Advisory Board


Karen Anderson joined Alnylam in 2014 from Biogen Idec where she served as Vice President, Human Resources for R&D and Corporate Development. Prior to Biogen Idec, Karen was the Vice President of Human Resources, Commercial for Pfizer Inc. covering both Developed Markets and Emerging Markets. Earlier in her 10-year tenure with Pfizer, Karen supported Worldwide R&D. Before joining Pfizer, she spent 6 years at Baxter as the Global Human Resources Director for the Anesthesia & Critical Care Group. Her career as a human resources leader in the bio-pharma industry began in 1995, when she joined Bayer as Director of Compensation from her role as an Associate Consultant with the Hay Group. Karen received a Masters in Organizational Development from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. She earned her Bachelor of Arts with honors in both Psychology and Labor Relations from York University in Toronto, Canada. Karen lives in Lexington with her husband Chris and their three sons.



Jennifer Tour Chayes, is Distinguished Scientist and Managing Director of Microsoft Research New England in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which she co-founded in July 2008. Before this, she was Research Area Manager for Mathematics, Theoretical Computer Science and Cryptography at Microsoft Research Redmond. Chayes joined Microsoft Research in 1997, when she co-founded the Theory Group. Her research areas include phase transitions in discrete mathematics and computer science, structural and dynamical properties of self-engineered networks, and algorithmic game theory. She is the co-author of over 100 scientific papers and the co-inventor of more than 25 patents. Chayes has many ties to the academic community. She is Affiliate Professor of Mathematics and Physics at the University of Washington, and was for many years Professor of Mathematics at UCLA. She serves on numerous institute boards, advisory committees and editorial boards, including the Turing Award Selection Committee of the Association for Computing Machinery, the Board of Trustees of the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, the Advisory Boards of the Center for Discrete Mathematics and Computer Science, the U.S. National Committee for Mathematics, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Janelia Farms Research Campus, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and the Selection Committee for the Anita Borg Award for Technical Leadership. Chayes is a past Chair of the Mathematics Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a past Vice-President of the American Mathematical Society. Chayes received her B.A. in biology and physics at Wesleyan University, where she graduated first in her class, and her Ph.D. in mathematical physics at Princeton. She did her postdoctoral work in the mathematics and physics departments at Harvard and Cornell. She is the recipient of a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, a Sloan Fellowship, and the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award. She has twice been a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Chayes is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Fields Institute, and a National Associate of the National Academies. Chayes lives with her husband, Christian Borgs, who also happens to be her principal scientific collaborator. In her spare time, she enjoys overworking.


Dr. Joseph Lehar is 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.



Fraser McLeod is an executive at Danaher / Sciex with a focus on software solutions for scientists and mass spectrometrists. Prior to that Fraser held various leadership roles at Thermo Fisher Scientific and Dionex, helping to bring new software tools and liquid chromatography solutions to market. The extensive list of products that Fraser has helped introduce to the market include the UltiMate 3000 and Vanquish UHPLC series, the Chromeleon Chromatography Data System, the Viper Fitting System, and a unique web portal for finding, evaluating, and downloading analytical workflows. Fraser has held multiple business leadership roles in his career and has a strong track record of delivering top line and bottom line growth. His general philosophy is that business results can be achieved through an intense focus on understanding customer needs and then creating unique, high value solutions to those needs. Fraser gained his Bachelor of Science from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK and worked in synthetic and analytical chemistry in the early stages of his career. He has had an opportunity to work in the UK, Germany, and the US, and has learnt along the way the value that diversity in culture, background, and thinking is a key component to business success. Fraser lives with his wife and two sons, and in his spare time enjoys reading, traveling, dining, and hiking. He is also passionate about the WEST mission and happy to have the opportunity to help.



Dr. Elizabeth O'Day is the CEO and Founder of Olaris Therapeutics, a pharmaceutical company that develops precision medicines for diseases with little to no treatment options and dismal survival rates. Olaris technology is a spin out from Dr. O’Day’s doctoral work at Harvard University. In a single experiment Olaris’s metabolite profiling platform can map nearly the entire human metabolome, which will fundamentally change how diseases are treated and diagnosed. Dr. O'Day is also the Founder of Lizzard Fashion, an apparel company that uses fashion to promote science. Like feedback loops studied by scientists, science inspires fashion and fashion supports science. Partial Lizzard proceeds support cancer research. Additionally, Dr. O'Day Founded Proyecto Chispa (Project Spark), a 501c3 non-profit that recycles electronics and uses the resale of parts to build computer centers in orphanages throughout the world. Through her work at Proyecto Chispa, Dr. O'Day was selected as the Greenovate Champion of the Year by the Mayor of Boston in 2015. She is also the Founder of "Women in Science & Technology" (WST) at Boston College. WST is in its 11th year and has provided hundreds of high-school-aged females and college students the opportunity to learn about careers in science. Dr. O’Day received her PhD from Harvard University, where she was a National Science Foundation fellow. She was one of eleven America scientists awarded a Winston Churchill fellowship and received a Master’s of Philosophy in Chemistry from the University of Cambridge. She has a Bachelors of Science degree from Boston College in Biochemistry. She was awarded nearly all of the nation’s top undergraduate research honors (Beckman scholar, Goldwater Scholar, Churchill Fellow, NSF Fellow, National Institute of Chemistry Excellence Award). Dr. O’Day is also a Global Shaper at the World Economic Forum and was an invited speaker as a “new champion to reboot healthcare” at the annual meeting in Davos in 2016. She was also a "nominated change maker" and invited to attend the first ever United State of Women Summit convened by the White House in 2016. TruTV in Beirut, Lebanon honored her as one of “the women of the year” in 2016. Dr. O'Day was also one of the biotech CEOs invited to attend VP Joe Biden's Cancer Moonshot Summit in DC to discuss collaborative ways “to end cancer as we know it”. She was also recently asked to join a global task-force with the top 25 leaders in biotech to provide guidelines for the future of biotechnology by the World Economic Forum. Most recently Dr. O’Day accepted an adjunct faculty position at her alma mater, Boston College.


Danielle Sheer is Vice President and General Counsel, Carbonite, Inc. (NASDAQ: CARB), a leading provider of cloud and hybrid business continuity solutions protecting millions of small businesses and individuals globally. Danielle founded and developed Carbonite’s legal department and led Carbonite through an initial public offering and NASDAQ listing. She is responsible for Carbonite’s worldwide corporate governance and legal affairs, including technology partnerships, commercial transactions, data security and privacy compliance, and intellectual property portfolio. Danielle also advises the Company’s management on legal, strategic, and corporate governance matters and is a key advisor to the company’s board of directors. Danielle has been named to the Boston Business Journal's "Forty under 40" list of emerging business leaders, honored by the Massachusetts Bar Association and Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly as an "Emerging Leader" and received the "Maverick of the Year" Stevie award for Women in Business. Recently, she received the "Emerging Leaders" honor by the Boston Business Journal for Advancing Women Leaders and the “In-House Leader in the Law” honor by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. Prior to joining Carbonite, Danielle practiced corporate and securities law at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, where she specialized in public securities offerings, capital markets, tech-focused corporate transactions, private equity and venture financings, and mergers and acquisitions. Danielle holds a Juris Doctor degree from Georgetown University Law Center and a Bachelor’s from George Washington University. She is admitted to practice in both New York and Massachusetts. She serves on the Board of Directors for Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and The Boston Club. 


Elizabeth N. Spar, Ph.D., J.D.
Elizabeth is a Partner at Sunstein Kann Murphy & Timbers LLP. She has extensive experience as a technology specialist, with a focus on intellectual property and patent law, including drafting patent applications, preparing responses to office actions, and contributing to infringement, validity and patentability analyses. With more than 13 years of technical experience in diversified academic research environments, she has drafted patent applications in the fields of molecular and cellular biology, immunology, antibodies, RNAi, biologics, biosimilars, protein expression, genetically transformed plants for use as vaccines and immunogens, genomics, drug discoveries, gene therapy, antitumor therapies, screening assays and protease assays. Dr. Spar’s prior positions include post-doctoral fellowships at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, and pre-doctoral fellowships at Harvard University. Dr. Spar’s awards include the Women’s Cancers Program Fellowship, Dana Farber Cancer Institute; and the Ryan Fellowship at Harvard University. She received her B.A. in Biology from Oberlin College, her Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology from Harvard University and her J.D. from New England School of Law. Dr. Spar is registered to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.


Anne Thessen worked as a research oceanographer and phycologist until 2013, when she decided to start her own data science company, The Data Detektiv. Anne is well known for her work on data infrastructure and the application of semantic technologies and machine learning in biodiversity and earth science. Her work has supported institutions and companies like Google, the Smithsonian, and NASA. She is an active member of the Research Data Alliance, a global effort to support data infrastructure, as the RDA US Data Share Ambassador. She was an invited speaker on infrastructure sustainability at the EarthCube All-Hands-Meeting in 2016 and on data infrastructures for coastal science at the Atlantic Estuarine Research Society in 2014. Anne has a BS in Biology and a PhD in oceanography from the University of Maryland, where she was a US EPA STAR Fellow. Her thesis work caused the state of Maryland to change the way it monitored harmful algae in the Chesapeake Bay. She worked on biodiversity informatics and data sharing at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole where she contributed to the International Census of Marine Life, the Encyclopedia of Life, and the Data Conservancy (now RMap). Anne made the shift from academia to industry in 2013 and is pioneering an alternative career as an independent scientist through her company and her affiliation with the Ronin Institute for Independent Scholarship. Anne lives with her son, husband, and two cats. In her spare time she enjoys reading non-fiction and exercising. She is passionate about open science, helping other academics transition into industry, and animal rescue. Anne is a committed volunteer for WEST, sitting on the programming committee and volunteering at events. She was the recipient of the WEST Giving Back Award in 2017.