President Haifa Ghandour, Ph.D.

Haifa holds a BSc. in Biology, MSc. and PhD. in Medical Sciences from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, and had completed postdoctoral trainings at the USDA-HNRCA of Tufts University and at the Pathology Department of Brigham’s and Women Hospital and Harvard Medical School.    Haifa scientific interest includes Precision Medicine and Molecular Diagnostics, and currently she is a Lead Scientist at Aldatu Biosciences, a startup company based at the Harvard Life Lab and focused on developing molecular diagnostics for HIV drug resistance in Sub-Saharan Africa.   Prior to Aldatu, Haifa was a Senior Principal Scientist/Group Leader at GnuBio, a startup company where she worked on developing NGS platforms and applications for cancer diagnostics.   Before her startups career, Haifa was a Senior Scientist at AMRI, a CRO in Seattle, where she led several integrated drug discovery programs aimed at identifying small molecules therapeutic targets.   Haifa has been involved with AWIS since 2007, she has served on both boards of MASS AWIS and Seattle AWIS.   She established the “Group Mentoring” program for the Seattle chapter in 2008 and chaired the Mentoring Committee.  At MASS AWIS, Haifa co-chaired the Sponsorship Committee since 2012, and served as a mentor for the MASS AWIS “Mentoring Circles” program.

Vice-President Diane Rigos, Ph.D.

Dr. Angeliki Diane Rigos is a scientist, educator, and consultant interested in working across disciplines to promote sustainable solutions to global problems. She is the Executive Director of the MIT Tata Center for Technology and Design.
Dr. Rigos began her career as a Principal Scientist at Physical Sciences Inc. where she worked on defense and energy contracts. She transitioned to an academic position as Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Merrimack College where she served as President of the Faculty Senate, Chair of her department, Director of Women’s Studies and Associate Director of the National Microscale Chemistry Center. She has taught courses in chemistry, women in science and sustainable energy at the undergraduate level and science and energy policy at the graduate level. Her areas of research have included corrosion studies of supercritical water oxidation reactors used to destroy military toxic waste, Brownian dynamics simulations of order-disorder transitions in sheared colloidal suspensions, modeling of diffusion controlled reactions and conformational interconversion in protein crystals.
For twelve years, she also worked as an energy consultant at Levitan & Associates, Inc. with a focus on power price forecasting, LNG, fuel cells, and renewable technologies including onshore / offshore wind and solar photovoltaics.
Dr. Rigos has been a visiting scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University and Northeastern University and has volunteered in startup accelerators, as an industry mentor in Cleantech Open and an industry champion at MassChallenge.
Dr. Rigos received a B.A. in Chemistry from Cornell University, a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an M.B.A. from Northeastern University and is an alumna of HERS Denver 2015.

Treasurer Krista Bledsoe, Ph.D.

Krista currently works at Cell Press as a scientific editor at both Cancer Cell and Molecular Cell. She holds a B.S. in biology from Chapman University and a Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology from Mayo Clinic where she studied transcription factor fusion genes in Ewing sarcoma and sinonasal sarcoma. Krista is new to Boston and joined MASS AWIS in 2019. Prior to that she lived in Philadelphia where she was an active member of AWIS PHL and served as the treasurer for several years.

Administrator Cheryl Murphy, Ph.D.

Cheryl currently works for PureTech Health, a biotech company focused on the crosstalk and biological processes associated with the brain, immune and gut axis. As Head of Grants Management and Strategy, she oversees the non-dilutive funding activities for PureTech’s internal and affiliate research programs and has helped raise and manage millions of dollars in grant awards from federal, state and foundation sources. Cheryl holds a BA in biology and chemistry from Williams College, and a PhD in microbiology from Duke University. Following a postdoctoral fellowship at Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Cheryl worked for several biotech companies, as well as the Broad Institute, in various roles including research, program management and business development. A member of AWIS for the past three years, Cheryl currently serves as administrator on the board of directors, and has volunteered as a mentor for the mentoring circle program. She and her husband have two adult children, and Cheryl enjoys singing, exercising, and entertaining friends in her spare time.

Outreach and Engagement Committee Co-Chair Cinzia Metallo, Ph.D.

Cinzia currently works in the Health Economics and Outcomes Research (HEOR) practice at Analysis Group, an economic, financial, and strategy consulting firm. She holds a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the Sackler School of Biomedical Sciences at Tufts University in Boston, MA. As part of her Ph.D. research, she developed a novel platform technology aimed at monitoring bioelectrical signals such as neural and muscle activity. Her academic background includes a Master’s Degree in Physics from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, TN. During her MS, she used X-ray and neutron diffraction to study superconductors. Cinzia has also entrepreneurial experience, having started a medical device company based on her Ph.D. research. In 2013, she won the Tufts $100K Business Plan Competition and, in 2014, she was selected to participate in MassChallenge, the world’s largest startup accelerator. She has been a Membership Committee member since February 2015 and she looks forward to further contributing to the MASS AWIS mission as chair of the Outreach & Engagement Committee.

Events Committee co-chair Siobhan McRee, Ph.D.

Siobhan is currently an Associate Scientist at Agios Pharmaceuticals doing rare genetic disease research and drug development. She has a Ph.D. in Genetics from Tufts University School of Medicine, and previously earned her B.S. in Environmental Toxicology from the University of California at Davis. During her graduate studies, Siobhan was active in a variety of organizations focused on mentoring and promoting women in STEM. In 2014, she co-founded the Tufts Mentoring Circles program, and in 2017 she helped start a Graduate Women in Science and Engineering (GWiSE) chapter at Tufts, for which she received the Tufts Presidential Award for Civic Life in 2018. She is also a founding member and former Media Director of New England GWiSE, a consortium of GWiSE groups at local graduate schools. Siobhan participated in the MASS AWIS Mentoring Circles Program in 2014 and 2015, and has volunteered on the AWIS Sponsorship Committee since late 2017. She is passionate about gender equity in the sciences, including enhancing diversity and inclusion, and is excited to further these efforts as an AWIS board member.

Events Committee Co-chair Sumbul Khan, Ph.D.

Sumbul received her Ph. D. in Biological Sciences and Bioengineering from the Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, India, where she studied the role of microenvironment in carcinogenesis and tumor formation. Subsequently, she pursued her postdoctoral work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in tissue regeneration after wounding. She is currently the Content Editor at Sci-Illustrate, which utilizes art to effectively communicate and generate excitement towards science. She moved to Boston in 2018 and started working for as a volunteer for the Events Committee, and the Outreach & Engagement Committee, and realized the impactful work it does in career development of women in science. Sumbul is committed to science outreach activities; to make scientific research relatable to the non-scientific community and to facilitate fellow women in STEM establish their successful careers.

Mentoring Committee Co-chair Elif Karaca, Ph.D.

Elif has been an international PhD student at University of Turin & Boston Children’s Hospital since 2014. She is trying to solve the drug resistance mechanism in one of the childhood lymphomas. Besides being a PhD student, she has been a lab manager in her lab for 4 years. She received her B.S in Molecular Biology from Anadolu University and M.S.  in Molecular Biology and Genetics & Biotechnology from Istanbul Technical University in Turkey. She moved to Boston in 2011 as a visiting scientist and later became a Research Assistant in Boston Children’s Hospital. Since 2017, she has been an active member and volunteer of MASS AWIS, focusing on the Mentoring Committee. Beyond her active lab life, Elif likes to crochet toys, reading and cooking.

Mentoring Committee Co-chair Rona Oran, Ph.D.

Rona holds a B.S. in Physics, M.S. in Planetary Science, and a PhD in Space Sciences and Scientific Computing. She is research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a member of the NASA mission to asteroid Psyche. Her research focuses on computational physics and space exploration, with an emphasis on modeling and data science of plasma dynamics and electromagnetic fields in space. Rona has been a member of MASS AWIS since 2016, when she first became a mentee herself in the Mentoring Circles Program. She joined the Mentoring Committee the following year, and became the committee’s co-chair in 2018. Rona is a strong proponent of mentorship at all levels, and engages in both peer-mentoring and student mentoring at MIT.

Mentoring Committee Co-chair Addy Alt-Holland, Ph.D.

Dr. Addy Alt-Holland is an Associate Professor in the Department of Endodontics at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in Boston, MA. Prior to that, she held positions of an Assistant Professor and a Research Associate at Tufts, and a Post-Doc scholar at SUNY at Stony Brook, NY. She earned her B.Sc., M.Sc., and Ph.D. degrees in Molecular and Cell Biology from Bar-Ilan University in Israel. Dr. Alt-Holland is a cancer researcher, a full-time faculty member and a head of a lab at Tufts. She collaborates with researchers and clinicians within Tufts and across the country. Addy mentors graduate and undergraduate students, is the director of several courses in her School and is a member of many School and University-wide committees. She has authored multiple scientific publications and presented her research at numerous national and international conferences. Dr. Alt-Holland is an active member of different scientific associations, including MASS AWIS. Since 2014, Addy has mentored 19 individuals through the Mentoring Circles Program and her Circles focus mainly on the specific needs of senior post-docs as they face critical decisions of the next steps in their academic careers. She volunteers in the Mentoring Circles Program Committee, and guided the 2018-2019 Fall Mentor-Training event.

Communications Committee Co-chair Maria Genco, Ph.D.

Maria is a senior market analyst at Decision Resources Group, a healthcare research and consulting company that provides healthcare business intelligence solutions to life science companies. Maria earned her PhD in Neuroscience from Brandeis University, where she did basic research on neuronal regulation using larval fruit flies. During graduate school, Maria pursued training opportunities in consulting, science communication (ComSciCon, the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science Bootcamp), and science policy (AAAS CASE workshop). In addition, Maria was active in organizations run by Brandeis graduate students that brought career and peer mentoring programming to campus. She was also on the organizing committee for the Future of Research (FoR) meetings from 2016-2017. Maria has been a volunteer photographer for MASS AWIS since 2015. Prior to graduate school, Maria worked as a research assistant at Harvard Medical School using zebrafish to study the role of hormonally active pollutants in development. She has a B.A. in neuroscience from Wellesley College. In her spare time, Maria loves to travel, cook, and salsa dance.

Communications Committee Co-chair Pauline Tan, Ph.D.

Pauline currently works as a Scientific Services Specialist for PerkinElmer. She holds a BS in Chemistry and Biochemistry and a PhD in Chemistry from The Ohio State University. As part of her PhD research, she used combinatorial chemistry methods to study novel protein-protein interactions in human cells. Additionally, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital where she used high throughput chemical screening to investigate novel ways to understand how disease alleles affect cellular pathways. She has been an active member of MASS AWIS and a volunteer for the Communications Committee for several years. During her free time, she enjoys yoga, traveling, cooking, and creating art.

Sponsorship Committee Co-chair Stephanie Bellinger, Ph.D.

Stephanie is a consultant in the biomedical and pharmaceutical industries with Safety Partners Inc. She holds a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Chemistry and a Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from the University of Massachusetts Boston. Integral to Stephanie’s scientific interest is promoting access and providing support to underrepresented groups in STEM fields through her involvement in Mass AWIS and Science Club for Girls. Stephanie has been an AWIS member since 2015 and an active member of the Sponsorship Committee since 2018. In her free time she is an avid knitter, bread baker, and proud mom of an 11 year old future scientist.

Sponsorship Committee Co-chair Xiaoxing Wang, Ph.D.

Xiaoxing is an Associate at Innosight, an innovation and strategy consulting firm, where Xiaoxing helps healthcare providers and pharmaceutical companies with their future growth strategy. Prior to Innosight, Xiaoxing worked at Decision Resource Group, a market research and healthcare consulting firm, focusing on pharmaceutical product and commercialization strategies. Previously, Xiaoxing did her postdoctoral fellowship at Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Broad Institute on identifying cancer drivers using functional genomics screening.Xiaoxing joined MASS AWIS Sponsorship Committee in 2016 and has been the co-chair since 2018.

Scholarship Committee Co-chair Alycia Bittner, Ph.D.

Alycia is a senior scientist at Addgene. Prior to joining Addgene, she was the Manager of Journal Writing and Review at JoVE and a postdoctoral associate at Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied how bacterial cells respond to environmental stress. She earned her PhD in molecular biology from the University of Pittsburgh. Her graduate work involved bacteria-plant symbioses and the role of the bacterial stress response in establishing these relationships. Alycia joined MASS AWIS in 2014 to participate in the mentoring program. She has volunteered with the Events-East committee since 2015. Alycia spends most of her free time with her husband chasing their toddler and attempts to read/travel/watch TV when she can.

Scholarship Committee Co-chair Lynes Torres, Ph.D.

Lynes is a Life Sciences Consultant Analyst at PA Consulting Group in Cambridge. Over the years, Lynes has become a strong advocate for connectivity within the Boston area scientific community, promoting networking initiatives, events and blogging. She received her B.S. in Biochemistry from Stonehill College in Easton, MA and her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Boston University. Prior to graduate school, Lynes was chemistry teacher and Director of Student Activities at Wilbraham & Monson Academy, a New England boarding school. She has been a member of MASS AWIS since 2013 and has spent those years serving on the Events East Committee where she helped drive creative, new event ideas and venues.

Leadership Committee Co-chair Diane Rigos, Ph.D.

Dr. Angeliki Diane Rigos is a scientist, educator, and consultant interested in working across disciplines to promote sustainable solutions to global problems. She is the Executive Director of the MIT Tata Center for Technology and Design.
Dr. Rigos began her career as a Principal Scientist at Physical Sciences Inc. where she worked on defense and energy contracts. She transitioned to an academic position as Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Merrimack College where she served as President of the Faculty Senate, Chair of her department, Director of Women’s Studies and Associate Director of the National Microscale Chemistry Center. She has taught courses in chemistry, women in science and sustainable energy at the undergraduate level and science and energy policy at the graduate level. Her areas of research have included corrosion studies of supercritical water oxidation reactors used to destroy military toxic waste, Brownian dynamics simulations of order-disorder transitions in sheared colloidal suspensions, modeling of diffusion controlled reactions and conformational interconversion in protein crystals.
For twelve years, she also worked as an energy consultant at Levitan & Associates, Inc. with a focus on power price forecasting, LNG, fuel cells, and renewable technologies including onshore / offshore wind and solar photovoltaics.
Dr. Rigos has been a visiting scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University and Northeastern University and has volunteered in startup accelerators, as an industry mentor in Cleantech Open and an industry champion at MassChallenge.
Dr. Rigos received a B.A. in Chemistry from Cornell University, a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an M.B.A. from Northeastern University and is an alumna of HERS Denver 2015.

Leadership Committee Co-chair Cheryl Vaughan, Ph.D., Ed. M.

Hailing from Wisconsin, Cheryl completed her undergraduate work at St. Norbert College in biology and chemistry with a minor in fine arts. She carried out Ph.D. research from 1992-1998 in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard University. From 1999-2000, she conducted post-doctoral research at the University of Valencia, Spain. In 2001, She launched her career in science education as a Preceptor in Molecular and Cellular Biology at Harvard, where she helped launch new courses in cell and molecular biology. In 2008, she was appointed Program Director for the ALM in Biotechnology at the Division of Continuing Education. During her time at DCE, she also earned her master’s degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, focusing on adult learning and development. Since 2014, she has been designing and delivering workshops and coaching sessions for scientists, engineers and clinicians, in both academic and industry settings.

Past President Karen Yee, Ph.D.

Karen is a Research Lab Manager/Medical Specialist II at MIT and oversees the operations and administration of an academic research laboratory. Previously, she was a Research Lab Manager at Harvard University, and Instructor and a post-doctoral fellow at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School. Karen obtained a B.A. degree with honors in biological science from Dartmouth College and a Ph.D. degree in molecular and cellular biology from University of Washington. Karen was involved in the Seattle chapter of AWIS while at the University of Washington and chaired the Scholarship Committee for two years as well as held many different positions on the AWIS-Seattle Chapter Board including Treasurer. She helped revive the Massachusetts chapter of AWIS in 2004 when she came to Boston to complete her post-doctoral fellowship. Since then she has participated in the chapter in various capacities including being the chair of the Leadership Workshop Committee, member of the Mentoring Committee, member of the Events Committee and chair of the Membership Committee. Karen was also Treasurer in 2012-2014, part of the 10th Anniversary Planning Committee in 2014 and was Co-Chair of the Sponsorship Committee in 2015-2016. When Karen is not in the lab, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Lewis, and her two daughters, Sofia and Athena.