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Dr. Andrew Lees, founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Fina Biosolutions, holds over 25 patents and is the author or co-author of more than 70 peer-reviewed papers. He holds a B.S. in Chemistry from Harvey Mudd College and a Ph.D. in Biophysics from The Johns Hopkins University. GlaxoSmithKline, the Serum Institute of India, the Chengdu Institute of Biological Products, and others all use conjugation chemistry (CDAP) developed by Dr. Lees in their S. pneumonia and meningococcal conjugate vaccines. He received the Johns Hopkins University Distinguished Alumni Award in 2019 for his efforts in making conjugate vaccines affordable for low-income countries.

Dr. Lees is also an associate professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Center for Vaccine Development, an affiliate at the University of Maryland Bioprocessing Scale-Up Facility, and an adjunct professor in the Department of Medicine at the Uniformed Services University. He teaches protein chromatography through the post-graduate level and is a frequent speaker on conjugation chemistry and biotech entrepreneurship. 

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Crystal R Icenhour, PhD, is one of the rising stars of American biotechnology. After more than 25 years in medical research and biotech, she was named founding CEO of Aperiomics, a company that harnesses the power of next-generation sequencing to identify any known pathogen (bacteria, virus, fungi or parasite) in a single test. Aperiomics is the only company of its kind and scope in the world. Throughout Dr.Icenhour’s career, she has demonstrated strong leadership in business and science and has dedicated herself to “bridging the translational gap between these two worlds.”

Dr. Icenhour is an expert in infectious disease diagnostics and her mission is to change the entire thinking about pathogen diagnosis. Up to 75% of infections are never accurately diagnosed, leaving millions of people suffering from chronic infection. Aperiomics, under her leadership, has developed a technology that identifies all known pathogens – every bacteria, parasite, virus, and fungus – from clinical samples in one test.

Dr. Icenhour holds two patents, has authored and co-authored numerous research articles and theses, and has been a prolific speaker and presenter at scientific conferences.  She has served on review panels for National Science Foundation and Environmental Protection Agency and National Institutes of Health Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants.  She is also an adjunct assistant professor at Duke University Medical Center’s Division of Infectious Diseases in their Department of Medicine.

Before Aperiomics, Dr. Icenhour was president and chief science officer for Phthisis Diagnostics in Charlottesville, VA, a research and development company focused on development of easy-to-use molecular diagnostics for intestinal parasites. While a postdoctoral fellow at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, she was the first to identify and characterize Pneumocystis melanins.

Dr. Icenhour serves as Chairman of VirginiaBIO and was chosen to participate in the SpringBoard Enterprises 2016 class of women-led companies.  She is a member of, Sigma Xi, Medical Mycology Society of the Americas, Association for Molecular Pathology, and the American Society for Microbiology. The Kauffman Foundation and Center recognized her as 2012 Entrepreneur of the Year.

Dr. Icenhour received her PhD in Pathobiology and Molecular Medicine from the University of Cincinnati Medical School of Graduate Studies in 2002.  She conducted postdoctoral research in the Thoracic Diseases Research Unit at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine from 2002-2005 and in the Department of Infectious Diseases at Duke University Medical Center from 2005-2006.  She has been involved in local and national postdoctoral associations including the Mayo Research Fellows Association Executive Committee (president), the Duke University Postdoctoral Association (chair of membership committee), and the National Postdoctoral Association (2008 chair).

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Recorded at the National Capital Consortium for Pediatric Device Innovation Competition in College Park in front of a live audience!

Laurie Strongin is Founder and CEO of the Washington, DC-based Hope for Henry Foundation which is reinventing the pediatric patient experience in hospitals around the country. Laurie’s work with Hope for Henry and the memoir she published, “Saving Henry,” have placed her at the forefront of supporting the rights of patients and their families and the responsible use of new medical technologies. Laurie’s advocacy has led her to service on the nation’s preeminent science policy and bioethics panels. Her activism has produced op-eds in national newspapers; appearances on television and radio; collaborations with Congressional leadership; and recognition from the White House. An in-demand inspirational speaker, Laurie has been featured as a People magazine “Heroes Among Us” and was the subject of profiles in the USA Today and the Washington Post and on Good Morning America. Laurie serves on the board of directors of the National Marrow Donor Program/Be the Match; on the Advisory Committee to Disney’s “Team of Heroes,” and on the Advisory Committee of the Association of Child Life Professionals. Learn more athttps://hopeforhenry.org/.

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President and CEO Rich Bendis sits down with industry leaders to talk about the forum and their views on the growth of the region.

In Part 1 his guests are John Trainer, VP and one of the partnering heads at AstraZeneca, Chris Frew, CEO of Workforce Genetics & President of BioBuzz Media, and Alex Philippidis, Senior Editor of Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News.

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A very interesting episode of BioTalk where Srujana Cherukuri, Ph.D. discusses her path from Intern to CEO and where the company is headed next

Before becoming CEO, Dr. Cherukuri served in multiple roles at Noble Life Sciences including Chief Operations Officer, Chief Scientific Officer, Vice President of Product Development and Operations, and Director of Scientific Affairs.  In her previous roles at Noble, Dr. Cherukuri was instrumental in optimizing new preclinical animal models and streamlining operations to achieve operational efficiency.  In addition, Dr. Cherukuri led the successful consolidation of Noble operations at the Spring Valley Laboratories site. Prior to joining Noble, Dr. Cherukuri held positions at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, National Cancer Institute and University of Maryland where she led projects focused on understanding the basic biology and mechanistic actions in cancer cells. Dr. Cherukuri has expertise in diverse areas of Biology and has 12+ years of research experience in the areas of oncology and stem cell biology.  Dr. Cherukuri completed her PhD in biology at Cleveland State University.

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BioTalk Host Rich Bendis sits down with Anne Lindblad, Ph.D., President, and CEO of Emmes, to discuss her view of the region, her history with the company, and their mission, vision, and values.

Anne Lindblad, Ph.D., joined Emmes in 1982 as a Biostatistician and is currently the President and CEO. She has supported clinical research throughout her career, serving as Principal Investigator of projects spanning diverse disease areas, including neurology, ophthalmology, oncology, dialysis, transplantation, speech and hearing, and dentistry. Dr. Lindblad has been an NIH reviewer on multiple project applications for NINDS, NEI, NICHD, NIDCR, NIDDK, and NCCAM and has served as a member or chair of several Data and Safety Monitoring Committees for NEI, NIAAA, NIDDK, and NINDS. She was a member of an Advisory Committee charged with drafting policy to shape the appropriate planning and conduct of intramural studies at NIH. She was elected to the Board of Directors for the Society for Clinical Trials (2003-2006) and served as Program Chair (2002), as an Officer (2006-2014), and as President (2012-2013). Dr. Lindblad was selected to serve on NIH’s National Advisory Dental and Craniofacial Research Council from 2004 through 2008. She has taught courses in best practices in clinical trial design and conduct for ophthalmologists, neurologists, and immunologists. She has published and presented over 100 manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals and conferences. Dr. Lindblad joined the Board of BioHealth Innovation in 2018.  Emmes has grown from 15 employees in 1982 to over 650 globally. In 2019 Emmes announced a significant investment by Behrman Capital which will allow Emmes to gain access to new tools, talent, service offerings, and expanded footprint faster than what Emmes might otherwise have accomplished.

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Charles Andres, Ph.D., RAC, is an associate in the Washington, D.C., office of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. He focuses on patent prosecution, strategic patent counseling, IP due diligence, drug and medical device FDA regulatory counseling, invalidity and non-infringement opinions, life-cycle management, Supreme Court and Federal Circuit amicus briefs, and related business matters.Charles Andres, Ph.D., RAC, is an associate in the Washington, D.C., office of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. He focuses on patent prosecution, strategic patent counseling, IP due diligence, drug and medical device FDA regulatory counseling, invalidity and non-infringement opinions, life-cycle management, Supreme Court and Federal Circuit amicus briefs, and related business matters.

Charlie has significant experience drafting patent applications, prosecuting patent applications in the U.S. and abroad, and evaluating the claims of issued patents. He has won cases before the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences by brief and on oral argument. Patents Charlie has obtained have been listed in the Orange Book and asserted against a generic pharmaceutical manufacturer, and he has drafted and filed multiple applications for patent term extension. Companies he has obtained patents for have been sold for a cumulative total of approximately $4 billion.

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Dr. Julia Finkel, Pediatric Anesthesiologist, Children's National Medical Center, joins Biotalk host Rich Bendis to discuss pain care management, the founding of startup AlgometRx, and the funding of this new companyDr. Julia Finkel, Pediatric Anesthesiologist, Children's National Medical Center, joins Biotalk host Rich Bendis to discuss pain care management, the founding of startup AlgometRx, and the funding of this new company.

Julia Finkel, M.D., is a pediatric anesthesiologist and director Pain Medicine Research and Development in the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation.

Dr. Finkel has extensive experience designing and conducting clinical trials relating to analgesics in children and has received both industry and federal funding of her research. Dr. Finkel is regularly invited to speak at national meetings on topics related to pediatric pain management.

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William E. Bentley is the Robert E. Fischell Distinguished Chair of Engineering and the Inaugural Director of the Robert E. Fischell Institute for Biomedical Devices. He is appointed in the Fischell Department of Bioengineering as well as the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park and the Institute for Bioscience and Biotechnology Research. At Maryland since 1989, Dr. Bentley has focused his research on the development of molecular tools that facilitate the expression of biologically active proteins and on materials incorporated into biomedical devices, having authored over 300 related archival publications

He is a fellow of AAAS, ACS, AIMBE, and the American Academy of Microbiology. He has served on advisory committees for the NIH, NSF, DOD, DOE, FDA, USDA, and several state agencies and has mentored over 40 PhDs and 25 postdocs, many now in leadership roles within industry (24), federal agencies (5) and academia (26). He co-founded a protein manufacturing company, Chesapeake PERL, based on insect larvae as mini bioreactors.

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Emily English, CEO of Gemstone Biotherapeutics sits down with BioTalk host Rich Bendis to discuss company's history, the path to her role, and the evolution of their technology.

Emily English, CEO of Gemstone Biotherapeutics sits down with BioTalk host Rich Bendis to discuss company's history, the path to her role, and the evolution of their technology. Emily P. English, Ph.D., is the Chief Executive Officer of Gemstone Biotherapeutics, LLC. Dr. English is a proven innovator and manager with a passion for transitioning early-stage technologies to operational capabilities and commercial products. In her current role, she is guiding the commercialization of Gemstone’s innovative biomaterials technology, with a goal of bringing solutions for scar-free skin regeneration to market. Prior to joining Gemstone, Dr. English spent eight years at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, where she was the Global Communications Program Manager and led a team of 35 scientists and engineers. She holds a Bachelor’s degree, Magna cum laude, in chemistry from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Outside of work, Dr. English enjoys spending time with her family, and she is an avid curler.

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Correction: This story originally published on 10/16 included a 2nd paragraph referencing a previous guest of BioTalk and not Monica Lopez, PhD

La Petite Noiseuse Productions Co-Founder and Executive Scientific & Artistic Director Monica Lopez, Ph.D. joins BioTalk Host Rich Bendis to discuss her career path, their consulting services, science-art integration, multidisciplinary thinking and doing in healthcare, and STEM-STEAMM education for workplace challenges of the future.

Dr. Lopez is a multilingual cognitive scientist, educator, entrepreneur, multidisciplinary artist, public speaker, and writer. At her company, Dr. Lopez leads a unique R&D program within creativity and human intelligence with the goal of advancing artificial intelligence. The result has been a novel model that merges the cognitive brain sciences with the arts, and forms the basis of the company’s consulting services in different industries (healthcare, autonomous systems, education, entertainment, and cyber) with clients from Boston, New York, and San Francisco and Europe (France, Belgium, Austria, United Kingdom, Italy, and Germany). To prepare leaders for the challenges of tomorrow, Dr. Lopez has created since 2009, as faculty at Johns Hopkins University and Peabody Institute, a STEAMM education platform. Prior to co-founding her company, she worked in business development, product evaluation, marketing, communications, and strategic partnering in various languages. Dr. Lopez is a frequent keynote and plenary speaker and panelist at international and national venues. She holds BA degrees in Psychology and French, and a MA and PhD in Cognitive Science, all from Johns Hopkins University, a Certificate of Art in Photography from Maryland Institute College of Art, and was a postdoctoral fellow at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Dr. Lopez has been recognized as a "particularly imaginative polymath" by the Imagination Institute of the University of Pennsylvania's Positive Psychology Center. She has been a Salzburg Global Seminar Fellow and distinguished guest with their Board of Directors.

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In this episode of BioTalk, Rich Bendis and guest Brian Darmody discuss growth across the region, the battle for talent and the upcoming AURP International Conference hosted in College Park.

Brian Darmody is responsible for developing projects, funding opportunities, and policies to support partnerships with the private sector. Previously he was the University's  Associate Vice President for Research and Development, Director of the University of Maryland Center for Applied Policy Studies, Director of State and Federal Relations in the UMD President's Office, and served in the  University's legal counsel's office. He serves on national and state boards, including Maryland Technology Council Executive Board, Fraunhofer USA, the Maryland Economic Development Association and is past President of the Association of University Research Parks.He has served on the staff for the U.S. House of Representatives, the U.S. Health Care Financing Administration Office of Attorney-Advisor, and the Maryland General Assembly. He holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland and Juris Doctor from the University of Baltimore.

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Jeff Gallagher, CEO of Virginia Bio sits down with BioTalk host Rich Bendis to discuss accomplishments, challenges, and initiatives in his state and the BioHealth Capital Region.

Jeff is responsible for leading the premier statewide trade group that promotes the considerable scientific and economic impact of the life sciences industry in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Prior to taking on the leadership of Virginia Bio in May 2012, Jeff was a co-founder and served as VP & General Counsel for Lyotropic Therapeutics. This small specialty pharma company used its proprietary formulation technology to create new drug products based on both NCIs and already approved API for license, further development and commercialization by mid and large pharma. Previously he practiced corporate law in Richmond, focusing on new technology company formation, international business and intellectual property transactions. He was a co-founder and longtime Chairman of the Richmond based nonprofit World Pediatric Project. He holds an A.B. in Government from Harvard, a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School, and an LL.M in Public International Law from the University of Virginia School of Law. He resides with his family in the Ginter Park area of Richmond, VA.

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Dr. Bill Hearl is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Immunomic Therapeutics, Inc. (“ITI”).  He is an experienced and successful scientific businessman and bio-entrepreneur, having founded both ITI and formerly Capital Genomix in 2000.   Dr. Hearl has moved ITI steadily forward from an initial license agreement with the Geron Corporation in 2006 to an animal health license in 2012 and then most recently to two license deals with Astellas Pharma for the treatment of allergies, one for Japanese red cedar and a second global allergy license.  The second deal brought ITI an upfront payment of $300,000,000 and established the Company as one of the leading entities in nucleic acid research.   Dr. Hearl funded the Company by following a strategy of seeking a series of angel investment rounds which raised in aggregate over $12 million to drive the development of its allergy products.   Prior to founding ITI and Capital Genomix, he was a senior executive at Kirkegaard & Perry Labs and then held various R&D positions at Life Technologies and Pharmacia.   Dr. Hearl holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Tennessee (Oak Ridge & Knoxville) and holds multiple patents in the field of gene immunization.

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