Posts from BMB Alumni

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Robin Berglund, M.D., M.B.A., biochemistry, ’67, is 70 years old, but is still working nearly full-time as a child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist in the Los Angeles, Calif., area. She is doing a lot of traveling and will visit Cuba, Norway, Russia, the Arctic Circle, Berlin, Lisbon and many countries along the West Coast of Africa, and South Africa. Berglund has been to more than 30 countries in the past 15 years.

Ulrich Melcher, Ph.D., Ph.D., biochemistry, ’70, retired from the faculty of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Oklahoma State University last August after 40 years of service. He still has his office and lab with a few small projects ongoing. Melcher visited MSU for the 50th-anniversary celebration of the Plant Research Laboratory, having been its second Ph.D. graduate in 1970.

Tom Rollins, biochemistry, ’78; M.S., biochemistry, ’81, recently joined Assembly Biosciences, Indianapolis, Ind., as its chief development officer and head of the Microbiome Program. He was previously senior vice president and global head of program and portfolio management at Cubist Pharmaceuticals.

Richard Skeirik, biochemistry, ’78; M.S., chemical engineering, ’81, earned registration as a licensed professional engineer in the state of Delaware.

Diana Husic, Ph.D., Ph.D., biochemistry, ’86, is the founding dean of the School of Natural and Health Sciences at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pa.

Scott Nowak, Ph.D., Ph.D., biochemistry, ’97, was awarded the Outstanding Early Career Faculty Award by the faculty of Kennesaw State University, Georgia, last August, where he is an assistant professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology.

Dan Kemp, biochemistry ’99, became the director of preclinical toxicology services at the Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, N.C., in June 2015.

Allen Mueller, biochemistry and molecular biology, ’05, recently accepted a new job with Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington, D.C., as the supervisor of clinical microbiology.

Travis Reed, biochemistry and molecular biology, and microbiology, ’05; D.V.M., ’09, finished his residency program in small animal surgery with the Chesapeake Veterinary Surgical Specialists, Annapolis, Md., and is now an associate veterinary surgeon with the Wisconsin Veterinary Referral Center in Milwaukee, Wisc.

Joonyul Kim, Ph.D., Ph.D., biochemistry and molecular biology, ’08, recently created a biotech startup at Auburn, Ala., with a National Science Foundation STTR Phase I award. The company, Proximity Biosciences, LLC, was founded in 2015 to provide a bioassay tool — an aptamer — as an alternative to an antibody.

Paul Luethy, biochemistry and molecular biology, ’10, successfully defended his Ph.D. in molecular microbiology from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas in May 2015. He started as a fellow in a CPEP-accredited Clinical Microbiology Fellowship at the National Institutes of Health in June of 2015.

Jeffrey Grover, biochemistry and molecular biology, and chemistry, ’11, recently began his Ph.D. in genetics at the University of Arizona in Tucson.

James Chessrown, biochemistry and molecular biology/biotechnology, ’14, has been working as an emergency department scribe since graduation, and has recently been accepted to MSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine to begin pursuing his D.O. in June.

Mark Farrugia, Ph.D., Ph.D., biochemistry and molecular biology, ’15, has taken a position in the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Department of Medicine under Dr. Luigi Puglielli. The aim of his research is to determine novel therapeutics for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.


Joseph Mayo, M.D., Ph.D., biochemistry, ’68, is still practicing general pediatrics in Carthage, Mo. From 2005 to 2009, he changed his career from the office to the classroom and taught chemistry, biochemistry and cellular physiology as a single course and how these disciplines are related, at a community college in New England.

Joseph Prohaska, Ph.D., biochemistry, ’74, was inducted as a fellow of the American Society for Nutrition last spring in recognition of his distinguished career in the field of nutrition.

Rob Menson, Ph.D., biochemistry, ’76, continues his consulting practice in the application of European and U.S. regulations in the design and development of medical products. He recently joined the faculty of the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation, where he teaches design controls, risk management and U.S. quality system regulations. Menson also rewrote the chapter on risk management for medical devices in The Quality System Compendium: GMP Requirements & Industry Practice, 3rd edition.

Scott Cooper, biochemistry, ’86, is a professor in the biology department at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. In 2014, he received the Carnegie Wisconsin Professor of the Year award.

Diane Husic, Ph.D., biochemistry, ’86, attended her sixth U.N. Climate Conference in Lima, Peru, this past December and now serves as a member of the international research and independent NGOs steering committee. Because climate change is being considered as part of the post-2015 sustainable development goals as well, she also attended the U.N. Women’s Major Group constituency under that goal.

Carole (Smith) Davis, biochemistry ’89; M.A., education, ’08, was appointed chair of the Kellogg Community College’s Math and Science Department in July 2013.

Andrea (Titlow) McCoy, biochemistry, ’95, currently serves as the officer in charge of the U.S. Navy Mobile Laboratory at Island Clinic, Bushrod Island, Monrovia, Liberia. The U.S. Navy mobile laboratories are part of Operation United Assistance, conducting Ebola virus disease clinical testing for the U.S. government response to Liberia’s Ebola outbreak.

Henry Ng, M.D., biochemistry, ’96; M.D., ’01, is the center director for Internal Medicine/ Pediatrics at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio, and is currently president of the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association.

Daniel Kemp, biochemistry, ’99, was recently promoted to director of discovery, quality and risk management at GlaxoSmithKline, where he has worked since 2006. Kemp is also vice president elect of the drug discovery toxicology specialty section of the Society of Toxicology, and is presenting a continuing education course at this year’s Society of Toxicologic Pathology meeting.

Andrew Zimolak, M.D., biochemistry and molecular biology, ’02, graduated in 2013 with a master’s degree in medical informatics from Harvard. In October 2014, he started a new position at the Massachusetts Veterans Epidemiology Research and Information Center, working as a clinical subject matter expert on research that uses the VA hospital’s electronic medical records system.

Judith Murphy, biochemistry and molecular biology, ’06, attended graduate school at Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences, and defended her Ph.D. thesis in July 2014. She also published a paper in the journal Blood in April 2014.

Edita Klimyte, biochemistry and molecular biology, and Spanish, ’10, has been training in the dual degree M.D./Ph.D. program at the University of Kentucky (UK). She is currently studying the entry mechanism of human metapneumovirus in the Department of Biochemistry at UK in the laboratory of Dr. Rebecca Dutch, who is also an MSU alumna. Klimyte recently received an F30 M.D./Ph.D. Predoctoral Fellowship from the NIH to fund her remaining time in the program.

Sean Law, Ph.D., biochemistry and molecular biology, ’11, had a first-author paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last fall titled, “Prepaying the Entropic Cost for Allosteric Regulation in KIX.”


Daniel Lichtstein, biochemistry, ’70, is a professor of medicine and the regional dean for medical education at the University of Miami’s Miller School of Medicine in Florida. In April 2013, he was recognized by the American College of Physicians (ACP) as a Master of ACP for his contributions to the field of medicine.

Ulrich Melcher, Ph.D., biochemistry, ’70, is on the BMB faculty at Ohio State University, Columbus, where he teaches molecular genetics and nucleic acids and protein synthesis, and leads research on discovering the diversity and evolution of plant viruses. He is also assisting the endeavors of the National Institute for Microbial Forensics & Food and Agricultural Biosecurity.

Linda (Glass) Mamassian, biochemistry, ’72, lives in Michigan and has been a self-employed book indexer and copy editor, specializing in chemistry, medical books and related topics since 2000. Previously, she worked as an analytical food chemist and taught high school chemistry.

Tom Rollins, biochemistry, ’78; M.S., biochemistry, ’81, was appointed last fall as San Diego site head and senior vice president of program and portfolio management at Cubist, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on the research, commercialization and creation of pharmaceutical products that address unmet medical needs in the acute care environment.

Rebecca (Ellis) Dutch, biochemistry and microbiology, ’86, professor of molecular and cellular biochemistry, has accepted the additional position of associate dean for biomedical education at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine, Lexington, Ky.

John Geisler, biochemistry, ’88, has held jobs at Isis Pharmaceuticals, San Diego, Calif., and JnJ near Philadelphia, and is currently trying to start his own biotechnology business, Mitochon Pharmaceuticals LLC, for the treatment of insidious neurodegenerative and metabolic diseases.

David J. Pepperl, biochemistry, ’88, is a senior consultant and toxicologist at the Biologics Consulting Group, Inc., (BCG) based in the Washington, D.C., metro area. He just finished his 10th year with BCG.

Ruju (Bhatt) Srivastava, biochemistry and international relations, ’93, recently joined BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc., Novato, Calif., as executive director of product development, where he works on developing new cancer medicines.

Andrew Rader, M.S., physics, ’98; Ph.D., physics and biochemistry, ’02, joined State Farm Insurance (Indianapolis, Ind., area) as a data scientist in May 2013.

Andrew Spencer, Ph.D., biochemistry, ’98, has worked at start-up biotechnology companies in Silicon Valley for the past few years, focusing on autoimmunity and renal disease. Currently, he serves on the management team at Ardelyx and leads their collaboration with AstraZeneca. He and his wife, Katie Miller (MD ’00), live in Menlo Park, Calif., with their two sons, Will (6) and Pete (2).

Philip Bates, Ph.D., biochemistry and molecular biology, ’08, became an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at The University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg, Miss., in August 2013.

Michael Bain, biochemistry and molecular biology, ’12, is currently attending Wayne State University, Detroit, Mich., and will be graduating with a master’s in basic medical science in May. He was recently accepted to the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich., and will return this June to start medical school.

Silvan Omerovic, biochemistry and molecular biology, ’13, has been accepted to the College of Osteopathic Medicine at Michigan State University, East Lansing, Mich., and will return to start medical school in summer 2014.


Walt Haney, biochemistry, ’68, retired as a professor of education at Boston College and lives in Westminster, Mass., with his wife, Kristine, also retired.

Daniel Lichtstein, biochemistry, ’70, a professor of medicine and regional dean for medical education at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida, recently published his second book, If I Were a Patient... The Path to Becoming an Empowered Patient, and has been elected a master of the American College of Physicians.

Diane Husic, Ph.D., biochemistry, ’86, is a newly appointed steering committee member of the research and independent non-governmental organization (RINGO) constituency group within the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Kimberley Dilley, biochemistry, ’93, is an assistant professor of pediatrics and a course director for medical decision making at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and director of the pediatric cancer survivor program at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.

Paul Sanschagrin, biochemistry, ’96; Ph.D., biochemistry, ‘01, is a senior research systems administrator for the structural biology grid headed by Piotr Sliz at Harvard Medical School, Boston, Mass.

Jeremiah Frueauf, M.S., biochemistry, ’01, is an associate at Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox in Washington, D.C., where he counsels clients on biotechnology patent law. He and his wife have had two children since Jeremiah left BMB.

Samuel Molina, biochemistry and molecular biology and biotechnology, ’05, recently received his Ph.D. in biochemistry and took a postdoctoral fellowship at the Emory School of Medicine in Atlanta, Ga., to work on lung epithelial diseases.

James Moore, biochemistry and molecular biology, ’05, is a family medicine chief resident at the University of California- Davis. Following graduation in June, he will stay on as a staff physician at the UC-Davis primary care network in Sacramento, Calif.

Travis Reed, biochemistry and molecular biology, ’05; microbiology, ’05; D.V.M., ’09, accepted a position as a resident in small animal surgery in Annapolis, Md.

Judith Murphy, biochemistry and molecular biology, ’06, a Ph.D. candidate at Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences in New York, N.Y., received the Research Scholar Award from the Joanna M. Nicolay Melanoma Foundation in 2012.

Ashwin Thiagaraj, biochemistry and molecular biology and biotechnology, ’07, is finishing medical school at The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, and plans to pursue internal and cardiovascular medicine.

Rita Grantner, biochemistry and molecular biology, ’08, is a biochemist/enzymologist focusing on cancer metabolism targets in the biochemistry and primary screening group at Pfizer in LaJolla, Calif.

June Liu, biochemistry, ’08, is an account manager at Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc., Houston, Texas.

Bradley Olson, Ph.D., biochemistry and molecular biology, ’08, was appointed assistant professor at Kansas State University, where he has started a research group to study how multicellular organisms evolved.


Joe Mayo, Ph.D. ‘68, is presently practicing pediatrics in Carthage, Missouri.

Harry Brumer, ‘93, is transitioning to begin a professorship in the Michael Smith Laboratories at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, and will hold a joint appointment in the Department of Chemistry at UBC.

Andrew Zimolzak, ‘02, recently finished a co-chief residency at Saint Louis University and has moved to Boston where he is doing a postdoctoral research fellowship in biomedical informatics. This training program is supported by the National Library of Medicine and he is earning a Master of Medical Science degree from Harvard Medical School.

Travis Reed, ‘05, has accepted a position that will begin in July 2012 as a Resident in Small Animal Surgery at the Chesapeake Veterinary Surgical Specialists in Annapolis, Maryland, and has also had an article published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Stephen Dostie, ‘10, recently joined the Michigan Biotechnology Institute as a de-risking professional where he does work in the pilot plant and prep lab to start the fermentation process.

Nick Hoover, ‘10, recently accepted a new position at Eli Lilly and Company in the Indianapolis area.


David L. DeWitt, Biochemistry ‘91, has been named chair of the Department of Biology and Chemistry at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. He also recently published Unraveling the Origins Controversy.

Travis P. Reed, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology ’05, has started a new position as a small animal surgical intern at Veterinary Specialists of Rochester, NY, and has had an article accepted for publication in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Ryan McInnis, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology ‘05, has taken a new position with Thermo Fisher Scientific as the Manual Liquid Handling sales representative selling manual and electronic single and multichannel pipettes. His territory is Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and West Virginia.

Allen Mueller, Biochemistry and Microbiology ‘05, has co-authored Novel antimicrobial peptides that exhibit activity against select agents and other drug resistant bacteria.

Keith Schlender, M.S. Biochemistry ’63, Ph.D. Biochemistry ‘66, notes that he has quickly “failed” retirement and is the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Graduate School at Lourdes College in Sylvania, Ohio. He had recently retired after 37 years in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at the Medical University of Ohio (currently the University of Toledo College of Medicine) where he served 17 years as Dean of the College of Graduate Studies.


Gary Steinman, MS ’63, is chairman of biochemistry of Touro College of Medicine in New York City. His area of research is spontaneous twinning and he was featured in an episode of National Geographic Explorer which aired in November.

Lori (Hallman) Conlan, BS ’66, is a nationally recognized speaker in career development topics and is at the NIH in the Offi ce of Intramural Training & Education assisting the 4,000 NIH postdocs in their personal career choices. She also serves as a Board member for the National Postdoctoral Association.

John Hess, PhD ’66, is retired from Virginia Tech and contributes as a tutor with Literacy Volunteers to the learning of persons with minimal basic literacy skills and to adults for whom English is not a primary language. He also studies with a group that explores non-violent communication which contributes to his connection with the Center for Peace Studies and Violence Prevention at Virginia Tech.

Fred Kayne, PhD ’66, continues to do lab consulting in clinical chemistry and help with teaching in the pathology residency program at Hahnemann Hospital which is affi liated with Drexel University.

Marlene Kayne, PhD ’66, is retired but still teaching online for 3 universities in chemistry, geology, biology, clinical chemistry and molecular biology.

Robin Berglund, BS ’67, is in the private practice of child and adolescent psychiatry in the Los Angeles area.

Robert Bumgarner, BS ‘67, MD ‘74, is a senior program manager for WMD/ CBRNE Eff ects Assessment and Analysis at Science Applications International Corp.

James Behnke, PhD ’73, is retired from Asbury College in Wilmore, KY. He recently went on a medical trip to Moldova with a group organized by the Christian Medical and Dental Association where he lectured on the molecular biology of diseases, ethical issues in science, and the philosophy of science and religion.

Marian Kaehler, PhD ’78, is on sabbatical for the year at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, where she teaches genetics, molecular biology, and radiation biology.

Karen Bratus, BS ‘79, was recently promoted to Dean of Health Sciences at Baker College in Allen Park, Michigan.

David Lapenson, PhD ’83, is working as a computer specialist in Winthrop, Mass.

Marco Villanueva, MS ’84, PhD ’88, is a professor at the Institute for Marine Science and Limnology of UNAM in Puerto Morelos, Mexico. He is studying signal-transduction and cytoskeletal proteins in photosynthetic algae with a focus on how they participate in the establishment of symbiosis.

Charles Yokoyama, BS ’87, was recently promoted to Senior Editor at the scientifi c journal Neuron - part of the Cell Press family of journals. He handles editorial and peer review of manuscripts in all areas of neuroscience and experimental psychology, manages an international network of authors and reviewers as well as the website and review articles, and travels to conferences and universities to recruit and advocate for neurobiology.

Marty Zaluski, BS ’92, is the State Veterinarian for Montana at the Montana Department of Livestock.

Anne Quillevere, PhD ’92, is a technical writer for the acoustics and vibration company 01dB-Metravib.

Amanda (Barrett) Levin, BS ’98, is a pediatric ICU fellow at Children’s Memorial Hospital, Northwestern University, in Chicago.

Travis Reed, BS ’05, is currently pursuing a small animal internship in Canada at the University of Guelph, Ontario Veterinary College.