TWD 2019 About TWD 2019 Speaker Information

TWD 2019 Speakers/Presenters
(listed in alphabetical order by last name; Updated: 10/20/18)



Michael Bender PhDMichael Bender, Ph.D. is a program director in the NIGMS Division of Genetics and Developmental Biology, where he manages grants in the areas of RNA processing and protein synthesis, and serves as project officer for the NIGMS Human Genetic Cell Repository. He also manages the Postbaccalaureate Research Education (PREP) program. Prior to joining NIGMS, he was an associate professor and associate head of the department of genetics at the University of Georgia. Bender earned a B.A. in biology from Goshen College and a Ph.D. in molecular, cellular and developmental biology from Indiana University. He conducted postdoctoral research at the Stanford University School of Medicine.
 

Anissa J. Brown, PhDAnissa J. Brown, Ph.D., is a program director for the NIGMS Division of Training, Workforce Development, and Diversity, Undergraduate and Predoctoral Training Branch.  In this position, she oversees the Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) Initiative.






Patrick H. Brown, PhDPatrick Brown, Ph.D., is a program director in the NIGMS Division of Training, Workforce Development, and Diversity.  In this position, he administers diversity-focused institutional research training grants, individual fellowships and administrative supplements. Prior to joining NIGMS, Brown was a chemistry teacher at Watkins Mill High School in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Before that, he was chief of the Quantitative Methods for Macromolecular Interactions Unit at the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB). Brown earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Maryland, College Park. He conducted postdoctoral research at the former University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute.


Luis Cubano, PhDLuis Cubano, Ph.D., is a program director in the Division of Training, Workforce Development, and Diversity. He manages the Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) program and also the Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research (U-STAR) program.. Prior to joining NIGMS, he served as professor and associate dean for research and graduate studies at the Universidad Central del Caribe, in Bayamón, Puerto Rico. Cubano earned a B.S. in cellular and molecular biology from Tulane University, an M.S. in biology from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and a Ph.D. in biology from Kansas State University. He conducted postdoctoral research at Tulane University Medical School.


Christina "Christie" Drew PhDChristina (Christie) Drew, Ph.D., joined the NIEHS Division of Extramural Research and Training, Program Analysis Branch in 2007 and became branch chief in 2009. She received her Ph.D. in geography from the University of Washington in 2002 for her work on transparent communication of complex environmental health decisions. She has a Master of Health Science degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, and an undergraduate degree in government from the College of William and Mary.

Drew has been a researcher at the University of Washington in Seattle and the Institute for Evaluating Health Risks in Washington, D.C. She has also worked at the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe in Copenhagen and at Ross & Associates Environmental Consulting in Seattle. Her research interests have included environmental health risk communication, nuclear waste cleanup, community-based participatory research, geographic information systems, children’s environmental health, pesticide exposure, and research evaluation.

Alison Gammie PhDAlison Gammie, Ph.D., is Director of the NIGMS 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, Jr., PhDKenneth Gibbs, Jr., Ph.D., is director of the NIGMS Postdoctoral Research Associate Training ​(PRAT) Program, and is a program director in the Division of Training, Workforce Development, and Diversity, where he handles the Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP), Predoctoral MD/PhD or Other Dual-Doctoral Degree Fellowships for Students at Institutions Without NIH-Funded Institutional Predoctoral Dual-Degree Training Programs (F30), and oversees predoctoral T32 biostatistics grants. He also manages research grants in the areas of stem cell biology and regeneration in the Division of Genetics and Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology.

Gibbs was previously a program analyst in the Institute’s Office of Program Planning, Analysis, and Evaluation. Before joining NIGMS, he was a cancer prevention fellow at the National Cancer Institute and an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy Fellow at the National Science Foundation. Gibbs earned a B.S. in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, a Master of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University and a Ph.D. in immunology from Stanford University.

 Sailaja Koduri, PhDSailaja Koduri, Ph.D., is a program director in the Division of Training, Workforce Development, and Diversity, where she manages the Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) Undergraduate Student Training in Academic Research (U-​STAR) program and Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) program. She also manages research grants in the areas of receptors, drug targets and signal transduction in the Division of Pharmacology, Physiology, and Biological Chemistry.

Koduri was formerly a scientific review officer at National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences and prior to that she worked as a senior scientist at BioReliance. She earned a B.S. in chemistry from Nagarjuna University and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the Central Food Technological Research​ Institute, both in India. Koduri conducted postdoctoral research at the Howard University College of Medicine and National Cancer Institute.

Barry Komisaruk, PhDBarry Komisaruk, Ph.D., is Distinguished Professor in the Psychology Department, director of the Minority Biomedical Research Support Program, and former associate dean of the Graduate School at Rutgers University-Newark.  Dr. Komisaruk received a B.S. in biology at The City University of New York and Ph.D. in psychobiology from Rutgers University. He was a National Institute of Mental Health postdoctoral fellow in neuroendocrinology at the Brain Research Institute, University of California at Los Angeles. Joining the Rutgers-Newark faculty in 1966, Komisaruk was a professor in the Institute of Animal Behavior and Department of Zoology.  With a penchant for finding new research avenues to explore, Komisaruk received a Board of Trustees of Rutgers University Excellence in Research award and the Hugo G. Beigel Research Award of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality. His major research interests include: functional neuroimaging of genital sensory response; neurophysiology, neuropharmacology and neuroendocrinology of reproductive behavior; and neural control of autonomic genital function. He is senior author of The Science of Orgasm, a comprehensive look at the biology and neuroscience of orgasm, published by The Johns Hopkins University Press, as well as The Orgasm Answer Guide, a general readership book from the same publisher. He has published more than 155 academic journal articles and chapters.

Jon Lorsch, PhDJon Lorsch, Ph.D. became the director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) in August 2013.  In this position, Lorsch oversees the Institute's $2.5 billion budget, which supports basic research that increases understanding of biological processes and lays the foundation for advances in disease diagnosis, treatment and prevention.  Lorsch came to NIGMS from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he was a professor in the Department of Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry. He joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 1999 and became a full professor in 2009. A leader in RNA biology, Lorsch studies the initiation of translation, a major step in controlling how genes are expressed. When this process goes awry, viral infection, neurodegenerative diseases and cancer can result. To dissect the mechanics of translation initiation, Lorsch and collaborators developed a yeast-based system and a wide variety of biochemical and biophysical methods. The work also has led to efforts to control translation initiation through chemical reagents, such as drugs. Lorsch continues this research as a tenured investigator in the NIH's Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Lorsch received a B.A. in chemistry from Swarthmore College in 1990 and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Harvard University in 1995, where he worked in the laboratory of Jack Szostak, Ph.D. He conducted postdoctoral research at Stanford University in the laboratory of Daniel Herschlag, Ph.D.Lorsch is the author of more than 70 peer-reviewed research articles, book chapters and other papers. He has also been the editor of six volumes of Methods in Enzymology and has been a reviewer for numerous scientific journals. He is the author on two awarded U.S. patents. His honors include six teaching awards from Johns Hopkins.

Lorsch's other activities have included membership on the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology's mentoring committee, the RNA Society's board of directors and NIH review committees. Since joining NIH, he has taken on several leadership roles, including serving on the NIH Scientific Data Council, Administrative Data Council and Extramural Activities Working Group, which he co-chairs.

Richard Okita PhDRichard Okita, Ph.D., is a program director in the NIGMS Division of Pharmacology, Physiology, and Biological Chemistry, where he administers grants in the areas of drug metabolism and transport, drug-induced toxicology and drug delivery. He also manages predoctoral T32 pharmacological sciences and postdoctoral T32 clinical pharmacology training grants, F32 postdoctoral fellowships in the pharmacological sciences, anesthesiology and clinical pharmacology; and trauma, burn and perioperative injury, and mentored career development awards in clinical pharmacology. Prior to joining NIGMS, Okita was a professor of pharmaceutical sciences at Washington State University. He earned a B.A. in bacteriology from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a Ph.D. in biochemical pharmacology from the University of Southern California. Okita conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Dallas.


Veerasamy Ravichandran, PhDVeerasamy "Ravi" Ravichandran, Ph.D., is a program director in the NIGMS Division of Biomedical Technology, Bioinformatics, and Computational Biology. He manages research, resource and training grants in the areas of biomedical technology, bioinformatics and computational biology. Ravichandran oversees the Initiative for Maximizing Student Development program and is also involved in facilitating and coordinating trans-NIH activities related to big data. Earlier in his career, he was a staff scientist at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, a research scientist at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and an associate research scientist at Yale University School of Medicine and the University of Pennsylvania. Ravichandran conducted postdoctoral research as an IRTA fellow in the NCI Laboratory of Pathology and Experimental Immunology Branch. He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, master’s degrees in biochemistry and philosophy/clinical biochemistry, and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Madras in India. Ravichandran also earned a master’s degree in computer science and bioinformatics from John Hopkins University and a certificate degree in database development from George Washington University.

Mercedes Rubio PhDMercedes Rubio, Ph.D., is a program director in the NIGMS Division of Training, Workforce Development, and Diversity, where she primarily oversees Research Supplements to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research and Supplements to Promote Re-entry into Biomedical and Behavioral Research Careers. Before joining NIGMS, Rubio was chief of the Psychopathology Risk and Protective Factors Research Program at the National Institute of Mental Health and was assistant director of that Institute’s Individual Research Fellowship Program. Rubio earned a B.A. in sociology from California State University, Bakersfield, and a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where she also completed postdoctoral training in the field of health disparities.
 

Desiree Salazar PhDDesirée Salazar, Ph.D., is a program director in the NIGMS Division of Training, Workforce Development, and Diversity, where she administers the Diversity Supplement Program, and the Re-entry Supplement Program. She is also a program officer for the IPERT R25 and the Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) Initiative. 



Michael Sesma PhDMichael Sesma, Ph.D., is chief of the Postdoctoral Training Branch in the NIGMS 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.

Shiva Singh PhDShiva Singh, Ph.D., is chief of the Undergraduate and Predoctoral Training Branch in the NIGMS Division of Training, Workforce Development, and Diversity (TWD). This branch supports predoctoral T32 training programs, predoctoral F30 and F31 fellowships, and a broad array of undergraduate and graduate student development programs. Singh currently administers a portfolio of institutional research training grants at the interface of the behavioral and biomedical sciences. Previously, he managed several other programs in TWD as well as research grants in the areas of host-microbe symbiotic relationships, microbial community ecology and adaptive responses to stress in the Division of Genetics and Developmental Biology. He also oversaw systems biology, scientific workforce modeling and complex biological systems modeling grants in the Division of Biomedical Technology, Bioinformatics, and Computational Biology. Prior to joining NIGMS, Singh was chair of the department of biological sciences and director of biomedical research and training programs at Alabama State University. He earned a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in plant sciences from Pant University of Agriculture and Technology and a Ph.D. in microbiology from Auburn University. He conducted postdoctoral research at Auburn University and Argonne National Laboratory.

 
 
2019 TWD Program Directors' Meeting is managed and organized by:
    
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
 

Funding for this conference was made possible (in part) by T36GM008637-21 and R13GM133156-01 (pending) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the NIH; nor does mention by trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.