President Karen M. Page, Ph.D.
Karen is a Clinical Scientist at Pfizer where she specializes in assay implementation and data delivery for biomarkers in early clinical studies. She has twenty years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry focused primarily on ex vivo human cell models, in vitro assays, new target identification, and biomarker strategies in support of drug development efforts to treat chronic inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. While working as a research associate at Genetics Institute and Wyeth, she earned her Ph.D. in Pharmacology at Boston University School of Medicine. For the past five years, she has been actively involved in the Massachusetts Chapter of the Association for Women in Science (MASS AWIS). She has served as a mentor for multiple mentoring circles, as chair of the chapter’s Mentoring Committee, and most recently as chapter President. Karen is also a very active member of the Junior League of Boston, having served as Manager of Community and Director of Strategic Management and Planning for that organization. Her volunteer efforts reflect her commitment to the development of women as leaders and the health and education of girls in our community.
Vice President Beth M. Hovey, Ph.D.
Beth completed her bachelors’ degrees in Molecular Cellular Developmental Biology (MCDB) and Biochemistry with a minor in Chemistry at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She attended Boston University School of Medicine, completing her Ph.D. in Molecular Medicine. Over the years, Beth has worked as a research associate in biotech, science editor and editorial director in science publishing and, now, as an analyst for the pharmaceutical industry. Beth has been a member of AWIS for many years, first joining as a graduate student. She has been a board member for MASS AWIS since 2011.
Administrator Christine Taft, Ph.D.
Christine Taft is a Licensing Associate in the Brandeis University Office of Technology Licensing where she single-handedly manages the patent portfolio and aids in the commercialization of new technologies. Prior to that, she interned in the Brandeis University Office of Technology Licensing and coordinated an incubator grant program for budding Software and Life Sciences entrepreneurs. She received her Ph.D. from Brandeis University where her research focused on molecular and developmental Neuroscience and her B.S. from the University of Maryland at College Park in Physiology/Neurobiology with a minor in Linguistics. Christine has been an AWIS member for over a year and has served on the Events Planning and Sponsorship committees. Her favorite AWIS event to organize was the Careers in Life Sciences Speed Networking because she is passionate about helping women who want to transition to careers outside of academia. In her free time, Christine enjoys dancing, karaoke, and playing with her 5-month old niece Dorothy.
Treasurer Karen Yee, Ph.D.
Karen Yee is a Research Lab Manager at Harvard University and oversees the operations and administration of an academic research laboratory. Previously she was an Instructor and a post-doctoral fellow at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School. Karen obtained a B.A. degree with honors in biological science from Dartmouth College and a Ph.D. degree in molecular and cellular biology from University of Washington. Karen was involved in the Seattle chapter of AWIS while at the University of Washington and chaired the Scholarship Committee for two years as well as held many different positions on the AWIS-Seattle Chapter Board including Treasurer. She helped revive the Massachusetts chapter of AWIS in 2001 when she came to Boston to complete her post-doctoral fellowship. Since then she has participated in the chapter in various capacities including being the chair of the Leadership Workshop Committee, member of the Mentoring Committee, member of the Events Committee and chair of the Membership Committee. Karen was Treasurer in 2012 and will continue serving in that role for 2013. Her scientific interest has revolved around how cells interact with one another as well as with the extracellular matrix in a number of diseases including atherosclerosis, cancer and heart disease, and she has over 24 publications on her work. When Karen is not in the lab, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Lewis, and her two young daughters, Sofia and Athena.
Mentoring Committee co-Chair Sohini Mazumdar
Sohini completed her undergraduate work and her first Master’s degree in Lifesciences while back in India. She came to Los Angeles to pursue a second Master’s degree in Forensic Science at California State University because she wanted to apply her scientific skills to directly impact the human condition. Three years of studying and interning at the crime lab made Sohini realize that she missed R&D, and that she would need a more advanced degree to really be able to make a difference. Sohini moved to Boston to pursue a Ph.D. in Genetics from Tufts University. Her graduate work involves understanding genes and epigenetic modifications important for progression of types of breast cancer that are refractory to treatment. In addition to her graduate work, she consults for a Relay Technology Management which helps transfer innovations and new technologies from an academic space to commercial enterprises. In her spare time, (carefully eked out with the help of AWIS work-life balance workshops) she likes painting, pottery and trying new cuisines.
Mentoring Committee co-Chair Milka Kostik
As a Senior Editor, Milka Kostic oversees the editorial process in two research journals published by Cell Press, Chemistry & Biology and Structure. She is responsible for the overall direction, strategy and operations of the two journals as well as managing a portfolio that includes four review journal titles: Trends in Biotechnology, Trends in Biochemical Sciences, Trends in Genetics and Trends in Pharmacological Sciences. During her tenure at Cell Press she has been involved in projects outside journal publishing, such as organizing scientific conferences and producing Cell Press Video Guide for Authors. Prior to Cell Press, Milka was a postdoctoral fellow at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA where she worked on structural and functional characterization of proteins that interact with the key tumor suppressor protein, p53. Before joining The Scripps, Milka completed her Ph.D. work at Brandeis University in Waltham, MA where she focused on studies of metalloproteins by NMR spectroscopy in the laboratory of Dr. Thomas Pochapsky. Milka received both her M.Sc. and her B.Sc. degrees from University of Belgrade, Serbia. Her B.Sc., M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees are in Chemistry. She has been an active member of AWIS, first as a part of San Diego chapter, where she co-chaired Outreach Committee, and currently as a member of Massachusetts chapter, where she co-chairs Mentoring Committee. She is currently the Chair of CSE Sponsorship Committee.
Events Committee co-Chair Yoojin Chung, Ph.D.
Yoojin is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Harvard Medical School studying the neurophysiology of cochlear implants. Yoojin received her B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Seoul National University in Seoul, Korea and Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Boston University. She has been a member of the MASS AWIS Events Committee since 2011. She also served as a member of Steering Committee of student, postdoc and medical resident chapter of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology. Yoojin has been an active AWIS member since 2007.
Events Committee co-Chair Nadia Kulshina, Ph.D.
Nadia is currently a postdoctoral fellow at New England Biolabs, Inc., where she works on reengineering of restriction enzymes. She received her undergraduate degree in Biophysics from Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia, and completed her PhD research at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC) and the University of Washington in Seattle. Her Ph.D. studies focused on the structure and biophysics of riboswitches. She has also completed a short research fellowship in protein crystallography at the FHCRC. During her time in Seattle Nadia was a Science Communication Fellow at the Pacific Science Center, where she presented her research to children and their parents. In 2011-2012 she served on the board of Seattle-AWIS as the Programs Committee co-chair, as well as on the board of the Student-Postdoc Advisory Committee at the FHCRC. Outside of work Nadia enjoys traveling, SCUBA diving, cooking, and playing piano.
Membership Committee Chair Tooba Cheema, Ph.D.
Tooba is a Scientist at Momenta Pharmaceuticals. Previously she was a post-doctoral fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital at the Brain Tumor Center. Tooba earned her Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry from Tufts University and her Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. She has been an active member of MASS AWIS since 2008. She has served as the co-chair of the Mentoring Committee for the past 2 years, increasing the participation of both mentors and mentees, and significantly improving the mentoring circles program.
Communications Committee Chair Marina Kvaskoff, Ph.D.
Marina is an epidemiologist and a Research Fellow at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. She obtained her Master’s of Public Health from the University of Paris, France, and she earned her Ph.D. in Epidemiology from both the University of Paris and the University of Queensland, Australia in 2009. After a 3-year postdoctoral experience between France, the US and Australia, Marina obtained a Marie Curie Fellowship from the European Commission to work on the epidemiology of endometriosis and cutaneous melanoma at Harvard, in collaboration with the Inserm (French National Institute for Health and Medical Research). She has also been a Visiting Scientist at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Brisbane, Australia. A laureate of the L’Oreal-UNESCO Award “For Women in Science” in France, Marina has been an active member of “Femmes & Sciences”, the French equivalent of AWIS, since 2008. Since 2011, she is also a member of AWIS, for which she has served as Website Administrator of the MASS AWIS website for the past year. Marina is involved in other professional associations and serves as a Postdoc Representative on the Research Oversight Committee of the Brigham & Women’s Hospital, and as the Leader of the US National Group of the Marie Curie Fellow Association.
Sponsorship Committee co-Chair Christa Van Dort, Ph.D.
Christa is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology studying the mechanisms of sleep and general anesthesia induced loss of consciousness. Christa received her B.S. in Biology and Chemistry from Hope College in Holland, MI and her Ph.D. in Molecular and Integrative Physiology from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI. She has recently become active in MASS AWIS, helping organizing events and the mentoring circle program. She is also helping improve resources for women in the Harvard system through Harvard’s Joint Committee on the Status of Women Mentoring subcommittee.
Sponsorship Committee co-Chair Haifa Ghandour, Ph.D.
Haifa is currently a Principal Scientist at GnuBIO, Inc. a start-up biotech in Cambridge MA developing a novel next generation sequencing platform and applications for clinical diagnostic and applied research markets. Haifa is a Biochemist and Molecular Biologist, earned her B.A. in Biology, M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Medical Sciences from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. Haifa accomplished her postdoctoral trainings in Boston at the USDA-HNRCA of Tufts University and at the Pathology Department of Brigham’s and Women Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Haifa moved to Seattle WA to work as a Senior Scientist at AMRI, Inc. where she led several integrated drug discovery programs aimed at identifying small molecules therapeutic candidates targeting GPCRs, MAP Kinases, small GTPases, NFkB and microbial organisms, to investigate various therapeutic areas such as Huntington disease, cognition-related disorders, obesity, anti-inflammatory and anti-infectious diseases. Haifa has been a member of AWIS since 2007 and served previously on the boards of both MASS AWIS and Seattle AWIS. She established and coordinated the “group mentoring” program for the Seattle chapter in 2008 and since moving back to Boston Haifa has been serving as a mentor on the “mentoring circles” of MASS AWIS.
Past President Masha Fridkis-Hareli, Ph.D.
Masha is an immunologist, consultant and inventor with over 20 years of experience in academia and industry. She holds a B.A. in Biology from the Technion, the Israeli Institute of Technology, an M.Sc. in Molecular Microbiology from Hebrew University and a Ph.D. in Immunology from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. During her post-doctoral training at Harvard University she designed and developed a group of novel compounds for treatment of autoimmune diseases: drug candidate PI-2301 is being tested in Phase II clinical trials for multiple sclerosis, and is in pre-clinical development for rheumatoid arthritis. From 2001 to 2005, Dr. Fridkis-Hareli served as Principal Investigator at the Molecular Immunology Foundation at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. From 2006 through 2011, Dr. Fridkis-Hareli held a variety of positions at a number of small biotechnology companies and a global CRO. Recently, in the role of Associate Scientific Director, she contributed to the discovery and development of Taligen Therapeutics’ drug pipeline leading to acquisition by Alexion Pharmaceuticals. Her areas of expertise include autoimmune disease models, protein- and cell-based assays, flow cytometry and preclinical immunotoxicology. Dr. Fridkis-Hareli is an Adjunct Professor at Emmanuel College teaching at the Biopharmaceutical Graduate Program and a co-author of over 100 publications and 11 issued patents. In addition to her professional affiliations, Masha is actively involved on boards of several professional organizations and is currently serving as Past President of the Association for Women in Science in Massachusetts. She lives in Sudbury, Massachusetts and likes reading, hiking, and traveling with her family.