2018PPI 2 About 2018PPI Speaker Information

2018 PPI Speakers/Presenters
(listed in alphabetical order by last name; Updated: 05.27.18)

Debra Behrens PhDDebra Behrens, PhD, is a PhD Counselor at UC Berkeley, where she addresses the career concerns of graduate students, postdocs and international scholars in  the sciences. Debra’s specialization areas include career change, negotiation, dual career issues, cross-cultural interview skills and international job search strategies.

After completing a PhD at UC Santa Barbara, Behrens taught in the graduate counseling program at California State University. Dr. Behrens’ recent publications include Interview Practice US Style: A Workshop for International StudentsJournal of Employment Counseling She is also a contributing author for the (vol.1.)  Encyclopedia of Counseling.
Dr. Judy G. BlumenthalJudy Gail Blumenthal, PhD, is an expert in the application of behavioral principles and has taught many people and groups over the years how to successfully present themselves in writing and in person.  Dr. Blumenthal has presented papers, seminars, and workshops for FASEB, the American Society for Microbiology, the Association for Behavior Analysis, International (ABA), the Maryland Chapter of ABA, and various other agencies and organizations. Additionally, Dr. Blumenthal is on the editorial board for the Journal, Behavior and Social Issues.

Dr. Blumenthal is a professor at Montgomery College (Maryland) where she teaches the application of behavioral principles in her courses.  Previously, Dr. Blumenthal was a career employee with the federal government, serving in a variety of capacities such as Director of Academic Partnerships and Outreach, Executive Director of the Secretary’s Council on Public Health Preparedness, Employment Procedures and Policy, and Behavioral Health. 

Philip Clifford, PhDPhilip Clifford, PhD, is Associate Dean for Research and Professor of Kinesiology and Nutrition at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). Prior to joining the faculty at UIC, Dr. Clifford was employed with the  Medical College of Wisconsin where he served as Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Professor of Anesthesiology and Physiology. His research efforts have been aimed at elucidating the physiological mechanisms regulating skeletal muscle blood flow during exercise and his laboratory has been funded by the NIH, the American Heart Association, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. He is a fellow of the American Heart Association, the American College of Sports Medicine, and the American Physiological Society Cardiovascular Section. He participates on grant review panels at the NIH, NASA, and the American Heart Association and sits on the editorial boards of several physiological journals. He is also a consultant in the medical device industry and a member of the Anesthesia and Respiratory Devices Panel at the FDA. 

Dr. Clifford is recognized nationally for championing career and professional development for PhD scientists. He is a co-author of the widely acclaimed career website, myIDP.sciencecareers.org and a frequent speaker at seminars, workshops, and symposia on career issues for PhD scientists. In 2012, he was awarded the National Postdoctoral Association's Distinguished Service Award and was a part of the team that received the Association of American Medical College's Innovative Institutional Partnerships Award in 2013.

Dr. L'Aurelle JohnsonL’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).
Henry Khachaturian, PhDHenry Khachaturian, PhD, of Research Career Consulting, LLC, is the former (recently retired) Training Program Policy Officer in the Office of Extramural Programs at the National Institutes of Health.  Dr. Khachaturian received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in biology and chemistry from the State University of New York at Brockport. He received his Ph.D. in Anatomy (neuroscience) from the University of Rochester, School of Medicine. After postdoctoral work, he joined the faculty of the University of Michigan Medical School as research investigator in the Department of Psychiatry. He then moved to the University of Tennessee, where he was Assistant Professor of Neurobiology and Anatomy. Dr. Khachaturian has held positions at the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and the Office of the Director, NIH. For his dedication to the NIH and public service, Dr. Khachaturian has received numerous awards, including two NIH Director’s Awards.
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.
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.
James Sterling, PhDJames D. Sterling, PhD, is a founding faculty member of Keck Graduate Institute, a member of the Claremont Colleges in southern California. He serves as Director of the Postdoctoral Professional Master’s (PPM) program and teaches courses in professional development, biomedical devices and diagnostics, and applied entrepreneurship . The innovative PPM program has prepared over 90 PhDs for careers in the life science industry. Dr. Sterling previously served as director of the capstone Team Master’s Project program which provides students with real-world, industry-sponsored team project experience that helps prepare them for the intense corporate employment environment. Since 2012, Dr. Sterling has also served as Director of the Professional Science Master’s (PSM) National Office that manages PSM Affiliation. He is Chairman of the Board of Directors of spin-out company Claremont BioSolutions and his KGI lab is focused on the electrokinetics of biohydrogels. Dr. Sterling received degrees in mechanical engineering with a BS from Texas A&M University and MS and PhD degrees from Caltech.