Advisory Board

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.

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.

Katie Brandt is the Director of Caregiver Support Services and Public Relations for the Massachusetts General Hospital Frontotemporal Disorders Unit where she provides leadership for research, education and community events aimed at supporting the caregiver experience for families impacted by Alzheimer’s Disease, Frontotemporal Disorders and young-onset dementias. With 15 years of experience, Katie is a dementia care expert and holds certifications as a Dementia Care Manager and as a trainer in Powerful Tools for Caregiving, Habilitation Therapy and the DICE Approach for dementia care. Katie is a dynamic speaker and advocate in the healthcare and research space, illuminating the power of the authentic voice to promote health equity, person-centered care planning and clinically meaningful outcomes. Previously, Katie called upon her personal experience caring for her husband and father while representing the caregiver perspective as Co-Chair of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA) Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care and Services. This federally appointed position provided the opportunity to collaborate with national experts to advance research, care and services for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Katie has shared her family’s story of love and loss through print, television, podcasts, academic publications and her short film, Love Is Out There. She holds a BA in Psychology from Saint Anselm College and a Master of Non-Profit Management from the Heller School for Social Policy at Brandeis University.

Ken Brewer is a Senior Software Engineer at GeneDx, where he provides technical leadership in building a bioinformatics platform designed to meet the data-intensive needs of the future of genetic medicine. Prior to joining GeneDx, he was one of the first computational biologists to join the early-stage startup ProFound Therapeutics, where he helped build out a computational platform for exploring the unannotated human proteome. Ken has a B.A. in Chemistry from Harvard College and a Ph.D. in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale University, where he developed computational methods for discovering structured noncoding RNA families in bacteria. He is passionate about open-source science and is a member of the Cytomining and nf-core organizations, which are dedicated to providing high-quality software for analyzing microscopy images using machine learning and building bioinformatics pipelines, respectively.

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

Chris Dwan is a technologist who has spent more than two decades supporting the life sciences with a focus on genomics. He was the first employee of the highly regarded consulting firm BioTeam, built the IT and data infrastructure for the NY Genome Center, led Research Computing and IT at the Broad Institute, and most recently served as the SVP of Production Bioinformatics at Sema4. Chris is currently an independent consultant, providing leadership in IT, developing digital strategies, authoring technology assessments, and coaching / mentoring emerging leaders in biotech, pharmaceutical, and health care. His clients have included Moderna, the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, the INOVA Health System, NASA, and Cray. Chris is an avid gardener, an amateur cellist, and he engages in local activism and advocacy around safe streets and environmental sustainability in his hometown of Somerville, MA

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.

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.

Shannon Moesaa is VP, Commercial and Healthcare Counsel at Karuna Therapeutics. She has previously held various positions in Compliance and Legal at Novo Nordisk A/S, Sanofi, EMD Serono and Arena Pharmaceuticals supporting various therapeutic areas including Rare Diseases, Oncology, Gastroenterology, Dermatology, Cardiovascular and Mental Health. Shannon received her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law and her A.B. from Harvard College. She began attending WEST events in 2011 and is honored to give back and support WEST’s mission to inspire and empower women to reach their full potential.


Caroline Ngaara-Woodward is currently an Associate Director at Zentalis Pharmaceuticals Clinical Pharmacology Group. She works with clinical development program teams and leverages clinical pharmacology principles and years of experience in clinical development, regulatory and drug discovery to bring life changing therapies to patients. She has worked on several approved products including Iclusig (ARIAD/Takeda), Tecfidera, Vumerity, Fampridine (Biogen). She holds a BSc. Chemistry, MSc. Regulatory and MSc. Pharmacometrics from University of Maryland. She was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya and speaks three languages fluently Kikuyu, Kiswahili, and English. Outside of work, she enjoys traveling with her family, running, getting together with friends, reading, and listening to various podcasts for fun or personal growth. She also enjoys mentoring and has been actively volunteering at WEST since May 2020 a role she greatly enjoys.


Tatiana Novobrantseva is the Chief Scientific Officer of NextPoint Therapeutics. Before this, she co-founded Verseau, 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.

Pallavi Srivastava's diverse 18+ years of career journey includes closely collaborating with executives in multifaceted roles. In her present role as CEO of the The Wellbeing Ways LLC and an Executive Coach, Pallavi partners with leaders, scientists and start-up founders on topics like leadership effectiveness, vision to strategy, resilience, conflict management, problem solving, emotional intelligence, etc. As an executive coach, Pallavi has guided leaders towards their highest potential and sustainable high performance. Pallavi has coached leaders across the world and industries for over 1000 coaching hours and with results that have earned consistent re-engagement of her services. Pallavi is credentialed by the International Coaching Federation as an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) and is certified by the Co-Active Training Institute as a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC), and holds an MBA degree. Her forthcoming book, 'Relationship with Self,' poised for release in early 2024, underscores her commitment to self-leadership and to inspire others on their own transformative journeys. Full Bio.

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. 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.