AIRI 2019 Speaker Bios

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Many thanks to this year's speakers for sharing their expertise with the membership at AIRI 2019.

Nsikan Akpan, PhD
Digital Science Producer, PBS News Hour
Nsikan Akpan, PhD is a science producer with PBS NewsHour with a background in neuroscience and a passionate thirst for exploring biomedical research and policy.

Hans-Erik G. Aronson, AIRI Vice President
Vice President & Chief Information Officer, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Hans-Erik Aronson has served as CSHL’s Vice President, Information Technology and Chief Information Officer since June 2011, after having served as its Director of Information Technology beginning in January 2008.   He is responsible for all aspects of Information Technology in a computation-intense environment requiring high levels of consistency and processing speed, including strategic planning, budget development, implementation and operations.  Mr. Aronson has overseen a period of unprecedented growth in computational demands and considerable institutional investment in Information Technology in order to maintain CSHL’s level of excellence in research, education and training.  During this period, he has provided overarching strategic leadership, technical planning and organizational management to advance a series of core objectives, including: construction of state-of-the-art data centers, planning and implementation of a Disaster Recovery/Business Continuity framework and the selection and implementation of a new research computing environment.  His portfolio of responsibilities includes a full suite of IT services in support of research and administrative operations, consisting in part of High-Performance Compute clusters, servers and storage systems, cybersecurity, oversight of regulated data, and business systems (ERP).  Mr. Aronson joined CSHL from Columbia University where he spent much of his career, last in the Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics.  He has over 25 years of experience in academic research computing.  Mr. Aronson has served as Vice President of the Association of Independent Research Institutes (AIRI) since 2014 and a Board member since 2013.

Patrick Bartosch
Senior Director, Communications, Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute
As senior director of communications at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, Patrick oversees all aspects of internal and external communications. Specifically, he focuses on reputation management, content strategy, and media relations. Prior to joining Sanford Burnham Prebys, Patrick managed external communications for Stanford Health Care, Stanford University’s health system. He holds an M.A. degree in political science from the University of Munich, Germany.

Frazier Benya, PhD
Senior Program Officer, National Academies of Sciences
Dr. Frazier Benya (she/her/hers) is a Senior Program Officer at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, and is a member of the staff supporting the Committee on Women in Science, Engineering, and Medicine (CWSEM), a standing committee of the National Academies. Currently, Dr. Benya serves as the Director of the Action Collaborative on Preventing Sexual Harassment in Higher Education. Recently, she served as the study director for the National Academies study “Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.” Dr. Benya’s work focuses on ensuring that science, engineering, and medicine are ethical and socially responsible, both in their practice and in who gets to participate in the work. Before joining the CWSEM staff, Dr. Benya worked with the National Academy of Engineering on improving and enhancing engineering ethics education and on analyzing the pathways engineers take from education to the workforce.  Dr. Benya holds a B.A with honors in Science, Technology and Society from the University of Puget Sound, and a M.A. in Bioethics and Ph.D. in History of Science, Technology, and Medicine from the University of Minnesota. Her Ph.D. focused on the history of bioethics and discussions of scientific social responsibility during the 1960s and 1970s, which led to the creation of the first federal bioethics commission in 1974. Her M.A. examined different types of institutional methodologies for considering the social implications of science with a focus on those that integrate scientific research with ethics research in the United States and Canada. Dr. Benya was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences in 2017.

David M. Cabrera, MS, AIRI Board Director & AIRI 2018 Co-Chair
Chief of Staff, Office of the CSO, Van Andel Institute
David Cabrera is Chief of Staff of VAI’s Office of the CSO in Grand Rapids, Michigan. David provides central coordination of the functions and staff in the office including research/operations liaison, strategic planning, science policy, faculty peer review, research event planning, science communication & editing, laboratory operations logistics, budget allocation, and library services. He is a course director in the Van Andel Institute Graduate School. David previously held the position of Science Policy and Administrative Manager in the Office of the CSO. Prior to his arrival at VAI in 2013, David worked for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. At NIH, David held a position as laboratory manager in a neuropharmacology laboratory from 2001-2009 before being accepted into the 2-year NIH Management Intern fellowship. Following his fellowship, David was a science policy analyst in the NIH Office of Science Policy and Office of the Director, where he worked on strategic initiatives and science policy issues. David is a member of the Society for Neuroscience, American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, and Sigma Xi.

Adam Cohen, Esq, AIRI 2019 Co-Chair
Sr. Vice President & General Counsel, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation
As OMRF’s chief legal officer, Adam focuses on strategic initiatives while also serving as counsel on business transactions, managing litigation matters, and ensures compliance in areas ranging from intellectual property to human subjects research. He maintains direct responsibility for human resources and public affairs, with dotted-line oversight of government affairs, development and technology ventures. Adam previously worked in the University of Oklahoma’s office of legal counsel and as a litigator at Hughes Hubbard & Reed, a New York City law firm. Also a writer, Adam’s work has appeared in more than a dozen publications, including The New York Times. He holds BA in English from the University of Pennsylvania and a JD from the Duke University School of Law.

Bret Cohen
Partner, Hogan Lovells US LLP
Bret Cohen helps universities and technology and brick-and-mortar businesses comply with privacy, cybersecurity, Internet, and consumer protection laws. He also represents companies in litigation and government investigations in these areas. As a lawyer and technologist, Bret has a knack for translating legal standards into practical technical requirements that are easy for clients to use.  Bret has advised extensively on legal issues related to cloud computing, social media, mobile applications, online tracking and analytics, and software development. He counsels and is a frequent speaker on strategic compliance with global privacy laws, including the GDPR, cross-border transfer restrictions, data localization requirements, and the impact of government surveillance on the digital economy. Bret also spearheads efforts on cybersecurity incident preparedness and response, student privacy, marketing privacy, and workplace privacy.  With the global privacy landscape rapidly changing, Bret stays plugged into policymaking developments worldwide to help companies focus on both the legal requirements of today and the likely obligations of the future. He writes regularly on these developments, including for the Hogan Lovells Chronicle of Data Protection blog, for which he serves as the Managing Editor. Bret also strongly believes that privacy is not a zero-sum proposition and advises companies on how adopting privacy-enhancing policies and technologies can benefit business and enhance customer engagement in the long run.

Melanie M. Davis
Director of Enterprise Systems & Informatics, Noble Research Institute, LLC
As the director of enterprise systems and informatics at the Noble Research Institute, Melanie Davis leads the organization’s traditional and applied technology efforts, both traditional IT and applied technology, including bioinformatics and research support, along with spatial technology, UAVs, and library services. With more than 25 years of experience in the industry, most in various capacities at Noble, she takes great pride in leading this nontraditional IT team to work together to enable the Institute to provide solutions to great agricultural challenges. Melanie holds bachelor’s degrees in business administration and computer science from East Central University in Ada, Oklahoma.

Kelvin Droegemeier, PhD
Director, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
As Director of The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), Dr. Kelvin K. Droegemeier serves as President Donald J. Trump’s science advisor and leads OSTP in its coordination of science and technology initiatives across the Federal Government. Kelvin’s background is in extreme weather, numerical weather prediction, and data assimilation. Before joining The White House, Kelvin served as Vice President for Research and Regents’ Professor of Meteorology at the University of Oklahoma, where he joined the faculty in 1985 as Assistant Professor of Meteorology. In his 33 years at the University of Oklahoma, Kelvin generated more than $40 million in research funding and authored or co-authored more than 80 refereed articles and 200 conference publications. Kelvin served two six-year terms on the National Science Board, the governing body of the NSF, including the last four years as Vice-Chairman, having been nominated by Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama and twice confirmed by the United States Senate. He has also served on and chaired numerous national boards and committees and is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society and American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was appointed in 2017 as Oklahoma Cabinet Secretary of Science and Technology. Born in Kansas, Kelvin earned a B.S. in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in atmospheric science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Kayla Habermehl
Science Communications Specialist, Van Andel Institute
Kayla Habermehl has a decade of experience translating complex content into compelling stories that effectively engage a broad audience. As the science communications specialist at Van Andel Institute, she works with a collaborative team to develop and implement strategic initiatives designed to inform the public and build the Institute’s reputation. Prior to joining VAI in 2014, she was a writer for Neogen Corporation and a reporter for the Flint Journal/MLive. She holds a B.A. in journalism and a B.S. in anthropology from Michigan State University.

Tim Hassen, AIRI President-Elect
Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation
Tim Hassen has been with Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation since 1998.  He held internal auditor and controller position prior to being promoted to Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.  Tim currently oversees  all areas of financial management including; financial reporting, budgeting, pre-award and post-award grants accounting, payroll, and donor services.   He spends a significant portion of his time on strategic planning related to the Foundation’s indirect cost policies and negotiating the indirect cost agreements.  Hassen is a Certified Public Accountant and holds a BS in accounting from the University of Central Oklahoma and an MBA with an emphasis in finance from Oklahoma City University.  He began his career as an auditor for Deloitte & Touche in Oklahoma City, where he served clients in the non-profit, governmental and SEC sectors.   Tim currently serves as President-Elect for the Association of Independent Research Institutes.

Debra Heiskala
Partner, Ernst & Young
Debi Heiskala is the West Region leader for Ernst & Young LLP’s Exempt Organization Tax Services practice and serves as the Tax Account Leader for many of the largest tax-exempt organizations in the region. Debi has over 24 years of experience advising nonprofit clients on a variety of issues, including advising private foundations with respect to excise taxes, maintaining tax-exempt and public charity status, minimizing unrelated business income tax, tax implications of alternative investments within endowments, private inurement/benefit and intermediate sanctions, organizational restructuring of tax-exempt and taxable entities, joint venture structuring, executive compensation and employee benefits, excise and payroll tax issues, deferred compensation matters, fundraising issues, state and local taxes. Additionally, Debi has represented many organizations before the Internal Revenue Service in connection with examinations and tax-exemption applications. Debi provides tax planning and consultation, as well as tax compliance services, to various tax-exempt entities including, private foundations, educational institutions, healthcare organizations, community foundations, supporting organizations, and scientific research organizations.

Tara Holcomb
Senior Director of Philanthropy, Scripps Research
Tara Holcomb joined the Scripps Research team in 2018 as the Senior Director of Philanthropy. While implementing fundraising initiatives and strategies for solicitation of major and principal gifts, she additionally oversees the day-to-day operations of the growing department in Jupiter, Florida. Tara works closely with institutional leadership, reporting directly to the Vice President of Philanthropy and Community Outreach to ensure bicoastal goals and objectives are met for the institute.  With over 18 years of experience, she has had a hands-on education ranging from campaign strategy, donor solicitation, relationship management, donor stewardship, public relations, to strategic management.

Christine Hughes
VP, Institutional Advancement, Burke Neurological Institute
Christine started the newly created VP position at Burke Neurological Institute (BNI) in May of 2017.  Hailing most recently from Weill Cornell Medicine, she was recruited to lead and build an Institutional Advancement program, a team and re-brand the Institute.  Christine has over 12 years of experience in Development and PR and has built a solid reputation of successful execution of multi-institutional, transformational gifts. Christine also has15 years of experience in basic and translational scientific research studying the proteomes of cancer, ALS and osteoporosis. Her former career in scientific research and her experience in academic medicine Development and PR, uniquely situate Christine to help advance the Institute.

Arif "Mak" Karim
Director, Cost Allocation Services, United States Department of Health & Human Services
Arif "Mak" Karim is the National Director for Cost Allocation Services (CAS) in the Dallas regional office. Mak heads the Cost Allocation Services office (Formerly, Division of Cost Allocation) (DCA) within the Program Support Center of the Department of Health & Human Services. He oversees staff of approximately 50 FTEs located in four different states - New York, San Francisco, Dallas and Bethesda.  He started his career in the New York office, and at the request of the National Director and CFO, relocated to Washington DC and Dallas, he has been with been with this function for 30 years.
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has mandated HHS/CAS to be the cognizant Federal agency for negotiating Statewide Cost Allocation Plans, Facilities and Administration Rates for Colleges/Universities, and where cognizant, other non-profit organizations. In addition, as the Administrative contracting Officer (ACO), approves CASB's Disclosure Statements I and II.  CAS negotiates 2,800 Rate Agreements annually, resulting in over a billion dollars in cost avoidance and approximately $50 million in cash recoveries. Mak is a Certified Fraud Examiner and an internal auditor, and has a BS in accounting from State University of New York.

Brent Keck
Chief Information Officer, Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation
Mr. Brent Keck leads the Information Technology and Telecommunications departments at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. He has been working in the computer technology field at OMRF since 1984. He spent his first 27 years at OMRF in application development, application system administration, and project management. He has served as CIO since May 2011. He is responsible for all facets of information technology, including strategic planning, operations, infrastructure, application development, technical support, and budget planning. Mr. Keck and his IT team are currently implementing initiatives in information security, cloud storage, and ERP enhancements. He has served as breakout session presenter for the 2013 AIRI annual meeting. He was a member of the Program Planning Committee and session moderator for the AIRI 2014 Information Technology meeting. He was the 2016 and 2018 Co-Chair for the AIRI Information Technology Summit. He is the IT co-track leader for AIRI 2018. The 2018 annual meeting will be his tenth AIRI meeting. He is all-in on AIRI and its value to independent research institutes like OMRF. Mr. Keck earned a BA in Management from Southern Nazarene University (1991) and an MBA from Oklahoma Christian University (2009).

Michael Kenney
Senior Director, Research Administration, City of Hope
Since 2013, Mr. Kenney has served at the Beckman Research Institute (BRI) where he oversees preparation and financial management of an  annual budget of ~$350MM. Reporting to the Senior Vice President of Research Operations, he oversees the annual budgeting process and financial management of COH’s research enterprise, manages the Office of Sponsored Research, provides operational support for COH’s 30 core facilities and oversees research space and facilities for 30+ research buildings spanning 500,000 square feet.  Prior to joining City of Hope, Mr. Kenney worked as a Manager with Huron Consulting Group. He has over 7 years of consulting experience assessing, evaluating, and building administrative operations, procedures, and business processes related to research at grantee and grantor research institutions, including sponsored program administration (pre and post award) and compliance. At Huron, Mr. Kenney led multiple research administration cost reduction and organizational re-design projects for top 50 research universities aimed at improving resource efficiency and customer service.  Areas of focus/expertise include: staffing benchmarking/right-sizing, business process redesign, and development of shared service models/principles.

Rob Kerr
Director, Digital Communications, The Jackson Laboratory
Rob Kerr is the director of digital communications at The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), a nonprofit biomedical research institution with over 2,200 employees and more than 75 primary investigators working to uncover the genetic basis of disease.  At JAX, Rob is responsible for leading the lab’s digital communications strategy with a heavy focus on technology governance and social media.  Rob has led the creation of digital programs and social media strategies across an array of organizations including JAX, Brown University and Bowdoin College.  Prior to working in research and academia, Rob led online and offline marketing efforts at a number of technology start-ups and several large private-sector companies including and Viacom.  His primary professional interest is in change management and technology integration across large, complex organizations.

Laurel Lyle
Vice President, Cure Alzheimer’s Fund
Laurel is the VP-Development Operations and Fundraising Programs at Cure Alzheimer’s Fund where she has worked since 2007.  She is responsible for the Data Management/Gift Processing departments, providing actionable data and analysis for the fundraising team.  She is a member of the AI in Advancement Advisory Committee for Gravyty, the first provider of  AI-enabled fundraising software for advancement.  She is active in several local non-profit organizations including the Walker School, the Wellesley Free Library and the University of Chicago Alumni Association.  She is currently the Vice President of Wellesley Service League and is a past President of Wellesley Hills Junior Women’s Club.  She chaired the Eliot Montessori Board of Trustees and led the steering committee to merge the Eliot Montessori and Natick Montessori schools.  Laurel has an AB and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

Kurt Marek, PhD
Sr Director, Grants Development, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies
Kurt Marek is the Senior Director of Grants Development at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. In this capacity, he oversees the institute’s grants administration, research development and project management functions. The department’s research development efforts focus primarily on federal grants and complex proposals. Prior to joining the Salk Institute in 2018, Kurt was the Deputy Director of the Office of Translational Alliances and Coordination at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), leading multiple NHLBI and trans-NIH translational research programs. Kurt was an AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow and Damon Runyon Cancer Research Fellow. He received his PhD in Neuroscience from the University of California, San Francisco where he was a Howard Hughes Predoctoral Fellow and holds a BS in Biology and a BA in Humanities from the University of California, San Diego.

Steve McCallie
Director of Information Technology, Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason
Steve McCallie is an IT Leader, BBQ Enthusiast, and teller of bad jokes. Before working at the Benaroya Research Institute as the Director of Information Technology, he was responsible for IT at some of Seattle’s best-known companies including Washington Mutual, Expedia, and T-Mobile.

Elizabeth McCormack
Philanthropic Advisor, Rockefeller Families
A member in the Society of the Sacred Heart for nearly thirty years; president of Manhattanville College in New York; recipient of a doctorate in philosophy; philanthropic advisor to the Rockefeller family; beloved wife of Jerome I. Aron; pivotal board member of some of the most generous foundations in the world, including Atlantic Philanthropies and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Today, Elizabeth McCormack is regarded by many as the very soul of philanthropy. Her unstinting practical advice and compassion have helped to inform the distribution of hundreds of millions of dollars to worthy causes around the world.

Cheryl A. Moore
President & Chief Operating Officer, New York Genome Center
Cheryl A. Moore is President and Chief Operating Officer at the New York Genome Center, which uses genomics to advance breakthroughs in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with neurodegenerative diseases, neuropsychiatric diseases and cancer.  Ms. Moore oversees the NYGC’s financial and operational functions and works together with the Scientific Director and CEO in setting the strategic direction of the organization. In addition to her NYGC commitments, she serves on several boards and advisory groups domestically and abroad.

Liz Neeley
Executive Director, Story Collider
Liz started her career studying the color patterns of tropical fish. (It was in fact even better than her childhood dream of working in a crayon factory.) She surprised herself more than anyone when she left the research path and went into ocean conservation and policy. For the past decade, she has been helping scientists around the world tell more compelling stories about their work. Most recently, she helped commission and edit the 2018 series "Stories from the Front Lines" at PLOS Biology. She is a lecturer at Yale in conjunction with the National Neuroscience Curriculum Initiative.

Libby O'Hare, AIRI Washington Office
AIRI Washington Representative, Lewis-Burke Associates LLC
Libby leverages her biomedical research expertise, background in research administration policy, and experience on Capitol Hill to provide strategic analysis and support to Lewis-Burke clients in the areas of biomedical research as well as research policy and regulation, with a particular focus on the National Institutes of Health.  Prior to joining Lewis-Burke, Dr. O’Hare was a Program Officer with the Board on Higher Education and Workforce at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine where she managed policy studies examining the regulatory structure governing scientific research, the competitiveness of American research universities, and STEM workforce development.  Dr. O’Hare previously served as a Legislative Assistant for Representative Rush Holt, where she handled energy, science and education policy issues and staffed Rep. Holt in his role as the Senior Democrat on the Energy and Mineral Resources Subcommittee, House Committee on Natural Resources.  Dr. O’Hare got her start in science policy after being selected by the Society for Research on Child Development as a 2010 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Congressional Science Policy Fellow.  Dr. O’Hare holds a PhD in Neuroscience from the University of California, Los Angeles and an A.B. in Psychology from Bryn Mawr College.

Jason Owen-Smith, PhD
Professor of Sociology & Research Professor, Institute for Social Research (ISR), University of Michigan
Jason Owen-Smith is co-founder and Executive Director of the Institute for Research on Innovation and Science (IRIS). He is also Professor of Sociology and Research Professor in the Institute for Social Research (ISR) at the University of Michigan.
His research examines how complex networks among people and organizations shape knowledge-work and innovation. He is author of most recently of the 2018 book Research Universities and the Public Good: Discovery for an Uncertain Future (Innovation and Technology in the World Economy).

Dianne Pacheco
Chief Information Security Officer, The Jackson Laboratory
Dianne Pacheco serves as the Chief Information Security Officer at The Jackson Laboratory where she has top line responsibility for the development and delivery of an institution-wide information security program.  In her role as the CISO, she is accountable for the Laboratory’s compliance to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and adherence to NIH’s requirements for the protection of controlled genomic data sets used by research faculty.  She has 30 years of experience working in Information Technology in research organizations and has a passion for promoting security as a service to enhance research and clinical opportunities.

Jennifer Pawlosky
Executive Director, Communications, Allen Institute
As Executive Director for Communications, Jennifer Pawlosky leads a team that manages brand, messaging, media relations, marketing, events and integrated communications efforts across the Allen Institute. Previously, Jennifer worked at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, where she led all development communications and marketing strategies and activities. She held positions in consulting and service line marketing in Seattle, Dallas and Charlotte, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation in Washington, D.C., where she led national media and public relations campaigns. Jennifer received her B.A. in English Literature and Economics from the University of Virginia.

Sung Poblete, RN, PhD
President & Chief Executive Officer, Stand Up To Cancer
Dr. Poblete is President and CEO of Stand Up To Cancer, which accelerates the rate of discoveries by connecting top scientists in unprecedented collaborations. Since 2008 the organization has received pledges of more than $603 million and supported over 100 team grants, contributing to six FDA therapy approvals and other discoveries. Dr. Poblete earned her PhD in nursing from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and is a visiting professor at Rutgers College of Nursing.

Katie Raftery, SHRM-SCP, SPHR
Vice President, Chief Human Resources Officer, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Katie Raftery is currently the Vice President of Human Resources for Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.  In this position, she is responsible for the overall leadership and management of the Human Resources organization, including benefits, compensation, recruiting and retention, employee relations and competence development.  Ms. Raftery has over 35 years of experience in human resources and administration, having held senior human and administrative positions in the telecommunications, legal and financial services industries.  Ms. Raftery graduated from Bard College with a degree in English and has a masters in counseling from Hofstra University.  She holds lifetime certification as a Senior Professional in Human Resources and is a member of both the local and national chapters of the Society of Human Resource Professionals and CUPA, serves on the Executive Committee of the New York Higher Education Recruiting Consortium and the Long Island Regional Healthcare Industry Council.

Stefan Ritter, MBA
Sr Program Manager, Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason
Throughout his 15 year span at Microsoft Corporation, Stefan has lead numerous enterprise-scale projects focusing on IT Service enhancements.  Stefan brought this experience to build project management expertise at Benaroya Research Institute (BRI).  Having been with Benaroya Research for just over 3 years, Stefan has made a significant impact on project management by building a consistent project management framework, establishing a project management office and leading several impactful campaigns such as BRI’s Business Continuity Program, in addition to leading key software development and enterprise-wide software implementation projects.

Lari C. Russo, AIRI President
Chief Financial Officer, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Lari Russo is the Chief Financial Officer of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, a private not-for-profit research and educational institution located on the north shore of Long Island. CSHL is a leader in pioneering work that shapes contemporary molecular biology and genetics, and enhances scientific knowledge worldwide. Named CFO in 2011, Ms. Russo is currently responsible for all facets of finance, accounting and reporting for the institution, including audit, budgeting, forecasting, endowment, investments, cash management and treasury functions. Ms. Russo joined CSHL in 1998 after working in public accounting managing audits of not-for-profit organizations throughout the Northeast for Schultheis and Panettieri, LLC. Ms. Russo is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants. An alumna of C.W. Post/Long Island University, Ms. Russo is currently President of the Association of Independent Research Institutes, a nationwide association of nonprofit independent research institutes.

Daniela Schiller, PhD
Associate Professor, Depart of Psychiatry & Neuroscience, Friedman Brain Institute
Daniela Schiller, PhD, is a neuroscientist who leads the Schiller Lab for Affective Neuroscience at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. She is best known for her work on the neuroscience of unlearning emotional memories and the neural tracking of social relationships.

Marie G. Schwartz
Marie Schwartz is a Principal and Senior Consultant for Mercer Health & Benefits.  She works from the Melville office, and has over 25 years experience in the health & welfare arena on both the brokerage/consulting and carrier sides of the business. Her current responsibilities include assisting clients in developing contribution strategies, benefit program designs, marketing, network discount analysis, program renewals, plan design analysis, contract and booklet review and day-to-day administrative support.  Prior to joining Mercer, Ms. Schwartz worked as an analyst for Foster Higgins and The Segal Company.  She also worked as an underwriter for NYLCare Health Plans. Marie earned both BA and MA degrees from New York University and possesses a New York State Life and Health insurance license.

Robin Snyder, PhD
Vice President, Communications, Buck Institute for Research on Aging
As head of Communications, Robin leads media relations, internal and external communications, marketing, community relations, and public affairs at the Buck. Before joining the Buck in 2017, Robin held a variety of executive roles at the biopharmaceutical company Genentech, including Director of Science Communications and Director of Corporate Communications. Prior to joining Genentech, she was Senior Vice President of the San Francisco Corporate Practice at the global public relations firm Ketchum. Robin is a former TV journalist who worked at the PBS station WNET in New York, CBS News in New York and the CBS affiliate KPIX in San Francisco. She is an obnoxiously proud graduate of Penn State, and holds a PhD in political science from Rutgers University.

Bodo Stern, PhD
Chief of Strategic Initiatives, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
As HHMI’s chief of strategic initiatives, Stern works directly with HHMI’s president and senior executive team to formulate and execute the organization’s strategic initiatives and direction. Relevant to the AIRI metrics session he leads initiatives that aim at reforming scientific publishing and research assessment.

John Stillwagen, MBA
Director, Management Information Systems, The La Jolla Institute for Immunology
John has for twenty years used technology and process to accelerate technology and create bridges between researchers and the administrators that support them. A native of San Diego, John graduated with a BA from UCSD and started work in the surrounding mesa of biotech institutions and companies - a career spent in this hub of biomedical activity. Having a breadth of IT experience from software and web development, to storage and infrastructure, networking, security and systems and database administration there are very few hats John has not worn over the years. More recently, an MBA graduate of the Kelley School of Business at the University of Indiana, John has begun to use his technical background to aid in solving business and process problems within the labs themselves - offering coaching, solutions management and consultation on all aspects of technology and laboratory management while working on refreshing the La Jolla's back-office systems for ERP, HCM and P2P.

Kristen Wadsworth
Kristen Wadsworth is a Principal in Mercer’s Melville, NY office.   Some of her responsibilities include advising clients on benefit program design, works closely with carrier to identify trends, managing vendors, overseeing marketing’s & implementations, developing wellness initiatives and assisting in financial analysis.  She works closely with clients to develop strategies that are consistent with their objectives. Prior to Joining Mercer in 2005, Kristen worked as a Senior Benefits Analyst for a Fortune 500 firm. She has over six years of experience administering corporate benefits. Kristen holds a Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology from The State University of New York at Oswego.  She is licensed by New York State as a Life, Health and Accident agent.

Stephanie Wasco
Senior Director, Strategic Communications and Public Engagement, The Jackson Laboratory
Stephanie Wasco, a communications professional with more than 20 years’ experience in science, technology and nonprofit organizations, is the senior director of strategic communications and public engagement for The Jackson Laboratory (JAX). Wasco is responsible for developing communications strategies and campaigns that raise the institution’s visibility and influence, in order to increase support for its mission and goals.  Wasco joined the Laboratory from Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems in Tewksbury, Mass., where she led communications programs for the defense technology company’s 17,000 employees. Prior to joining Raytheon, Wasco was the vice president of corporate communications for PerkinElmer, Inc. in Waltham, Mass, a global scientific technology company, where she held multiple marketing and communications positions of increasing responsibility.

Carrie D. Wolinetz, PhD
Associate Director for Science Policy at NIH and Acting Chief of Staff, National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Carrie D. Wolinetz is the Acting Chief of Staff, as well as the Associate Director for Science Policy and Director of the Office of Science Policy (OSP) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). As leader of OSP, she advises the NIH Director on science policy matters of significance to the agency, the research community, and the public, on a wide range of issues including human subjects protections, biosecurity, emerging biotechnologies ranging from stem cells to gene editing, data sharing, regenerative medicine, the organization and management of NIH, and the innovation polices related to NIH-funded research. Prior to joining NIH, Dr. Wolinetz worked on biomedical research policy issues as the Deputy Director for Federal Affairs at the Association of American Universities (AAU) and the Director of Scientific Affairs and Public Relations at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). She also served as the President of United for Medical Research, a leading NIH advocacy coalition. Outside of NIH, Dr. Wolinetz teaches as an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Georgetown University in the School of Foreign Service’s program on Science, Technology & International Affairs. She has a BS in animal science from Cornell University, and she received her PhD in animal science from The Pennsylvania State University, where her area of research was reproductive physiology.

Eduardo Zaborowski, PhD
Senior Director, Information & Research Technologies, The Jackson Laboratory
Eduardo was born in Brazil and earned a MSc and a PhD in Chemistry from the Weizmann Institute of Science. He was a Rothschild Postdoctoral Fellow at Scripps La Jolla, then worked at Schering Plough and Merck, supporting drug discovery and early development research. Eduardo was an Assistant Professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and served as their Director of Research Computing. Since 2015 he’s been at The Jackson Laboratory, as the Senior Director, Information and Research Technologies.

Dagnia Zeidlickis
Vice President, Communications, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
Dagnia Zeidlickis is a communicator, passionate about sharing the wonders of life science with public audiences. At Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), she leads a team that leverages all forms of media available to tell stories about the societal relevance of CSHL’s research discoveries and innovative approaches to science education. With BA/MA degrees from Johns Hopkins University in economics and international relations, Dagnia has worked around the globe in the public and private sectors as an advisor to multinational corporations on trade and investment policy, a strategist and negotiator on foreign direct investments, and a director of public relations campaigns.  But she found her true calling thanks to the help of the 1100 CSHL faculty, employees and students. Their work inspired her conviction that the public needs to know more about biology and genetics. Why? So that everyone can make informed decisions about personal and societal issues like healthcare, food security, energy sources, the environment and even the criminal justice system!

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