Adjunct Associate Professor of Molecular Pharmacology, Physiology and Biotechnology


What mechanisms drive disease?

How can these be targeted to create new medicines?

What knowledge is needed to transform health outcomes for patients?

In my work at Brown, I aim to transform biomedical education through innovative course creation and teaching. I use the above questions as connection points between students and real-world applications of their learning. Course design, implementation and teaching are efforts best achieved through partnership with students—from the high school level to post-PhD. My successes have been enabled by creative student leaders who are among my most valued collaborators. However, I remain dissatisfied with the inclusiveness and effectiveness of STEM education. I am eager to take part in constructive collaborations that advance change.

My experience as a patient stimulated my interest in biology and medicine. But as an undergraduate I struggled to see how I could apply my learning to problems beyond the classroom. Then in my first year of graduate school I saw research driven by the questions at the start of this bio. Collaborating scientists had discovered genetic variations that led to fatal heart attacks in children, elucidated the biological process responsible, and were helping to discover the first treatments for this disease. That experience inspired me to embrace answering these questions for other patients. My first job in clinical research at Squibb introduced me to another pair of collaborations, and their breakthrough drug discovery research for treating uncontrollable blood pressure. That inspired me to pursue a career of outcome-focused collaborative research centerd on these three questions.

I have been part of many successful drug development projects that led to treatments that address patiient needs. As an academic researcher, I developed protein engineering and comparative genomics approaches in order to better understand biological mechanisms and identify potential drug targets. I now want to have a broader impact by facilitating success for many more projects and many, many more patients. My aim is to improve how drug discovery is done – to make it more successful and more predictable. The approach I use integrates strong science and leadership practices. As one step I started and co-lead a global working group of cutting-edge statisticians, clinical researchers and decision-makers who aim to understand and increase how FDA Accelerated Approvals of medicines impact patients and health care.

Career Highlights:

- Successful biopharma executive and leader of global project teams, research departments and a US discovery research site.

- Ten approved medicines for cardiovascular, infectious disease,
metabolic, neurodegenerative, oncology, and reproductive health indications (5 NCE, 5 NBE, 7 different therapeutic areas).

- Successful academic career with productive, innovative research in protein engineering, molecular evolution, drug target validation, and drug discovery for neglected tropical diseases.

- Published research in Science, Nature, Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, PNAS, and Nature Biotechnology.

- Experienced PI with funding awards from NIH (R01) and Tres Cantos Open Lab Foundation.

- Experienced creator and teacher of courses that promote student agency and focus on real-world problems (courses at undergraduate, MS and PhD levels). 


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