Advisory Board

Fran Barros is The Engine Chief Design Officer. With more than 15 years of experience as a designer, at The Engine she works with the portfolio companies on strategy and storytelling through design, as well as leading marketing and brand for The Engine. Prior to joining, Fran spent five years at IDEO, where she was a project leader developing brand, strategy, and service design for startups and corporate ventures. She holds a BA in Design with a minor in Typography from Pontificia Universidad Catolica in Chile and Graduate Degree in Entrepreneurship from Boston University.

Laurie Bohn is the Founder of TalentVivo, a leadership development consultancy focused on using engaging, interactive strategies to partner with partner individuals, leaders and teams who are looking to refine their leadership skills and improve team effectiveness. As the leader of TalentVivo, Laurie brings with her more than 15 years of experience as an internal advocate for people development and talent strategy at both financial services and pharmaceutical Fortune 100 organizations. Through her work supporting small and large research and development teams, Laurie’s impact has been seen through her delivery of high energy, thoughtful solutions that have considerable impact on team effectiveness, capability development and interpersonal communications. She is known for her intellectual curiosity, her ability to build successful relationships, and her desire to make a difference. Laurie holds a B.A in Psychology from McGill University, and MBA from Boston University’s Questrom School of Business. She is a Licensed Practitioner of Insights Discovery ®, and holds the credential of Senior Professional in Human Resources from the Human Resources Certification Institute. Laurie has been coaching leaders and employees throughout her career as an HR Business Partner and as a Learning and Development Consultant and loves the work that she does and the impact that it makes on others.

Beth Birke Calitri is head of Corporate Communications and Media Relations at Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, a leading GI healthcare company where she is also a member of the Ironwood Executive Leadership Team. As Ironwood’s chief storyteller, she believes that all effective communications start with compelling, authentic storytelling. Before joining Ironwood, Beth spent more than 30 years in medical/healthcare communications working at a host of major U.S. and international pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer, Novartis and Astra Zeneca as well as leading communications agencies Ogilvy Public Relations, Havas PR and inVentiv Health Communications. Beth used her deep expertise in corporate and brand communications, media relations, issues management, employee engagement and narrative building as Head of R&D Site Communications at Pfizer, Deputy Head of Global Media Relations at Novartis International in Switzerland and part of the Brand Communications team at AstraZeneca UK. While at Novartis, Ms. Calitri was a founding team member of the vaccines division where she played a critical role in global communications and crisis management around the H1N1 virus. Beth is on the advisory board of the Harrington School of Communication and Media at the University of Rhode Island where she graduated with a B.A. in Communications and Public Relations. She earned a degree in Spanish Studies at the Universidad de Salamanca in Spain and studied nutrition and chemistry at Hunter College, New York. She has lived and worked internationally, including the UK and Switzerland.

Tatiana Demidova-Rice is a Director of Business Development at Evotec, a global drug discovery and development company. Previously, Tatiana worked as a Contracts and Collaborations Manager at Vertex Pharmaceuticals. Prior to that Tatiana was building and managing relationships between academic investigators and industry partners as a Project Manager at Boston Children's Technology Development Fund and as a Business Development Manager at Harvard’s Office of Technology Development. Earlier in her career, Tatiana was a Postdoctoral Scholar at Tufts University and Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School conducting research in the fields on wound healing, angiogenesis and oncology. Tatiana earned her PhD from Tufts University and her undergraduate degree in biology from Yaroslavl State University in Russia.

Alex Elata (she,her) is a program manager with a passion for adding structure and organization to science. She is currently a Program and Operations Manager for the Autoimmune Research Group at ModernaTX. Before Moderna, she worked in the ag-tech industry at Inari Agriculture. She had several roles including Soy project manager, Science portfolio manager, and for a few months IT project manager. Before Inari, Alex had an internship in venture capital at Flagship Pioneering. Alex holds a PhD in Neurosciences from UCSD (2018) and recently earned her PMP certification from the Project Management Institute. She has been volunteering for the WEST mentoring and programming committees and looks forward to continuing to give back to Women in STEM.

Elissa Hobert is a senior scientist at LARONDE. Previously, she worked at Moderna, where she focused on improving mRNA therapeutics. Prior to joining Moderna, Elissa was an NIH postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School. Elissa received her BS in chemistry from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and her PhD in chemistry from Yale University. She has volunteered at WEST events since 2015 and was the recipient of the WEST Giving Back Award in 2016.

Susanna Y. Huh , MD MPH is a pediatric gastroenterologist and physician leader who is currently Vice President and Head of Clinical Development at Ironwood Pharmaceuticals. Before joining Ironwood, Dr. Huh was Senior Medical Director and Global Clinical Lead in the gastrointestinal therapeutic area unit at Takeda Pharmaceuticals, where she most recently led global clinical development for the microbiome portfolio, overseeing the clinical strategy for inflammatory bowel disease and liver disease assets in preclinical through Phase 2. Prior to this role, Dr. Huh held clinical development leadership roles in asset programs across phases 1-4 targeting motility, inflammatory bowel disease, and rare pediatric disease. Prior to joining Takeda, Dr. Huh was a faculty member at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, where she directed programs in clinical practice, clinical and epidemiologic research, and quality improvement focused on early childhood nutrition. Dr. Huh is experienced at building and fostering high-performing teams in corporate, academic and non-profit settings and has a longstanding interest in promoting diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplaces. She has held leadership roles in employee resource groups and implemented multiple initiatives to advance gender parity. Her collaboration with other Takeda leaders in launching a structured peer mentoring program was recognized with the 2020 WEST Making a Difference for Women award.

Past-President: Etta Jacobs is the Founder and Principal of Power in the Middle, an executive coaching and training organization that specifically focuses on empowering mid-level managers and their teams. Prior to becoming an executive coach, Etta gained her corporate expertise as an award-winning design executive at two Fortune 500 companies, where she coached cohorts of managers and directed teams of creative professionals on innovative, multi-media projects. She shepherded her teams through continuous technological transitions and multiple corporate reorganizations—helping them thrive through increasingly aggressive deadlines, uncertainty, and industry-wide disruption. Etta draws upon this 20+ years of corporate experience when coaching. Her passion is helping her clients reach their highest potential—by guiding them to look at events through different lenses, question their assumptions, find creative and unexpected solutions to their career challenges, and to build a career that is aligned with their strengths, talents, and values. Etta holds a Master of Organizational Psychology and is a Certified Coach through the International Coach Federation (ICF). Etta earned her MA and her Graduate Certificate in Executive Coaching from William James College. She has a BFA from Syracuse University.

Ellie Krasney is Senior Director of Analytical Operations at Eidos Therapeutics (an affiliate of BridgeBio Pharma, Inc.). She has over 34 years of Analytical R&D pharmaceutical experience in companies including GlaxoSmithKline, Sterling Winthrop Pharmaceutical Company (was part of Kodak), Pfizer, and Akebia Therapeutics. Her areas of expertise include management of the Analytical Chemistry relationships with CROs/CDMOs, strategic sourcing and outsourcing processes, due diligence, and outsourcing governance. In her current role, the combined Analytical Development and Quality Control team is responsible for the strategic management of globally outsourced analytical studies from method development to registration stability testing for small molecule drug substances and products. She is the Past-Chairperson of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS)’s Outsourcing Community. Ellie has a B.A. in Chemistry from the University of Virginia and a M.S. in Chemistry from Vanderbilt University.

Anna Li is a senior organism engineer at Gingko Bioworks. She has more than 15 years of research and teaching experience in molecular biology, microbiology and plant pathology, she has served a series of roles on a scientific team with responsibility for technical development, research supervision, program management and operations throughout her career. She has been a key player in developing the genome mining platform, initially at Warp Drive Bio and recently acquired by Ginkgo. This platform is currently being used, in collaboration with Roche, to develop new classes of antibiotics to fight the rise of antibiotic-resistant diseases. Previously Anna worked as a visiting scholar in the Organismal and Evolutionary Biology Department at Harvard University and conducted research on mutational pathways of bacterial drug resistance. She received her Ph.D. in Plant Pathology in 2007 and held a position as an associate professor at Shandong Agricultural University in China before moving to the US. Anna is passionate about advocating for women in the science community, enabling them to connect and support each other. She has volunteered at WEST events and book clubs for many years and was the recipient of the WEST Giving Back Award in 2017. She served as a WEST Advisory Board member in 2018.


Amy Baker Mandragouras is a partner in the patent prosecution and counseling group at Cooley LLP.  For more than 30 years, she provides strategic counseling to life sciences companies in developing and implementing intellectual property strategies and building strong global patent portfolios to protect and facilitate commercialization of biopharmaceuticals.  She has extensive IP due diligence experience and regularly advises on the patent and intellectual property aspects of biotechnology and pharmaceutical collaborations, acquisitions, licensing deals, financing transactions and securities offerings. Amy has experience in a wide range of life sciences subjects with a particular focus on biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology, and immunology. She earned her JD from Northeastern University School of Law and a B.S. in chemistry from Bates College.  Throughout her career, Amy has championed gender diversity in patent law through proactive hiring, training, and mentoring of women.


Tatiana Novobrantseva is a Co-Founder and the Chief Scientific Officer of Verseau. Before co-founding Verseau, she consulted for multiple companies on immunological aspects of drug development across different stages and therapeutic modalities in a variety of autoimmune, cancer and rare disease indications. At her prior position as Director of Tumor Immunology at Jounce Therapeutics, Tatiana defined research plans for several programs at the company’s inception, as well as led a portfolio of programs on (re)activating the immune system against cancer. Previously, Tatiana served as Associate Director at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and Scientist II at Biogen. Tatiana’s scientific accomplishments include discovering the critical role for B cells in liver fibrosis, developing mechanistic insights for multiple therapeutic programs, pushing the envelope on siRNA delivery and championing a dendritic cell cancer vaccine clinical program. Tatiana completed her Ph.D. with Dr. Klaus Rajewsky at the University of Cologne in Germany, focusing on B cell development and function. She holds a diploma of engineer-physicist and an M.S. in molecular biology from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.

Joanna Rothman Buscema is Director of Philanthropy at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), one of Harvard University's teaching hospitals in Boston, MA. For the past 23 years, she has been working for non-profit organizations, including the New England Aquarium, WGBH, and the American Technion Society. She has her BA from Brandeis University and her MA from George Washington University. In addition, she received a certification in nonprofit management and leadership from the Institute for Nonprofit Practice (INP). In 2021 she received her Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE) accreditation. She is currently pursuing her MBA with Bentley University with a specialty in healthcare. Joanna has been writing a blog for the past 10 years about her personal travels and adventures, which she aspires to turn into a book one day.

Aldona Szostek-Pontchek is a Director in the Stability & Statistics department at Sanofi Genzyme. Her career in biotechnology began in 1993 when she joined Human Genome Sciences Inc. She led a sequencing team contributing to one of the most exciting projects of the time with the goal of determining the base pairs that make up human DNA and identifying and mapping all of the genes of the human genome. This effort resulted in the first-in-decades treatment for systemic lupus.Aldona moved from research to Quality Control as a Senior Manager. In this role she was responsible for release and stability testing as well as the development of immunoassays for testing new drug candidates. At Sanofi, Aldona continues to be a part of Quality and she is responsible for oversight of the stability program for biologics and devices. Aldona holds a Masters of Science in Biotechnology from Johns Hopkins University and she is currently enrolled in the JHU Alumni Career Design Fellowship. Other affiliations include the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association (HBA) and the Women Inspiring Sanofi Excellence (WISE). Aldona participates in mentoring programs for biotechnology professionals at work.

Anne Thessen worked as a research oceanographer and phycologist until 2013, when she decided to start her own data science company, The Data Detektiv. Anne is well known for her work on data infrastructure and the application of semantic technologies and machine learning in biodiversity and earth science. Her work has supported institutions and companies like Google, the Smithsonian, and NASA. She is an active member of the Research Data Alliance, a global effort to support data infrastructure, as the RDA US Data Share Ambassador. She was an invited speaker on infrastructure sustainability at the EarthCube All-Hands-Meeting in 2016 and on data infrastructures for coastal science at the Atlantic Estuarine Research Society in 2014. Anne has a BS in Biology and a PhD in oceanography from the University of Maryland, where she was a US EPA STAR Fellow. Her thesis work caused the state of Maryland to change the way it monitored harmful algae in the Chesapeake Bay. Anne made the shift from academia to industry in 2013 and is pioneering an alternative career as an independent scientist through her company and her affiliation with the Ronin Institute for Independent Scholarship. She has volunteered at WEST events for many years and was the recipient of the WEST Giving Back Award in 2017.


Dr. Jyothsna Visweswaraiah is a scientist with drug development experience in small biotech and a track record of advancing new therapies into the clinic. She currently heads the Antibody Discovery group under the Drug Creation department at Seismic Therapeutic. Previously, she was head of the antibody discovery and engineering efforts at a Flagship Pioneering new co,  developing a modular, multi-specific biologics platform to address the complexities of biology. Prior to this, Jyothsna was at Pandion Therapeutics where she developed novel therapeutics designed to address the unmet needs of patients living with autoimmune diseases. Jyothsna has trained at Harvard Medical School and the National Institutes of Health. She has been an advocate for women in science and workplace inclusiveness. She mentors students interested in STEM careers and early career women scientists. Jyothsna also volunteers with The Antibody Society as a part of the communications and membership committee.

Dr. Aliyah Weinstein is the Marketing Programs Manager at Fortis Life Sciences. Prior to that, she was Marketing and Communications Manager at Addgene, the nonprofit plasmid repository. In her 6+ years of experience in science communications, Aliyah has honed her experience in a variety of areas including science writing, digital advertising, marketing analytics, and web accessibility. At Addgene, Aliyah leads Addgene's data-driven marketing strategy, paid digital advertising, and surveys. Previously, she led branding and social media at the science education nonprofit, Letters to a Pre-Scientist, where she is currently a member of the Advisory Board. Aliyah is also a volunteer with WEST, co-chairing the Marketing and Membership Committee and serving on the Diversity, Inclusion, and Outreach Committee this year. Aliyah has a PhD in immunology from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and a B.A. in molecular biology, biochemistry, and French literature from Rutgers University.