2016 About 2016 PPI Speaker Information

2016 PPI Speakers/Presenters
(listed in alphabetical order by last name; Updated: 06.01.16)

 
Anastasia-Aksyuk-150w.jpgAnastasia Aksyuk, PhD, received a PhD degree in Biophysics from Purdue University, where she studied mechanics of viral molecular machines using X-ray crystallography in the lab of Dr. Michael Rossmann. After graduating in 2009, she stayed at Purdue University as a postdoc for 3 years, extending her expertise from X-ray crystallography into electron microscopy. In 2012 Anastasia went to NIH, where she continued looking through the electron microscope in the lab of Dr. Alasdair Steven, focusing on human viruses. Her academic achievements include multiple travel and poster awards, Purdue Research Foundation Grant, NIGMS Postdoctoral Research Associate Training (PRAT) fellowship and six first author publications. In March 2015 Anastasia joined Meso Scale Discovery R&D team, where she works on immuno-assay development for multiple applications.
 
Libby Barksdale PhDElizabeth (Libby) Barksdale, PhD, graduated from Hope College with a BS in Biology in 2001. After a period of professional wandering she started graduate school at The George Washington University in 2005. Her dissertation research, under Dr. Tarik Haydar, focused on neocortical neuronal precursors while her postdoctoral research (2012-2014), in Dr. Chris McBain's lab at NICHD/NIH, examined contributions of glutamate receptors to interneuron function and hippocampal development. Libby took advantage of her time at NIH to pursue her interest in science policy by joining the Science Policy Discussion Group and doing a detail at the Office of Extramural Programs in the Office of Extramural Research. She also joined the NIH FelCom Career Development Subcommittee and led the Mentoring Subcommittee. Libby started her current job as a Science Policy Analyst at FASEB in 2015. In this position she is responsible for FASEB's efforts related to Clinical and Translational Research and Training and Career Opportunities.
 
Jabbar Bennett PhDJabbar R. Bennett, PhD, serves as associate provost for diversity and inclusion at Northwestern University.  In addition, he is an associate professor of medicine at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine.  As the University’s chief diversity officer, he is responsible for leading and coordinating efforts to create a diverse, inclusive and welcoming environment for all Northwestern community members.  Prior to joining Northwestern, Dr. Bennett served as associate dean of the Graduate School, associate dean for diversity in the Division of Biology and Medicine, and clinical assistant professor of medicine at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.  In the Graduate School he was responsible for recruitment and coordinating professional development activities for graduate students and postdocs.  In the Division of Biology and Medicine Dr. Bennett oversaw the recruitment and advancement of medical students, faculty and trainees who are members of underrepresented groups.  Before his appointment at Brown, he served on the faculty at Harvard Medical School and directed the Office for Multicultural Faculty Careers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.  Previously, Dr. Bennett also served as Senior Director of Development for Life Sciences, Healthcare and Education Industry Partnerships with United Way of Massachusetts Bay in Boston, and as Research and Science Specialist in the Office for Diversity, Inclusion and Community Partnership at Harvard Medical School.
 
Dr. Bennett is a life member of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) and former professional board member.  Currently, he serves as a member of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Graduate Research Education and Training (GREAT) Group Steering Committee, Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) Diversity and Inclusiveness Advisory Committee, and the Keystone Symposia on Molecular and Cellular Biology Diversity Advisory Committee.
 
Dr. Bennett received his BS in biology and minor in Spanish from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical (A&T) State University, and his PhD in biomedical sciences from Meharry Medical College.  At Meharry he was funded as a National Science Foundation (NSF) Alliance for the Enhancement of Science Education and Technology Graduate Teaching Fellow, and later as a UNCF-Merck Postdoctoral Research Fellow while training in the Department of Pathology at Harvard Medical School.  Dr. Bennett is an alumnus of the Massachusetts Education Policy Fellowship Program and the Harvard University Administrative Fellowship Program.
 
Jessica Faupel-Badger PhDJessica Faupel-Badger, PhD, is director of the NIGMS Postdoctoral Research Associate (PRAT) Program and manages Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Awards (IRACDA) grants in the Division of Training, Workforce Development, and Diversity. Before coming to NIGMS, Faupel-Badger served as a senior biomedical scientist and deputy director of the Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program at National Cancer Institute (NCI). Prior to that, she was a health science policy analyst at National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Dr. Faupel-Badger earned her B.S. in biology from Gettysburg College, a Ph.D. in tumor biology from the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and an M.P.H. in epidemiology and biostatistics from George Washington University. She conducted postdoctoral research at NCI, where she currently serves as an adjunct investigator in the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics.
James Fells PhDJames Fells, Sr., PhD, is a Senior Scientist at Merck & Company in Structural Chemistry.  He was the first African American to be awarded a doctorate in chemistry from the University of Memphis in 2007. His dissertation was supported by an American Heart Predoctoral Fellowship to study the role of lysophosphatidic acid in cardiovascular disease. During his postdoctoral training at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center, he earned an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellowship to develop small molecules targeting the lysophosphatidic acid signaling axis. Dr. Fells received several accolades during his academic training, including numerous travel awards, FASEB MARC Postdoctoral Professional Development and Enrichment Award along with the Postdoctoral Scholar Research Integrity Ambassador Award from the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Research & Integrity.
 
Alison Gammie PhDAlison Gammie, PhD, is Director of the Division of Training, Workforce Development, and Diversity, which supports the Institute's research training, career development and diversity-building activities through a number of programs at the undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral and faculty levels.
 
Prior to joining NIGMS, Gammie served as a senior lecturer in molecular biology at Princeton University, where she also directed the university's Program for Diversity and Graduate Recruitment in Molecular and Quantitative Biology and its Summer Undergraduate Research Program in Molecular and Quantitative Biology. She was also an associate clinical member at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey. Her research focused on understanding how defects in DNA mismatch repair lead to cancer.
 
Gammie earned a B.A. in biology from Reed College and a Ph.D. in molecular biology from Oregon Health Sciences University. She conducted postdoctoral research at Princeton University.
 
Kenny Gibbs PhDKenneth Gibbs, Jr., PhD,  is a Policy Analyst at the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS).  Prior to joining NIGMS, Dr. Gibbs was a Cancer Prevention Fellow at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in the Science of Research & Technology Branch (SRTB) of the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS). Dr. Gibbs’ conducts policy-relevant research aimed at strengthening the research enterprise. His work focuses on: 1) Biomedical Graduate and Postdoctoral Training, Workforce Development & Workforce Diversity. Specifically, understanding the mechanisms of career development among recent biomedical Ph.D. graduates and postdocs, and how they differ across lines of race/ethnicity and gender, so that strategies can be developed to promote inclusive excellence; and 2) Developing methodologies for evaluation & dissemination of best practices in “team science”.

Prior to the NCI, Dr. Gibbs completed a AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowship at the National Science Foundation (NSF) in the Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR), Division of Human Resource Development (HRD). As a AAAS fellow, he contributed to the federal government’s strategic STEM education plan by developing evidence-based recommendations for engagement programs, and initiated the Burroughs Wellcome Fund supported “STEM Ph.D. Careers” research project to identify the factors impacting the career development of recent Ph.D. graduates.

Dr. Gibbs completed his Ph.D. in the Immunology program at Stanford University, and received his B.S. in biochemistry & molecular biology summa cum laude from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County where he was a Meyerhoff, MARC, and HHMI scholar. Dr. Gibbs serves on the Board of Directors for the National Postdoctoral Association. He has written about career development for Science Careers, and science diversity issues for Scientific American.
 
Andrew Green PhDAndrew Green, PhD,  earned his PhD at UC Berkeley and has over 17 years of experience working with graduate students, PhDs and postdocs as a career advisor. Before returning to Berkeley where he serves as Associate Director of the Career Center, he spent five years on the faculty of Connecticut College. His specialty is working with PhDs and postdocs in the sciences and engineering pursuing professional opportunities in the business, government, and nonprofit sectors as well as those seeking faculty jobs. 
 
Linda Hyman, PhDLinda Hyman, PhD, serves as a Division Director for Molecular and Cellular Biosciences at the National Science Foundation. Dr. Hyman is on leave from Boston University where she serves as the Associate Provost for the Division of Graduate Medical Sciences and holds the appointment of Professor of Microbiology. She is responsible for graduate programs and the office of postdoctoral affairs at the medical school.  Prior to coming to BU she was the Vice Provost for Health Science at Montana State University and Director of the WWAMI Medical Education Program.  There, she also acted as Assistant Dean for Regional Affairs at the University of Washington School of Medicine.  Dr. Hyman earned her undergraduate degree at the State University of New York at Albany, followed by a master’s and doctoral degree at Brandeis University. She also completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Tufts University School of Medicine. She then began her professional career at Tulane University School of Medicine, where she became a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry. Dr. Hyman’s professional priorities include supporting leading edge science, professional development for students and post-docs, developing programs and integrated curricula that focus on critical thinking and supporting the research infrastructure by providing a nurturing environment for all trainees but especially those from underrepresented and disadvantaged backgrounds and developing programs that support the nation’s workforce needs. 
 
S Omar Jobe PhD MBAS. Omar Jobe PhD, MBA, is a Principal Medical Affairs Manager for Interventional Cardiology & Structural Heart at Boston Scientific Corporation.  A former Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program scholar, Dr Jobe’s did his dissertation on endothelial vascular adaptions and estrogen metabolism. In addition to lecturing nationally and internationally, Dr Jobe has also published several journal articles, abstracts and a book chapter.
 
Dr Jobe earned a B.S. in Biology and Biochemistry from Eastern Washington University, an MBA in Marketing Research and a Ph.D. in Endocrinology and Physiology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Jobe serves on the Board of Directors for the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management - the nation's largest diversity network, linking top-tier students, leading MBA programs and corporate industry partners.
 
L'Aurelle Johnson PhDL’Aurelle Johnson, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology, at the University of Minnesota, College of Pharmacy.  Dr. Johnson was a K12 scholar from 2007-2011 specializing in pediatric pharmacology. As a K12 scholar she earned a MS in Clinical Research in 2008.  During that time Dr. Johnson’s research program focused on the effect of disease on drug metabolism and disposition in children which was characterized by three themes.  The first theme focused on the identification of human oxidative enzymes, conjugative enzymes, and drug transporters that are altered during childhood obesity. This work received national publicity in Parents Magazine (October 2011 issue) and was highlighted on WebMD. The second theme utilized animal models of obesity to determine the mechanisms by which drug metabolism enzymes and transporters are altered in the presence of obesity. Her final research theme focused on developing an in vitro system to predict in vivo drug CL in humans with disease.

Recently Dr. Johnson has transitioned from conducting laboratory based research to take on a new role as Diversity Liaison within the College of Pharmacy at the University of Minnesota.  In addition to her new administrative responsibilities, Dr. Johnson engages in scholarly activity as an educator and mentor for the graduate and professional programs within the College of Pharmacy. She also serves as course director for courses within the professional and graduate program within the College of Pharmacy.

Dr. Johnson is a former MARC program scholar, and graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry and honors in chemistry from Xavier University of Louisiana in 2000. In 2005, she received her Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Michigan where she studied amphetamine’s regulation of the dopamine transporter.  While at the University of Michigan, she was President of the Association of Multicultural Scientist during 2002-2003.  Dr. L’Aurelle Johnson is currently a member of the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (ASPET).
 
Michelle Juarez PhDMichelle T. Juarez, PhD, is an Assistant Medical Professor in the CUNY School of Medicine at City College New York.  Originally from Los Angeles, CA, she obtained a BS in Plant Biology from University of California, Berkeley.  The first in her family to go to graduate school, she obtained her PhD in Genetics from the State University of New York, Stony Brook.  Participating in many career development programs during her postdoc, she completed an NIH-NIMGS sponsored IRACDA fellowship at University of California, San Diego.  Dr. Juarez is a member of the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB), the Society for Developmental Biology, and the Genetics Society of America.  Her teaching interests include Medical Microbiology and Immunology.  Her research interests include Drosophila developmental genetics, as it relates to regulation of tissue repair and inflammation.  Dr. Juarez is the PI of a R03 from NIH-NIAID (1R03AI117671) and an investigator the RCMI program sponsored by NIH-NIMHD (5G12MD007603-30).
 
Mitzi-Kosciulek-headshot-150x150.jpgMitzi Kosciulek, MS, is the Team Lead for the Corporate Recruitment Unit (CRU) in the Office of Human Resources (OHR) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  Mitzi supports the CRU mission to increase a diverse workforce at NIH by utilizing creative strategies, developing collaborative partnerships and applying innovative technologies. She oversees the use of candidate sourcing tools such as LinkedIn and Indeed.com to find high-caliber talent and is heavily involved in the promotion of NIH training and career opportunities through outreach events, social media, and the creation of specialized informational webinars. Mitzi earned her BA from Michigan State University and her MS in Counseling at Johns Hopkins University. She leads the Trans-NIH Recruitment Forum (TRF), a committee with the mission to provide an opportunity for all of NIH’s institutes and centers to exchange innovative recruitment strategies that foster a diverse NIH workforce.
Lisa Kreppel, PhD No Image Available

Nikia A. Laurie, PhD.Nikia A. Laurie, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.  She is also Director of the Retinoblastoma Center of Excellence and an Eloise and Warren Batts Research Scholar. Dr. Laurie obtained her B.S. in Biology at Xavier University of Louisiana. While at Xavier, she conducted summer research at Brown and Yale Universities as a Leadership Alliance Scholar. Following graduation, she attended Brown University in the Pathobiology Program, where she received a Predoctoral Fellowship during her studies. Dr. Laurie then trained as a Postdoctoral Scholar at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and was awarded the UNCF/MERCK Fellowship to fund her research. Dr. Laurie studies retinoblastoma, which is the most common pediatric cancer of the eye. Her laboratory’s mission is to understand the molecular mechanisms associated with retinoblastoma progression, for identification of novel therapeutic targets.

Marsha Lucas PhDMarsha Lucas, PhD, is the Publications and Communications Coordinator at the Society for Developmental Biology (SDB).  She earned her B.S. in biological sciences from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and her Ph.D. in molecular, cellular, and developmental biology from The Ohio State University where she studied neural crest development in zebrafish.  Following a short research stint at the National Institutes of Health studying germ cell development in the nematode, Dr. Lucas became a Publishing Fellow at the Society for Developmental Biology where she helped build SDB Collaborative Resources (CoRe), an online database of images and movies for learning and teaching developmental biology.  Of all her responsibilities in her current position at SDB, Dr. Lucas finds the most joy in the Society’s outreach activities in which she can engage with budding scientists across the country.
 
Pumtiwitt McCarthy PhDPumtiwitt McCarthy, PhD, received her B.S. in Biochemistry, cum laude, in 2003 from Rowan University.  As an undergraduate, Dr. McCarthy had an opportunity to conduct research which solidified her passion for science.  She obtained her Ph.D. in Biochemistry in 2009 from the University of Delaware, Newark, DE.  Her thesis work in the laboratory of Dr. Colin Thorpe focused on the enzymology of oxidative protein folding.  In 2009, Dr. McCarthy began her postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on the campus of the National Institutes of Health.  Her fellowship was supported by the NIH PRAT program as well as ORISE.  Her research in the laboratory of Dr. Willie Vann centered on development of a chemoenzymatic synthetic strategy to make protein-capsular carbohydrate conjugates against the pathogen Neisseria meningitidis, one of the leading causes of bacterial meningitis.  After completing her fellowship in 2013, Dr. McCarthy began her current position as a tenure track Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Morgan State University.  Her research program aims to understand the underlying enzyme mechanism of a far less-studied carbohydrate-producing enzyme from Neisseria meningitidis.  Dr. McCarthy has a passion for exposing minority students to research.  Since joining Morgan State, she has supervised research for 1 graduate student, 12 undergraduate students, and 2 high school students.
 
MitzelfeltMegan-M-150x150.jpgMegan Mitzelfelt, PhD, earned a B.S. in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of Florida in 2006. Subsequently, she enrolled in the University of Florida Interdisciplinary Program in Biomedical Sciences, graduating with a Ph.D. in medical science with an advanced concentration in physiology and pharmacology in 2011. Megan went on to a postdoctoral fellowship at Emory University that combined both teaching and research called the FIRST program. After completing this fellowship and as a result of her husband’s relocation, Megan sought a research, teaching, or other science-related position in the DC area, eventually being offered and accepting a development specialist position at the American Physiological Society, with the role of helping to build the Society’s new fundraising program.
Larry Petcovic MSLarry Petcovic, MS, started his career as a Health Physicist. He quickly recognized the importance of mastering communications and added a degree in applied behavioral sciences with continuing studies in the social neurosciences. He continues to consult as an Executive Communications Coach with Fortune 100 clients as well as startups. His experience in 360° performance coaching, behavioral based blended training, process improvement techniques, selling skills and leadership development provides an in-depth corporate understanding. Larry has served in Training and Human Resources VP positions in a variety of industries. Larry holds a BS in Chemistry, an MS from Rutgers University in Environmental Radiation Sciences, an MS from Johns Hopkins University in Applied Behavioral Sciences and additional graduate studies in Executive Development at George Washington University.
 
Emily Place PhD, MPHEmily Place, PhD, MPH, is currently a Pharmacology/Toxicology reviewer in the Office of Hematology and Oncology Products (OHOP), Division of Hematology Oncology Toxicology (DHOT). She received a BS in Biology from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 2001, and a PhD in Cell Biology from the University of Connecticut in 2006. Her doctoral research focused on the regulation of human Hsp70 proteins (Hsp70B’ and Hsp72) and their role in the cellular stress response. Following her PhD, Emily joined the Research Enhancement Award Program (REAP) as an Associate Investigator at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center where her research focused on the miRNA dysregulation in prostate cancer. In 2008 she joined the Department of Hematology at Stanford University School of Medicine as a postdoctoral fellow and helped develop a mouse model to study the regulation of bcl-2 expression during development of follicular lymphoma. In 2012 Emily completed her MPH in Epidemiology from University of California at Berkeley where her research focused on maternal and child’s diet in risk for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Emily then completed a fellowship at the NCI/NIH in the Laboratory of Human Carcinogenesis as a Cancer Prevention Fellow. Her research involved examining the role of extracellular plant small RNA communication in human carcinogenesis.
 
Chloe Poston PhDChloe Poston, PhD, earned both her Masters and Doctoral degrees in Chemistry from Brown University. Her thesis research was focused on mass spectrometry-based proteomic analysis of the mitochondrial-associated endoplasmic reticulum (MAM). Her work highlighted the connections between the role of calcium trafficking from the ER to the mitochondria and neurodegenerative disease. During her studies at Brown, Chloe served as the President of the Nabrit Black Graduate Student Association, the Chair of the Graduate Students of Color Conference, and a member of the university Diversity Advisory Board.
 
During her Post-Doc at Eli Lilly and Company in the biological mass spectrometry group, Dr. Poston explored her interests in science policy, diversity, and education through a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the National Science Foundation where she focused on projects related to scientific communication and broadening participation in science. Currently Dr. Poston is the Policy and Communications Manager for the Genetics Society of America, where she oversees the public face of the society and follows issues like research reproducibility, basic research funding, and the ethics of genome editing.  She firmly believes in mentoring and looks forward to assisting burgeoning scientists in their careers.
 
Kanika Pulliam PhDKanika Pulliam, PhD, is the Educational Program Manager for the American Society of Human Genetics (ASHG) in Bethesda, Maryland.  She provides experienced guidance to ASHG’s volunteer committees that include the executive board, educators, and subject matter experts involved in developing education programs.  In addition, Dr. Pulliam manages the educational sessions at ASHG annual conference. Before transitioning to ASHG, Dr. Pulliam was the Education Manager for the International Society for Advancement of Cytometry (ISAC) at FASEB.  Prior to joing FASEB, she was a Core Laboratory Facility Manager for a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) funded grant at Morehouse College.  Not only was she involved in managing the first shared research facility for the Division of Science and Mathematics but, she also oversaw the implementation of the grant proposal and funding logistics to ensure projects met time and budget requirements. During her time at Morehouse College, Dr. Pulliam was involved in designing new curricula and teaching undergraduate lectures and labs.
 
Randy Ribaudo PhDRandall Ribaudo, PhD  Human Workflows and SciPhD co-founder Dr. Randall Ribaudo has over twenty years of experience in the Scientific Research and biotechnology field and has successfully made the transition from academia to industry. Dr. Ribaudo co-founded Human Workflows after more than five years at Celera Genomics where he was a liaison to pharmaceutical, biotechnology and academic communities, served as product manager for the mass spectrometry software group, led a task force to define strategic direction and advised on product development for enterprise solutions for information integration. Human Workflows provides consulting services to the biotech and pharmaceutical industries to improve their information integration processes.

Dr. Ribaudo also has extensive experience in academic research. After receiving a Ph.D. in Immunology at the University of Connecticut, he completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the NIH before becoming a Principal Investigator at the National Cancer Institute. His research program studied the immune response to viruses and tumors, leading a team of postdocs, technicians, and students resulting in patents and numerous publications.

Dr. Ribaudo’s experience as an academic and industry scientist, coupled with his experience consulting with industry scientists provides unique insight to the critical skills necessary to promote success in academic and industry settings, and forms the basis for the SciPhD training programs. The combined communications and behavioral sciences talents of co-founder Larry Petcovic, and the academic and industry experience of Dr. Ribaudo have resulted in training programs that are deployed at over 60 institutions in the United States and abroad.
 
Sherri-Gae Scott PhDSherri-Gae Scott, PhD, is the Grants Proposal Manager at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). She received her Ph.D in Cellular and Molecular Medicine (Department of Surgery) from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 2010. Prior to joining FASEB, she was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

In her current position, Dr. Scott is responsible for the sponsorship and grant administration portfolios of the 70 FASEB Science Research Conferences (SRCs) and other meetings. She works with both academic and industry scientists [conference organizers] in identifying and navigating new sources of funding as well as current ones. This includes federal and non-federal grant applications, program and financial reporting, negotiating with potential sponsors, developing sponsor incentive packages, reviewing contracts and agreements, developing strategic plans to accomplish financial [sponsorship] goals etc. Dr. Scott is actively developing strategies to recruit and retain junior trainees for the conference series, as well as initiating and developing innovative multi-media advertising and marketing strategies for the FASEB SRCs.

Dr. Scott has years of experience in laboratory and project management,  demonstrating skills in increasing efficiency, organizing, training, motivating and managing personnel.  She also has extensive leadership experience having served as the Director of Mentoring/Networking Relations (Minority Postdoctoral Alliance), Volunteer Service Chair (Minority Postdoctoral Alliance), Volunteer Community Service Chair and Mentor (Biomedical Scholars Association), Public Relations, Volunteer Activities Coordinator and Student Assistance Representative (Graduate Student Association), among others in various organizations at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Dr. Scott holds Certificates in Research Leadership (Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine) and Bioscience Management (Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences). She is a member of the National Postdoctoral Association and the National Grants Management Association. Dr. Scott has an active interest in the Business of Science and issues that contribute to the lack of retention and progression of individuals at all levels in the STEM fields.
 
Michael Sesma PhDMichael Sesma, PhD, is chief of the Postdoctoral Training Branch in the Division of Training, Workforce Development, and Diversity, where he oversees postdoctoral programs for research training, postdoctoral fellowship, career development programs, as well as the Innovative Programs to Enhance Research Training (IPERT) and workforce modeling programs. Sesma returned to NIGMS after a 10-year career at the National Institute of Mental Health, where he was chief of the Research Scientist Development Program in the Office for Special Populations. Before that, he was a scientific review administrator in the NIGMS Office of Scientific Review and a program director in the Institute's Division of Genetics and Developmental Biology. Sesma earned a B.A. in biology and psychology from the University of California, San Diego, and a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of California, Riverside. He conducted postdoctoral research at Vanderbilt University.
Ann Marie Stanley PhDAnn Marie Stanley, PhD, received her PhD in Biophysics from John Hopkins University, where she studied the thermodynamic basis of membrane protein folding with Karen Fleming. As a postdoctoral fellow with Tom Rapoport in the Department of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School, she studied protein quality control mechanisms and the retro-translocation of misfolded proteins from the endoplasmic reticulum. Dr. Stanley then moved to the lab of Susan Buchanan in National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and focused on membrane protein structural biology. While in the Buchanan lab, Dr. Stanley was investigating the biogenesis of fungal outer mitochondrial membrane proteins and the regulation of capsule biosynthesis in Klebsiella pneumoniae. Dr. Stanley's research interests include using combined structural and biophysical approaches to understand the function of membrane proteins important in infectious disease. Her past honors include a Howard Hughes MedicaI Institute predoctoral fellowship, the Johns Hopkins University Owens Scholars fellowship and an NIH Ruth L. Kirschtstein NRSA postdoctoral fellowship and Postocotral Research Associate (PRAT) program fellow. In October 2014, Dr. Stanley joined Booz Allen Hamilton as a subject matter expert and research analyst supporting clients involved in military medical research and development.
 
Megan Jean Stine PhDMegan Jean Stine, PhD, is a science educator, program manager, and aspiring coder who supports STEM education for all. She was trained as a cellular biologist, earning her B.S. in biology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and her Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Medicine from Johns Hopkins University.  During her postdoctoral fellowship studying the use of nanoparticles in the treatment of lung cancer, Megan worked as an adjunct laboratory instructor at a college in Baltimore, MD, then an online mathematics instructor for the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth. Since, she has worked as the Science Program Manager for CTYOnline, a freelance science writer, and a Scientific Program Manager for the NCI. Currently, Dr. Stine is a Program Officer for Science Education Outreach at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, where she manages the team’s outreach activities, promotes the department’s science education resources on social media, and leads the BioInteractive Ambassador program. She currently serves as President-Elect of the DC metropolitan chapter of the Association for Women in Science.
 
Catherine Croft Swanwick PhDCatherine Croft Swanwick, PhD, earned her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Virginia after graduating with her B.S. in Biology from Duke University. She then performed eight years of neuroscience research, with five years at the National Institutes of Health and three years at MindSpec. Her research focused on the formation of synapses and their role in neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism. Throughout her scientific career she actively participated in science outreach and developed a passion for transforming STEM education. Dr. Swanwick transitioned to a career in teaching and in 2015 she co-founded her own STEM education game company, Catlilli Games.
 
Valerie Toodle, PhDValerie Toodle, PhD, is a native of Mobile, Alabama and was raised by her maternal grandmother. In 2006, Dr. Toodle graduated with a B.S. in Chemistry from Cameron University at the age of 28. She then enrolled in the Pathobiology Doctoral Program at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Dr. Toodle graduated from Hopkins in May 2012 and immediately began her career at the USPTO as a biotechnological patents examiner. In August 2015, Dr. Toodle enrolled at the Law School of George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Dr. Toodle intends to use her JD experience to explore new avenues for her USPTO career and to provide pro bono civil rights work. She is currently completing a spring internship with the Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project.
 

Peko Tsuji PhD MPHPeko Tsuji, PhD, MPH, is an Assistant Professor in Towson University's Department of Biological Sciences, and she is the 8th Jess & Mildred Fisher Endowed Chair in the Fisher College of Science and Mathematics.  Dr. Tsuji earned her PhD in 2007 and then entered the Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program (National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health) where she conducted research on dietary selenium and selenoproteins in Dr. Dolph Hatfield's laboratory.

Throughout her time as a graduate student and postdoctoral fellow she has mentored many individuals ranging from high school students to junior postdoctoral fellows. Because Dr. Tsuji  finds undergraduate learning and research very satisfying, she made the conscious move to accept an academic faculty position at Towson University in 2011.

Towson University is a rapidly growing metropolitan university with over 22,000 students, of which 60% are women and close to 20% are minorities. The Department of Biological Sciences at Towson University currently has ~50 MS-level graduate students, 18 of which are working towards a research-based thesis. In Dr. Tsuji's Diet & Cancer Laboratory at Towson University, she and her team are researching dietary selenium and selenoproteins and their role in human diseases, especially colorectal cancer and inflammation. Together with her graduate and undergraduate students, she continues to publish in peer-reviewed journals, contribute book chapters, and compete for grants, while also teaching undergraduate and graduate classes.

Hannah Valantine MD MRCP FACCHannah Valantine, MD, MRCP, FACC  Hannah Valantine is the first NIH Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity, and a Senior Investigator in the Intramural Research Program at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Prior to starting this position in April 2014, Dr. Valantine was Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and the Senior Associate Dean for Diversity and Leadership at Stanford, a leadership position she held since November 2004. She is nationally recognized for her transformative approaches to diversity and is a recipient of the NIH Director’s Pathfinder Award for Diversity in the Scientific Workforce. She is currently leading NIH efforts to promote diversity through innovation across the NIH-funded biomedical workforce through a range of evidence-based approaches. Dr. Valantine maintains an active clinical research program that continues to have high impact on patient care. Current research extends her previous finding that an organ transplant is essentially a genome transplant, and that monitoring the level of donor DNA in a recipient’s blood as a marker of organ damage will detect early stages of rejection. She is currently overseeing a multi-site consortium of mid-Atlantic transplant centers to validate these findings clinically toward the development of a non-invasive tool for detecting early signs of organ rejection.
 
Monte S. Willis MD PhD FCAP FAHAMonte S. Willis, MD, PhD, FCAP, FAHA   Dr. Willis is affiliated with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC/Chapel Hill) where he leads a research team studying the role of the ubiquitin proteasome system in metabolism and the pathophysiology of cardiac disease. Dr. Willis has published more than 180 manuscripts in clinical, translational and the basic sciences, and edited multiple medical textbooks.  Dr. Willis received his MD/PhD training at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (1993-2001).  He is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine at the UNC/Chapel Hill.  He is Laboratory Director of the UNC Campus Health Services, Assistant Director of the Clinical Core (Chemistry) Laboratory and Director of Sweat Chloride Testing at UNC Hospitals, and a principal investigator in the McAllister Heart Institute.  He currently serves as an editorial member of 8 journals, including the American Journal of Pathology, American Journal of Cardiovascular Disease, Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology, and American Journal of Physiology Heart and Circulatory Physiology.  He is a fellow of the College of American Pathologists and American Society of Clinical Pathology, and member of the American Heart Association, American Society of Investigative Pathology, and International Society for Heart Research.