ASBMB Virtual Career Expo
The ASBMB Career Expo highlights the diversity of career choices available to modern biomedical researchers. No matter your career stage, this virtual event will provide a plethora of career options for you to explore and connect you with knowledgeable professionals in these careers.
Each 60-minute session will focus on a different career path and will feature breakout rooms with a range of professionals in those paths. Attendees can choose to meet in a small group with a single professional for the entire session or move freely between breakout rooms to sample advice from multiple professionals.
Sessions will feature the following five sectors: government, science communication, science and health policy, pharma and biotech.
Government careers (11 a.m. – 12 p.m. Eastern)
Patricia Gonzales Hurtado
Scientific Review Officer, National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases
Patricia Gonzales Hurtado is a Quechua/Bolivian American chemical engineer. She earned a bachelor’s degree and doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of Maryland, College Park. She completed her postdoctoral training in malaria research at the Laboratory of Malaria Immunology and Vaccinology at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. After nine years as a staff scientist, she became a scientific review officer for the institute.
Research Molecular Biologist, U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service
Johanna Lemons has been a researcher with the USDA's Agricultural Research Service since January 2021. Her research focuses on elucidating the effect of food nutrients and gut microbial metabolites on the cells of the gastrointestinal tract. Before working at the USDA, she worked as a quality control microbiologist at a vitamin company and a postdoctoral researcher investigating mitochondrial proteins in yeast. She earned her graduate degree in chemistry from Princeton University for work that used targeted metabolomics to investigate the differences between proliferating and quiescent human fibroblasts.
Scientist–Investigator, Department of Health & Human Services Office of Research Integrity
Chad McCormick earned a bachelor’s in biochemistry and molecular biology and a bachelor’s in philosophy from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He earned his Ph.D. in molecular biophysics and biochemistry at Yale University, where he studied the mechanisms of cell division. He pursued postdoctoral work at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, where he studied mechanisms of diabetes in murine and human tissue samples. McCormick began his career in research integrity at the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, where he became the data integrity manager charged with journal quality control. McCormick is currently a scientist–investigator with the Office of Research Integrity in the Department of Health and Human Services, where he reviews cases of alleged research misconduct involving Public Health Service funds.
Kristin L. McNally
Scientific Review Officer, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Kristin L. McNally earned a Ph.D. in cell and molecular biology from Michigan State University, where she worked on specialized DNA polymerases with respect to cancer. McNally joined Rocky Mountain Laboratories, part of the intramural NIAID, as a postdoc and studied prion diseases. She then moved to the Laboratory of Virology in 2009 and studied emerging viruses as a research fellow. She took a technician position in 2013, which allowed her to get trained to do biosafety level 4 work. While at RML, she’s been recognized with awards, deployed to the Ebola outbreak in Liberia in 2014 to process human samples, managed the BSL-3 laboratory and won an embassy science fellowship to go to Baku, Azerbaijan, through the U.S. Department of State. She became a scientific review officer in 2022.
Science and health policy careers (12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. Eastern)
Executive Director, STEM Education Coalition
James Brown is the executive director of the STEM Education Coalition. Before joining the coalition, he was director of advocacy at the American Chemical Society. A nuclear engineer by training, he previously worked as a legislative aide for U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings of Washington, was director of policy and development at the Consumer Energy Council of America, and began his career as an engineer with Newport News Shipbuilding, working on aircraft carrier construction. He earned a bachelor’s from the University of New Mexico and a master’s from Penn State, both in nuclear engineering. He also earned an MBA from George Washington University.
Associate Principal Scientist, Merck
Taruja Karmarkar is an associate principal scientist at the Center for Observational and Real-World Evidence supporting Merck’s cardiovascular/metabolic product line. She leads observational research to support the value proposition of various products and supports cross-functional strategic discussions for programs in development in the cardiovascular therapeutic area. She first joined Merck in 2020 on the policy evidence research team and in that role led research and cross-functional efforts focused on patient access, affordability and U.S. value assessment framework evolution. Before Merck, she was a postdoctoral fellow in health policy with the National Pharmaceutical Council and Duke–Margolis Center for Health Policy. She holds a master’s of health sciences and a Ph.D. in health economics and policy from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a bachelor’s in economics from New York University.
Principal, Lewis–Burke Associates LLC
Nicole Parker leads advocacy efforts for Lewis–Burke’s biomedical research portfolio in areas concerning federal research policy, biomedical research workforce policy and health care policy, with a focus on the National Institutes of Health and other grantmaking agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services. Parker started her journey in science policy when she was awarded the Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Graduate Fellowship at The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine while in graduate school. During her fellowship, she worked with the Board on Higher Education and Workforce and focused on efforts to improve graduate STEM training and the support of women in STEM. After obtaining her Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology at Johns Hopkins University, she served as a science policy analyst at Ripple Effect, a management consulting firm that provides professional consulting services for federal, private and nonprofit clients.
Director, Center for Strategic Philanthropy, Milken Institute
Daniel Pham is a director at the Milken Institute Center for Strategic Philanthropy. He utilizes his expertise in scientific research, neuroscience, science policy, communication and advocacy to advise philanthropic partners on opportunities to make the biggest impact in various fields of science and health. Pham is also a program director of Breakthrough Discoveries for Thriving with Bipolar Disorder, a funder collaborative to accelerate bipolar disorder research and care. Before joining Milken, Pham worked in science advocacy and policy as the public affairs manager at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, as well as a science policy fellow at Research!America. He earned his bachelor’s degree in neuroscience from UCLA and a doctorate in neuroscience from Johns Hopkins University.
Science communication careers (1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Eastern)
Communications Manager, National Cancer Institute
Brian Davis joined the National Cancer Institute’s Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities in 2019, first as senior health communications specialist and subsequently as communications manager. The center works to reduce cancer disparities and enhance the diversity of the cancer research workforce. In addition, he serves as the communications point of contact for the National Institutes of Health-wide Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation program. Before his time with NCI, Davis worked for nearly three years at the American College of Gastroenterology, where he was director of media relations and managing editor and senior writer for the college’s magazine. From 2008 to 2016, Davis held several communications and publications positions at the American Health Law Association. Davis graduated from the University of South Carolina. He now lives in Maryland with his wife and two children.
Freelance science journalist
Sam Jones is the executive producer and co-host of the science podcast Tiny Matters. She's also a freelance journalist, fact-checker and occasional copywriter. Jones has written for outlets like The New York Times, The Washington Post, Scientific American, New Scientist and Nature. She is the current president of the D.C. Science Writers Association and, in 2018, completed her Ph.D. in biomedical science at the University of California San Diego.
Medical Editor, Mayo Clinic
June Oshiro is a biomedical editor and consultant at Mayo Clinic. A former molecular biologist, she earned a bachelor’s from the University of Chicago, a master’s from Rutgers University and a Ph.D. from Rutgers University and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. As an editor at an academic medical institution, she primarily works with clinicians and basic scientists who request help with preparing their research articles for submission to peer-reviewed journals. Many clients are early-career clinicians who are naive about writing for publication and/or are nonnative English writers. Oshiro is a member of the American Medical Writers Association and has presented talks and a workshop at their annual conference. She is also a member of the Board of Editors in the Life Sciences and Council of Science Editors. Her research interests include barriers to scholarly productivity.
Scientific Editor, Cell Press
Min-Yu Sun is a scientific editor at Cell Reports, an open-access Cell Press journal that publishes research across the entire life sciences spectrum. Min-Yu has 15-plus years of neuroscience research experience. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of California–Riverside and completed postdoctoral training at Washington University in St. Louis, where she focused on applying chemogenetics and electrophysiology to study neurotransmitter receptor function in brain health and diseases.
During her time at WashU, she served as a review editor for Frontiers in Neuroscience and Pharmacology. She was also a member of InPrint, a scientific editing network at WashU, offering to edit manuscripts for the WashU community. In 2020, she started her first editorial position at STAR Protocols, an open-access protocols journal at Cell Press and then transitioned to the Cell Reports editorial team in 2023. Her major responsibilities include handling manuscripts, recruiting papers for submission and participating in community outreach.
Industry careers — Pharma (2:45 p.m. – 3:45 p.m. Eastern)
Scientist, Bristol Myers Squibb
Brianne Dudiak is a scientist working in small-molecule drug discovery at Bristol Myers Squibb. She earned a bachelor’s in chemistry and biochemistry/molecular Biology from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, in 2016. She conducted her Ph.D. studies at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, where she implemented enzyme-focused approaches to explore new drug targets in bacterial pathogenesis. After defending her Ph.D. in 2021, she began her position at Bristol Myers Squibb in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In this role, she develops biochemical assays to drive structure-activity relationships and elucidate mechanisms of action for small molecule inhibitors. She also performs protein expression and purification to generate specialty protein substrates and conjugates. Outside of work, Dudiak enjoys playing and listening to music, watching sports (especially the Pittsburgh Steelers and Duke basketball) and traveling.
Principal Medical Writer, AbbVie
Matthew Eckwahl is a principal medical writer at AbbVie. In this role, he is responsible for the writing and scientific accuracy of congress presentations and manuscripts, coordinating with cross-functional internal teams and key opinion leaders outside the company to plan and develop publication projects in the field of rheumatology. Previously, he was an associate program officer at the Walder Foundation. Eckwahl helped develop, manage and evaluate programs in the foundation’s science innovation portfolio. During the pandemic, his work centered on launching the Chicago Coronavirus Assessment Network, a multimillion-dollar funding initiative for COVID-19 research. Eckwahl completed his postdoc at the University of Chicago in 2019 and earned a Ph.D. in cell biology at Yale University in 2016.
Associate Principal Scientist, Merck
Ken Hallenbeck earned his Ph.D. from the University of California, San Francisco, and then began his industry career as a researcher at Genentech in South San Francisco. After working on an mRNA display peptide discovery platform for nearly four years, he joined a biotech startup in New Hampshire. Two years later, he joined Merck, where he now leads a team of scientists discovering peptide drugs for the company’s therapeutic pipeline.
Global Oncology Marketing, AstraZeneca
MaKendra Umstead is passionate about making an impact on human health. By combining scientific expertise, business acumen and endless curiosity, she is committed to bringing new therapies to patients in need across the globe. Umstead is a global associate marketing director at AstraZeneca, where she works to build commercialization strategies for new products in the oncology portfolio. Throughout her career, she has supported the successful launch of two new therapies across four different indications, while working on global teams and local teams in the U.S. and Italy.
Umstead earned her Ph.D. in cancer biology from Emory University and a bachelor’s in pharmaceutical sciences from North Carolina Central University. Outside of work, she enjoys trying delicious cuisines, burning off calories with dance aerobics, and embarking on new travel experiences. She is committed to blazing trails for the next generation to realize their full potential in STEM.
Industry careers — Biotech (4 p.m. – 5 p.m. Eastern)
Senior Director of Research and Development, Metabolon
Annie Evans is the head of research and development for the discovery and targeted metabolomics and lipidomics technologies at Metabolon Inc, where she has been working for over 19 years. The metabolomics and lipidomics methodologies developed under Evans have been the analytical basis for many thousands of commercial and academic metabolomics and lipidomics studies from over 800 institutions worldwide since 2004. She has over 30 publications covering analytical methodology as well as informatics, data processing requirements, quality management and approaches for global profiling metabolomics and lipidomics workflows directed toward precision medicine applications. Evans received her Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Virginia, where her research was focused on mass spectrometry-based proteomics in the areas of immuno-oncology and Type 1 diabetes with Donald Hunt. Currently, her research is focused on further developing Metabolon’s metabolomics and lipidomics technologies as well as investigating new technologies to be able to support further initiatives into large human cohort studies to study human health while also making metabolomics and lipidomics technologies precise and robust enough to study individual patient health (precision medicine).
Senior Scientist, Genentech
Ti'ara Griffen is a native of Memphis and aspires to improve cancer treatment and outcomes throughout her career. She pursued this goal by acquiring her B.S. in Biology from Middle Tennessee State University and her Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from Morehouse School of Medicine. She is currently a senior scientist in Genentech’s Drug Development Training Program. She has experience in oncology clinical trial biomarker strategy planning and the computational analysis of cancer progression mechanisms and clinical outcomes in hematological and solid tumors.
Scientist, Cayman Chemical
A native of Costa Rica, Alfredo Guerra moved to the U.S. to pursue a Ph.D. in biological chemistry at Indiana University. Guerra then moved to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, shifting fields from metals in biology to the biochemical pathways of lipoylation in malaria parasites. Guerra then moved to Ann Arbor to continue studying apicomplexan parasites, though this time in Toxoplasma gondii. After a short stint as a research track faculty member, Guerra moved from academia to the private sector, now working broadly in protein biochemistry both for internal projects as well as external projects with clients. Guerra’s current role is at the interface of laboratory science and client relations.
Senior Research Scientist, Vertex Pharmaceuticals
Mehak Gupta is a senior scientist at Vertex Pharmaceuticals in Boston. She is responsible for establishing plasmid production workflow at mid to large scale for AAV research. She has also worked on the production of dsRNA to be used as biopesticide and mRNA for vaccines.
Regulatory Affairs Manager, Thermo Fisher Scientific
Lindsay Pomykala Kleinwaks is an accomplished manager in regulatory affairs with an extensive background in navigating the intricacies of regulatory compliance. As a manager at Thermo Fisher Scientific since November 2020, she has developed a profound understanding of U.S., Europe (IVDD and IVDR), Australian and Canadian regulations, particularly in the in vitro diagnostic space. Her experience spans working with Class III companion diagnostics at various stages of product development, drafting submissions for the U.S. FDA and international regulatory authorities and collaborating with global cross-departmental teams to strategize and optimize regulatory approvals.
Before her role at Thermo Fisher, Kleinwaks worked as a senior regulatory associate and regulatory associate at MCRA LLC, where she honed her expertise in FDA regulations, submissions and regulatory strategies for medical products. She holds a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from Drexel University College of Medicine and has a strong research background, contributing significantly to mosquito-borne parasite metabolism studies. Lindsay is a Regulatory Affairs Professional Society member and holds a Regulatory Affairs Certification for U.S. Drugs and Devices.
Interested in sponsoring this event? Learn about available options
Sign up for email updates about this event