Aubrey Watkins, PhD '02, Associate Director at Merck Sharp & Dohme
Dr. Aubrey Watkins III currently holds the position of Associate Director at the pharmaceutical company Merck Sharp & Dohme just outside of Philadelphia. He works in the Global Procurement Department and is responsible for establishing contracts and managing over $100M of business with suppliers on a global basis in support of pre-clinical research and manufacturing of vaccines and biologics for Phase I clinical trials. He also worked in drug discovery for eleven years in the Cancer Research Department at Merck contributing to the discovery of a compound that is currently being evaluated in over 20 different clinical trials. Before joining Merck, Aubrey was a Molecular Biologist at the DuPont Merck Pharmaceutical Company in Wilmington, DE. In 1994, he obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry and Biophysics from the University of Pittsburgh's department of Biological Sciences. In 2001, he obtained a Master of Science degree in Pharmacology from Thomas Jefferson University and went on to complete his Ph.D. in Molecular Pharmacology and Structural Biology from Thomas Jefferson University through the Merck Doctoral Program. In addition to his academic and professional career, Watkins’ served in the United States Army Reserve as a Combat Engineer where he received a letter of commendation from the 101st Airborne Division during Operation Desert Storm. He was the Chairperson of an employee resource group at Merck known as the League of Employees of African Descent (LEAD) from 2008 until 2012. He led the organization with its primary mission to foster professional development for over seven-hundred members nationwide. He currently serves as the International Chapter Leader for Merck's African-American Business Insights Roundtable. Read more
Dan Evanko, PhD '97, Editor in Chief at Nature Methods
After receiving a BS in Biomedical Engineering from Northwestern University, Daniel Evanko entered the graduate program in Molecular Pharmacology and Structural Biology at Thomas Jefferson University and performed post-doctoral work on G protein targeting and regulation with Phil Wedegaertner. He then shifted his scientific focus as a Research Associate with Phil Haydon at the University of Pennsylvania where he worked with fluorescence imaging technologies for studying astrocyte-neuron interactions. He joined the staff of Nature Methods in August of 2004 as an Assistant Editor handling manuscripts just before the first issue was published in October 2004. After serving as an Associate and then Senior Editor he became Chief Editor in 2008. While at Nature Methods Dr. Evanko has interviewed dozens of scientists, written over 100 articles, created and edited a popular column of practical advice on visualizing scientific data and served as a judge for the Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition. Read more
Elaine Francis, PhD '78, President of Sandcastle Toxicology Associates
Dr. Elaine Francis is President of Sandcastle Toxicology Associates, a consulting company she started upon her retirement from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She was at the USEPA for over 31 years, from which she received a prestigious Distinguished Career Award. Her last position was as Acting Deputy National Program Director for the Chemical Safety and Sustainability Research. Prior to that, she served as the National Program Director for the Pesticides and Toxics Research Program. She coordinated the development and implementation of multi-million dollar intramural and extramural research programs, working with scientists from across USEPA, other federal agencies, governments of other countries, academia, and the regulated scientific community. She spent 1991 as a legislative fellow to then-Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, working on pesticides, lead, and children’s issues. Dr. Francis received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from the American University in Washington, DC. She received her doctorate in Anatomy from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, from which she received the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2001 and where she is currently an adjunct professor. Read more
Joe Marini, PhD '97, R&D at Janssen, a Johnson & Johnson company
Dr. Marini has over eleven years of experience in Biotechnology at Janssen Research & Development, LLC (formerly Centocor Research & Development, Inc), a wholly owned subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson. He manages a Ligand Binding Assay Pharmacokinetic Bioanalysis group. The group utilizes ligand binding assays to carry out bioanalyses for all non-clinical (non-GLP and GLP) and clinical studies. Dr. Marini is a member of the Steering Committee of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists Ligand Binding Assay Bioanalytical Focus Group and has served on the European Bioanalysis Forum – Interest Group Macromolecule. He received his BA in Biology from the University of Pennsylvania and his PhD in Immunology from Thomas Jefferson University (TJU). He did a postdoctoral fellowship at the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, a division of Imperial College (London, UK), and a second, brief postdoc back at TJU. He currently serves as Secretary of the Jefferson Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Alumni Association. Read more
Kate (Hahn) Milani, PhD '12, Faculty Member at Burlington County College
Dr. Katharine Milani is a Biology Lecturer at Burlington County College in New Jersey in their SMT Division. She currently lectures in general biology, human anatomy and physiology, general chemistry, microbiology, and biotechnology. She is the course coordinator for general biology, non-majors biology, and biotechnology. She also runs an undergraduate research project studying “Muscular Dystrophy Type I in C. elegans.” In 2011, she was an adjunct professor at Saint Joseph’s University, teaching general biology. She received her BS in Biochemistry / Molecular Biology from Richard Stockton College of New Jersey and her PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology from Thomas Jefferson University. She did her thesis work in the laboratory of Dr. Taraschi on hemoglobin trafficking in the malaria parasite. Read more
Kristin Kahle, PhD '10, Research Scientist at Integral Molecular
Kristen Kahle is a Research Scientist at Integral Molecular, Inc., located at the University City Science Center in Philadelphia PA. Integral Molecular provides innovative solutions for antibody development, drug discovery, and scientific research involving integral membrane proteins. Kristen is the Project Manager for a multidisciplinary NIAID contract focused on investigating B-cell epitopes and the mechanisms of antibody protection for Dengue, Hepatitis C, and Chikungunya viruses. She received her B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and her M.S. in Biotechnology from Pennsylvania State University. Kristen earned her Ph.D. in Molecular Pharmacology and Structural Biology at Thomas Jefferson in Michael Root’s laboratory. Her graduate research involved investigating the kinetics of HIV-1 deactivation and its implications for fusion inhibitor design and the acquisition of viral resistance. During these studies Kristen developed a deep interest in antiviral research and is excited to explore the mechanisms by which antibodies neutralize and, in specific instances, enhance viral infection to provide information for vaccine efforts. Read more
Matt Colombo, PhD '11, Staff Strategic Consultant at ETHOS Health Communications
Matt Colombo is a Staff Strategic Consultant at ETHOS Health Communications in Newtown, PA. His interests include peer-to-peer education, brand strategy, and medical writing. He has scientific expertise in host defense, cancer biology, immune cell development, and cell signaling.
Matt graduated from Thomas Jefferson University in 2011, receiving his PhD in Immunology & Microbial Pathogenesis, characterizing the role of B1b lymphocytes in adaptive immunity. He continued his training as a postdoctoral fellow at Fox Chase Cancer Center where he studied B cell development and the pathogenesis of B cell lymphoma.
Ronald Kern, PhD '09, Associate at the law firm of Woodcock Washburn LLP
Ron Kern is an associate at the law firm of Woodcock Washburn LLP, which is a national law firm concentrating exclusively in intellectual property law. Ron focuses his practice on patent prosecution and client counseling in the area of biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, as well as litigation.
Ron graduated from the Earle Mack School of Law at Drexel University with honors in Intellectual Property Law. While in law school, he served as Patent Chair and President of the Intellectual Property Law Society and was a member of Moot Court. During law school, Ron was a summer intern with the Honorable Sue L. Robinson of the US District Court for the District of Delaware. Prior to law school, Ron received a Ph.D. in Molecular Pharmacology and Structural Biology from Thomas Jefferson University, where he also conducted research as a post-doctoral fellow. Ron studied in the laboratory of Jeffrey L. Benovic, analyzing the role of the mammalian arrestin protein in the internalization and intracellular trafficking of several receptor families, including G Protein-Coupled Receptors (GPCRs). As an undergraduate at Penn State University, Ron conducted research in a structural biology lab where he focused on the co-expression, purification, and crystallization of protein complexes involved in gene regulation.