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Speaker Bios


The 2013 Career Development Symposium speakers represent many industries, experiences, and backgrounds. The Office of Career Development warmly welcomes the following speakers to campus for our annual event. 

Linda Distlerath, Keynote speaker, senior counselor, APCO Worldwide
Karissa Culbreath, Scientific Director, Infectious Disease, Tricore Reference Laboratories
Walt Gall, Strategy Consultant, Biotechnology Enterprises
Steve Gendreau, Senior Clinical Science Specialist, Genentech
Stephanie Gustavson, Director of Clinical Research,  TransTech Pharma
Lia M. Haynes, Associate Director for Laboratory Science, Division of Viral Diseases, CDC
Amy Moore, Director of Research Programs, Georgia Research Alliance
Erik Prentice, Deputy Senior Bio Advisor, National Counterproliferation Center


LindaDistlerath-140x210.JPGLinda M. Distlerath, PhD, JD, senior counselor, APCO Worldwide

Linda Distlerath is public affairs professional in the global health, health care, and biomedical R&D sectors. She currently serves as a senior counselor in the health care practice of APCO Worldwide, a global strategic communication and public affairs firm headquartered in Washington, D.C. office, and previously held vice president positions at Merck & Co., Inc. in public affairs, global health policy, and health policy–Asia Pacific.

Linda’s experience spans the fields of biomedical and clinical research, HIV/AIDS, global health and vaccine-related policy, collaborations with nongovernmental organizations and public-private partnerships with foundations, multi-lateral organizations, academic institutions and governments worldwide. She provides strategic counsel on communications, positioning and issue advocacy to a leading health care organizations in the U.S., Europe and Asia, including biopharmaceutical companies, non-profit advocacy groups, governments and health care systems, and her expertise covers numerous therapeutic categories (HIV/AIDS and other infectious diseases, sepsis, oncology) and policy issues (biopharmaceutical innovation, underserved populations, neglected tropical diseases, access to medicines).

Dr. Distlerath holds a Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology from the University of Michigan and a Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Health from the University of Cincinnati. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship in biochemistry at Vanderbilt University and holds a Juris Doctor from Rutgers Law School-Newark. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Economic Club of Washington, DC, an advisory board member for the journal Global Health Governance, and honorary professor in public health at East Tennessee State University.  She also served as the Global Executive Director for the Partnership for an HIV-Free Generation, a public-private partnership between the US Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator and 18 private sector partners focused on HIV prevention in sub-Saharan Africa, and as a member of the Private Sector Delegation Advisory Group to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria


Karissa Culbreath cropped-150x194.jpgKarissa Culbreath, Scientific Director, Infectious Disease, Tricore Reference Laboratories

Dr. Karissa Culbreath is Scientific Director of Infectious Diseases at Tricore Reference Laboratories and Assistant Professor of Pathology at University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center. Her primary areas of focus are clinical microbiology, parasitology, mycology and infection at TriCore. Dr. Culbreath serves on the Infection Control and Antibiotic Subcommittee of the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committees of two local hospitals. In order to improve clinical microbiology practice across the State of New Mexico, Dr. Culbreath co-founded and currently chairs the LiasioNM Committee which is a state wide network of Infectious Disease physicians, pharmacists and clinical laboratory directors. She also manages the Clinical Trials and Research Development Core at TriCore reference laboratories. These divisions are responsible for conducting studies for FDA submissions and internal development of new molecular assays for clinical use in infectious diseases, oncology, and genetics. 

Dr. Culbreath received a Bachelors of Arts degree from Fisk University and Ph.D in Microbiology and Immunology from Vanderbilt University, both in Nashville, TN. Her interest in the interface between laboratory science and clinical medicine lead her to pursue a fellowship in Medical and Public Health Microbiology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill through the American Society of Microbiology. Her research interests include use of Mass Spectrometry for diagnostics in microbiology, emerging nucleic acid amplification methods for rapid identification of bacteria and fungi, and microbiology capacity building in international and domestic resource constrained areas.


W Gall headshot-150x178.jpgWalt Gall, Strategy Consultant, Biotechnology Enterprises

Dr. Walt Gall received his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Vanderbilt University, carrying out protein trafficking research in Todd Graham’s lab.  After completion of his degree, he carried out his postdoctoral studies at the University of California at Berkeley and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, focusing on mitotic kinase phosphorylation pathways.  He received an NIH postdoctoral fellowship for his work in Ted Salmon’s lab at UNC, with focus on elucidating the regulatory mechanisms of kinetochore-microtubule dynamics involved in chromosome segregation during mitosis.  Moving from basic research to industry, Dr. Gall joined the Business Development division at BD Technologies in Research Triangle Park, NC, carrying out strategic planning with senior executives as it related to emerging internal and external platform technologies.  From BD, he joined the diagnostic division with start-up Metabolon, where he led the R&D, business development, and commercialization activities for its first flagship diagnostic product franchise, QuantoseTM, and initiated and grew its cardiometabolic pipeline product portfolio.  Dr. Gall currently is an independent strategy consultant and investor with early-mid stage technology enterprises, with focus on corporate strategic planning for product development, commercialization, and business and corporate development activities.


Gendreau_headshot_2-150x188.jpgSteve Gendreau, Senior Clinical Science Specialist, Genentech

Dr. Steve Gendreau has over 15 years of experience working in the biotechnology sector and joined Genentech in June of 2010 as a Senior Clinical Science Specialist in Oncology Early Clinical Development.  At Genentech Dr. Gendreau oversees multiple Phase I and Phase II proof-of-concept oncology clinical studies with a primary focus on PI3K inhibitors in breast cancer.  Before coming to Genentech he served as an Associate Director of Clinical Science at Exelixis, where he lead all aspects of preparation and execution of Phase I-III clinical studies in oncology programs.  Also at Exelixis, Dr. Gendreau was a Discovery Program Leader responsible for the selection of small-molecule development candidates in oncology and lead teams of cell biologists and geneticists in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology.  Dr. Gendreau has a B.S. in Biochemisty from the University of New Hampshire and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin. 



Gustavson Head Shot-140x175.jpgStephanie Gustavson, PhD, MSCI, Director of Clinical Research, TransTech Pharma

Stephanie Gustavson is an experienced Clinical Scientist and Drug Developer.  She is currently working for TransTech Pharma, a biotech company in NC, as Director of Clinical Research.  In this role, Stephanie acts as Program Leader for several diabetes compounds in Phase 1 and 2 Clinical Development.  She is specifically responsible for the clinical study design, execution, and interpretation, in addition to the overall clinical development strategy, of these programs. 

Prior to joining TransTech Pharma in 2012, Stephanie spent the previous seven years at Pfizer as a Clinical Scientist and then Clinical Lead.  As a Clinical Scientist, her primary responsibilities included authoring protocols, designing clinical development plans (first-in-human studies up through proof of concept), designing translational research plans, and medically executing, monitoring, interpreting, and reporting clinical trials.  In her last two years at Pfizer as a Clinical Lead, she also led cross-functional teams responsible for the overall development strategy for early-stage diabetes compounds.  Additionally, she gained notable experience in regulatory writing, including the preparation of Investigator’s Brochures, Investigative New Drug submissions/updates, protocols, Clinical Study Reports, and external publications. 

Stephanie has extensive experience and expertise in the Diabetes disease area.  Prior to working at TransTech Pharma and Pfizer in diabetes development, she obtained her PhD in Molecular Physiology and Biophysics from Vanderbilt University, where she worked for Dr. Alan Cherrington performing integrative physiological studies relating to glucose metabolism in conscious dogs.  Following her PhD, she joined the laboratory of Dr. Stephen Davis at Vanderbilt to perform NIH sponsored clinical research in the area of diabetes and metabolism.  In order to further enhance her clinical research skills, she pursued a Masters in Clinical Investigation from Vanderbilt during her post-doctoral experience in the Davis lab. 


Lia Haynes_official photo_062513-150x170.jpgLia M. Haynes, PhD, Associate Director for Laboratory Science, Division of Viral Diseases, CDC

Dr. Haynes came to the CDC in 1999 as an ORISE postdoctoral fellow. The primary focus of her research was investigating the mechanisms of immunity and disease pathogenesis to respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). After completing her postdoctoral fellowship, Dr. Haynes served as the Associate Medical Director for Imedex, Inc. In 2003, Dr. Haynes returned to CDC to establish a new severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV) serologic diagnostic program and to continue with RSV research. In 2004, she became the Team Leader for the Respiratory Viruses Immunology Laboratory Team. Under her leadership, the team developed, evaluated and implemented serologic diagnostics for coronaviruses and conducted research to understand the immune response to RSV in support of vaccine and therapeutic development.

Dr. Haynes has served as the Acting Deputy Associate Director for Laboratory Science in the Office of the Director for National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD). While in this position, she provided scientific information and advice on laboratory-related issues and served as a NCIRD representative on workgroups pertaining to laboratory competencies, specimen management and quality management system.

Currently, Dr. Haynes is the Associate Director for Laboratory Science in the Division of Viral Diseases at CDC. In her new position, Dr. Haynes leads the Division in providing laboratory and technical expertise in the development and enhancement of division laboratory programs and laboratory facilities. She also represents the interests of division laboratories and staff to division leadership and facilitates inter-branch and cross-Agency collaboration and communication on science-related topics.

Dr. Haynes received her bachelor of science in biology from Spelman College and completed a doctorate in neuroscience with a concentration in immunology from Northwestern University. 


AmyMoore color photo-140x175.jpgAmy Moore, Ph.D., Director, Research Programs, Georgia Research Alliance

Dr. Amy Moore oversees Georgia Research Alliance’s research initiatives, focusing on program evaluation and outcomes reporting. Prior to joining the GRA, Dr. Moore was the Director of Research Programs for the Georgia Cancer Coalition, where she oversaw the operation and evaluation of the flagship Distinguished Cancer Clinicians and Scientists program, the statewide tissue and tumor bank initiative, and the state’s Cancer Research Awards seed grant program.

Dr. Moore holds a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from Wake Forest University School of Medicine and a B.S. in biology from Furman University. She was an American Cancer Society-funded postdoctoral fellow at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where she researched molecular mechanisms of acute leukemia development. In addition to her background as a research scientist, Dr. Moore holds a certificate in research administration from Georgia State University. Dr. Moore is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Biology at Georgia State University.


Erik headshot-150x144.jpgErik Prentice, Deputy Senior Bio Advisor, National Counterproliferation Center

Dr. Erik Prentice is the Biological Issue Manager for the National Counterproliferation Center (NCPC) in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.  He is a nine year veteran of the Intelligence Community, having served as a senior analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency and as the CBRN Terrorism Team Chief at the Combined Intelligence Operations Center in Baghdad, Iraq prior to joining NCPC.  At NCPC he is responsible for managing the Intelligence Community’s efforts to combat biological threats.  This includes not only efforts to prevent attacks using biological weapons, but also intelligence contributions to the monitoring of emerging infectious diseases. 

Erik is also heavily involved in improving communication between the U.S. Government, and the Intelligence Community in particular, and the life science research community.  He leads several initiatives designed to increase information flow between these two communities.  Of note, he leads the Biological Sciences Experts Group (BSEG), which is a cadre of 60 researchers, physicians, and public health professionals from across the country.  These individuals are cleared to Top Secret and function to provide scientific and technical advice to the Intelligence Community.

Erik received his PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from Vanderbilt University, where he studied coronavirus replication complex formation under Mark Denison.