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. 




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


   

Jordyn Paland joined WEST in December 2020 as an Administrative Assistant. She earned her Associates' degree in Arts and Humanities at Antelope Valley College and is now working towards a degree in Accounting at California State University, Northridge. She has an active volunteer with Special Olympics Southern California for the last five years. She enjoys being an assistant coach for volleyball with the Parks and Recreation program.


  Jennifer 

Jennifer Assily joined WEST in April 2021 as an Administrative Assistant and writer. She has a background is in international relations with a focus on gender studies and women’s well-being. She is passionate about lifting and listening to the voices of all women and working toward a more inclusive and equitable world. In addition to her work at WEST, Jennifer currently works at Ironwood Pharmaceuticals in Boston.


Board of Directors



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.



Vice President: 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.



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: 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.



Past 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.


Board Members:


Cristina Almansa is the head of Medical and Scientific Affairs at Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, that aligns with Cristina’s goals of advancing the treatment and improving the quality of life of people suffering with gastrointestinal (GI) disorders. After completing her MD/PHD and Gastroenterology fellowship at the University Complutense in Madrid Cristina moved to the Mayo Clinic in Florida to continue her postdoc work as the recipient of the Jon Isenberg MD Scholar International Medical Award sponsored by the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA). Cristina has worked for more than 15 years in clinical research, as a clinician scientist or a drug developer, and authored more than 40 publications (peer review manuscripts and book chapters) in the field of Gastroenterology. Cristina has held clinical and academic appointments in the Gastroenterology and Hepatology Division at the University Hospital Clínico San Carlos (Madrid) and the Mayo Clinic Florida (Jacksonville, FL). During her tenure in the Pharmaceutical Industry, Cristina has led multiple clinical development programs in GI with assets ranging from phase 1 to phase 3. In her most recent role Cristina led the global clinical development of the GI Motility portfolio at Takeda. Cristina is a native Spaniard who lives in Wellesley with her husband and 2 daughters. Cristina loves running, cooking, and enjoying a good homemade meal with family and friends. She believes that “women can have it all” but they need to believe in themselves and find the right partners and sponsors to get (and stay) there.



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.



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.



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..



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.



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.


 

Peng Meng Kou is a Commercial Development/Product Manager at MicroMedicine, a Waltham-based medical device start-up that is developing an automated microfluidic cell separation technology. She focuses on cross-functional collaborations to drive the development of various applications, including clinical diagnostics and cell therapy manufacturing. Prior to MicroMedicine, Peng Meng was a consulting manager at Exponent, where she delivered critical engineering and scientific solutions to clients in various industries, including drug/device combination products and consumer electronics. She also spent two years in Hong Kong establishing and growing new corporate site. Peng Meng holds a PhD in Bioengineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree in Biological and Environmental Engineering from Cornell University. During her free time, she enjoys food, traveling, hiking, skiing, reading, and home projects.



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.



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 Executive Vice President at Agios Pharmaceuticals where he is responsible for Technical Operations. 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.



Jackie Schumacher is currently the Regulatory and Quality Lead at Rallybio where she is responsible for the regulatory strategy and operations across the portfolio along with Quality Assurance oversight. Prior to Rallybio, Jackie was the VP of Regulatory and Quality at Lyndra Therapeutics. Before joining Lyndra, she 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, and complex/combination products. In addition, Jackie also held several business-facing/commercial roles for emerging markets and essential/established products. Jackie 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. She is currently a board member of a non-profit, Optimists without Borders, which she co-founded with a former Pfizer colleague. Jackie earned her B.A. degrees in Chemistry and Classical Studies from Hamilton College.



Elena Spencer is 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 is currently pursuing an M.B.A. at 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.


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.