WEST Staff & Board of Directors


Jaime Luna joined WEST in 2012 and serves as Senior Director of Operations. She comes to WEST with extensive experience in nonprofit organizations, specifically in program operations and project management. Jaime served as Director of Program Operations for Illumination Foundation working with homeless families and individuals. As a key member, she helped the grassroots nonprofit grow from its infancy to a $2,000,000 organization in three short years. Previous to Illumination Foundation, Jaime worked at the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles, Camping Services. She filled in the roles of Senior Director and Operations Executive Director. She oversaw the operation of many YMCA camps and developed, monitored, and managed related annual operating budgets of over $2,000,000, including human resources, office administration, accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll, and procurement. Jaime completed her Master's degree in Education. 

Anastasie Duffaut joined WEST in June 2019. She is the Onsite Event Coordinator. She is also Trade Partner Diversity Manager at Suffolk Construction. Prior to that, she was the EEO/Diversity/Community & Citizenship Coordinator at Turner Construction Company. Before that, she spent several years as a Branch Manager at Citizens Bank. She earned an MBA from Suffolk University.  


Courtney Cyron joined WEST in August of 2022 as the Business Operations Specialist. Courtney spent one year as a Bookkeeper and another year as an Accounting Manager. She has 5 years experience in real estate transaction management in the states of Ohio and Pennsylvania, as well as experience with HUD Project Management. During her time with Stark Metropolitan Housing Authority, Courtney was part of the team that worked with the state to receive a $9M grant to completely renovate a subsidized housing unit that provides affordable housing to people in her neighborhood. Courtney brings great experience in graphic design, content creation, and social media management to help grow WEST’s digital influence. Courtney completed her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science in 2016.


Board of Directors

President: Elena Spencer is Director of Technology Platforms & Outreach, Pfizer Kendall Square. Prior to that, she was Chief of Staff to the Chief Scientific Officer for the Inflammation & Immunology Research Unit at Pfizer in Cambridge, MA. She received her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Cellular & Molecular Biology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and her M.B.A. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. After 15 years as a bench scientist she made the pivot to R&D Strategy & Operations in 2016 where she has pursued roles of increasing responsibility culminating in her present role as Chief of Staff. Elena is also co-founder, President and CEO of Kendall Square Orchestra, a community organization that seeks to connect science and technology professionals through music to spark innovation and support causes related to healthcare, education & inclusivity. In 2020, Elena was awarded the WEST (Women in Enterprise of Science at Technology) “Making a Difference in the Community” award.

Vice President: Karin von Hodenberg is the Vice President of Quality at Monte Rosa Therapeutics (molecular glue degraders) based in Boston. She has held a variety of quality roles across the pharmaceutical landscape - from bluebird bio (advanced gene therapy) to Akebia (chronic kidney disease) to Forma Therapeutics (sickle cell and beta thalassemia) driving growth, expansion and change. Prior to the pharmaceutical life, Karin has been a part of key medical device quality organizations such as GE Healthcare and Philips Healthcare. At bluebird bio, Karin co-led the bWILD employee-led organization (Women Influencing Leadership and Development), focused on development and leadership skills for the bluebird bio organization. She has an MBA from Marquette University and a BBA (International Business) from St. Norbert College in Wisconsin. Karin's passion for encouraging, supporting and elevating women and women leadership has been a key driver for her involvement at WEST and the desire to make a big impact.  

Clerk: Jennifer Reilly is the President & COO at Safety Partners, Inc. As President and Chief Operating Officer, Jennifer manages the daily business operations of the company and sets the future strategy. Leveraging over 20 years of experience in health and safety and lab operations, Jennifer has developed, managed, and implemented client programs while taking on increasing operational responsibilities at Safety Partners. Under Jennifer’s leadership, Safety Partners employs 50+ employees and works with approximately 300 clients each year.Prior to joining Safety Partners in 2007, Jennifer spent five years at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, where she served as Senior Laboratory and Safety Manager for the laboratory facility. Prior to Alnylam, Jennifer held research positions at Biogen, Inc., Curis, Inc. (formerly Ontogeny, Inc.), and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA. Jennifer received a Master of Liberal Arts degree in Biology from Harvard University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from Saint Anselm College.


Treasurer: Kristen Lorentz is a biotech founder, company thought leader, and scientific and business professional, who is passionate about leveraging science and technology to develop solutions to intractable healthcare challenges. Kristen has a diverse background in life science R&D and leadership, including in the domains of immunology, regenerative medicine, and platform technology development, as well as in company creation, operations, and strategy. Kristen is currently the Search and Evaluation Lead for Gastroenterology within Takeda’s Center for External Innovation. Prior to joining Takeda, Kristen co-founded two biotech companies, Anokion and Kanyos Bio, with the aim of developing advanced therapies for autoimmune diseases and mitigating drug immunogenicity. As part of their founding Executive Leadership teams, she played a leading role in company creation and in the successful translation of innovative platform technologies from concept to clinic. Kristen earned her B.Sc. in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University and her Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL). 

Past President: Dr. Patrice Prusko is the Director, Learning Design, Technology, and Media in the Teaching and Learning Lab (TLL) at Harvard Graduate School of Education. She oversees design, development and project management of online and digitally enhanced courses. Prior to joining the TLL she worked as an Instructional Designer at Cornell University in the Center for Teaching Innovation, and as a faculty member at State University of New York, Empire State College, Center for Distance Learning and International Programs. Dr. Prusko's research focuses on developing course and systems level structures that support inclusive, transformational learning experiences for all students, especially first generation and underrepresented student populations in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. She is passionate about increasing global access to STEM education for all women. Dr. Prusko believes by increasing access to education for women we can enable more communities across the globe to thrive and flourish. She holds a degree in Mechanical Engineering (B.S.), and Business Management (MBA) from Union College, and Curriculum and Instruction (Ph.D.) from University at Albany.

Board Members:

Alissa Brown is the Head of Organizational Capability and Transformation for the Specialty Care business at Sanofi, based in Cambridge. In this role Alissa is responsible for strategic workforce planning, identifying the future capabilities, skills and talent to ensure a healthy organization aligned with the business strategy and mission; leveraging deep, strong business acumen built across experience in country, region and global roles in pharmaceutical and consulting roles. Prior to this Alissa held a number of roles across access, health economics and outcomes research, policy and transformative strategic initiatives in numerous geographies across therapy and disease areas. Throughout her career Alissa has sought opportunities, including volunteering with WEST, that align with her passion to create a positive impact on outcomes for people and society.

Lesley Chan is a Senior Director, CMC lead of Sickle Cell Disease Program at bluebird bio. She received degrees focusing on bioengineering from the University of Toronto and National University of Singapore, and most recently, a degree focusing on Engineering Management from Tufts University. In her career, she’s been focused on developing commercially viable and efficient manufacturing processes in the field of regenerative medicine and gene therapy. Beginning with hands-on lab work, and more recently, in team and project leadership positions to deliver next-generation processes and to bring potentially transformative therapies to patients in the clinic.

Leah Cole is a Director of Immunology at Sanofi Pasteur. She leads a group of research scientists working in the preclinical space. As her work is located within the first step of the product development pipeline, Leah’s goal is to identify prophylactic vaccine candidates for infectious disease pathogens. Leah has had a variety of roles with WEST and has been a member of the grant writing as well as the programming/events committee. She is a previous WEST Making a Difference Awardee.

Kellye Eversole is President of Eversole Associates, an agricultural science and technology consulting firm. An expert in sequencing technologies andstrategies, Eversole has more than twenty years of experience in developing genome sequences for several agriculturally important crop and livestock species and has been the Executive Director of the International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium since its inception in 2005. She helped develop the Phytobiomes Roadmap and is the Executive Director of the International Alliance for Phytobiomes Research, a public-private collaborative consortium created in 2016 and focused on building a phytobiome-based foundation for accelerating the sustainable production of food, feed, and fiber. In recognition of herwork in plant and microbial genomics. Eversole was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2013. More than twenty years ago, Kellye co-created the “Women in Genomics” platform a networking group for women scientists to connect, meet each other, exchange ideas and experiences, and provide career advice. Passionate about innovation for societal benefits, Kellye mentors entrepreneurs from emerging economies who are launching science and technology based businesses. She has been involved actively in various aspects of the agricultural industry since childhood, including working 10 years in the US Senate as an agricultural policy specialist and 2 years as the head of a US study commission before launching her firm. She co-owns a farm in southwestern Oklahoma.

John Hallinan John’s career in the life sciences spans more than 30 years and includes  broad range of strategic and operational disciplines. John currently serves as Chief Development Officer at Danforth Advisors. Before Danforth he served as Chief Business Officer at Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MassBio), representing the world’s premier life sciences hub. He previously served as CFO for companies including Cytel, Signet Laboratories, Cambium Learning, AnVil and CambridgeSoft Corporation, accumulating considerable experience in the areas of venture financings, corporate development, technology licensing and mergers and acquisitions. He currently serves as an advisor to the Center for Clinical and Translational Science at the University of Massachusetts, the CharitéBIH Entrepreneurship Summit, the German American Business Council of Boston, and Women in the Enterprise of Science and Technology (WEST).

Elissa Hobert is a director at a stealth stage biotech company. She has a passion for developing platform technologies, particularly around nucleic acids. Previously, she worked at Sail and Moderna, where she helped to develop the RNA platforms at both companies. 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 with WEST since 2015 and was the recipient of the WEST Giving Back Award in 2016.

Eleanor Howe the Founder and CEO of Diamond Age Data Science, a boutique bioinformatics consultancy based in Boston, MA. She sets the vision for Diamond Age and ensures that its clients are working closely with consultants to tackle their most important challenges. Prior to founding Diamond Age, Howe served as the go-to bioinformatician in the Center for the Development of Therapeutics at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, where she helped drive drug discovery projects in cancer, cardiovascular disease, and kidney disease, among others. She also worked at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where she led mid- and late-stage development of the Multiexperiment Viewer – a powerful software tool for mining large genomic datasets – and at the Institute for Genomic Research in Rockville, Maryland. Trained as a computational biologist, Howe founded Diamond Age based on her expertise in transcriptional profiling — a field in which she has worked since it was dominated by small-scale microarray analysis — and her deep knowledge of drug discovery and development. Howe earned a Ph.D. bioinformatics from Oxford University under Christopher Holmes and John Quackenbush, and holds a master’s degree in cellular and molecular biology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a bachelor’s degree in cellular and molecular biology from the University of Michigan.

Rekha K. Paleyanda is Director, Oncology Business Development at Takeda. Prior to that, she was Director of Servier BioInnovation, the external innovation engine for the privately-held pharmaceutical company, Servier Group. Rekha led business development in the U.S., with a focus on in-licensing innovative therapies from early-stage through clinical proof of concept. Her goal was to develop strong partnerships for Servier with key stakeholders in the US healthcare, biotech and research communities. Launched to expand Servier’s global presence in early 2018, BioInnovation was located in Kendall Square in Cambridge, MA. Previously, Dr. Paleyanda directed the Office of Technology Commercialization at the University of Massachusetts and was a Senior Business Strategy & Licensing Manager in the Innovation Office of Partners HealthCare. Before that, she co-founded a biologics startup and worked on developing therapeutics for rare genetic diseases at Transkaryotic Therapies (now part of Takeda). She holds a Ph.D. in Genetics from the George Washington University in Washington DC and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Holland Lab for Biomedical Sciences in Rockville, MD.

Dr. Clive Patience is currently Chief Technical Operations Officer at Agios Pharmaceuticals. He joined Agios in 2017, where he has led Technical Operations through late stage clinical development and ultimately launch of Agios’ first solely owned commercial product TIBSOVO. Prior to joining Agios, Clive held several positions of increasing responsibility at Biogen, where he spent 13 years, His scope included Quality, CMC, as well as asset development and program management. While at Biogen, Clive had the opportunity to work on many and varied programs including those in the early phase, late phase and commercial spaces, which also spanned the small molecule, biologics, gene therapy modalities as well as combination products. Prior to joining Biogen, Clive worked in the field of xenotransplantation in both an industry and academic capacity and has an extensive publication history with the field of Virology.

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.

Past Presidents of the Board

2022-2023 - Patrice Prusko
2021-2022 - Etta Jacobs
2020-2021 - Meena Subramanyam

2019-2020 - Meredith Fisher and Chesley Chen
2018-2019 - Mariana Nacht
2017-2018 - Jo Viney
2005-2017 - Sandra Glucksmann

Chair Emeritus

Sandra Glucksmann- is currently the CEO of Sensorium Therapeutics. A veteran biopharma executive and experienced scientist with over 30 years in biotech, Glucksmann most recently served as founding CEO and President of Cedilla Therapeutics and previously was founding Chief Operating Officer of Editas Medicine, Inc. She serves on the boards of directors of gene therapy company REGENXBIO and and genetic modifiers company Scenic Biotech. Alexandra holds a Ph.D. with honors in molecular genetics and cell biology from the University of Chicago.

Janice Bourque is former Senior Vice President and Group Head-Life Sciences for Comerica Bank where she was responsible for leading Comerica’s national strategy for the life sciences. Prior to that, Ms. Bourque was President/CEO of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MBC) where she led the organization for 12 years. In 2004, she was awarded the Woman of Valor Award by the American Diabetes Association and the 2004 Distinguished Leadership Award by the Huntington Disease Society for her work in public policy and public health. In 2003, Boston Magazine named her one of Boston’s 100 most influential women and the Cambridge Chamber Commerce awarded her Business Person of the Year. Ms. Bourque received her MBA degree in finance and accounting and her BS degree in veterinary science from the University of New Hampshire. 

Board Emeritus

Abigail Barrow is the Managing Partner of Cambridge Innovation Partners – a consulting firm that helps start-ups find global and local resources for success. Previously, she was the Interim Executive Director, Office of Technology Commercialization and Ventures (OTCV) at the University of Massachusetts from 2015 to 2018.  She joined the UMass President’s Office in 2004 as the Founding Director of the Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center (MTTC) which was hosted in OTCV.  At MTTC she was responsible for the overall management of the MTTC and the development of its programs. Prior to joining UMass, Dr. Barrow served as managing director of William J. von Liebig Center at the University of California San Diego (UCSD). Dr. Barrow worked in a variety of roles at UCSD CONNECT from 1990 to 2001. Dr. Barrow is on the board and is Chair of VentureWell. Dr. Barrow received her Ph.D. from the Science Studies Unit and a B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Edinburgh.

Joel MacAuslan, Ph.D., is Chief Executive and Chief Science Officer of STAR Analytical Services, which provides mathematical and analytical capability for clients' innovation projects that require expertise in system modeling, signal processing, and nonlinear dynamics - from brain surgery to rocket science. He founded STAR on an NIH grant to apply techniques of chaos theory to the dynamics of the larynx. Joel has participated actively in WEST since early 2000. Joel holds a Ph.D. in Astrophysics from Cornell and has spent over twenty-five years in mathematical speech, signal, and image-processing analysis.