext10. She helped lead a workstream focused on defining the key components of Broad’s culture and what would be needed to sustain it in the decade ahead. She has published numerous scientific papers, co-authored a bioinformatics textbook and was recognized with a Broad Excellence and Achievement award in 2014. Gopal earned her BA from Sarah Lawrence College and her PhD in Computational Genomics from Rockefeller University. She taught bioinformatics at the Rochester Institute of Technology for five years prior to joining the Broad Institute in 2009.
Senior Program Development Manager, Academic and Corporate Engagement, WPI
Kristin works closely with WPI faculty and life science industry leadership to identify and develop opportunities for customized graduate education, technical training and other partnerships. Prior, as Associate Director of Pre-Collegiate Outreach Programs, she successfully led WPI’s efforts to build and diversify their K-12 enrichment programs and demonstrate a STEM pipeline. She has also held engineering roles at Genzyme, Anika Therapeutics, and Arthur D. Little. Kristin earned her BS in Chemical Engineering cum laude from Cornell University, serves on the MassBioEd Board of Directors, and as advisor to WPI’s Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society.
Director of Talent Acquisition & Operations, Flagship Pioneering
Emily holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic University. She spent 10 years as an Executive Recruiter with a focus on MS and PhD Statisticians, Data Scientists and Modelers. Following that, she began scaling companies by process optimizing the hiring function. She has worked in startups, going from 20-80 in 10 months, 12-45 in 18 months and most recently at bluebird bio in hypergrowth going from 300-850 in a little over two years as the Head of Talent Acquisition and Recruiting Operations. She recently joined Flagship Pioneering as a Director of Talent Acquisition and Operations with a goal of implementing and optimizing systems to underpin all things hiring. Emily loves new ideas, technologies and approaches. In her free time, she pursues most things outdoors, good food, live music and seeing as much of the world as she can.
Akshat Gupta is a Senior Applications Engineer at MilliporeSigma in Applications Engineering, Global Manufacturing Sciences and Technology (MSAT) group. His areas of specialization include cell culture clarification and tangential flow filtration. He holds a Bachelor of Technology degree in Chemical Engineering from Vellore Institute of Technology, and a MS and PhD in Chemical Engineering from UMass Lowell. Akshat is an inventor and co-inventor on multiple patents and has presented on various topics related to protein purification. He is also an adjunct faculty in the chemical engineering department at UMass Lowell. He is a member of American Chemical Society and member of MassBioEd’s Skills Advisory Group.
Senior Manager of Cellular Therapy Manufacturing, bluebird bio
Lance joined bluebird bio in 2018 as a Senior Manager in Manufacturing where he helps provide leadership and oversight for GMP gene and cell therapy manufacturing operations. Prior to joining bluebird bio, he held various leadership roles at Shire (now Takeda) in Manufacturing, QA, and Manufacturing, Science and Technology (MS&T). He started his career in 2003 at Lonza Biologics, Inc. in Manufacturing before transitioning to MS&T. Lance received his BS degree in Zoology from the University of New Hampshire. He serves as on the advisory boards for Just A Start and MassBioEd.
Vice President, Simulation and Modeling Sciences, Pfizer
Enoch S. Huang received an AB in Molecular Biology from Princeton and a PhD in Structural Biology from Stanford, where he was a NSF Pre-doctoral Fellow with Prof. Michael Levitt. He was a Jane Coffin Childs Fellow at Washington University School of Medicine, where he developed methods for protein structure prediction. After starting his computational biology career at Cereon Genomics, he joined Pfizer’s Cambridge laboratories in 2000. In 2001, he was appointed Head of Molecular Informatics and joined the site leadership team. In 2007 he accepted a global role as Head of Computational Sciences, responsible for developing new computational methods for designing new medicines. In 2019, Enoch was promoted to Vice President, Simulation and Modelling Sciences, and also charged with leading the Integrative Biology discipline for Pfizer Worldwide Research and Development.
Enoch has been an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Bioinformatics at Boston University since 2001. He has served on editorial boards for Drug Discovery Today and Chemical Biology & Drug Design, and advisory boards for Brandeis University, Princeton Biomedical Data Science, the International Society for Computational Biology, the NIH "Illuminating the Druggable Genome" program, the Rochester Institute of Technology, and the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute. Enoch has also served on the program committees at the New York Academy of Sciences, the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, and on NIH study sections. He has authored over 30 publications and released the Open Source software package PFAAT.
Associate Provost for Graduate Medical Sciences, Boston University
Linda oversees 28 graduate programs at BU with an enrollment of approximately 900 MA/MS and PhD students. Prior, she served as the inaugural Vice Provost for Health Sciences at Montana State University and Director of the WWAMI Medical Education Program. She also served as Assistant Dean for Regional Affairs at the University of Washington School of Medicine. Dr. Hyman is a Professor of Microbiology at BUSM with expertise in molecular genetics. She earned her undergraduate degree at SUNY Albany, her doctoral degree at Brandeis University, and a post-doctoral fellowship at Tufts University School of Medicine. She began her professional career at Tulane University School of Medicine, where she was awarded tenure as Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry. Her service incudes appointments on committees for the NIH, HHMI and the AAMC. Dr. Hyman also served as the Director of the Division of Molecular Biosciences at NSF. Her primary interest is focused on biomedical workforce training as indicated by her position as the co-Principle Investigator on two NIH awards - BU’s BEST and the NIH Summer Training as Research Scholars (STaRS) as well as the PI on an NSF INCLUDES award (BEST BET). Her priorities as Associate Provost include academic and professional development; supporting research infrastructure; providing a nurturing environment for all trainees, especially those from underrepresented and disadvantaged backgrounds; and developing programs that support the nation’s workforce needs.
Marcel has been in the pharmaceutical/software industry for the past 17 years, beginning his career with software consulting and working within IT in the pharmaceutical industry for the last 14 years. He has a science background, originally working in an ICU/CCU of a hospital and made a transition to the software/pharmaceutical industry. He currently manages the IT initiatives within the Research and Development departments within Sage Therapeutics covering Chemistry, Pharmacology, Translational Science, Data Science, Clinical, Regulatory, and Pharmacovigilance.
Director of Regulatory Process, Standards and Training, Takeda
Sandeep brings 25+ years of experience in Compliance and Quality Management within the Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Industry. Has managed teams in R&D, Technical Operations, and IT. He has proven expertise in management of GxP Training Quality Systems, management of regulated Processes & Standards, Computer Systems Validation, 21 CFR Part 11 compliance, IT Quality, IT Application Management, and Corporate (Internal) and External Auditing.
Victoria joined Indigo three years ago with 18 years of experience in natural products drug discovery. Her team isolates novel microbes from the plant microbiome. These microorganisms have evolved with plants over millions of years to optimize their health and maximize their productivity. Her team evaluates the potential of the microbes as seed treatments to increase the growth of crops under various environmental stresses. She earned a BS degree from the University of Rhode Island and a PhD from the University of New Hampshire.
Supply Chain Projects and Compliance Manager, Takeda
David currently leads the Supply Chain Projects and Compliance team at Takeda’s Massachusetts Biological Operations Unit, based in Lexington, MA. David has extensive experience with roles in Manufacturing operations and Project Management, supporting Manufacturing, Quality Assurance, Engineering, and Supply Chain functions from Amgen (Rhode Island and Fremont, CA), Boehringer Ingelheim, Shire and now Takeda. He also supports local continuing education Biotechnology programs in Massachusetts with Middlesex Community College and Northeastern University since 2016. David graduated from Providence College with a BS in Biology.
Regional Life Science Director, Triumvirate Environmental
Ian is responsible for leading Triumvirate’s onsite programs, such as service quality, service innovation, sales and marketing, recruiting, and talent development. Ian has designed and rolled out service programs all over the country for hazardous and regulated medical waste, waste minimalization, chemical inventory, and EHS training systems. Ian also leads organizational efforts around employee recruiting, employee engagement, talent development, and leadership initiatives. He leads a team of over 150 environmental professionals across the country. His teams partner with the world’s premiere biotech and pharmaceutical, healthcare, and higher education institutions to build value through sustainability, safety, and environmental programs.
Jennifer Lawrence leads Cambridge Corporate Training, a talent development firm that provides organizational design and development, training, coaching, and change initiatives for life science and technology organizations. Previously, she served as Managing Director of Executive Education at Harvard Business School. Prior to HBS, Jennifer was a marketing professor and career services dean at Boston University, where she was awarded the Broderick Prize for Outstanding Teaching. Before academia, she developed new markets and led product teams as a senior executive at Reebok International. Jennifer holds advanced degrees from Harvard University in Business Administration (MBA) and in Education (M.Ed).
Chris has been a board member at MassBioEd since 2014 and has more than 30 years of experience in biopharmaceutical operations. He currently heads the Viral Vector Services business unit at Thermo Fisher Scientific, focusing on development and manufacturing in support of the gene therapy industry. Prior to Thermo Fisher Scientific, Chris served as general manager for the Sanofi-Genzyme Allston Landing manufacturing site and led Genzyme’s gene therapy operation in San Diego, CA. Chris has a master’s degree in biochemistry from New York Medical College and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Rutgers University.
Interim Chancellor, University of Massachusetts, Boston
Katherine S. Newman is the interim chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Boston and Torrey Little Professor of Sociology at UMass Amherst. In her leadership role, Dr. Newman is focused on creating opportunities for first generation, low income students to enter the prosperous industries that are so prominent in Boston, including those related to the life sciences. Dr. Newman was previously the Provost at UMass Amherst, Dean of the Arts and Sciences at Johns Hopkins, the Forbes Class of 1941 Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton and Director of the Institute for International and Regional Studies; the founding Dean of Social Science at the Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study; and the director of Harvard’s Multidisciplinary Program on Inequality and Social Policy. She taught for 16 years in the Department of Anthropology at Columbia University and for two years in the School of Law at the University of California Berkeley. Katherine has remained an active scholar, completing fifteen books and five edited volumes focusing both on issues of poverty and policy. A native Californian, she completed her undergraduate degree in philosophy and sociology at UC San Diego and her PhD in Anthropology at UC Berkeley.
Tracy Nicholson joined Third Rock Ventures in 2012 and focuses on cross-functional recruiting to build teams within our portfolio companies, as well as performing executive search for the firm. Tracy has 15 years of recruiting experience specializing in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry and has assisted with recruiting for several of the firm’s portfolio companies, including Jounce Therapeutics, Warp Drive Bio and Editas Medicine. Prior to joining Third Rock, she was the human resources manager and recruiter at Agios Pharmaceuticals. She also consulted at larger biotech and pharmaceutical companies like Novartis and Vertex, and at search firms before going in-house. Prior to launching her recruiting career, Tracy worked as a research scientist at Biogen, Genome Therapeutics and Avant Immunotherapies. Tracy received a BS in biology from Boston University.
Director of Office of Animal Resources, Harvard University Faculty of Arts Sciences
With over 35 years’ experience in biomedical research and commercial biotechnology, Steve has held senior management positions in contract drug and device development, biotech start-ups in human gene therapy and food animal genomics, and laboratory animal care and assurance. Dr. Niemi is a Diplomate and past president of the American College of Laboratory Animal Medicine and has served on numerous boards and national task forces addressing medical product development and lab animal welfare. He earned an AB in biology from Harvard College, a DVM from Washington State University, and then received a US Public Health Service National Research Service Award while a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He later completed the Program for Management Development at the Harvard Business School. A collection of his essays, “Notes in the Category of C: Reflections on the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals”, was published last year by Elsevier.
Senior Director of Manufacturing, Vericel Corporation
Chris has worked in the biotech industry for over 20 years, primarily in autologous cell therapy. He earned his BS in Biotechnology from Ferris State University (1994) and has held positions at large pharma, cell therapy and medical device companies. Chris’ professional experiences include R&D, Quality Control, and manufacturing in support of clinical trial stage cell therapies (Phases I – III). In his current position, he oversees commercial production of both a FDA approved biologic and medical device (HDE). In the late 1990’s, he began working in autologous cell therapy and was captivated by the concept of using the body’s own cells to remediate health issues. He has since remained in this field.
Paul has been a Professor of Biotechnology at Middlesex Community College for over 20 years and has over 30 years of experience in the field. Paul collaboratively developed the “BEST for Biomanufacturing” program to train new technicians in GMP and basic manufacturing lab skills and retain current technicians. He identifies and mentors community college biotechnology students who qualify to transfer to Northeastern to complete their bachelors and master’ degrees, as part of the A2M NSF grant team. Among his many engagements, Paul instituted the Science Journal Club and participated in an international fellowship to Belize, studying marine life on the Meso-American Barrier Reef. He serves on the Minuteman Vocational High School/MCC Advisory Board. Since MCC’s founding in 2005, he has worked to increase student retention through the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning program. He holds a BS in Biology and MAT in Biology Education from Bridgewater State University.
Director of Quantitative Clinical Pharmacology, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals
Chris has nearly 20 years of experience in quantitative analysis for the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. At Astrazeneca, he is responsible for quantitative clinical pharmacology in late phase metabolic/renal diseases (e.g., type 2 diabetes). Prior, Chris served as AD/Group Head for clinical pharmacometrics in the Novartis Critical Care franchise and held various scientific roles at Epix Pharmaceuticals and Physiome Sciences. Chris earned his PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University developing computational methods for understanding cardiac physiology in normal and diseased hearts. He also holds BS and MS degrees in Nuclear Engineering from NC State University where he developed adaptive methods for reactor simulation used for accident scenario preparedness. Chris is committed to the greater Boston clinical pharmacology, pharmacometrics and predictive modeling communities and serves as Chair for ISoP New England.
In her role at bluebird bio, Molly leads internal and partnered R&D programs for CAR T cell products and is responsible for research contribution to cellular process improvements and correlative sciences for clinical programs. Dr. Perkins contributed to research candidate nomination and translational bioassays for bluebird’s lead anti-BCMA CAR T program, bb2121, which is currently in pivotal studies. She co-led the research program and translational bioassay development for bb21217, bluebird’s next-generation anti-BCMA CAR T therapy, which is currently in Phase 1 studies. Dr. Perkins earned her B.A. from Harvard University, her M.Sc. from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and her D.Phil. from Oxford University and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in T cell immunology at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She is an author on a dozen peer-reviewed publications focused on defining effective human T cell responses and applying these findings to novel therapeutics.
Director of Global Manufacturing Sciences & Technology Capabilities, Bristol-Myers Squibb
Itzcoatl Pla has over 16 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry, ranging from process control, process development, process characterization, large-scale clinical and commercial manufacturing, establishing new experimental and technical teams, transferring processes to and from third-party manufacturers, process validation and life-cycle management and licensure by various Health Authorities. He is currently responsible for providing technical leadership on key capabilities across the BMS late-stage and commercial manufacturing network, including Material Sciences, Process Microbiology, Cryogenics, Knowledge Management & CMC Document Management. Itzcoatl joined Bristol-Myers Squibb in July 2013, having previously worked initially for Abbott Laboratories and later Abbvie, in Massachusetts, Singapore and Puerto Rico. Itzcoatl holds a BS in Biochemical Engineering from the Instituto Tecnológico de Veracruz, in Mexico, and a PhD in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from Cornell University.
Human Resources Business Partner, Gritstone Oncology
Melissa Powers is an experienced and accomplished HR professional with 13+ years of experience focused on scaling talent with a lean talent operation within startup high tech organizations. Currently Melissa is Associate Director of Human Resources with Gritstone Oncology, Inc. As a collaborative business partner, she enjoys working with business leaders to help build and develop their employees and organizations, creating a fulfilling and inspiring workplace. Melissa is a people and culture change leader championing corporate vision, values, and mission. Previous to Gritstone, Melissa started her career in Talent Acquisition and held HR positions with GnuBio, Bio-Rad and Blueprint Medicines.
Director of Immigration Services Office, UMASS Medical School
UMass Medical School is one of the leading medical schools in the nation for primary care education. It is also a world-class research institution, consistently producing noteworthy advances in clinical and basic research. It consists of three graduate schools (Medicine, Biomedical Sciences, and Nursing) committed to innovative scientific discoveries and exceptional medical education. Vanessa is responsible for policy, compliance, and campus engagement, as well as visa processing and advising for over 600 student or employment-based visa holders. She specializes in J-1, H1B, TN, E-3, and F-1 regulations and processes. She also manages international tax treaty application and I-9 compliance. Prior to her time at UMass Medical School, Vanessa managed the immigration needs of international students, scholars, and faculty at The Scripps Research Institute and Hampshire College.
Associate Director of Training, Global Medical Communications, Sanofi Genzyme
Chris has 30 years in the healthcare industry, initially as a clinician, and for the last 15 years in the pharma/biotech space. She has worked both on the commercial and medical side of the industry in customer facing, leadership and training positions. Regardless of her role, Chris enjoys equipping others to take charge of their professional growth and development as they move through their career journey. She and her partner live in the greater Boston area and enjoy being in the outdoors and spending time with family and friends.
Erik Rocheford leads Stratacuity’s business development efforts for new and existing relationships. He has earned a reputation for providing outstanding client service and his team is known for placing high-quality talent while paying attention to the smallest detail of every staffing assignment. His vast referral network and local market expertise have allowed him to become a trusted resource of Boston’s biopharmaceutical hub. Erik is passionate about new trends in the drug discovery community and enjoys contributing to team growth and overall workplace efficiency. Outside of work he is a happily addicted year-round surfer and enjoys spending time with his wife, two kids, and two dogs living it up here on the beautiful seacoast.
Associate Director of Talent Acquisition, Agios Pharmaceuticals
Laurie Travers Rose is Associate Director of Talent Acquisition at Agios Pharmaceuticals, where she leads the team responsible for hiring in research, clinical and technical operations. She has been working in Human Resources in the biotech space since 2005 and enjoys helping organizations scale and evolve. Laurie holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Boston University and a Master’s in Human Resource Management from Emmanuel College.
Lauren Sadler is the Biotech Navigator for Northeastern’s Biotech Associates to Masters pathway and scholarship program. She received her BA in Philosophy from American University and her MEd in education policy from the University of Washington.
Lauren has been working in the youth development and education space for the last seven years and is passionate about preparing students for careers in STEM fields. In her current role, Lauren manages a NSF grant with the goal of increasing access to biotech education to low income students. She splits her time between Middlesex Community College and Northeastern University working with students, faculty, and administrators to provide all aspects of the grant to students and help students navigate the higher education system seamlessly. Previously, Lauren managed an AmeriCorps tutoring program.
Brandon joined Indigo in July 2018. There, he works to source microbes from the environment and understand and predict how those microbes can be applied to promote the growth and health of agricultural crops. For more than 10 years, Brandon has used bioinformatic methodologies to ask fundamental questions about the microbial communities that live within our oceans, rivers, and plants. He received his PhD in Microbiology from the University of Georgia, after which he worked as a post-doctoral researcher at MIT.
Bennett Savitz has practiced exclusively in the area of immigration law since 1994. Since 2008, Bennett Savitz has been selected as one of Boston's Best Lawyers in Immigration Law by Best Lawyers of America. Best Lawyers of America is a trademarked publication described as “the leading referral list in the legal profession.” Please go to www.bestlawyers.com for the most recent listing. Best Lawyers selects attorneys for listings based upon nominations by and voting by attorneys in the field: “They must earn a spot through exemplary legal work that attracts the notice of their colleagues.”
In 2018, Savitz Law Offices was selected as Massachusetts Business Immigration Law Firm of the Year by M&A Insider Awards, and Bennett Savitz was selected as Immigration Lawyer of the Year in Massachusetts by International Advisory Experts and Corporate LiveWire. Additionally, in 2014, Bennett Savitz was selected to be added to The International Who’s Who of Corporate Immigration Lawyers.
Since 1994, Bennett Savitz has been an active member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), serving on several local and national AILA committees, helping shape policies and procedures for the entire Immigration Bar. He has also served as the Chapter Chair of the New England Chapter of AILA.
Bennett Savitz speaks frequently and writes numerous articles on various aspects of Immigration Law. He also authors articles in AILA's Immigration & Nationality Law, a nationally distributed handbook published annually at the national conference, where he is frequently a speaker. Bennett Savitz was also the Chairman for a series of Immigration Law seminars sponsored by Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education. Additionally, he was the editor of their two-volume reference set entitled, Immigration Law Primer. He is currently teaching Business Immigration Law at New England Law School, and a Graduate School course on Immigration Law and Policy at Lesley University.
Scott received his Ph.D. in 2013 from Washington State University and was a trainee in the NIH Protein Biotech Program. While at WSU, he researched tree fruit genomics, tissue culture, and characterizing plastid transition in developing apple fruit. Along with several coworkers in the Dhingra Lab, Scott co-founded Phytelligence, where he later served as the Director of R&D. He performed his postdoctoral work in the Nakata Lab at the USDA Children's Nutrition Research Center, focusing on identifying the genetic components of calcium oxalate formation in soy and spinach with the goal of increasing calcium bioavailability. Scott is currently a Scientist II in the Abiotic Microbial Evaluation team at Indigo Agriculture. His team works to screen endophytic microbes to quickly identify leads for new products to help plants tolerate stress and improve yield.
Patrizia Stadler has spent the last eight years developing tools to quantify biomarkers of disease in the therapeutic areas of cardiology, oncology and immunology. Patrizia holds a PhD in Biomedical Engineering and Biotechnology from UMass Lowell. Prior to joining Quanterix, Patrizia worked as a scientist for Quad technologies (now Bio-Techne) developing biologicals for CAR T-Cell Therapy. Before, Patrizia worked in translational research to enhance treatments for the oncology therapeutic space at Fox Chase Cancer Center and for the cardiology therapeutic space at UMass Medical School. Patrizia has been responsible for hiring new talent in various professional settings, from academic research laboratories to start ups, and from rapidly growing biotechnology companies.
Director of Talent & Workforce Development, MassBioEd
Karla joined the MassBioEd team in October 2018 as the Manager of Labor Market Research. She is focused on building bridges and facilitating dialogue between employers and educators in the life sciences with the goal of expanding the life sciences workforce. She analyzes data on hiring trends and uses this information to enhance career awareness for high school and undergraduate students through pre- and post-doctoral scientists. Prior to joining MassBioEd, Karla managed a program which trained adults for careers in the life sciences, and she has worked both in the biotechnology industry and in academia. Karla holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry from Smith College, a Master’s Degree in Biotechnology from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and an M.B.A., also from W.P.I. She is passionate about increasing scientific literacy among children and adults.
Senior Immigration Specialist, The Broad Institute
In her current role, Lynn Walters Rekhi works with The Broad’s scholar, postdoc and affiliate populations. Prior, she spent seven years working at Boston University as an International Student Advisor. She holds an EdM in International Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Lynn is very active in NAFSA: Association of International Educators and is currently the Special Projects Chair for the New England Region. She has been a trainer, conference coordinator and curriculum developer and has trained numerous workshops on F-1, J-1 and H-1B regulations as well as intercultural communications and understanding immigration basics for those outside of the field. When not working, Lynn spends time with her family and travels as often as possible.
Leader of Bioinformatics & Computing Core Facility, Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research
Charlie Whittaker is a research scientist and leader of the Bioinformatics and Computing Core Facility in MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research. Charlie and his staff provides expertise in bioinformatics, statistical support and powerful computational resources to the KI community. His facility has made numerous contributions to research projects in the Koch Institute and their work is frequently recognized in publications through authorship or acknowledgements.
Whittaker received his BS in biology from University of Vermont in 1990. His PhD thesis in cell and developmental biology was performed with Douglas DeSimone at the University of Virginia. He was a post-doctoral fellow in Richard Hynes’ lab at the Center for Cancer Research at MIT where he developed an interest in bioinformatics and computing. He then contributed to the Human Genome Project as part of Chinnappa Kordira’s group at the Broad Institute. He then rejoined the Koch Institute in his current role in 2004.
Head of Computational Biology & Bioinformatics, Blueprint Medicines
Chaoyang is the Head of Computation Biology and Bioinformatics at Blueprint Medicines, a precision medicine company focused on oncology and rare genetic diseases. Since completing his PhD in Microbiology, he has been leading technology innovation in the academic, non-profit, pharmaceutical and biotech fields. He co-led the first genomic sequencing of two ant species, established single cell and CRISPR screening to study neurological diseases and invented industrial scale genomics method for in-depth drug profiling. He is passionate about harnessing new technology and big data for better decision making and improving lives.
Li started her career in the Analytical Development department of Biogen. Over her 13-year tenure there, she developed herself from a bench scientist to a group leader to a department head, responsible for biochemical, biophysical assay development, detailed structure characterization, analytical CMC program management as well as analytical regulatory filing for all protein projects in Biogen’s pipeline. Li joined Abbvie in 2018 and is currently leading the Protein Analytics department at AbbVie Bioresearch Center. Li attended Northeastern University and received her PhD degree in Analytical Chemistry with Professor Barry L. Karger. So far, Li has published more than 25 scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals and has given 12 presentations at international scientific conferences. In addition, Li is also a co-inventor of an approved US patent and a US patent application.