Mentors

  • Natalie Gogotsi

    Natalie Gogotsi is a Materials Engineer at Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Development Programs (Skunk Works) as part of the Revolutionary Technology Program. She received a joint B.S./M.S. in Chemical Engineering from Drexel University with a minor in Materials Science and Engineering. She then went on to receive her Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania where her research focused on developing quantum dots for optical applications. Since joining Lockheed Martin in early 2020 she’s become heavily involved in the Engineered Biology Portfolio, helping grow the portfolio as both a technical contributor and project lead. In addition to the Engineered Biology work, she also works on topic areas including metamaterials and other advanced materials.

  • Adam Woomer

    Dr. Adam Woomer is a materials scientist at the Advanced Technology Center in Lockheed Martin Space, which specializes in the incorporation of advanced materials into next-generation devices and applications. In collaboration with the Army Research Laboratory, Dr. Woomer is currently applying his materials expertise to the field of synthetic biology, with a particular focus on the self-assembly and design of novel materials for protective coatings and optical technologies. Before joining Lockheed Martin in 2019, he received his Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2018 and his B.S. in chemistry from the University of Connecticut in 2013.

  • Jeffrey Stuart

    Dr. Jeff Stuart is the Biotechnology and Engineered Biology Tech Domain Lead for Lockheed Martin’s Corporate Global Research and Technology Innovation Team, within the Chief Technology Officer’s organization. He is a subject matter expert in nanobiotechnology and has led a diverse portfolio of programs covering a wide variety of topics, including synthetic biology, additive manufacturing, and flexible electronics. Jeff received his PhD in Biophysics from Syracuse University, holds 4 patents, and has authored/co-authored more than 30 publications, including multiple book chapters. From 2008 -2018, he worked at the Lockheed Martin (LM) Advanced Technology Laboratories, before moving to LM Corporate in 2018 to managed engagements with the Manufacturing USA Innovation Institutes. Jeff has been honored with the LM Outstanding Leadership Award, the LM ATL Award of Distinction, and the Lockheed Martin NOVA Award.

    Prior to Lockheed Martin, Jeff held research faculty positions at Syracuse University and the University of Connecticut. He has been PI on multiple grants from AFRL, ARO, NSF, the Army Institute for Collaborative Biotechnology, industry, and The NanoBio Manufacturing Consortium, where he served as Chair of the Governing Council through 2018. He currently serves on the BioMADE Education and Workforce Development Committee. In addition, Jeff serves on Lockheed Martin’s technical liaison team to NextFlex and was named a NextFlex Fellow in 2019.

  • Tom Tubon

    Thomas Tubon is currently appointed as the Chief Workforce Development Officer for the recently-funded BioIndustrial Manufacturing and Design Ecosystem (BioMADE) Manufacturing Innovation Institute. BioMADE joins eight DoD-sponsored institutes as part of the Manufacturing USA network and is the16th institute invested in creating an end-to-end ecosystems for domestic manufacturing to secure America’s future through manufacturing innovation, education, and collaboration. Dr. Tubon leads the Education and Workforce Development initiatives of the BioMADE Institute, with a focus on building employment readiness for bioindustrial manufacturing and engineering biology.

    Prior to his appointment with the BioMADE MII, Dr. Tubon served as a Professor in the Biotechnology Program at Madison Area Technical College for 13 years. During this time, he led several National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education grant projects to establish and scale an emerging technology program in Stem Cells and Cell Manufacturing and oversee a Coordination Network project for Advanced Manufacturing of Cell and Tissue Products. While at Madison College, Dr. Tubon was responsible for the development of bioscience workforce and strategic implementation of programs for local, regional, and national-level adoption and scale-up. In this role, he has facilitated the creation of a broad network of industry, community, and academic stakeholders, that promote career pathways in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). Dr. Tubon also serves as a subject matter expert with the NSF ATE Mentor Connect and Project Vision Programs.

    Since 2019, Dr. Tubon has served as a CoPI on the NSF ATE InnovATEBIO Center for Biotechnology Education, and the NSF Advancing Research Impact in Society (ARIS) Center leadership team for workforce development and strategic partnerships.
    Dr. Tubon holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics from Stony Brook University and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and a BS in Molecular Biology from San Diego State University.

  • Oliver May

    I have studied Technical Biology at the University of Stuttgart (Germany) and did a postdoc at Caltech (Arnold Lab) on Evolutionary Engineering of Enzymes. After my broad biotech education, I joined industry in 2000 to learn about development and implementation of Biotransformation as well we fermentation processes. After several development steps at my first industrial employer (former Degussa, now called Evonik Industries) I joined DSM in 2006. There I was responsible for a team to develop biocatalytic processes for pharma customers. In 2011 I accepted the job as R&D Director in our Innovation center where we developed biobased processes in the biofuels and bioplastic intermediates field. In 2015 I joined our Food Ingredients business as responsible Scientist for Biochemistry and Microbiology. In 2019 I joined our Animal and Human Nutrition business as Science Fellow for Biotechnology where we developed products and processes in the Nutritional Lipids, Carotenoids and Vitamins field. Since 2022 I am Senior Director Biotechnology and lead our Biotech R&D teams in Lexington (MA) and Columbia (Maryland).

  • Tim Kilgore

    I received my Masters of Science degree from George Mason University in 2007 and have been working with Government organizations over the past 20 years focused on helping these organizations understand advancements in biological sciences and how that can impact their mission space, specifically chemical and biological defense. I am employed with MITRE, a Federally Funded Research Development Center, where I continue to advise programs within the US Government on these areas.

  • Caroline Kennedy

    Caroline Kennedy is a Lead Biotechnologist and Project Leader at The MITRE Corporation. She has worked there for the past eight years, during which she has supported numerous US Government organizations in biodefense and biosecurity matters, both domestic and international. For the past four years, much of her support has been in the field of One Health Security—a timely topic considering the zoonotic origins of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Ms. Kennedy is also involved in MITRE’s internal R&D work program. She is a co-PI on a review of analytic methods used to detect and characterize veterinary antibiotics in surface water and is working as a Program Thrust Lead for Dr. Marc Salit’s Synthetic Biology R&D program. Ms. Kennedy enjoys working with students and has been an undergraduate team iGEM mentor as well as the MITRE POC for a new MIT/Lincoln Lab/MITRE co-developed Beaver Works Summer Institute course on Computational Biology and the Microbiome. Ms. Kennedy received her BA in Biology from the University of Virginia and is completing her MPH in Epidemiology at George Mason University in May 2022. She is also a mother of two young children and passionate about helping junior employees develop a healthy work/life balance, find their passion, and advocate for themselves as they progress in their careers.

  • Matthew Downs

    My Bachelor’s degree is in Material Science & Engineering focusing on Polymers from University of Florida and received my PhD in Biomedical Engineering focusing on Bioimaging & Neuroscience from Columbia University. I am currently a Lead Biomedical Engineer at the MITRE Corporation and work on projects spaning from synthetic bioimaging, medical injury standards, biotechnology development, and synthetic biology. This includes regular interactions and partnerships with members of Government, industry, and academia.

  • Stephen Gasior

    My role at Corteva is as a molecular biologist working to enhance and develop new technologies for making recombination DNA vectors. But, I was an academic grad student and postdoc before teaching college biology for 9 years. Then I joined Corteva in 2016. (https://www.linkedin.com/in/slgasior/)

  • Ryan Tappel

    Bachelor’s (John Carroll University) and Ph.D. (SUNY-Environmental Science & Forestry) in Biochemistry. Worked at LanzaTech as part of the Synthetic Biology team since 2014. Focus on enzymology-related research as well as regulatory efforts.

  • John Dileo

    John Dileo manages the Biotechnology and Life Sciences Department at the MITRE Corporation in McLean, Virginia. He holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics & Biochemistry from the University of Pittsburgh and has specialized in experimental and theoretical research in molecular, systems, and synthetic biology, while also providing support and oversight to numerous large Government research and development programs in those fields of study. At MITRE, his department has groups that focus on biosafety, security and quality; countering weapons of mass destruction; medical countermeasures development; and human performance optimization.

  • Elizabeth Vitalis

    Beth Vitalis joined Inscripta in 2019 to help stand-up Biosecurity for the company’s digital genome engineering platform. She and the company are committed to safe, responsible use of its technology and have prioritized a proactive strategy to identify and help prevent biorisk scenarios. Beth interacts with groups across the company to implement a multi-faceted biosecurity system and continually adapt it to an expanding range of genome engineering endeavors. She is enthusiastic to collaborate with the greater engineering biology community to ensure security of our advancing technologies. After obtaining her Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences at UC San Francisco, Beth joined Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California where she led or contributed to various government supported biorisk detection and characterization efforts. Her projects included standardized pathogen assays, microbe evolution, functional predictions, and synthetic biology risk assessment. She also has enjoyed graduate and undergrad biology teaching roles and participating in community science education events.

  • David Shepherd

    David Shepherd is a Program Manager for the Department of Homeland Security, in its Science and Technology Directorate. He manages projects that help DHS and the interagency understand threats and risks stemming from biological agents and related advances. His projects range from in-depth studies of threats to creating measures to mitigate those risks and threats, with emphasis on efforts to build intergovernmental awareness and understanding. Recently Mr. Shepherd has started projects to bring the government community and the commercial community closer together to build the collaborative means to address 21st century threats, including risks to the bioeconomy. He also manages the Hazard Knowledge Center within DHS S&T’s Probablistic Awareness of National Threats, Hazards and Risks (PANTHR) program, and is S&T’s liaison to the DOD’s Combatting Terrorism Technical Support Office. Mr. Shepherd has been a federal program manager working in threat and risk awareness and reduction for over two decades. He has degrees in electrical engineering, history, and telecommunications.

  • Lauren Junker

    Dr. Lauren Junker is an innovation scout for Industrial Biotechnology Research at BASF. She has been a leader in the Industrial Biotechnology research group at BASF for the past 7 years where her teams research focused on microbiome research for personal care, microbial control solutions for personal care and animal nutrition and fermentation process optimization.
    Interested in technologies and partners to accelerate Bioscience research at BASF in the areas of industrial biotechnology including industrial enzyme and biocatalyst engineering, strain engineering for bio-based chemical production, fermentation process optimization and microbiome research.

    Previous roles include serving as a microbiologist and clinical research scientist within Johnson & Johnson’s Consumer Products Division. She earned her Ph.D. in Microbiology from Cornell University and did a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Harvard Medical School where she conducted research on microbial biofilms. At BASF, Dr. Junker and her team of biotechnologists work together with BASF’s Beauty Care Solutions, Care Chemicals to provide efficacious solutions for skin health, focusing on microbiome benefits.

  • Becky Mackelprang

    Becky received her Ph.D. in Plant Biology in 2017 from UC Berkeley where she studied plant responses to bacterial and fungal pathogens. Interested in supporting science away from the bench, she completed a science communication postdoc with Dr. Peggy Lemaux and was an AAAS Mass Media Fellow at Ensia where she wrote about agriculture and biotechnology. She joined EBRC in 2019 as a postdoc supporting the Security Focus Area and has transitioned to a new role as EBRC’s Associate Director for Security Programs.

  • Rebecca Nugent

    Dr. Rebecca Nugent joined Twist Bioscience after spending many years in the biofuels and green chemicals industry. Dr. Nugent leads R&D teams at Twist Bioscience focused on the development of Synthetic Biology and Next-Generation Sequencing Target Enrichment (NGS TE) products. Dr. Rebecca Nugent received her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of Southern California, where she studied yeast genetics with an emphasis on genomic stability in Dr. Susan Forsburg’s lab. During her postdoctoral fellowship she developed life science tools through characterizing and engineering novel Restriction Enzymes at New England Biolabs.

  • Mike Fero

    Michael Fero is a Co-Founder and CEO of TeselaGen Biotechnology Inc., a San Francisco based software company that has built Synthetic Evolution® – the AI driven operating system for synthetic biology. Michael received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of California and contributed to the verification of the Standard Model at CERN and SLAC via the world’s most precise measurement of the Weinberg angle governing the coupling between the electromagnetic and weak interactions. Dr. Fero’s interest in biology led to a collaboration with Pat Brown and David Botstein at Stanford to build the world’s first human genome microarrays and do early research on expression level characterization of cancer cells. Dr. Fero then turned to systems biology where, in collaboration with Lucy Shapiro and Harley McAdams, he developed an automated high content diffraction limited microscopic screen of triply fluorescently tagged bacteria to better understand the bacterial cell cycle. Afterwards, Dr. Fero and two Stanford Shapiro/McAdams Lab colleagues started TeselaGen Biotechnology as a way to accelerate synthetic biology and the bio-based economy. Seeing a big deficiency in biologists’ ability to create what they imagine, TeselaGen focuses on making the mind to molecule process easier and faster with an AI driven, cloud-based enterprise platform for synthetic biology.

  • JL Clem Fortman

    Clem Fortman

    J. L. “Clem” Fortman is a synthetic biologist with a long standing interest in biodefense. He is currently a staff member at the EBRC, and was formerly a technical analyst for synthetic biology with ANSER providing support to the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Chemical and Biological Defense, where he previously served two years as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy Fellow. He is also a former Fellow with the Emerging Leader in Biosecurity Initiative at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Health Security. Clem is a classically trained microbial physiologist with a PhD in microbiology from the University of Minnesota. He spent 6 years as a postdoc in the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) Department of Chemical Engineering where he gained his expertise in synthetic biology. He is a founder of the introductory College-Level Experience in Microbiology (iCLEM) program at UCB, an educational outreach program for under resourced high school students, as well as Lygos, a San Francisco Bay area synthetic biology company. His career in biodefense was stimulated by his time as an enlisted man in the US Army where he served in a number of different roles including assistant Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Non-Commissioned Officer for the Headquarters and Service Battery of the 1st Battalion 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment.

  • Emily Aurand

    Emily Aurand

    Emily Aurand is the Director of Roadmapping and Education at EBRC and serves as the executive editor of EBRC’s technical research roadmaps, available at https://roadmap.ebrc.org. Emily also serves as the EBRC Industry Internship Program director.

    Prior to coming to EBRC, Emily was an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science & Technology Policy Fellow at the National Science Foundation. At NSF her work in the Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems (CBET) included evaluation and assessment of the Synthetic Biology and Biomanufacturing portfolios, collaboration on the strategic reorganization of CBET programmatic concentrations, and development and implementation of novel funding initiatives, in addition to serving as a subject matter expert (a biologist amongst engineers). During her AAAS fellowship, Emily also served as a co-chair of the fellows’ Science Diplomacy Affinity Group, which explores how science and technology cooperation can be used as a tool for diplomacy.

    Dr. Aurand received a B.S. in Biomedical Sciences from Colorado State University and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Colorado. She continued her academic training in Trieste, Italy with a neuroengineering post-doctoral fellowship at the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA). Her research experience spans the fields of developmental neurobiology, biomaterial development, and neural tissue engineering and biocompatibility.

    Emily is an United States Figure Skating Double Gold Medalist. In her free time, she likes to hike and practice yoga, dance in her kitchen while she cooks, and snuggle with her elderly cats. When she’s not traveling to convene with EBRC members and stakeholders, Emily lives and works in Fort Collins, Colorado.

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