Bioscience Career Day

Thursday, May 18, 2017
HSEB Alumni Hall, Room 2100

Program Schedule

7:30 - 7:45 am
Coffee and Registration
7:45 - 8:00 am
8:00 - 8:50 am



Academia Panel Discussion 

Timothy Dahlem - University Core

Sophie Caron - Lab

Naina Phadnis - Teacher

Bridget Todd Hughes - Administration

9:00 - 9:50 am



Law/Policy Panel Discussion

Paul Norton - Workman Nydegger

Hannah Gordon - Policy Work

10:00 - 10:50 am



Consulting Panel Discussion

Henok Eyob - Boston Consulting Group

Gregory Stoddard - Statistics

Dave Brown - SWCA Environmental Consulting

11:00 - 12:00 pm
mini Career Fair with morning panelists

Short talk by Francine Mehak

12:00 - 1:00 PM
1:00 - 5:50 pm



Writing and Communication Panel Discussion

Judith Neugebauer - K-12 science education (bioeyes)

Julie Kiefer - science blogging

2:00 - 2:50 pm



Government/Non-Profit Panel Discussion
Annalisa Vanhook - AAAS
Morgan Lerdahl - Manager, Program Implementation and Engagement, National MS Society
3:00 - 3:50 pm


Industry Panel Discussion

Lara Ionescu Silverman - Director of R&D DiscGenics

Mark Curran - VP Immunology Therapeutic Area, Janssen

Brenda Mann - VP of R&D EyeGate Pharmaceuticals

4:00 - 5:00 PM
Mini career fair with afternoon Panelists

Short talk by Francine Mahak

Organized by the Bioscience Career Day Committee

The University of Utah graduate programs in Molecular Biology and Biological Chemistry designed the Bioscience Career Symposium to provide an open forum in which graduate students and postdoctoral fellows can explore the wide range of career options available to Ph.D. life scientists. We appreciate the willingness of the invited professionals to share their perspectives and look forward to an enjoyable and educational Career Day.



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Naina Phadnis (Academia Panel)

Dr. Naina Phadnis is the Director of Undergraduate Studies and Assistant Professor Lecturer at the Department of Biology at the University of Utah. Trained in Microbiology from University of Pune in India, Dr. Phadnis received her PhD from the University of Rochester, NY studying mitochondrial DNA metabolism. She then did her post-doctoral research work with Dr. Gerry Smith at the Fred Hutchison Cancer research center in Seattle studying regulation of DNA breakage in meiotic cells. Dr. Phadnis joined the faculty at the biology department in 2013 and teaches Microbiology and Introductory Biology to undergraduates at the University of Utah. She also oversees the curriculum for the department of Biology and is currently working on reforming the freshman biology curriculum to include evidence-based teaching methods. Dr. Phadnis is particularly interested in the use of active teaching strategies to enhance learning in the classroom and also favors the use of technology-enhanced instruction in college biology teaching.

Sophie Caron (Academia Panel)

Dr. Sophie Caron studied biochemistry at the Université de Montréal in Québec, Canada and moved to New York City to pursue her graduate studies. There, she joined the laboratory of Alex Schier, first at New York University, and later, at Harvard University. During her thesis, Sophie studied the developmental mechanisms behind the diversification of sensory neurons in zebrafish. For her post-doc, Sophie returned to her beloved New York, to the laboratory of Richard Axel at Columbia University. Ever since, she has been studying how the fly brain uses and stores sensory information. As of fall 2015, Sophie is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Utah.

Tim Dahlem (Academia Panel)

Dr. Tim Dahlem is the director of the Mutation Generation and Detection Core Research Facility at the University of Utah School of Medicine. The core specializes in providing customized CRISPR-Cas9 and TALEN Engineered DNA Nucleases (EDNs) to induce targeted genomic modification. EDNs are cutting edge technology platforms that allow researchers to perform reverse genetic studies or make targeted genomic modifications in multiple model systems, including Zebrafish, Drosophila, C. elegans, Mice, mammalian tissue culture, and a host of other systems. The MGD Core was established in 2012 with the goal of making EDN technology easily accessible to all University of Utah researchers. To date the MGD Core has helped further the research of over 100 different laboratories around the world by providing more than 525 unique reagents that have been successfully used for genome modification. Currently, 85% of the CRISPR-Cas9 reagents the MGD Core has constructed have shown activity in their target model organism.

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Henok Eyob (Consulting Panel)

Henok is currently a Project Leader at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), New Jersey office, where he focuses on the healthcare and retail sectors. Prior to joining BCG, he was a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco.  Henok completed his PhD in Cancer Biology at the University of Utah, Huntsman Cancer Institute in the laboratory of Alana Welm and his undergraduate at the University of Asmara, Eritrea.

Gregory Stoddard (Consulting Panel)

Gregory J. Stoddard, MS, is a biostatistician and biostatistics consultant.  He is a Co-Director of the Study Design & Biostatistics Center at the University of Utah.  He holds adjunct faculty positions in both Orthopaedics and Family and Preventative Medicine, and has been published 150 times in medical journals.  He teaches several graduate level statistics courses.  He spent 10 years being part of a scientific “think tank” in industry.  Besides his position at the University, he consults for several medical devices companies nationally and internationally.  He began his consulting career as a sophomore and has been consulting professionally for 30 years. From this experience, he has gained insight for how to prepare for and succeed at consulting.

David Brown (Consulting Panel)

Mr. Brown is a native of Salt Lake City, Utah with over 15 years of professional environmental consulting experience working for SWCA Environmental Consultants. Prior to working at SWCA, Mr. Brown worked for Fred Phillips Consulting doing wetland and riparian restoration along the lower Colorado River including the ambitious 1,400-acre Yuma East Wetlands Restoration Project as well as several other restoration projects spearheaded by Mr. Phillips devotion to the river and his unique abilities to empower the surrounding community to actively embrace their stakeholder roles.

Prior to his professional consulting career, Mr. Brown worked as a river guide on commercial and science-based river trips in the Grand Canyon and throughout the Colorado Plateau. At the age of 15, Mr. Brown took his first Grand Canyon trip and from that point on, he was hooked. Starting in 1985, Mr. Brown primarily worked for Colorado River and Trail Expeditions until 2003 when he finished his graduate studies and started a family.

Mr. Brown attained a master’s degree in landscape architecture from Utah State University where his graduate work focused on river restoration. While earning his master’s degree, Mr. Brown emphasized his studies upon stream and riparian restoration. His education included a diverse range of topics including wetland mitigation, riparian ecology and management, fluvial geomorphology, regional planning, habitat modeling, wildlife planning, water law and policy, recreational design, aquatic biology, soil analysis, watershed analysis, and wetland science.

Currently Mr. Brown is the Natural Resources Program Director for SWCA’s Salt Lake City office and a senior project manager specializing in environmental permitting of linear projects, specifically long-haul high voltage electric transmission lines necessary to transmit renewable energy from generation sources to load centers. Mr. Brown’s experience includes project siting, technical engineering and design studies, federal, state, and local permitting, community outreach, landowner coordination, environmental compliance, mitigation planning and implementation, and environmental compliance. In his professional career, Mr. Brown has worked extensively on projects requiring compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act, Clean Water Act, National Historic Preservation Act, and Endangered Species Act.

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Judith Neugebauer (Communication/Writing Panel)

Judith Neugebauer, Ph.D. is the Program Manager and Outreach Educator of BioEYES Utah. Dr. Neugebauer received her B.S. from the University of California, Davis, and her Ph.D. from the University of Utah, Department of Neurobiology & Anatomy. Her research focus has been on the way cells receive and interpret signals to create unique cell identities throughout the development of vertebrate embryos. Prior to her work with BioEyes, Dr. Neugebauer taught Human Genetics and Principals of Genetics at Westminster College. As the Program Manager and educator of BioEYES Utah, Dr. Neugebauer uses zebrafish to teach K-12 students about science. She seeks to develop an innovative curriculum to encourage underrepresented students to enter STEM fields. Dr. Neugebauer’s current research focus is on students who have participated in a week of teaching from Project BioEYES, and the way this has affected their attitude towards science. Dr. Neugebauer’s goal is to understand how this transformative experience can be translated into other outreach programs.

Julie Keifer (Communication/Writing Panel)

“You helped me understand something that I didn’t think I could,” commented a reader of a story I had written about a field of esoteric research. That’s why I do what I do. I want to help people understand what science is, how it’s done, and why it makes a difference in our lives.

As manager of science communications at University of Utah Health, my team and I use multimedia to tell the stories of leading edge biomedical science that are changing lives, and raising the bar of what’s possible. After my PhD and postdoc, I was science writer for the journal Developmental Dynamics, wrote freelance, assembled websites and internal communications for the Brain Institute at the University of Utah, and co-founded a local science news source called Explore Utah Science. The road to where I am now wasn’t straight forward but each step has helped me develop a rich collection of skills and contacts that I value to this day.

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Morgan Lerdahl (Government/Non-Profit Panel)

Morgan Lerdahl is the Manager of Program Implementation and Engagement for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society where she plans, implements, and evaluates programs and services for people affected by MS in Utah and Southern Idaho. She graduated in April 2011 from Utah State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Education with an emphasis in Community Health. She continued her education at Utah State University and graduated with her Master of Health Promotion degree in December 2013. Morgan became a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) from the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. (NCHEC) in April 2011. She has used her skills as a health educator in various ways including providing Healthy Home education for parents and guardians, conducting HIV and STI testing and counseling in the corrections population, and health promotion for individuals living with chronic illnesses.

Lara Ionescu (Industry Panel)

Dr. Lara Ionescu Silverman is the Director of Research and Development at DiscGenics, Inc. She is a biomedical engineer specializing in orthopedics and tissue engineering. Most recently, she received her Doctorate in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. Concurrent with her studies, she worked at the UPenn Technology Transfer Office assisting with patenting novel inventions. Prior to graduate school, Dr. Silverman worked as a strategic and marketing consultant at Rosetta Inc. She received her Bachelors in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University in 2006.

Mark Curran (Industry Panel)

Mark Curran is Vice President of the Immunology Therapeutic Area for Janssen Pharmaceutical with Johnson & Johnson. Previously, he lead the strategy and implementation for immunology biomarker research and applications for Centocor prior to its acquisition by J&J. Mark was also the Director of Biomarker Biology for Bristol-Myers Squibb. Dr. Curran received a bachelors and masters in biology and biotechnology from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts and then completed a PhD and postdoc at the University of Utah School of Medicine where he focused on the contribution of cardiac ion channels to heart disorders.

Brenda Mann (Industry Panel)

Brenda K. Mann, PhD, is Vice President for Research & Development at EyeGate Pharmaceuticals, focused on ocular therapeutics and drug delivery. Dr. Mann holds a BS and PhD in chemical engineering from Iowa State University and Rice University, respectively. Dr. Mann is also a registered patent agent, and adjunct faculty in the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Utah. She co-founded SentrX Animal Care (veterinary biomaterials), where she was VP for R&D for 10 years, and Metis Therapeutics (biomaterials for women’s health). Dr. Mann was a founding faculty member of the Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences, and continues to serve on its Advisory Council. She also serves on the External Advisory Board for the Department of Bioengineering at the University of Louisville, and has volunteered as the Director of the Salt Lake Valley Science and Engineering Fair since 2006.

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Bioscience Career Day Committee


Alicia Eustes, Pathology Department, Weyrich Lab

Amanda Richards, Pathology Department, Mulvey Lab

Deeptha Vasudevan, Neurobiology & Anatomy, Dorsky Lab

Glenna Wallis, Pharmacology and Toxicology Department, Wilcox Lab

Jamie Gardiner, Oncological Sciences, Schiffman Lab

Nora Brown, Biology, Phadnis Lab

Yixuan Guo, Oncological Sciences, Cairns Lab


Special Thanks to:

Don Ayer, PhD, Molecular Biology Director

Michael Kay, MD PhD, Biological Chemistry Director

Elizabeth Loertscher, Bioscience PhD Programs Office

Kayla Hatch, Bioscience PhD Programs

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Last Updated: 5/24/18