AIRI 2017 Speaker Bios

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Many thanks to this year's speakers for sharing their expertise with the membership at AIRI 2017.

Mike Aitken
Vice President of Government Affairs, Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
Mike Aitken joined the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) in 2003 and since then he has been responsible for all SHRM governmental affairs endeavors. Mike currently serves as SHRM’s Vice President of Government Affairs and he is a strategic advisor to the Society’s overall external relations activities. As a member of SHRM’s senior management team, Mike plays a key role in helping to set the strategic direction of the organization, offering important counsel on SHRM’s educational programs and professional development opportunities.  With over 25 years of experience working on workplace and workforce issues, Mike is a leading authority on issues important to the human resource profession. As one of SHRM’s primary spokespeople, Mike is regularly interviewed by the media and sought out as a speaker for business audiences. Prior to joining SHRM in 2003, Mike spent 14 years with the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR), which represents more than 23,000 HR professionals at over 1,900 higher education institutions. In 2015 and 2016, Mike served as an employer representation on the U.S. delegation to the International Labour Conference.  Mike currently serves as a board member for OpenWork. He is also a member of the National Selection Board of the Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Labor Relations Committee.

James Anderson, MD, PhD
Director, NIH’s Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives (DPCPSI)
Dr. Anderson received his Ph.D. in Biology and MD from Harvard. Prior to joining NIH in 2010 he held faculty leadership positions at UNC Chapel Hill and the Yale School of Medicine. He is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the American Association of Physicians, and a Fellow of the American Gastroenterological Association. He is the recipient of the 2014 Walter B. Cannon Award, the highest research recognition from the American Physiological Society.

Irene Avila, PhD
Special Assistant to Chief Officer for SWD, National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Irene provides high level assistance in the planning and execution of activities supporting the Chief Officer for Scientific Workforce Diversity. Her work focuses on training in the Intramural and Extramural Programs, with the goal of enhancing diversity inclusion and retention in biomedical research careers. She also serves as the Executive Secretary for the NIH Advisory Committee to the Director, Working Group on Diversity. She received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Psychology from Arizona State University, with a special emphasis in behavioral neuroscience. Her research dissertation, Substantia Nigra Pars Reticulata Neuronal Activity during Bradykinesia and Levodopa-Induced Movements in a Rodent Model of Parkinson’s Disease, was completed at the NIH, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, through the Graduate Partnership Program.  She completed a postdoc at the National Institute on Aging investigating how cognitive functions are mediated by interactions of cortical, basal forebrain and dopamine circuits prior to joining the Scientific Workforce Diversity office.

Eric S. Bord
Partner, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP
Eric S. Bord counsels clients on corporate immigration issues involving the recruitment, hiring, transfer, and retention of personnel worldwide. He also advises businesses on compliance and risk management in connection with their global immigration programs. This includes counseling on compliance with I-9 and E-Verify rules, advising clients during immigration investigations, and conducting immigration due diligence for corporate transactions. Eric heads Morgan Lewis’s immigration compliance and risk management practice.

Michelle G. Bulls
Director of the NIH Office of Policy for Extramural Research, OER, OPERA
Michelle G. Bulls is the Director of the Office of Policy for Extramural Research Administration (OPERA) with policy and compliance oversight for the 24 Institutes and Centers grants management offices within the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She has over 20 years of grants administration experience and is well respected Federal-wide for her grants policy expertise. She remains a change agent in the area of grants management streamlining and reformation efforts across the Federal government.

April Burke, Esq, AIRI Washington Office
AIRI Washington Representative, Lewis-Burke Associates LLC
April Burke, president and founder of Lewis‐Burke Associates LLC, is a veteran Washington, D.C attorney providing government relations counsel to clients on public policy and legislation. Ms. Burke  provides a hands‐on approach to client management and plays an active role in the oversight of all  clients’ government affairs strategies.  Ms. Burke’s prior experience includes positions both on Capitol  Hill and in the not‐for‐profit sector. Her past work includes 30 years of experience in legislative and  regulatory analysis in areas related to science and engineering research, technology transfer, health and health research policy, higher education, and intellectual property.  Ms. Burke is an active leader in the science advocacy community and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Association for Women in Science.  Prior to establishing Lewis‐Burke, Ms. Burke was a vice president at Hill and Knowlton, a worldwide  public affairs and public relations firm. She has served as project director and legislative counsel for the Association of American Universities, and she was an attorney with the law firm of Ballard, Spahr, Andrews  and Ingersoll.  A graduate of George Washington University National Law Center, Ms. Burke was admitted to the District of Columbia Bar in 1978 and admitted to practice in the U.S.  District Court for the District of Columbia in 1979. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Stanford University in 1974, where she was Phi Beta Kappa.

John T. Burklow
Associate Director for Communications and Public Liaison, National Institutes of Health (NIH)
John Burklow directs the National Institutes of Health Office of Communications and Public Liaison and oversees media operations, online communication, editorial operations, major events, visitor and community programs, and other efforts. Burklow and his staff coordinate and integrate communication among NIH's 27 institutes and centers, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, stakeholders, and public affairs offices at NIH's worldwide grantee and contract institutions. Burklow serves as the chief advisor to senior agency leadership on communications issues and is also the agency chief spokesperson on non-science issues. He spearheaded an unprecedented overhaul of the $31 billion agency's visual presence, including the development of strategic communications resources, a new logo and trademarked tagline, and other resources. Agency communications efforts have recently expanded into social media and the mainstream press, such as the Colbert Report and the NIH director's presence at the World Economic Forum and the TEDMED set of conferences. Burklow received the 2012 Presidential Rank Award, conferred by the president for exceptional service to the American people over an extended period of time.

Ana Cabrera
Director, Strategic Projects, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies
Ana Cabrera is the Director of Strategic Projects at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. She works on strategic planning and initiatives to guide resource allocation; project management oversight, including measurable deliverables and development of benchmarking reports and metrics to support organizational decision making.  Her responsibilities  also include strategic planning with the Information Systems team, and critical cross-departmental projects.  Ana holds an MBA with a concentration in Finance.  Prior to joining Salk, she worked in various finance and administrative roles at research and higher education environments, including the University of Michigan, the University of San Diego, and National University.

David M. Cabrera, MS
Chief of Staff, Office of the CSO, Van Andel Institute
David Cabrera is Chief of Staff of VARI’s Office of the CSO in Grand Rapids, Michigan. David provides central coordination of the functions and staff of the office including research/operations liaison, strategic planning, science policy, faculty peer review, research event planning, science communication & editing, laboratory operations logistics, budget allocation, and library services. He is a course director in the Van Andel Institute Graduate School. David previously held the position of Science Policy and Administrative Manager in the Office of the CSO. Prior to his arrival at VARI in 2013, David worked for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. At NIH, David held a position as laboratory manager in a neuropharmacology laboratory from 2001-2009 before being accepted into the 2-year NIH Management Intern fellowship. Following his fellowship, David was a science policy analyst in the NIH Office of Science Policy and NIH Office of the Director, where he worked on strategic initiatives and science policy issues. David is a member of the Society for Neuroscience, American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, and Sigma Xi.

Bryon Campbell, PhD
Chief Information Officer, Van Andel Institute
Dr. Campbell is responsible for the technology vision and planning processes for existing technology, information systems, and the research of new solutions and technologies to meet the needs of the Van Andel Institute.  Most recently, the organization implemented a High Performance Computing (HPC) environment with an initial 2+ Petabyte data storage footprint.  The HPC/Storage environment will support computational science needs and the increased data volumes generated from new research-based technologies (e.g. - cryo-EM and sequencing technology).  Evaluation and implementation of a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) is an active project for the institute, and Dr. Campbell with his department staff and research colleagues will recommend a solution that provides enterprise data management for the core operations of the organization.  Cyber Security is also at the forefront of all CIO’s responsibility and Dr. Campbell along with his team is responsible for the management, support, mitigation, and awareness training for the organization.  Van Andel has implemented software, processes, and controls to mitigate cyber security risk as much as possible.  Participation with various committees is another role, while most recently a re-appointment to the Van Andel Institute Internal Review Board (IRB) Dr. Campbell provides expertise with data security, which has become more of a challenge with research proposals.

Danielle Carnival, PhD
Vice President, Biden Cancer Initiative

Prior to leading the creation and management of the Biden Cancer Initiative, Dr. Danielle Carnival served as the Chief of Staff and Senior Policy Director for the White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force. Over her more than six years at the White House, Danielle leveraged her technical scientific expertise to develop programs and policies to make progress on Obama-Biden Administration goals in partnership with Federal agencies and the private, academic and philanthropic sectors. This work spanned areas of health and biomedical policy, including cancer and neuroscience, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education, and advancing equity and promoting diversity in STEM fields, among others.
Danielle assumed leadership roles for some of the Administration’s signature initiatives and events, most notably, the White House Cancer Moonshot, White House Science Fairs, College Opportunity Days of Action, and Computer Science for All and Diversity in STEM initiatives. Danielle received her Doctorate in Neuroscience from Georgetown University and her Bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Boston College.

Laura Cochran, Proud Sponsor of the AIRI Annual Meeting
VP and Senior Consultant, Communications, Sibson Consulting
Ms. Cochran is a Vice President and Senior Consultant in Segal’s National Communications Practice. She earned a BA from George Mason University and is a member of the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), and the International Foundation for Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP). Ms. Cochran has been a guest speaker at NEEBC and IFEBP and was a recipient of Segal’s One Company Award in 2013 and the Quality Star Award in 2016.

Adam Cohen, Esq., AIRI Program Co-Chair
Sr. Vice President & General Counsel, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation
Adam is OMRF’s chief legal officer. He’s responsible for strategic initiatives while also serving as counsel on business transactions, managing litigation matters, and ensuring that OMRF adheres to laws and regulations in all areas, including employment law, employee benefits, intellectual property, and federal contract and research compliance. He joined OMRF in 2002, and in addition to his legal responsibilities, he maintains direct oversight of human resources and public affairs, with dotted-responsibility for government affairs, development, and technology ventures. A former clerk for Judge Robert Henry of the US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, he previously worked as a staff attorney at the University of Oklahoma and a litigator at the New York City law firm of Hughes Hubbard & Reed, where he represented such clients as PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Chrysler and Merck as a securities and products liability litigator in state and federal courts. Also a writer, Adam is a contributing editor for Runner’s World magazine, and his work has appeared in more than a dozen publications, including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The American Lawyer. He holds an English degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a JD from Duke University School of Law.

Christopher C. Conway, JD
Chief, Development & Public Affairs, Doheny Eye Institute 

Mr. Conway launched his career assisting Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter pursue an innovative global health agenda at The Carter Center of Emory University, and has built his practice as a fundraiser and legal advisor across healthcare, international development and high profile cultural non-profits. Immediate past President & Executive Director of The Joffrey Ballet, Mr. Conway also held key development positions at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), and today works with the internationally renowned Doheny Eye Institute in forging a new strategic partnership with the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Mr. Conway is the founder and principal of Philanthropic Counsel, LLC, with offices in Los Angeles and Paris, France. Mr. Conway’s practiced agility as legal counsel in complex major gift transactions and incisive business acumen directs transformative change.

Megan Costello
Sr Advancement Commun Specialist, The Morgridge Institute for Research, Inc.
Megan Costello has 10 years’ experience directing multi-channel communications to inspire and engage audiences. She is content strategist turned content marketer at the Morgridge Institute for Research. Megan started in legislative affairs and cut her teeth as the Assistant Dean for Communications in the College of Letters & Science, the largest college at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She lives in Madison, Wis., where she bikes, gardens, freelances resumes and worries too much about the asbestos tiles on her bodacious 90-year-old bungalow.

W. Mark Crowell
Principal, Academy Innovation Advisors
Mark Crowell is Principal of Academy Innovation Advisors and formerly Vice President for Innovation and Economic Development at KAUST in Saudi Arabia.  Prior to KAUST, he was founding Executive Director of UVa Innovation at the University of Virginia; VP for Business Development at the Scripps Research Institute; and chief technology transfer/innovation officer at 3 other universities.  Mark is AUTM’s past president and recipient of the Bayh-Dole Award.  He consults nationally and internationally in technology transfer, research campus, and innovation policy.

Chris Dagdigian
Co-Founder, Principal Consultant, BioTeam Inc.
Chris is an infrastructure geek, cloud nerd & co-founder of the BioTeam,  - a specialist consulting firm occupying the niche between high performance computing, IT and discovery-oriented life science research. Chris has spent much of the last 20 years designing, building, fixing and improving research-focused HPC and IT systems for use in demanding production computing environments. He occasionally is known to blog, tweet and speak about industry trends and best practices.

Michael Dollar, CPA, AIRI Program Co-Chair
VP, Finance - Lake Nona, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute
Michael Dollar joined Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) in 2004 as Director of Accounting/Controller.  In 2007 Michael was promoted to his current position as Vice President of Finance at SBP’s Lake Nona Campus in Orlando, Florida. Michael oversees all aspects of the finance, grants accounting and procurement functions at the Lake Nona Campus.  He is a Certified Public Accountant and holds a BS in business administration with an emphasis in accounting from San Diego State University.   Prior to joining SBP, Michael worked at Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center as Director of Finance and at Deloitte & Touche as an audit manager serving non-profit, health care and real estate clients.

Alison Evans, AIRI Washington Office
AIRI Washington Representative, Lewis-Burke Associates LLC
Alison Evans is an associate at Lewis-Burke Associates LLC and handles issues related to biomedical and defense research. She previously worked in the Public Affairs office for the American Geophysical Union, a non-profit science society located in DC. She received her B.S. in Biochemistry from Arizona State University.

Jean L. Feldman
Head, Policy Office, Division of Institution & Award Support, National Science Foundation
Jean Feldman is responsible for establishing NSF proposal and award policies and procedures for the assistance programs.  Within her portfolio are the Proposal & Award Policies & Procedures Guide, the Grant and Cooperative Agreement Terms and Conditions, and the Application Guide.  She is also actively involved in a number of internal, external, and interagency streamlining activities, including the implementation of the Federal Financial Assistance Management Improvement Act and the development and maintenance of the standard form for the electronic submission of federal grants applications.  Prior to beginning her NSF career in 1992, Ms. Feldman gained experience working in the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command.

Robert Forrester
Consultant, Unaffiliated
Bob Forrester is a self-employed New England-based consultant to research institutions on regulatory and financial matters.  He retired as a partner in the San Francisco office of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) where, among other responsibilities, he was the engagement partner on the University of California account and directed a national consulting group that consulted with universities, academic medical centers and other research institutions for the Firm. Since then, Bob has worked with AIRI members and other research institutions on assignments related to strategy, finance, and organization.

Erica Froyd, AIRI Washington Office
AIRI Washington Representative, Lewis-Burke Associates LLC
Erica Froyd represents the interests of Lewis-Burke clients in the areas of biomedical research, federal research policy, and health care with a particular focus on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other agencies within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, including the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).  Prior to joining Lewis-Burke, Ms. Froyd served as the Director of Government and Public Affairs at the Society for Neuroscience where she coordinated strategies to secure increased federal funding for biomedical research and built support for issues important to science, including the investment in biomedical research through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and sustained support for neuroscience research in the annual appropriations process. She has extensive experience working with Congress, the Executive Branch, scientific and health organizations, and other stakeholder partners. Ms. Froyd developed her expertise in research and health advocacy at the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) where she directed a coalition of more than 80 organizations and focused on a variety of issues including NIH, bioterrorism, public health, and diversity in the health professions. Prior to AAMC, she served as the Grassroots Representative at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.  Ms. Froyd earned her B.A. in political science from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota and her Master’s in Public Administration with a focus on health policy from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Tim Hassen, CPA, AIRI Board Treasurer
Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation
Tim Hassen has been with Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation since 1998.  He held internal auditor and controller position prior to being promoted to Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.  Tim currently oversees  all areas of financial management including; financial reporting, budgeting, pre-award and post-award grants accounting, payroll, and donor services.   He spends a significant portion of his time on strategic planning related to the Foundation’s indirect cost policies and negotiating the indirect cost agreements.  Hassen is a Certified Public Accountant and holds a BS in accounting from the University of Central Oklahoma and an MBA with an emphasis in finance from Oklahoma City University.  He began his career as an auditor for Deloitte & Touche in Oklahoma City, where he served clients in the non-profit, governmental and SEC sectors.   Tim currently serves as Treasurer for the Association of Independent Research Institutes, as well as the program co-chair for the AIRI 54th Annual Meeting.

Ron Hood
Director, Information Technology, Center for Infectious Disease Research
Ron Hood is the IT Director at the Center for Infectious Disease Research in Seattle, Washington.  He has been providing IT support for biomedical research for over 20 years and has worked in operations, infrastructure design, architecture, information security, and governance.  He has a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Colorado and in his spare time he manages a tree farm in eastern Washington.

Sylvia M. James, EdD
Acting Deputy Assistant Director, National Science Foundation
Dr. Sylvia M. James is currently the Acting Deputy Assistant Director of the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Directorate for Education and Human Resources (EHR). Prior to this assignment in January 2017, she served as the Director of the Division of Human Resource Development (HRD. During her 15 year tenure at NSF, she has held multiple leadership roles, in addition to serving as the Lead Program Director for several EHR programs including ISE, ITEST, ATE, ASCEND, and AYS.

Brent Keck
Chief Information Officer & Associate Vice President, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation

Mr. Brent Keck leads the Information Technology and Telecommunications departments at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. He has been working in the computer technology field at OMRF since 1984. He spent his first 27 years at OMRF in application development, application system administration, and project management. He has served as CIO since May 2011. He is responsible for all facets of information technology, including strategic planning, operations, infrastructure, application development, technical support, and budget planning. Mr. Keck and his IT team are currently implementing initiatives in information security, cloud storage, and ERP enhancements. He has served as breakout session presenter for the 2013 AIRI annual meeting. He was a member of the Program Planning Committee and session moderator for the AIRI 2014 Information Technology meeting. He was the 2016 Co-Chair for the AIRI Information Technology Summit hosted at OMRF. He is the IT co-track leader for the 2017 annual meeting. The 2017 annual meeting will be his ninth AIRI meeting. He is all-in on AIRI and its value to independent research institutes like OMRF. Mr. Keck earned a B.A. in Management from Southern Nazarene University (1991) and an M.B.A. from Oklahoma Christian University (2009).

Michael Kenney
Senior Director, Strategic Operations, City of Hope
Since 2013, Mr. Kenney has served at the Beckman Research Institute (BRI) where he oversees preparation and financial management of an  annual budget of ~$350MM. Reporting to the Senior Vice President of Research Operations, he oversees the annual budgeting process and financial management of COH’s research enterprise, manages the Office of Sponsored Research, provides operational support for COH’s 30 core facilities and oversees research space and facilities for 30+ research buildings spanning 500,000 square feet.  Prior to joining City of Hope, Mr. Kenney worked as a Manager with Huron Consulting Group. He has over 7 years of consulting experience assessing, evaluating, and building administrative operations, procedures, and business processes related to research at grantee and grantor research institutions, including sponsored program administration (pre and post award) and compliance. At Huron, Mr. Kenney led multiple research administration cost reduction and organizational re-design projects for top 50 research universities aimed at improving resource efficiency and customer service.  Areas of focus/expertise include: staffing benchmarking/right-sizing, business process redesign, and development of shared service models/principles.

Rob Kerr
Director, Digital Communications, The Jackson Laboratory

Rob Kerr is the Director of Digital Communications at The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), a biomedical research institution working to discover precise genomic solutions to disease.  Rob has over 20 years experience in technology, marketing and communications having held technology management positions at, Brown University, and Bowdoin College.  At JAX, Rob oversees social media, content marketing and all public-facing communication technology.  He has a particular interest in change management and digital transformation strategies.  

Jen Keyes, CPA
Chief Financial Officer, The La Jolla Institute
Jen Keyes has over 15 years of hands-on non-profit and for-profit experience in roles such as auditor, consultant, Director of Finance and grant maker.  Ms. Keyes has experience managing a diverse and robust investment portfolio, with responsibility for all associated accounting and tax matters. She has worked closely with non-profit organizations and philanthropists providing assistance with overall grant-making and educational activities. Throughout her career, Ms. Keyes has successfully implemented internal controls while streamlining processes and procedures to achieve efficiencies. Prior to joining La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology in 2014, Ms. Keyes held the position of Controller at Episcopal Community Services, a California non-profit civic and social organization with $24M in revenues. A licensed Certified Public Accountant since 2003, she received a B.S. in Accounting from San Diego State University. Ms. Keyes serves the local community as Treasurer of the Board of Directors of Dreams for Change, a San Diego nonprofit organization; Treasurer for the San Diego Police Foundation, and Audit Committee Member of Harmonium, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization in San Diego.

Patrick Klupa
Manager of Business Information Systems, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research
Patrick and his team are responsible for maintaining and enhancing the administrative ERP system at the Whitehead Institute.  His system handles the data processing for the Financial Operations, Human Resources, Procurement Services, and Grants Management departments at Whitehead.  Patrick is always working to make sure Whitehead’s administrative systems run smoothly while seeking opportunities to make operations more efficient.  Patrick also chairs Whitehead’s Personal Information Protection Committee, which governs the protection of all personal information kept by Whitehead.

Courtni Kopietz
Multimedia Specialist, Morgridge Institute for Research
As the Multimedia Specialist for the Morgridge Institute for Research, Courtni Kopietz develops digital strategies and creates multimedia content—including videos, photos, text pieces and social media posts—to tell stories about Morgridge scientific research, outreach programs and activities and cultivate public curiosity in science. Courtni joined the Morgridge Institute in 2014 after graduating with an M.A. in Communications, science journalism concentration, from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Michael Labosier, CPA, CGMA, CMA
Director of Finance & Accounting, Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason
Michael R. Labosier joined Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason (BRI) in 2006. He held the Controller position for seven years and now serves as Director of Finance and Accounting. Mr. Labosier oversees all of BRI’s accounting and financial management functions, including budgeting and financial reporting and analysis. His responsibilities also include annual financial statement/Uniform Guidance and retirement plan audits, tax reporting, and federal indirect cost rate negotiations. Mr. Labosier was involved in the Institute’s $30 million bond offerings in 2006 and 2012, and handles ongoing debt compliance monitoring and reporting obligations. Prior to his tenure at BRI, Mr. Labosier served in financial management roles for several professional services firms in Seattle, including Virginia Mason Medical Center. He began his career as a Certified Public Accountant with Ernst & Young after receiving his B.S. in Accounting, Summa Cum Laude, from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona in 1981.

Homer W. Lane, Jr., MBA
Executive Director, Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason
Mr. Lane moved to BRI in June 2011 as Chief Administrative & Financial Officer and oversaw major improvements to the lab facilities, numerous IT-driven process improvement projects, the restructure of their Series 2006 Bond issue, major changes to the administrative organizational structure, and helped develop a revenue stream from BRI’s intellectual property.  He assumed his current position at BRI on July 1, 2012.  Since then he has also served on the Board of Directors for the Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association (WBBA).  He has also been a very active member of the Association of Independent Research Institutes (AIRI), serving as the Vice President Member Communications from 2008 through 2013. Prior to his move to BRI he worked at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) starting in 1998.  During his early tenure at MBL he arranged two bond issues, selected and implemented a new accounting system, completed a risk management assessment, and took on oversight of the Office of Sponsored Programs of the laboratory.  In 2002-2003 he was a key player working with McKinsey & Company in developing a Strategic Plan for the MBL.  In 2004 he negotiated an MOU with Brown University for a joint Ph.D. program and assumed responsibility for MBL’s Intellectual Property.  In 2006 he participated in the Director & CEO search committee, and consolidated all MBL’s debt into a lower priced $34 million bond issue.  Before he left the MBL he also oversaw the institution’s housing & conference activities and was Chair of the MBL Compliance Committee.  Prior to joining the MBL, Homer was a career banker.    Mr. Lane received his MBA (1973) and BS (1971) in Civil Engineering from Columbia University.

Marty Leidner, CISSP
Chief Information Security Officer, Rockefeller University
Mr. Leidner spent thirteen years working in various divisions in IBM being promoted rapidly to Advisory analyst. He completed the IBM marketing training program and the advanced System Research Institute (masters level). Mr. Leidner founded and has managed his own consulting practice for several years. His clients included Merrill Lynch, Bankers Trust, MCI, and Mellon Bank. Mr. Leidner earned a BS in Computer Science from the City University of New York and is a Certified Information System Security Professional (CISSP) from the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, Inc (ISC2). He has been at The Rockefeller University, a worldwide leader in biomedical research, for the last 14 years. The last 11 as Chief Information Security Officer of the information security practice that he established and maintains. He is also a governing board member and presenter at Evanta’s By CISOs For CISOs, and NYSERNet (New York State Education and Research Network). And, a member of InfraGard (a joint organization with the FBI).

Jon R. Lorsch, PhD
Director, National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Jon R. 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. NIGMS supports more than 3,000 investigators and 4,500 research grants–over 11 percent of the total number of research grants funded by NIH as a whole. Additionally, NIGMS supports approximately 26.3 percent of the NRSA trainees who receive assistance from NIH.  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 is as passionate about education as he is about research. During his tenure at Johns Hopkins, he worked to reform the curricula for graduate and medical education, spearheaded the development of the Center for Innovation in Graduate Biomedical Education, and launched a program offering summer research experiences to local high school students, many from groups that are underrepresented in the biomedical sciences. In addition, he advised dozens of undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. 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.

Bill Mayo
Chief Information Officer, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
Bill’s background spans Consumer Products, Business Services, Life Sciences, Consulting, Academia and Non-Profit sectors.  He has broad international experience, a deep understanding of technology and a strong strategic orientation.  He is currently the CIO for The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge MA.  Bill also serves as the chairman of the governing board of Ascentria Care Alliance and as a steering committee member and mentor for Northeastern University’s Venture Mentoring Network.

Jo-Ann Mendel, MBA, PHR
Director of Human Resources, The Wistar Institute
Jo-Ann Mendel, MBA, PHR, Director of Human Resources, The Wistar Institute.  Jo-Ann also serves as the Institute's EEO coordinator. Jo-Ann's tenure at Wistar has spanned more than 25 years.  Since 1997, she has overseen the human resources functions for Wistar including: benefits, recruiting, immigration, affirmative action, and employee relations.  She works closely with senior leadership and faculty to provide counseling and guidance.

Michael "Chip" Morgan, AIRI Past President 2008-2010
Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation
Chip Morgan has held numerous positions in his 48 years with OMRF and currently serves as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. In his current capacity, he is responsible for managing the internal business operations of this internationally recognized nonprofit biomedical research institute. During his tenure, OMRF has grown to a contiguous campus of over 500,000 square feet and total assets of $380 million. Morgan received his B.B.A. degree from the University of Oklahoma and holds an M.B.A. from Oklahoma City University. He is Past President of the Board of the Association of Independent Research Institutes and currently serves as Chairman of the Government Affairs Committee.  He previously served as Chairman of the Board of the Oklahoma Health Services Federal Credit Union (now known as the FOCUS Federal Credit Union) and the Oklahoma Chapter of the American Heart Association.

Christine O'Connell, MMSc
Senior Director, Lab Research Operations, Moffitt Cancer Center
Christine O’Connell, MMSc, serves as the Senior Director of Laboratory Research Operations at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute.  Ms. O’Connell has 28 + years of experience in Research Administration.  In 1986 Ms. O’Connell received an MMSc degree in Immunology from Emory University (Atlanta, Ga, USA).  In addition she has received post-graduate training in the area of Health Policy and Management.  In 2007, Ms. O’Connell completed a two-year fellowship at the Advisory Board, an organization focused on healthcare operations and leadership best practices.  Ms. O’Connell joined Moffitt in 1988 and has held several positions within research administration with increasing responsibility.  In her current role, as Sr. Director Laboratory Research Operations, Ms. O’Connell provides leadership and oversight to the laboratory based shared resources.  Duties and responsibilities include the administrative oversight of operating and capital budgets, purchasing, chargeback/fee schedule development and implementation, strategic planning, and the facilitation of the Core Leadership Committee. In addition to proving leadership to Moffitt’s Shared Resources, Ms. O’Connell is responsible for the oversight of the Research Environmental Health & Safety Department and research space planning and management.

Libby O'Hare, AIRI Washington Office
AIRI Washington Representative, Lewis-Burke Associates LLC
Libby O’Hare leverages her biomedical research expertise, background in research administration policy, and experience on Capitol Hill to provide strategic analysis and support to Lewis-Burke clients in the areas of biomedical research as well as research policy and regulation, with a particular focus on the National Institutes of Health.  Prior to joining Lewis-Burke, Dr. O’Hare was a Program Officer with the Board on Higher Education and Workforce at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine where she managed policy studies examining the regulatory structure governing scientific research, the competitiveness of American research universities and STEM workforce development.  Dr. O’Hare previously served as a Legislative Assistant for Representative Rush Holt, where she handled energy, science and education policy issues and staffed Rep. Holt in his role as the Senior Democrat on the Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee, House Committee on Natural Resources.  In this role, Dr. O’Hare managed legislative and political strategy, built coalitions, and negotiated among stakeholders to advance legislative priorities related to energy and environmental policy, scientific research, higher education and innovation.  Dr. O’Hare got her start in science policy after being selected by the Society for Research on Child Development as a 2010 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Congressional Science Policy Fellow.  Dr. O’Hare holds a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of California, Los Angeles and an A.B. in Psychology from Bryn Mawr College.

Jennifer Pawlosky
Executive Director of Communications, Allen Institute
As Executive Director for Communications, Jennifer Pawlosky leads messaging, media relations, events and integrated communications efforts for the Allen Institute. Previously, Jennifer worked at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, where she led all development communications and marketing strategies and activities. She held positions in consulting and service line marketing in Seattle, Dallas and Charlotte, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation in Washington, D.C., where she led national media and public relations campaigns. Jennifer received her B.A. in English Literature and Economics from the University of Virginia.

Lili M. Portilla, MPA
Director, Strategic Alliances, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS), National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Lili Portilla has worked in the area of strategic alliances at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), since 1989.  She has extensive expertise in negotiating and developing commercialization strategies for complex, and multi-party collaborations and public private partnerships.  Since December of 2011, Ms. Portilla has been serving as the Director of the Office of Strategic Alliances at the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) at the NIH.  NCATS is the newest Center at the NIH focusing on the transformation of the translational science process so that new treatments and cures for disease can be delivered to patients faster.  She oversees the Center’s partnership, strategic alliance, and technology transfer functions as well as the Program Director for the NCATS Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Technology Transfer Research grant and contract program.  Prior to NCATS, Ms. Portilla was Senior Advisor to the Director of the National Center for Research Resources and as the Director of the National, Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, Office of Technology Transfer and Development.  Ms. Portilla has also published several papers on pubic private partnerships.   She serves as a Board Member of the University of Kansas, Institute for Advancing Medical Innovation.  She received a Masters in Public Administration in 1992 from American University and a Bachelor in Business Administration, double major in both Finance and Spanish Literature in 1986 from Stephen F. Austin State University.

Katie Raftery, SHRM-SCP, SPHR
Vice President, Human Resources, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Katie Raftery is currently the Vice President of Human Resources for Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.  In this position, she is responsible for the overall leadership and management of the Human Resources organization, including benefits, compensation, recruiting and retention, employee relations and competence development.  Ms. Raftery has over 35 years of experience in human resources and administration, having held senior human and administrative positions in the telecommunications, legal and financial services industries.  Ms. Raftery graduated from Bard College with a degree in English and has a masters in counseling from Hofstra University.  She holds lifetime certification as a Senior Professional in Human Resources and is a member of both the local and national chapters of the Society of Human Resource Professionals and CUPA, serves on the Executive Committee of the New York Higher Education Recruiting Consortium and the Long Island Regional Healthcare Industry Council.

Lari C. Russo, CPA, AIRI President-Elect
Chief Financial Officer, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Lari Russo is the Chief Financial Officer of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, a private not-for-profit research and educational institution located on the north shore of Long Island. CSHL is a leader in pioneering work that shapes contemporary molecular biology and genetics, and enhances scientific knowledge worldwide. Named CFO in 2011, Ms. Russo is currently responsible for all facets of finance, accounting and reporting for the institution, including audit, budgeting, forecasting, endowment, investments, cash management and treasury functions. Ms. Russo joined CSHL in 1998 as Assistant Controller after working in public accounting managing audits of not-for-profit organizations throughout the Northeast for Schultheis and Panettieri, LLC. Ms. Russo is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants. An alumna of C.W. Post/Long Island University, Ms. Russo is currently President-Elect of the Association of Independent Research Institutes, a nationwide association of nonprofit independent research institutes, and is a member of the Finance and Audit Committees of the New York Genome Center.

Edward Seijo, MS, FABC
Director of Translational Sciences & Biorepository Shared Resources, The Jackson Laboratory
Mr. Seijo joined the Cancer Center in 1999 and currently serves as the Director of Translational Sciences & Biorepository Shared Resources. He is responsible for administratively directing the overall operations of the Translational and Biorepository Shared Resources which include the Tissue Core, Cell Therapies Core, and institutionally-supported Translational Research Facility. His primary responsibilities include, but are not limited to, annual capital and operational budgets; development and implementation of assigned core facilities fee recovery strategies; ensuring that all policies, procedures, and guidelines governing core facility activities that support member-driven science are being followed; serving as a liaison between the shared resources, members, and Cancer Center leadership; and providing operational and feasibility review for new protocols utilizing biospecimens and related data. Mr. Seijo is an active member of the Cancer Center’s Laurel Scientific Review Committee (SRC) which provides scientific and operational review of new protocols utilizing human biospecimens. Similarly, he is the co-chair of the TCC Data and Tissue Management and Release Committee (DATMAR), which provides institutional oversight and recommendations related to release of biospecimens and linked data. 

Mr. Seijo received his undergraduate and Master’s degree in Microbiology from the University of South Florida and has over 20 years of laboratory experience, including in molecular microbiology, optical microscopy imaging, image analysis, and biobanking best practices. He has held various roles at MCC and was promoted to his current role in March 2015, after previously serving as Director Tissue Core operations. Mr. Seijo has served as a lead field inspector for the College of American Pathologist (CAP) Biorepository Accreditation program. In 2009, Mr. Seijo completed a two year fellowship leading to the Fellow of the Advisory Board (FABC) which focused on health care operations and leadership best practices. In December 2012, Mr. Seijo was awarded MCC’s Award of Excellence for his contributions to the research mission of the Cancer Center. This award recognizes individuals who exemplify the vision, dedication, compassion, and caring spirit of founder H. Lee Moffitt. 

Josh Shiode, PhD
Senior Government Relations Officer, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
Josh Shiode joined the AAAS Office of Government Relations in March 2015 as a Senior Government Relations Officer. Prior to joining AAAS, Josh was the fifth John N. Bahcall Public Policy Fellow of the American Astronomical Society (AAS). While with the AAS, Josh worked to improve communication between the astronomical science and policymaking communities, with a particular focus on increasing the participation of students and postdoctoral researchers in science policy. Josh holds a Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of California, Berkeley and a B.A. in astronomy and physics from Boston University. As a NASA Earth and Space Sciences Graduate Fellow at Berkeley, he explored the evolution and inner workings of massive stars and developed a passion for science communication and education, which he now brings to his work in science policy.

Tom Skillman, MS, MBA
Director, Research Technology, Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason
Thomas L. Skillman is Co-director of Systems Immunology Division at Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason. Skillman oversees research data management and analytics, as well as overall administration of the division. He collaborates with research staff on novel research programs with a technology emphasis including the design and management of the scientific computing infrastructure. This infrastructure will assist researchers in the management, analysis and sharing of their scientific data. Skillman’s experience includes more than 20 years in research and development management including working with health science organizations, providing both strategic planning and operational leadership. He was previously a principal of Epigenomics and the first Senior Deputy Director of the HIV Statistical Center at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. He also provided business and information system leadership to two University of Washington start-up companies, Seattle Sensor Systems and Cardiac Mimetics. Skillman received an Executive MBA from the University of Washington as well as an MS in Computer Science and a BS in Physics, both from the University of Maryland.

Rob Stein
Correspondent and Senior Editor, Science Desk, National Public Radio
Rob Stein is a correspondent and senior editor on NPR's science desk.  An award-winning science journalist with more than 25 years of experience, Stein mostly covers health and medicine. He tends to focus on stories that illustrate the intersection of science, health, politics, social trends, ethics, and federal science policy. He tracks genetics, stem cells, cancer research, women's health issues and other science, medical, and health policy news.  Before NPR, Stein worked at The Washington Post for 16 years, first as the newspaper's science editor and then as a national health reporter. Earlier in his career, Stein spent about four years as an editor at NPR's science desk. Before that, he was a science reporter for United Press International (UPI) in Boston and the science editor of the international wire service in Washington.  Stein is a graduate of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He completed a journalism fellowship at the Harvard School of Public Health, a program in science and religion at the University of Cambridge, and a summer science writer's workshop at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA.  Stein's work has been honored by many organizations, including the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Association of Health Care Journalists.

Jeffrey W. Strovel, PhD
Chief Executive Officer, ConverGene
Dr. Strovel is President and CEO of ConverGene Pharmaceuticals. ConverGene is a pharmaceutical company that has several small molecule drug programs targeting unmet medical needs that are poised to enter the clinic. He has significant experience in developing and implementing innovative platforms for the discovery and development of small-molecule drugs. Prior to the formation of ConverGene, he was the Head of Discovery Research at Avalon Pharmaceuticals where he played a critical role in the development of many of the company’s novel biomarker-driven discovery systems while simultaneously leading drug discovery efforts including the company’s seminal product development candidate, a mechanistically novel cancer drug candidate. Dr. Strovel has led programs for small-molecule drug discovery and development including drug target discovery, hit-to-lead, drug lead optimization, and biomarker discovery and validation. Earlier in his career, Dr. Strovel held positions at the University of Maryland and the National Cancer Institute.

Cary E. Thomas, MBA/CMA, AIRI President
Chief Information Officer, The Scripps Research Institute

Cary is the Chief Information Officer at The Scripps Research Institute where he has served in a variety of capacities for more than nine years. Prior to coming to Scripps, Cary held leadership positions in both public and private academic institutions: Senior Associate Dean for Administration and Finance at the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine from 2004 to 2008; Chief Operating Officer for the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center from 2000 to 2004; Director for Administration and Finance at the Information Sciences Institute of the University of Southern California from 1991 to 2000; and Director for Administrative Information Systems at San Diego State University from 1989 to 1991.  

Cary is currently President of the Association of Independent Research Institutes. Cary received two degrees from the University of Maryland at College Park: a BS in information systems and an MBA. Cary has earned the Certificate in Managerial Accounting and is a Certified Research Administrator.  
Cary is a contributing author to the textbook, Research Administration and Management:

  • Thomas, C. (2006) Working with Boards of Trustees and Advisory Boards. In E. C. Kulakowski & L. U. Chronister (Eds.), Research Administration and Management, (pp. 113-120). Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett.
  • Thomas, C. (2006). Financial Reporting for the Research Administrator. In E. C. Kulakowski & L. U. Chronister (Eds.), Research Administration and Management, (pp. 411-420). Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett.

Joseph Trainor, CPA
Chief Financial Officer, The Wistar Institute
Joseph Trainor, CPA is the Chief Financial Officer for The Wistar Institute, the nation’s first independent institution devoted to medical research and training. He previously served at Drexel University, University of the Sciences and Deloitte. During his career, he successfully negotiated numerous debt financings which fulfilled capital and liquidity needs. As University City District’s Founding Board member and Treasurer he has partnered with businesses and residents to create opportunities that improve the economic vitality and quality of life in Philadelphia.

Gil Tran
Senior Policy Analyst, Office of Management and Budget
Gil Tran is a senior policy analyst with the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Office of Federal Financial Management. His main responsibilities are to develop and analyze policies and standards on cost principles and audit requirements for Federal programs and he has been one of the leaders of the OMB/COFAR Uniform Guidance effort. His past experience in Federal grant management includes working at the Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Cost Allocation; KPMG Peat Marwick ‐ Grant Management Services; and Georgetown University. 

Norman Weisman
Controller, Lieber Institute
Norman Weisman, M.B.A., has 20+ years of controllership and senior financial management experience, primarily with life science organizations.  Mr. Weisman is currently the Controller for the Lieber Institute for Brain Development located on Johns Hopkins Medical Campus.  Prior years’ experience includes controllership positions with Advanced Bioscience Laboratories, Inc., (ABL), a French owned biomedical research and manufacturing organization, and, the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, a NFP managing DoD medical research programs.

Steve Werling, DBA
President, Werling & Associates
Dr. Stephen Werling is a consultant and educator with over 30 years of consulting experience and 40 years academic experience.  Dr. Werling received his Doctorate of Business Administration with an emphasis in Human Resource Management from the University of Kentucky.  He is the President of Werling Associates, Inc. a San Antonio, TX based Human Resource Management consulting firm established in 1993 that specializes in the design of compensation and incentive plans and selection systems.  Dr. Werling is also a Senior Lecturer at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Stephen S. Wilson, PhD
Executive Vice President & COO, The La Jolla Institute
Dr. Wilson serves as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at LJI. Working with the Board of Directors and President, Chief Scientific Officer, he is responsible for efficient stewardship of Institute resources, effective operation of the research facility, and overall support and well-being of the Institute’s world-class staff. As both an advocate for the Institute and an enthusiast of new frontiers of medicine, Dr. Wilson speaks to groups across the nation with backgrounds that are scientific, industrial, or simply in the public interest.  He serves on several external boards in companies that span the fields of medical diagnostics, interventional therapies, and financial services.  Dr. Wilson was a postdoctoral fellow with funding from the National Institutes of Health as well as the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, with a research focus and journal authorships on autoimmune diseases and informatics. In his capacity as an investigator, he is Executive Director of the Functional Genomics Center, Deputy Principal Investigator of the NIH’s national Immune Epitope Database and Analysis Program, and holds a B.S.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Arizona.

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