WEST Staff & Board of Directors

Staff

Jaime Luna joined WEST in 2012 and serves as 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 role of 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. 


Board of Directors



President: Dr. Meena Subramanyam is currently Vice President and Global Program Leader in Takeda Oncology and is responsible for the strategic and operational management of the development of Brigatinib (Alunbrig), a therapy approved for the treatment of ALK+ NSCLC. She joined Takeda’s gastroenterology group as Global Program Leader in May 2017 and managed the strategic development of therapeutic assets for functional gastric motility disorders. 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. Over her 20 year career in the biotechnology industry, she has contributed to 9 successful BLA and NDA filings. She has served as the chair of the National Biotechnology Conference and as chair of the BIOTEC section of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists. She currently serves as an observer of the Board of Directors of Portal Instruments, Cambridge, MA.



Vice 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.



Past Co-President/Advisor: Chesley M. Chen, is an entrepreneur, Chief Executive Officer, and Board Member. He is currently launching two digital health start-ups as CEO of g.Root Biomedical and as Strategic Advisor of MindMics. Prior to that, he was CEO of Safety Partners. Chesley has over 30 years experience in launching, scaling, and reinventing businesses in life sciences, high tech, and financial services with firms that include Health Dialog, Good Measures, VWR, Goldman Sachs, and Hughes Aircraft Company. Chesley holds a BS in Civil Engineering from Tufts University, an SM in Aeronautics and Astronautics from MIT, and an MBA from the Harvard Business School. He dedicates his time to mentoring new and promising CEO’s with strong science and technology backgrounds. Chesley serves on the Strategic Advisory Board of the U Mass Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the Tufts Launchpad Accelerator Evaluation Committee. He is a devoted family man, rock climber, and black belt in Shotokan karate.



Past President/Clerk: Meredith Fisher, Ph.D. is a Partner at the Partners Innovation Fund- the venture arm of Partners Healthcare System in Boston, MA. Previously, she was in the private office at Bracebridge Capital serving as Director of Private Investments where she led investments in early stage life science companies. Prior to that role she led business development for Ginkgo BioWorks- an MIT spin out- and was Senior Director of Technology and Business Development of Enlight Biosciences- a venture creation company founded by PureTech Ventures. She spent several years working as a scientist in drug discovery and assay development for Idenix Pharmaceuticals and Anadys Pharmaceuticals (formerly, Scriptgen). Meredith received her undergraduate degree from Mount Holyoke College, her MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management and her PhD in molecular microbiology from Harvard University. Meredith serves on the board of Lyndra and Nocion for PIF. She is a board member, co-founder and Interim CEO of Mediar Therapeutics. 



Treasurer: 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.


Board Members:


Katherine Andersen serves as Head of Life Science & Healthcare Relationship Banking at SVB. She also sits on the Board of Directors for SVB's Joint Venture in China, SPD Silicon Valley Bank. Prior to SVB, Katherine was a Senior Vice President for Wells Fargo Bank leading the Life Sciences business development and relationship management efforts for the New England region. Before that, she was a Director at Wells Fargo Capital Finance focused on front-end business development and underwriting of structured loans. Prior to Wells, she held various positions across mergers and acquisitions, finance, equity derivatives, audit, and management while at Affiliated Managers Group, Merrill Lynch, GE Corporate Audit Staff and GE Capital. Katherine has a bachelor’s degree in finance and economics from Virginia Tech. She has also completed Dartmouth’s Tuck Executive Leadership and Strategic Impact Program, Wells Fargo’s Transformational Leadership Program, the Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School and the GE Capital Financial Management Program. Away from work, Katherine serves on the Finance Advisory Board for Virginia Tech, the Advisory Board for WEST (Women in the Enterprise of Science & Technology), and as Chairperson for the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge Corporate Council. She also enjoys endurance sports, traveling with her family, and baking epic birthday cakes for her three kids.



Nicole Barna has over 20 years of experience in human resources leadership and strategy in Biotechnology. She is currently a Senior Vice President at Codiak BioSciences, a private, pre-clinical stage company, where she is responsible for leading the Human Resources Function along with Talent and Organizational strategies for the company. Prior to her current leadership role, Ms. Barna was Executive Director for Human Resources at Bioverativ where she led Bioverativ’s efforts in talent management, performance management, leadership development and global expansion. Ms. Barna was also instrumental in the creation of Bioverativ, a spin-off from Biogen, where she was responsible for organizational design and talent identification. Prior to Bioverativ, Ms. Barna held a number of positions of increasing responsibility and scope at Biogen, including Sr Director, Human Resources for Emerging Markets and Latin America, Director of HR for the Japan Affiliate, Director of HR for UK/Ireland Affiliates and various positions in the US supporting the R&D organization. Prior to Biogen, she spent seven years at The Whitehead Institute/ Center for Genome Research where she held HR positions of increasing responsibility including leading HR for the team responsible for the Human Genome Project. Ms. Barna holds an MS in HR Management from Lesley University and a BS in Psychology from Kenyon College..



Lesley Chan is a senior scientist in the Cellular Process Development group for Sickle Cell Disease 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.



Nicole Daley is Counsel in Goodwin Procter LLP’s Life Sciences group. Nicole’s practice spans the entire corporate life cycle, including startup and formation matters, general corporate counseling and governance, venture capital financings, mergers and acquisitions, public offerings, SEC reporting and disclosures, and corporate reorganizations. Prior to joining Goodwin, Nicole was Of Counsel in the Corporate group at DLA Piper in Boston. Earlier in her career, she was an associate in the Corporate practices at DLA Piper and Squire Patton Boggs in Phoenix, and Gunderson Dettmer in Boston. She has also served as Associate General Counsel of a global technology company. Nicole is a member of the Boston Bar Association and Navajo Bar Association. She holds a J.D. from Boston College Law School and a B.A. in Psychology and Native American Studies, summa cum laude, from Dartmouth College..



Tatiana Demidova-Rice works as a Manager of Contracts and Collaborations at Vertex Pharmaceuticals. Prior to joining Vertex Tatiana was a Project Manger at Boston Children's Technology Development Fund and a Business Development Manager at Harvard’s Office of Technology Development. There she was building and managing relations between investigators at Harvard Medical School and potential partners in the biotech/pharma industry. Earlier in her career, Tatiana was a Postdoctoral Scholar at Tufts University. During her postdoctoral training Tatiana completed a technology transfer internship at the Office for Technology Licensing and Industry Collaboration at Tufts. Prior to that Tatiana worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. Tatiana earned her PhD from Tufts University and her bachelor degree in biology from Yaroslavl State University in Russia.



Jon Giebel has 10 years of experience in the agbiotech sector with Bayer. Most of his career Jon worked in Bayer’s CropScience business, leading a team of scientists focused on isolating and culturing environmental microbes for insecticidal toxin discovery. In addition to his roles in new trait discovery, he has served in global strategy roles for R&D and supported the integration of Bayer and Monsanto. In his current role as Program Lead for Bayer’s LifeHub Boston, Jon is responsible for leading a cross divisional open innovation space with a goal of leveraging the strong innovation ecosystem in Cambridge and Boston. The LifeHub Boston strives to convene diverse communities and creative thought leaders to explore solutions to complex challenges in the fields of health and nutrition. Jon is also a Board Member for the WEST (Women in the Enterprise of Science & Technology) organization and is passionate about community outreach activities that advance Bayer’s core mission statement, Science for a Better Life. He has authored 9 scientific papers and is a named inventor on multiple US patents. He has a Ph.D. in Microbiology from the University of Michigan, and a B.S. in Biology from Cornell University.



Elissa Hobert is a scientist at Moderna Therapeutics. She is focused on developing improved methods for delivering mRNA therapeutics. Prior to joining Moderna, Elissa was an NIH postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School where she studied bioactive natural products produced by members of the gut microbiome. 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.



Alicja Januszewicz has 15+ years of experience in Talent Management/Human Resources. Before joining Allena Pharmaceutical as a Head of People and Culture, she consulted with small biotechs in Cambridge within the areas of talent management like employee development, organizational development, succession management, high potentials, and workforce planning. Before starting her own consulting services, Alicja served as the Head of Talent Management at Baxalta (former Baxter BioScience), Cambridge office where she supported R&D until the Shire acquisition. Before joining Baxalta in 2015, Alicja was the Head of Talent Management at Epizyme, an R&D organization that specializes in personalized therapeutics for patients with genetically defined cancers. Alicja also led Talent Management at Haemonetics, a leading provider of premium blood management solutions in the medical devices area. Additionally, from 2007 to 2013, Alicja served as a Talent Development lead at Boston Scientific HQ, rolling out global development initiatives. Prior to Boston Scientific, she was responsible for organizational development of the Genzyme global manufacturing group. Alicja holds a PhD in Sociology from the Polish Academy of Science and the Copenhagen Business School. She is also a member of the faculty at Boston University School Of Management, where she teaches Organizational Behavior.



Dr. Joseph Lehar is VP of Data Science for Oncology at Janssen. Prior to this, he was 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.



Dr. Patrice Prusko is the Assistant Director, Learning Design, 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.



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.



Jackie Schumacher is currently the VP of Regulatory and Quality at Lyndra Therapeutics. At Lyndra, Jackie is responsible for the regulatory strategy and operations across the portfolio along with Quality Assurance oversight for the company. Prior to Lyndra, Jackie spent most of her 30+ year career within Pfizer; starting as an analytical chemist followed by a long tenure within the CMC Regulatory organization in roles of increasing responsibility. She has led teams to develop successful global registration strategies for new small molecules, product enhancements, inhalation and injectable products. Jackie also held several business-facing/commercial roles, including the creation of a satellite Pharmaceutical Sciences team in Brazil supporting Latin American product and business development; regulatory leadership within the nascent Established Products Sterile Injectables organization and later as Portfolio Optimization and Strategy Leader; facilitating a matrixed team of Pfizer colleagues tasked with radically optimizing the value of the 600+ molecule portfolio. In addition to her Pfizer-based experiences, she has served as a board member and chaired an industry consortium, IPAC-RS, focused on strategic pharmaceutical and regulatory development objectives for orally inhaled and nasal drug products. Jackie has co-founded a recently launched non-profit organization, Optimists without Borders, USA, with one of her former Pfizer colleagues and serves as one of the Directors. Jackie earned her B.A. degrees in Chemistry and Classical Studies from Hamilton College.


Chair Emeritus


Sandra Glucksmann is presently President and CEO of Cedilla Therapeutics. She is a veteran biopharma executive and experienced scientist who most recently served as founder and chief operating officer of the gene editing company Editas Medicine, Inc. She previously served as senior vice president of research and development at Cerulean Pharma, which she also joined at its founding. Sandra was a founding scientist at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, where she spent 13 years, taking on a series of senior roles on the science team before moving into an executive position with responsibility for strategic program management and operations. Sandra serves on the boards of directors of REGENXBIO and  Scenic Biotech. Sandra holds a Ph.D. with honors in molecular genetics and cell biology from the University of Chicago. She was a post-doctoral fellow at MIT.


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.