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.

Vice-President 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.

Vice-President 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.

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 Laurie Burlingame, J.D., M.B.A., M.A.

Laurie Burlingame is a partner in the firm’s nationally recognized Life Sciences Practice Group. She represents private and public companies across the spectrum of the life sciences industry, including pharmaceuticals, medical devices, diagnostics and biological materials. Ms. Burlingame also represents leading venture capital firms focused on the life sciences industry in connection with their portfolio company investments.

Ms. Burlingame often serves as outside general counsel to her clients, closely advising management teams and boards of directors on a wide variety of matters throughout the company’s life cycle, including formation and founder issues, venture capital financings, public offerings, mergers and acquisitions, licensing transactions, strategic collaborations, commercial transactions, corporate governance and other general corporate matters.

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

Cinzia is a consultant at Lux Research, where she helps clients from a wide range of industries with strategic planning and market and opportunity assessment. Prior to that, she worked in the health economics practice at Analysis Group, an economic and strategy consulting firm. She holds a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Tufts University, where she focused on neuromechanics, and a Master’s Degree in Physics from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where she focused on superconductivity. Cinzia has also entrepreneurial experience, having started a medical device company based on her Ph.D. research, after winning the Tufts $100K Business Plan Competition in 2013. She has been a MASS AWIS member for many years and she looks forward to further contributing to the MASS AWIS mission as chair of the Outreach & Engagement Committee.

Outreach and Engagement Committee Co-Chair Ana Bozas, Ph.D.

Ana is currently Associate Director of Medical Communications at Akcea Therapeutics, a small rare disease biotech. Previously, she worked for Sanofi and Akcea Therapeutics in the medical publications function and Analysis Group as a medical writer for the HEOR consulting arm. Ana graduated from the University of Utah with a PhD in biochemistry, followed by a postdoc fellowship on adult stem cells at the Boston Biomedical Research Institute. Ana has been MASS-AWIS member since 2012, AMWA member since 2014, and an ISMPP member and certified as medical publication professional (CMPP) since 2016. She is also active in the local career mentoring scene, through MASS-AWIS and MGHPA.

Events Committee Co-chair Paromita Gupta, Ph.D.

Paromita moved to the United States in 2009 to pursue her PhD. in Developmental Genetics from St John’s University, New York. Paromita holds a BS in Biotechnology and an MS in Biomedical Sciences from Delhi University, India. She currently works as a Senior Technical Assistant at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research in Cambridge, MA where her research focuses on using a novel chemical probing method coupled with NGS to study RNA structure in living cells. She first joined MASS AWIS in 2018 as a mentor for the mentor-mentee program. In 2019, she joined the Events committee as a volunteer and subsequently became the Co-chair for the Events committee. In her free time, she loves swimming, listening to music, working out and trying out new dance classes.

Events Committee Co-chair Keerthana Subramanian

Keerthana is an Associate at Sarepta Therapeutics where she works in the Gene Therapy Process Development group. Prior to Sarepta Therapeutics, she worked at Takeda Vaccines and was a part of the Drug Product group. She earned her Bachelors in Chemistry from University of Minnesota- Twin Cities in 2014 and went on to get her Masters in Engineering Management and Chemical Engineering from Northeastern University. Keerthana has been a member of MASS AWIS since 2018 and stepped up to the Events Co-Chair position in 2019. She is passionate about creating platforms that have powerful impact in her community and she believes MASS AWIS provides an incredible network for women in STEM. Keerthana is an avid reader, loves listening to music and enjoys yoga.

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 Lauren Fitch, Ph.D.

Lauren Fitch is a Bioinformatics Scientist at Zymergen, a synthetic biology company that produces “impossible molecules” by engineering microbes and proteins. She received her BS in Biology from Boston University in 2010 and her PhD in Biology from Northeastern University in 2015. Lauren has been involved with Mass AWIS since 2013, when she was a mentee. Since then, Lauren has served as a mentor for two years, and on the Mentoring Program Committee for one year as a volunteer.

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

Maria is a business development analyst at Addgene, a non-profit devoted to accelerating research and discovery by improving access to useful research materials and information. 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 is a Senior Scientific Services Specialist at PerkinElmer. She holds a B.S. in Chemistry and Biochemistry and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from The Ohio State University. As part of her Ph.D. 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 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.

Sponsorship Committee Co-chair Sunita Setlur, Ph.D.

Sunita is currently a Principal Investigator at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. and Harvard Medical School The focus of her research lab is to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying cancer development and progression. She obtained her doctoral degree from Indian Institute of Science, India and completed her postdoctoral training at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston. During her free time, she likes to do yoga, hike and spend time with her two daughters.

Scholarship Committee Co-chair Alisa Zhilin-Roth

Alisa is a cancer researcher working on completing her PhD in Molecular, Cellular, and Organismal Biology (MCOB) at the Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy (CPCT) at UMass Boston. Her research focuses on renal (kidney) cancer (RCC) and how a molecule secreted from the immune system promotes its aggressiveness and spread. Alisa has a bachelor degree in Biology from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology and a Masters focusing on breast cancer metastasis from the Department of Human Biology and Medical Sciences, University of Haifa, Israel. Alisa joined AWIS in 2019 and at the same year started volunteering in the Scholarship committee. In her free time, Alisa enjoys nature hikes, kayaking and camping with her husband.

Scholarship Committee Co-chair Elizabeth Fiore, Ph.D.

Beth received her PhD from Washington University in St. Louis in 2015, where she studied host-pathogen interactions between the host immune system and the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. She moved to Boston in 2015, to do her postdoctoral research in the mechanisms of antibiotic resistance in Enterococcus faecalis. During her postdoc she also served as a Teaching Fellow and Adjunct Professor at Harvard and Emmanuel College. Most recently, Beth worked as a Senior Scientist developing diagnostics for antibiotic resistant infections. Beth has volunteered with the AWIS Scholarship committee and participated in the AWIS mentoring circle in 2017-2018 session. Beth loves to knit, travel, ski and is perfecting her chalk art and bubble blowing with her toddler.

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 Haifa Ghandour, Ph.D.

Haifa holds a BSc. in Biology, MSc. and PhD. in Medical Sciences from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. After earning three degrees at the Technion, Haifa moved to the United States to complete postdoctoral trainings at the Human Nutrition Research Center of Tufts University and at the Pathology Department of Brigham’s and Women Hospital and Harvard Medical School.  Haifa’s recent scientific interest includes Precision Medicine and Molecular Diagnostic, and currently she is a Lead Scientist at Aldatu Biosciences, a startup company focused on developing molecular diagnostics for HIV drug resistance in Sub-Saharan Africa, and recently pivoted to develop Covid-19 diagnostic to support the eminent need for SARS-CoV-2 testing.   Prior to Aldatu, Haifa was a Senior Principal Scientist and Group Leader at GnuBio, a startup company where she worked on developing Next Generation Sequencing 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, served as a mentor for the MASS AWIS “Mentoring Circles” program, and as a President of MASS AWIS she established the “Leadership Program” in 2018.  Haifa is very passionate about helping and mentoring other scientists, especially women, to navigate their careers in science.