Advisory Board


Karen Anderson joined Alnylam in 2014 from Biogen Idec where she served as Vice President, Human Resources for R&D and Corporate Development. Prior to Biogen Idec, Karen was the Vice President of Human Resources, Commercial for Pfizer Inc. covering both Developed Markets and Emerging Markets. Earlier in her 10-year tenure with Pfizer, Karen supported Worldwide R&D. Before joining Pfizer, she spent 6 years at Baxter as the Global Human Resources Director for the Anesthesia & Critical Care Group. Her career as a human resources leader in the bio-pharma industry began in 1995, when she joined Bayer as Director of Compensation from her role as an Associate Consultant with the Hay Group. Karen received a Masters in Organizational Development from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. She earned her Bachelor of Arts with honors in both Psychology and Labor Relations from York University in Toronto, Canada. Karen lives in Lexington with her husband Chris and their three sons.



Abigail Bracha is the Global Head of Strategy, Search & Evaluation for GE Healthcare Life Sciences where she pursues her passion for science and innovation. Prior to her role in GE Healthcare Abigail was a Director on the GE Ventures team, where she focused on trends and opportunities in life sciences.  Abigail has also worked in hi-tech. As a Director at Dell-EMC she covered technologies related to the internet of things, big data and digital transformation. She holds a BA in Statistics with General Honors from the University of Chicago which she completed in 3 years, and holds a PhD from Harvard University in Experimental Pathology.  She was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow and received support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. 


Dr. Joseph Lehar is an executive director of computational biology at Merck Research Laboratories. Before then, Joseph was at Verily (Google Life Sciences), building their computational biology capability; after Novartis, where he was a director of bioinformatics for Oncology Translational Medicine; and at CombinatoRx, a biotech focused on drug combinations. As an adjunct professor at Boston University through all of these positions, Joseph continues to pursue research on the systems biology of drug combinations. Joseph holds a Ph.D. in physics, and his original career was astrophysics, which he pursued at MIT, Cambridge University, and Harvard.



Anna Li is a microbiologist at Warp Drive Bio where she is a key player in the genome mining platform of novel antibiotics. Prior to that Anna had worked at Organismal and Evolutionary Biology Department of Harvard University as a visiting scholar in 2013 and 2014 and conducted the research on mutational pathways of bacterial drug resistance. She received her Ph.D. in Plant Pathology in 2007 and had been an associate professor of Shandong agricultural University in China before she came to US. Anna has volunteered at WEST events and book clubs for many years and was the recipient of the WEST Giving Back Award in 2017.



Dr. Elizabeth O'Day is the CEO and Founder of Olaris Therapeutics, a pharmaceutical company that develops precision medicines for diseases with little to no treatment options and dismal survival rates. Dr. O'Day is also the Founder of Lizzard Fashion, an apparel company that uses fashion to promote science. Partial Lizzard proceeds support cancer research. Additionally, Dr. O'Day founded Proyecto Chispa (Project Spark), a 501c3 non-profit that recycles electronics and uses the resale of parts to build computer centers in orphanages throughout the world. Through her work at Proyecto Chispa, Dr. O'Day was selected as the Greenovate Champion of the Year by the Mayor of Boston in 2015. Dr. O’Day received her PhD from Harvard University, where she was a National Science Foundation fellow. She was one of eleven America scientists awarded a Winston Churchill fellowship and received a Master’s of Philosophy in Chemistry from the University of Cambridge. She has a Bachelors of Science degree from Boston College in Biochemistry. Dr. O’Day is also a Global Shaper at the World Economic Forum and was an invited speaker as a “new champion to reboot healthcare” at the annual meeting in Davos in 2016. She was also a "nominated change maker" and invited to attend the first ever United State of Women Summit convened by the White House in 2016. 



Lynnea Olivarez is an associate director, communications, at Intellia Therapeutics, a leading genome editing company, and has deep-seated experience as a biopharma communicator across a variety of organizations in the space. She most recently guided public relations strategy for life science companies as a senior director at Ten Bridge Communications and previously, as a member of MacDougall Biomedical Communications’ media practice. Lynnea spearheaded a range of strategic communications initiatives for her clients, including supporting a launch of a first-of-its-kind therapy, corporate branding and messaging, media programs, social media engagement and crisis communications. Previously, Lynnea led marketing and communications activities for the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, the agency charged with implementing the state’s $1-billion life science initiative. She helped elevate Massachusetts’ reputation as a leading life science hub, overseeing the center’s rebranding and launching targeted awareness campaigns for new funding programs, both internationally and domestically. Before her time in government, Lynnea managed global internal communications for Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research’s informatics and technology team. She began her career in biopharma at the state’s industry trade association, MassBio. She graduated magna cum laude from Northeastern University with a bachelor's degree in journalism.


Greg Reid is the CEO of InFuture LLC, a consulting firm focused on data and information privacy implementations, including GDPR and HIPAA compliance strategies, for US companies. Greg’s clients are primarily in the life sciences, pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries where he works closely with the companies’ General Counsels, CIO’s, and Compliance Officers to support their data privacy initiatives and programs. Greg is ANSI-certified in US and EU data protection and privacy regulations and has earned an MBA in Financial Accounting, and Corporate and Investment Finance, an MS in Chemical Engineering, and a Master of Jurisprudence in Healthcare Regulatory and Life Sciences Law. He holds 15 US and global patents for content and document management systems and is former Partner with Accenture and Principal with EY.


Elizabeth N. Spar, Ph.D., J.D. is a Partner at Sunstein Kann Murphy & Timbers LLP. She has extensive experience as a technology specialist, with a focus on intellectual property and patent law, including drafting patent applications, preparing responses to office actions, and contributing to infringement, validity and patentability analyses. With more than 13 years of technical experience in diversified academic research environments, she has drafted patent applications in the fields of molecular and cellular biology, immunology, antibodies, RNAi, biologics, biosimilars, protein expression, genetically transformed plants for use as vaccines and immunogens, genomics, drug discoveries, gene therapy, antitumor therapies, screening assays and protease assays. Dr. Spar’s prior positions include post-doctoral fellowships at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, and pre-doctoral fellowships at Harvard University. Dr. Spar’s awards include the Women’s Cancers Program Fellowship, Dana Farber Cancer Institute; and the Ryan Fellowship at Harvard University. She received her B.A. in Biology from Oberlin College, her Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology from Harvard University and her J.D. from New England School of Law. Dr. Spar is registered to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.



Dr. Meena Subramanyam joined Takeda’s gastroenterology group as Vice President and Global Program Leader in May 2017 to oversee the strategic development of therapeutic assets for gastric motility indications. Prior to joining Takeda, Meena spent 19 years at Biogen in Cambridge, Massachusetts. As Vice President and head of the Translational Sciences and Technology group she held broad responsibilities for developing and implementing the biomarker, bioanalytical and diagnostic strategies for pipeline products in clinical development for Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, Fibrosis, SLE amongst others. She co-led the development of the strategy for PML risk stratification and is the co- inventor of the STRATIFY JCV™ diagnostic test. Over her 20 year career in the biotechnology industry, she has contributed to 9 successful BLA and NDA filings. She served as the chair of the National Biotechnology Conference in 2017, and as chair of the BIOTEC section of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists. She also serves as a member of the Biotechnology Industrial Advisory Board of North Eastern University, Boston. Dr. Subramanyam has authored several scientific publications and white papers on topics related to therapeutic drug development.


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.