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2016 Symposium Speakers

We are pleased to welcome excellent speakers in various fields and experience levels.



JT Brogan, PhD, Manager, Global Emerging Markets Regulatory Affairs CMC, Biogen

JT (John Trevor) Brogan is a Manager in the Global Emerging Markets Regulatory Affairs CMC (Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls) group at Biogen Inc.  JT completed his undergraduate and graduate education at Vanderbilt, receiving a BS in Chemistry and English in 2008 and a PhD in Chemical and Physical Biology with Dr. Craig Lindsley in 2013.

After completing a one year postdoctoral fellowship in the Vanderbilt Center for Science Outreach, JT joined the Biogen Manufacturing Sciences and Regulatory Affairs CMC postdoctoral fellowship program.   For the first year of his postdoc, JT joined the Biogen Cambridge Manufacturing Sciences group and served as the cell culture lead for two Plegridy® biopharmaceutical manufacturing campaigns while completing several projects to help improve manufacturing processes.  In June 2015, for the second year of his postdoctoral fellowship at Biogen, JT transitioned to the Regulatory Affairs CMC team, where he worked on post-approval changes for currently approved product filings in Japan.  JT also worked on the US Investigational New Drug (IND) amendment for opicinumab, a Biogen monoclonal antibody currently in Phase II clinical trials.  In March 2016, JT accepted an offer to join the Biogen Regulatory Affairs CMC team as a Manager in the Global Emerging Markets CMC group, where he currently works to file Biogen products for commercial approval in emerging markets around the world.  

Raul Camacho​, PhD, Principal Scientist, Cardiovascular & Metabolism, Janssen Research and Development

Dr. Raul Camacho began his research career working for two years as an undergraduate (one of which was as a Ronald E. McNair Scholar) in the laboratory of Dr. Michael Sturek at the University of Missouri, studying vascular smooth muscle cell calcium regulation and glucose metabolism in a diabetic dyslipidemic swine model.

In 2004, he obtained his Ph.D. in the department of Molecular Physiology in the laboratory of Dr. David Wasserman, at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.  His doctoral research focused on in vivo glucose metabolism and insulin action in a variety of models, including canines, rats, and transgenic mice.

His postdoctoral studies were at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the laboratories of Dr. Luciano Rosetti and Dr. Gary Schwartz, investigating hypothalamic control of hepatic glucose metabolism and energy balance in rats and transgenic mice.

Dr. Camacho’s professional career began in 2007 as an Associate Principal Scientist at Merck Research Laboratories in the Diabetes and In Vivo Pharmacology departments, where he worked on developing small molecule and peptide compounds, and testing them across an array of in vivo models (mice, rats, dogs, pigs, and non-human primates).

In 2013, Dr. Camacho moved to Janssen Research and Development as a Principal Scientist in the Cardiovascular & Metabolism department.  There, he has worked on large molecule/biologics, leading a preclinical project to transition for first in human testing.

Dr. Camacho is a member of the American Diabetes Association, American Physiological Society, serves as an ad hoc reviewer for Diabetologia, American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology & Metabolism, Journal of Applied Physiology, Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental, and Physiology & Behavior, and has published 17 manuscripts and reviews.

Dale Edgar, PhD

Dr. Dale Edgar is an experienced scientist, drug hunter and entrepreneur who recently retired as an executive leader at Eli Lilly and Company.  He is also a renowned expert in sleep disorders research and development.  Leveraging his experience across academia, biotech and big-pharma, Dr. Edgar currently provides consulting services to academia, industry, government, aspiring entrepreneurs and biotech start-ups, fostering partnerships and innovation in the Health Sciences.

Dr. Edgar previously served as Chief Scientific Leader of Discovery Sleep Research at Eli Lilly and Company – a cross-functional preclinical and clinical R&D function focusing on innovative medicines for sleep disorders and sleep-related comorbidities in psychiatry, pain, neurodegenerative disease, and metabolic disease. Prior to joining Lilly, Dr. Edgar was Co-Founder, Senior Vice President and the Chief Science & Technology Officer of Hypnion Inc (Lexington, MA) – a spin-out of the science and technologies he developed at Stanford University.

Dr. Edgar is a member of the Harvard Medical School Division of Sleep Medicine Executive Council, the ASPIRE Advisory Committee at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, and the NeuroNET Advisory Committee at UT Knoxville.  He has previously served as an officer of the Sleep Research Society (USA) and on Editorial Boards of the journal Sleep, and the Journal of Biological Rhythms.

Dan Hutcheson, PhD

Originally from England, Dan earned his Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacology & Toxicology from the University of Bradford (Yorkshire, UK), obtained his Ph.D. degree from Cardiff University (Wales, UK), and earned his executive MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business in 2012.

Dan started his career with a Medical Research Council Training Fellowship (1998) in the Department of Experimental Psychology at the University of Cambridge (UK) and was elected a Research Fellow of Hughes Hall College in 2000. In 2003, Dan joined GlaxoSmithKline’s Psychiatry Division in Verona (Italy) where he led drug discovery projects to treat addiction.

In 2007, Dan moved to Singapore to join Maccine Ltd. where he became the Director of Discovery Research. His team successfully served pharmaceutical firms worldwide using specialized non-clinical models with high translational value covering neuroscience and other major disease areas.

Dan was then recruited to join the Pfizer Neuroscience research unit in its new location in Cambridge (MA, USA) taking the post of Chief Operating Officer (Senior Director) in 2012. Reporting to the Chief Scientific Officer, he was responsible for all business and laboratory operations including core laboratory capabilities.

In 2014, Dan relocated to Switzerland to join a newly formed Portfolio Planning and Decision Analysis group supporting project teams by providing commercial valuations for asset teams and strategic advice in Neuroscience, Ophthalmology and Rare Disease within Hoffmann-La Roche.

Late in 2015, Dr. Hutcheson joined the leadership of the Global R&D Organization of Indivior Plc serving as R&D Liaison Officer (Senior Director), reporting to the Chief Scientific Officer. In his new role Dan facilitates communication across the R&D organization, ensuring alignment among all key stakeholders, and liaising with all relevant aspects of organizational Finance, Strategic Planning, M&A and Commercial operations to strengthen the R&D strategy and capabilities globally.

Dave Jensen, Managing Director, CTI Executive Search

Dave Jensen is a recruiter as well as popular speaker and author on topics related to careers in the life sciences, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, nutrition and in the non-profit sectors. His expertise comes from 30 years of experience in scientific and executive search.

Jensen is Managing Director for CTI Executive Search, a company he founded in 2001 after the successful sale of his business (Search Masters International) to a $4B corporate services firm (Kelly Services of Troy, MI). From 2010 to 2015, Jensen was Managing Director for Kincannon & Reed, a retained executive search firm with 32 years experience in life sciences, agricultural sciences, and non-profit sectors. Earlier in his career, Jensen developed a life sciences search practice for Govig and Associates (Scottsdale, AZ), with the focus on biotechnology.

Dave Jensen’s monthly column “Managing Your Career” has been a visible part of the biotech industry for more than 25 years; the column ran for twelve years in BioPharm International and is now in Contract Pharma where Jensen is Contributing Editor. He has published over 350 topics on personal development and scientific management, along with regular features in C&E News and other journals. He is on the editorial advisory board of Journal of Commercial Biotechnology.

Mr. Jensen has delivered seminars and workshops in industry meetings internationally, including keynote presentations at career events held by major universities around the world, including at University of California locations, National University (Singapore), National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Johns Hopkins, Karolinska Institute (Stockholm), University of Washington, and both Princeton and Harvard.

Jensen writes the popular “Tooling Up” column in the website for the journal SCIENCE for monthly career tips and techniques ( He is also the founder and moderator of the AAAS Science Careers Discussion Forum, a website of the Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) website that has been a resource for young scientists for more than 25 years.

Fatima Jones, PhD, Senior Study Director, Laboratory Specialist, Westat 

Dr. Fatima Jones is a project director and laboratory specialist with over 17 years of experience in laboratory research and quality management. At Westat, she provides laboratory expertise to support ongoing clinical research studies. She works with participating laboratories to develop, document, and implement standardized procedures for protocol-specific assays; assists in designing proficiency testing programs; conducts laboratory site audits; facilitates laboratory-specific trainings; and monitors laboratory procedures to ensure quality and regulatory compliance.

Before joining Westat, Dr. Jones was assistant project director for the National Institute of Health (NIH) AIDS Reagent Program, a biorepository of more than 8,500 unique reagents for the study of HIV and related opportunistic infections. She worked with NIH staff and led researchers to identify and solicit novel reagents to support ongoing HIV/AIDS research, managed laboratory subcontractors, wrote SOPs and other technical documentation, and supervised and trained staff.

Previously, Dr. Jones was a postdoctoral research scientist in the National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) HIV-1 Drug Resistance Program. In addition to her project and program management experience, Dr. Jones offers expertise in laboratory quality management (Good Clinical Laboratory Practice, ISO15189), assay development, and quality assurance and control. 

Emily Rubinson, PhD, Research and Development, Avon

Dr. Emily Rubinson came to Avon Research & Development in 2012 with a B.S. in Chemistry from Emory University and a Ph.D. in Chemical and Physical Biology from Vanderbilt University.

Prior to joining Avon, she gained experience mentoring junior scientists and managing collaborative projects while expanding her scientific understanding as a postdoctoral research fellow, also at Vanderbilt University.

At Avon she has taken a lead role in the development of technical models to help identify technologies that elevate product performance and thereby delight the Avon consumer. Her contributions to an upcoming make-up launch were instrumental to her and the teammates being recognized with a 2014 Avon Global R&D Distinctive Achievement Award. Currently, she drives cross-functional teams to identify and deliver against unmet consumer needs leading to new product innovation.

In addition to her technical responsibilities, Dr. Rubinson has been active in the development of junior research scientists. She manages two junior PhD level scientists and was integral to revitalizing the Avon Research & Development mentoring program with HR colleagues. 

Dr. Rubinson is also active in promoting STEM education and was recently featured in a video, “On the Job: Biochemist” by, that will be played in high school classrooms around the country on Channel One News.

Steven Sanders, PhD, Director, Molecular Biology, Cibus

Dr. Sanders earned his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and then went abroad for a Research Fellowship at the University of Cambridge in the UK.  After returning to the US he joined the faculty in the School of Medicine at Case Western Reserve University, and later the Cleveland Clinic.  In 2012 he joined Cibus where as Director of Molecular Biology he plays a leading role in R&D efforts using Cibus' patented RTDS gene editing technology across multiple crop and microorganism programs. During his career Dr. Sanders has published key discoveries to understand transcription control and the link between epigenetic modification and DNA damage response in numerous articles appearing in journals such as Cell, EMBO, MCB and JBC.  He has helped author several patent applications, won multiple funding awards at the local, national and international level and served as an invited reviewer for many journals and the National Science Foundation.

David Tellers, PhD, Medicinal Chemistry, Merck

Dr. David Tellers received his Ph.D. from U.C. Berkeley under the guidance of Professor Robert G. Bergman.  In 2001, he joined Merck working in both the Department of Chemical Engineering and Process Research where he focused on route development, catalysis, and automation.  He made contributions to multiple programs, including Emend ™, Januvia ™, Cordaptive ™, and Vaniprevir ™. In 2008, he transferred to the Department of Medicinal Chemistry where he has had the opportunity to work on oligonucleotide and peptide delivery, early and late stage neuroscience and infectious disease programs, and chemical biology.  David currently leads the recruiting efforts for Medicinal Chemistry.

Laurie VanderVeen, PhD, Senior Scientist, Nektar Therapeutics

Dr. Laurie VanderVeen received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Vanderbilt University under the mentorship of Dr. Lawrence J. Marnett, where she studied the mutagenicity of oxidative DNA adducts.  Moving from basic research to industry, she completed her postdoctoral training at Roche Palo Alto, studying cellular mechansims of drug-induced toxicity. 

In 2008, Dr. VanderVeen joined the Research Biology organization at Nektar Therapeutics, a biotechnology company in San Francisco.  As a Senior Scientist, her primary responsibilities include overseeing in vitro screening and mechanism-of-action studies for multiple preclinical-stage research programs.  She is also experienced in new product opportunity evaluations.  As a Project Team Leader at Nektar, Dr. VanderVeen also lead cross-functional teams responsible for the selection of small- and large-molecule development candidates in virology and infectious diseases.