2016 Archived Content

Speaker Biographies

Andrey Antov, Ph.D., Program Director, Maine Cancer Genomics Initiative, The Jackson Laboratory

Andrey Antov is a program director at The Jackson Laboratory, responsible for the newly launched Maine Cancer Genomics Initiative (MCGI) supported by a grant from the Harold Alfond Foundation. Throughout Dr. Antov’s healthcare professional experience that includes basic research, medical device contracting and pharmaceutical, he has held a number of different roles from administration to consulting. Andrey holds a Ph.D. in immunobiology and an MBA in marketing and strategy from Yale University as well as an MSc in biochemistry and an MSc in ecology from The Sofia University in Bulgaria.

Andrew Brooks, Ph.D., COO, RUCDR Infinite Biologics; Associate Professor, Genetics, Rutgers University; Co-Managing Director, BioProcessing Solutions Alliance

As the Chief Operating Officer of RUCDR Infinite Biologics, Dr. Andrew Brooks oversees the operations of all laboratories within RUCDR, ensuring consistent and superior quality standards for all services. Dr. Brooks is a well-recognized genomicist and has been involved in the development and implementation of cutting-edge molecular-based technologies for nucleic acid, protein and tissue analyses. His methodologies focus on extending the use of valuable samples by extracting and renewing limited quantities of biomaterial with newly developed technologies. Dr. Brooks is also the Director of the Bionomics Research and Technology Center (BRTC) at the Environmental and Occupational Health Science Institute of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. He is an Associate Professor of Environmental Medicine and Genetics at UMDNJ/Rutgers. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Rochester, School of Medicine.

Erin Daniels, MSc, Research Scientist, Clinical Pharmacogenomics, Bristol-Myers Squibb

Erin Daniels has 10 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry as a research scientist supporting multiple therapeutic areas, from basic research to clinical study support. She is currently working in the Clinical Genetics and Genomics Biomarker Technologies group supporting exploratory genotyping in various clinical studies.

Eric Dishman, Director, Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program, National Institutes of Health

Eric Dishman leads the Precision Medicine Initiative® (PMI) Cohort Program, a $130 million Presidential Initiative that will assemble a transformative national research cohort of 1 million or more volunteers, reflecting the rich diversity of America. Before joining the National Institutes of Health as the PMI Cohort Program Director in 2016, Eric served as Vice President and Intel Fellow of Intel Corporation’s Health & Life Sciences Group, responsible for global strategy, research, platform development, and policy in key areas like health IT, genomics and personalized medicine, consumer wellness, and care coordination technologies. For more than 15 years, he led Intel’s healthcare strategy and research, including the creation and distribution of Intel’s open platforms and open-source tools to help researchers accelerate scientific discovery ranging from wearable and in-home technologies for movement disorders to big data platforms for cancer genomics. Eric also brings the patient experience to the heart of innovation and science. After battling a rare form of kidney cancer for 23 years — and advocating personally for more than 1,000 other cancer patients along the way — he became cancer-free thanks to early access to precision medicine that clarified the right treatment plan for him.

Laura Elnitski, Ph.D., Principal Investigator, Translational and Functional Genomics Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), National Institutes of Health

Dr. Elnitski is a tenured investigator at the National Human Genome Research Institute. She has participated in numerous genome sequencing projects including mouse, rat, cow and chicken, as well as the ENCODE Consortium to elucidate functional elements in the human genome. Her work specializes in developing tools to identify and discern the mechanistic action of functional elements in the human genome, including promoters, enhancers, silencers, splicing elements and epigenetic regulators. She received an Outstanding Research Achievement Award at the International Symposium on Bioinformatics, Research and Applications, Harvard University in 2007, and was selected for a Genome Technology International Young Investigator Award in 2009. In 2013, Dr. Elnitski was awarded the Faculty Mentoring Award at NHGRI and the Ruth L. Kirschstein award for mentoring at the NIH. She serves as a standing member of the Genomics and Computational Biology Study Section of the NIH. Her research has been featured on NBC News.

Kelly B. Engel, Ph.D., Lead Curator, Biospecimen Research Database, Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research Branch, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health

Dr. Kelly B. Engel has worked as a contractor with the National Cancer Institute's Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research Branch (BBRB) since 2008. She is the Lead Curator of the Biospecimen Research Database, a free online repository of literature and Standard Operating Procedures relevant to the field of biospecimen science (http://biospecimens.cancer.gov/brd). She has authored several review articles on molecular and proteomic effects associated with pre-analytical variability. In addition to curating new articles and recruiting SOP contributions from participating biobanks and biorepositories for the BRD, she is presently working on several meta-analysis topics and the development of additional Biospecimen Evidence-Based Practices. Dr. Engel received her bachelor’s degree from Florida Institute of Technology, and her Ph.D. in Biology from Boston University with an emphasis on Physiology, Endocrinology, and Reproduction.

Homayoon Farzadegan, Ph.D., MSc, Professor, Epidemiology & Molecular Microbiology and Immunology; Director, JHBR and Core Laboratories, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Dr. Homayoon Farzadegan is professor of departments on Epidemiology and Molecular microbiology and Immunology. He is the director of the Johns Hopkins Biological Repository (JHBR) and core labs. He joined the faculty of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHBSPH) in 1984 after two years of postdoctoral fellowship at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He established the virology and serology labs in the department of Epidemiology to support the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS) in 1984 and the Alive study in 1988. These large cohort studies of HIV infection among MSM and drug users are currently and actively ongoing. He has been conducting cohort and cross-sectional studies of blood-born viral infections during the past 32 years. He is currently involved in l major Epigenetic studies such as the COPDgene study as well as several Autism studies. He has published more than 120 scientific papers. In addition to research, Dr. Farzadegan has been actively involved in teaching infectious disease courses. He has received five Golden Apple awards by students for excellence in teaching. He is a member of Delta Omega Public Health Honor Society.

Alex S. Felmeister, Supervisor, Data Integration – Enterprise Informatics, Translational Informatics Unit, Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Alex is a supervisor for data integration in the Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics (DBHi) at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), where he works on a team of application developers building data-driven tools for translational research projects. His work drives complex research projects that traverse diverse data resources (clinical, biological and genomic) with the mission of improving the health and lives of children. Alex’s particular domain of interest is large data-driven informatics software and integration specifically for pediatric cancer research. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Temple University and an MS in Information Systems from Drexel University in Philadelphia. He is currently a doctoral candidate at Drexel University in Information Science/Informatics.

Daniel E. Ford, M.D., MPH, David M. Levine Professor of Medicine; Director, Institute for Clinical and Translational Research; Vice Dean, Clinical Investigation, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

Dr. Daniel Ford is a professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He holds joint appointments in psychiatry and behavioral sciences and, at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in health policy and management and in epidemiology. Dr. Ford serves as the director of the Institute for Clinical and Translational Research and the vice dean for clinical investigation at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Widely regarded as a pioneer in research associated with the interrelationships between mental disorders and chronic medical conditions, Dr. Ford gained international acclaim for clinical studies documenting depression as an independent risk factor for coronary heart disease and for research describing the long-term health risks related to sleep disturbances. He was chosen by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to direct the evaluation of its $12 million Depression in Primary Care Initiative. He also has been the principal researcher on a large training grant to develop researchers in general internal medicine. A leader in using the Internet for clinical research, Dr. Ford worked closely with Johns Hopkins personnel who developed e-IRB, an electronic process for submitting research proposals to the school of medicine’s Institutional Review Board, which oversees requests to launch clinical studies. His research interests include ways to improve the treatment of chronic diseases through information technology. He also advocates treating human research subjects as partners, ensuring that they receive sufficient thanks for their commitment and willingness to contribute to scientific progress. Dr. Ford received his M.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1982. He arrived at Hopkins that year as a medical resident and, except for a brief period as a National Institutes of Health fellow, has been on the Johns Hopkins faculty ever since. He received his master’s degree in public health from the Bloomberg School in 1986. He has published more than 120 research papers and book chapters, and was associate editor of the Journal of General Internal Medicine and a member of the editorial board of General Hospital Psychiatry.

DeeDee Fryer, Research Operations Manager, Translational Sciences Operations, Amgen

DeeDee is responsible for strategic planning, development, implementation and supplier management related to the biorepository operations, shipping and logistics for Amgen’s Biological Sample Management (BSM) group and other Translational Sciences functions. She has over 14 years of experience in managing biorepository operations including inventory management, shipping and logistics, as well as served as Business Analyst Lead in the design and business requirement gathering for BSM’s inventory management system. In addition, she has a strong background in project management and has led multiple cross-functional initiatives at Amgen including the externalization of the biorepository. DeeDee earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University Northridge.

Victoria Haggerson, Ph.D., Group Lead, Global Biological Assets, Discovery Supply, GlaxoSmithKline

Victoria Haggerson received her doctorate in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Michigan and took this background to the Coriell Institute for Medical Research in 2012, where she managed a lab that generated biobank specimens including DNA, RNA and biofluids. She worked to implement efficient process while improving and creating quality control. Additionally, she worked with developers to design architecture for a custom LIMS. In 2014, she joined the Discovery Supply group at GlaxoSmithKline, which maintains and develops innovative platforms and services to enhance and deliver small molecule and biological samples and leverage expertise in automation, IT, compliance and QA for the benefit of the GSK enterprise. She manages the Global Biological Assets group, which is developing a central platform for the provision, processing, quality control, storage and distribution of biological materials for drug discovery and development.

Adam R. Hall, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Biomedical Engineering, Virginia Tech-Wake Forest School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, Wake Forest University School of Medicine

Adam Hall received a BS in Physics and a Ph.D. in Applied and Materials Sciences from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He then trained as a postdoctoral fellow in the Kavli Institute of Nanoscience at the Technische Universiteit Delft, The Netherlands. In 2010, he became a founding faculty member of the Nanoscience program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro before moving to Wake Forest University School of Medicine in 2013 as an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering. Dr. Hall’s research interests are focused on applying micro- and nanotechnologies to the study of disease, with a specific concentration on cancer.

Mustafa Kahraman, MSc, Bioinformatician & Research Scientist of the Chair for Clinical Bioinformatics, Center for Bioinformatics, Saarland University

Mustafa Kahraman studied Bioinformatics at Saarland University in Saarbrücken (Germany), where he successfully obtained his Master’s degree in 2016. His Master’s thesis under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Andreas Keller (Chair of Clinical Bioinformatics, Saarland University) dealt with the development of a microRNA prediction tool as a web service application. During his studies, he completed a laboratory placement in the field of epigenetics (Prof. Dr. Jörn Walter, Genetics/Epigenetics, Saarland University). In 2016, he was accepted as a Ph.D. student into Prof. Keller’s group. He is currently working on his Ph.D. project in cooperation with the company Hummingbird Diagnostics (Heidelberg, Germany), focusing on the discovery of microRNA signatures in order to diagnose human diseases.

Karl Kammerhoff, MBA, Operations Analyst, BMS Biorepository (HPW), Clinical Translational Technologies & Operations, Exploratory Clinical & Translational Research, Bristol-Myers Squibb

I have over 10 years of experience in the BioPharma industry developing and managing sample management solutions. My current role is Operations Analyst, BMS Biorepository within the ECTR organization. We currently support all biomaterial, sample management needs for ECTR, GCO, TR&D, and portions of Veterinary Science.

Thomas Li, Ph.D., FAAAAI, FACB, CTO, Diagnostic Development Hub, ETPL, Agency for Science, Technology and Research

Thomas M. Li, Ph.D., is the Chief Technology Officer/Vice President of the Diagnostics and Development Hub at A*STAR in Singapore. He was the Senior Director, Chief Technology Office at Roche in the USA and Head of Asia Pacific Technology Management at Roche in Singapore. Previously, he was the Director of Diagnostics at Invitrogen Corporation in Carlsbad, California. Dr. Li received his Ph.D. in Biophysical Chemistry from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and completed his postdoctoral fellowship at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. Dr. Li is a member of ASCO and AACR, a Fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, a Fellow of the National Academy of Clinical Biochemistry and a Diplomat of the European Academy of Allergology and Clinical Immunology. He has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals and U.S. patents, as well as contributing many oral presentations, invited papers and book chapters.

Sumitra Muralidhar, Ph.D., Program Director, Million Veteran Program, Office of Research & Development, Veterans Health Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Dr. Muralidhar has worked at the VHA Office of Research and Development (ORD) for over 16 years in various scientific program management roles, including VA’s Genomic Medicine Program. For the past 10 years, she has played a leading role in the development and implementation of the Million Veteran Program, a mega-cohort to study the interplay between genes, lifestyle, military exposure and health. She has also served as the Designated Federal Officer for VA’s Genomic Medicine Program Advisory Committee, A FACA panel of national experts. Currently, she serves as the Program Director for the Million Veteran Program and ORD’s liaison to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy for the Precision Medicine Initiative. In 2005-2006, Dr. Muralidhar served as Health and Science Advisor to the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. Prior to joining the VA, she was an Associate Professor at the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Georgetown University.

Christopher Nalbone, Business Capability Manager, Clinical & Translational R&D IT, Bristol-Myers Squibb

I am an IT professional with 25 years of experience in the BioPharma industry developing and managing solutions for chemistry, clinical and translational research groups within the R&D organization. Previously, I worked in the aerospace industry and hold a BS degree in Computer Science from Drexel University.

Jeffrey M. Otto, Ph.D., MBA, Founder and CEO, Otto Consulting Group

Dr. Otto has more than 20 years of experience in academic, biotechnology and healthcare environments. He currently is the Founder and CEO of Otto Consulting Group, a company that aids life sciences organizations with their commercialization needs. Prior to OCG, Dr. Otto served as the leader for Catholic Health Initiatives Center for Translational Research, a company focused on using biospecimens to enable precision medicine. Before coming to CHI, Dr. Otto was the VP of Production Operations at Perlegen, Senior Director of Genetic Services at Sequenom and Director of Business Development and Laboratory Operations at Genaissance Pharmaceuticals. Prior to moving to biotech sector, he served as Assistant Professor at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. There, his research focused on classic genetic and transgenic mouse models of rheumatoid and osteo-arthritis. Dr. Otto received his Ph.D. in biology (molecular genetics) from Marquette University and his MBA from the New York Institute of Technology.

Abhi Rao, Ph.D., Program Director, Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research Branch (BBRB), Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis, Cancer Diagnosis Program, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health

Dr. Rao joined BBRB in the summer of 2013 as a Program Manager for the NIH Common Fund Initiative Genotype Tissue Expression (GTEx) program, which procures high-quality human tissues to help identify patient-specific change in gene expression and will ultimately contribute to the development of targeted molecular medicine. She received her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and completed her postdoctoral studies in clinical nanotechnology at Georgetown University. Her current focus is on the Biospecimen Methodological Study (BMS) which has provided valuable information about tissue processing parameters as well as an economics initiative that will address the challenges that human tissue biobanks encounter to sustain a financially stable operation. The information garnered about cost and operational modeling will help develop programs to support biobanks worldwide.

Suzanne M. Rivera, Ph.D., Vice President, Research and Technology Management, Case Western Reserve University

Dr. Suzanne Rivera is the Vice President for Research and Technology Management at Case Western Reserve University. She oversees the research enterprise, including research policy, sponsored projects, technology commercialization, scientific integrity, regulatory compliance, and training in the responsible conduct of research. Dr. Rivera also teaches bioethics to undergraduate and graduate students, conducts original research about science policy and research ethics, and has published numerous journal articles and book chapters on these topics. Dr. Rivera is active nationally in research policy. She is a member of the EPA’s Human Studies Review Board and previously was an appointed member of the U.S. DHHS Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Human Research Protections. Dr. Rivera holds a BA from Brown University, a Master of Social Welfare degree from UC Berkeley, and a Doctor of Philosophy in Public Affairs from the University of Texas at Dallas.

Emilie Robert, Ph.D., Project Manager, Governance, CryoStem

Emilie Robert has an engineer’s degree in Health Biotechnologies and a Ph.D. in Neurosciences. Her Ph.D. research (NICN – UMR 7259, Marseille, France) was focused on the protective effects of the pantethine in cerebral malaria, Parkinson’s disease and Freidreich’s ataxia at a mitochondrial level. In 2010, she became R&D project manager for ICDD (Innovative Concepts for Drug Development), a CRO in biotechnologies, in predictive toxicology. She was in charge of the development of the Mitosafe® bioassays, using mitochondrial functions in cellulo to evaluate drugs and active ingredients toxicity and efficacy, and also in diseases such as Huntington, Alzheimer, ageing, cancers and diabetes. She has collaborated with world-renowned pharmaceutical and cosmetics companies. Since 2014 she has worked for CryoStem as project manager, coordinating and managing the HSCT Units/BRC network and working at the Collection valorization.

Michael Roehrl, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Precision Pathology Biobanking Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Bio coming soon.

Jane Rogan, Business Manager, Manchester Cancer Research Centre (MCRC) Biobank, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust

Jane Rogan is Business Manager of the Manchester Cancer Research Centre (MCRC) Biobank and has a wider Trust role at The Christie NHS Foundation Trust as HTA Designated Individual for research. With over 12 years’ service in the NHS, Jane has extensive experience of human tissue research and its accompanying regulation and has been involved in tissue banking and its related governance for over 10 years. Jane has a Biological Sciences undergraduate degree from The University of Birmingham and an MBA from Huddersfield University Business School. She is currently studying for an MSc in Healthcare Leadership as part of the NHS Leadership Academy Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Programme.

Jens Rueter, M.D., Medical Director, Translational Research, EMMC Oncology Research Program, EMMC Cancer Care, Eastern Maine Medical Center

Dr. Jens Rueter is a hematologist/oncologist at EMMC Cancer Care in Brewer, Maine and the Medical Director of Translational Research. After graduating from medical school in Berlin, Germany, Dr. Rueter completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Tulane University (New Orleans, Louisiana) and fellowship training in hematology/oncology at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He has practiced as a hematologist/oncologist at EMMC Cancer Care since 2010, where he has built and directed the EMMC BioBank and the translational research program and has been actively involved in clinical trial design and implementation. His research interest lies in PDX modeling, novel therapies and biomarkers for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and in cancer immunotherapy.

Peter Shaw, Ph.D., Head, Clinical Pharmacogenomics, Merck & Co.

Dr. Shaw has 18 years of experience at Merck & Co., Inc. and Bristol-Myers Squibb, in the strategic development and implementation of biomarkers and genomic platforms throughout drug development. Main achievements have included: the application of genomic platforms throughout drug development for the discovery and validation of biomarkers to enable decision making in multiple drug development programs across multiple therapeutic areas (Oncology, Infectious Disease, Cardiovascular & Diabetes), developing large strategic relationships with academic centers and biotechnology companies to promote R&D, optimizing ethical processes and procedures to collect clinical samples for genomic research, working with pre-competitive consortia programs (iPWG, SAEC, ARCG), strategic development and education in the field of pharmacogenetics and drug development with trade organizations (PhRMA, EFPIA committees). Dr. Shaw has a Ph.D. from University of Aberdeen, Scotland (Biochemistry, 1987), with the thesis “The isolation and characterization of human cytochromes P-450” under supervisor Dr. M.D. Burke. He earned his BSc (Hons) from University of Wales, Cardiff College (Biochemistry, 1983).

Stella Somiari, Ph.D., Senior Director, Biobank and Biospecimen Science Research, Chan Soon-Shiong Institute of Molecular Medicine at Windber

Stella B. Somiari, Ph.D., is Senior Director, Windber Research Institute (WRI), and pioneer Director, WRI Biorepository. Dr. Somiari is an active member of the International Society of Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER), and has served as contributor/Associate Editor of ISBER Best Practices. She received ISBER Service Award (2008), Certificate of Appreciation for Outstanding Contribution (2006-2008) and is currently a member of the Biospecimen Science Working Group. She has published widely and served on the NCI/OBBR (Office of Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research) committee which published “Biospecimen Reporting for Improved Study Quality” (BRISQ) in 2010. The WRI biorepository which she helped start in 2001 is CAP accredited and supports the DOD-funded Clinical Breast Care Project, and is the long-term tissue storage facility for the U.S. military’s Cancer Center, Walter Reed. The WRI biospecimen collection and conservation program supports the Eastern Zone of the NCI’s Cooperative Human Tissue Network and provided tissue for The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) Project of the NIH.

Anton Wellstein, M.D., Ph.D., Professor, Oncology, Pharmacology and Medicine; Associate Director, Basic Science, Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, Georgetown University Medical School

I am a Professor and Associate Director for Basic Research at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center of Georgetown University in Washington, DC. I trained as an M.D./Ph.D. in Germany and then joined NIH to study growth factor signaling in cancer in the Medicine Branch of the NCI with Dr. Marc Lippman and was recruited to the faculty of Georgetown University in the Departments of Pharmacology and Oncology. I have had a long-term interest in growth factor and cytokine signaling. The ultimate aim of my research is to find targets amenable to therapy as well as establish biomarkers to monitor treatment efficacy in cancer patients. During the past decade, my research has focused on tumor/stromal interaction with a particular emphasis on the function and regulation of the activity of FGFs and the pleiotrophin/ALK signaling.