Board of Directors

Executive Committee

Christopher K. Murphy, Chair


Chris has been a board member at MassBioEd since 2014 and is Vice President and General Manager of Viral Vector Services in Thermo Fisher Scientific’s Pharma Services Group.  Chris transitioned into this role when Thermo Fisher acquired Brammer Bio, where he served as chief operating officer. Chris has more than 30 years of experience in biopharmaceutical manufacturing, process development, plant operations, and quality system implementation.  Prior to joining Brammer Bio, Chris served as general manager for the Sanofi-Genzyme Allston Landing site overseeing operations and leading an integrated remediation program associated with the consent decree.  Chris has led gene therapy operations and recombinant protein manufacturing at Genzyme and Bioreliance and he began his career in viral vaccine development at American Cyanamid/Wyeth (now Pfizer) in Pearl River, NY.  He has a M.Sc. in biochemistry at New York Medical College, and his B.Sc. in biology at Rutgers University.


Lauren Celano, Vice Chair


Lauren Celano is the co-founder and CEO of Propel Careers, a life science search and career development firm focused on connecting talented individuals with entrepreneurial life sciences companies.  Propel works with current leaders and actively cultivates future leaders through full time placement, internships, mentoring, career coaching, and networking.  Propel Careers is engaged  across all areas of life sciences, including therapeutics, medical devices, healthcare IT, diagnostics, consulting, venture capital, and investment banking. Prior to Propel Careers, Lauren was a senior account manager for SNBL USA where she worked with emerging biotech companies in Europe, Asia, and the US to help characterize and advance their drug molecules. Prior to SNBL USA, she held business development positions with Aptuit and Quintiles, where she focused on IND enabling studies to advance therapeutics from discovery into the clinic.  Earlier in her career, Lauren held positions as a marketing manager and account manager at Absorption Systems, where she was responsible for managing life sciences companies in the northeastern United States.  She has a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Gettysburg College and an MBA with a focus in the health sector and entrepreneurship from Boston University. Lauren is the Vice-Chair on the Board of MassBioEd and the Advisory Boards of the Boston University School of Public Health Pharmaceuticals Program, the Professional Science Masters Program at Framingham State University and NE GWISE. She also serves on the selection committee for the Life Sciences Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year Award since 2014 with the Immigrant Learning Center. 


Stacie Sawchak Aarestad, Clerk

Stacie AarestadMs. Stacie Aarestad is a partner in Foley Hoag's Securities Practice Group and M&A Practice Group. She focuses her practice on corporate and securities law matters, public company representation and merger and acquisition transactions. She represents issuers in a broad range of capital market transactions, including public and private offerings of debt and equity securities and also advises companies with respect to tender offers, exchange offers, debt repurchases and stock buybacks. Ms. Aarestad received her B.A. magna cum laude from Colgate University in 1991 and her J.D. magna cum laude from Boston University School of Law in 1997. 



Michael Levy, Treasurer


Michael Levy is an Assurance Senior Manager in Ernst & Young LLP’s Life Sciences Practice in Cambridge, MA. With over 10 years of experience, he assists clients in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries with accounting and auditing matters, including issues in the areas of internal control and reporting under the rules and regulations of the U.S. SEC. Michael has extensive experience with a variety of complex accounting areas, including segment reporting, intercompany transactions, leases, and stock compensation. In addition, through his experiences on Aegerion Pharmaceuticals, Ironwood Pharmaceuticals, Radius Health, and Vertex Pharmaceuticals, he gained significant exposure to accounting matters in the areas of clinical research and development costs, inventory capitalization for commercial drug products, and revenue recognition upon commercial launch. Michael received his Bachelor of Science from Boston University. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants. 


Board of Directors

Joan Abrams, Ph.D.


Joan Abrams has worked for ten years as licensed high school biotechnology teacher committed to engaging students in science and technical and employability skills training. Joan is a demonstrated leader of science education in the classroom, school, and professional community. Over her academic career she has cultivated an extensive network of scientists and industry professionals to design professional development programs. She is a Co-author of Massachusetts Biotechnology Framework, instructor training, and licensure requirements. Joan also has Industry experience working at Genetics Institute (now Pfizer) and Millennium (now Takeda) in protein sciences including formulation and protein purification.

Joan has a B.S. and M.S in Biochemistry and a Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Physiology.

William F. Ciambrone

William CiambroneMr. William Ciambrone is Executive Vice President of Technical Operations at Sarepta Therapeutics. Prior, he served as Senior Vice President of Technical Operations at Shire. He is educated in Biology and Environmental Policy from Saint Anslem College  and Brown University.  He has more than 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical, device, and biopharmaceutical industry and served at Shire for over 10 years. 

At Shire, Mr. Ciambrone oversaw the company's regional expansion highlighted by over $470M capital investment and the creation of hundreds of jobs.  As part of that expansion, he worked with Commonwealth and local officials on economic development issues and with local educational institutions on workforce development.  Under his guidance, Shire developed relationships with several area institutions including WPI, Middlesex CC, and Minuteman Tech.

Ryan Cohlhepp, PharmD

rcDr. Cohlhepp is a scientifically trained professional with over 15 years of experience in the biotech and biopharma industry.  He is currently the Senior Vice President of R&D Strategy and Operations for Rheos Medicines, Inc. Ryan recently transitioned from Takeda Oncology where he was Vice President of Marketing, Operations & Analytics, which included responsibility for leading Takeda’s commercial oncology portfolio in the US that included four compounds across various tumor types. Ryan also worked in the Global Development Division for Takeda as a Global Team Leader, overseeing the development of Takeda’s prostate cancer portfolio, in addition to several early stage molecules.  Prior to Takeda, Ryan started his career with Roche Pharmaceuticals (currently Genentech) in their commercial organization. He held positions of increasing responsibility for Roche in both the sales and marketing organizations (U.S. and Global). 

Ryan received his Doctorate of Pharmacy from Purdue University in 2000. He continues his involvement with the University as a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council for the College of Pharmacy.  He seeks to contribute to the biotech community to ensure students have ample opportunity to enrich their scientific knowledge, as a passionate advisor and advocate for sciences.

Renee Connolly

rcRenee Connolly is the global head of Communications and Business Markets / Services at MilliporeSigma, where she leverages the power of education, community and responsibility to motivate the many people the company impacts to achieve greatness. In this role since 2013, Connolly leads the company’s internal communications for 22,000 employees, as well as its external communication, corporate brand strategy, community affairs and corporate responsibility programs. She also oversees events and programs for the business worldwide.

In 2015, Connolly spearheaded the communication strategy for the $17 billion acquisition of chemical giant Sigma-Aldrich — marking the largest acquisition in the company’s history and one of the largest in the Life Science industry. During this time, she also launched MilliporeSigma’s SPARK™ global volunteer program and signature Curiosity Labs™ program, which inspires students to explore STEM careers through hands-on education. Since SPARK’s inception in early 2016, more than 9,700 MilliporeSigma employees have volunteered more than 89,400 hours across 36 countries, engaging more than 234,000 children.

Prior to joining MilliporeSigma, Connolly served as vice president of U.S. Communications for EMD Serono. Before moving to Massachusetts, she spent nine years in New York City, working in public and investor relations in the biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and life sciences industries.

Connolly enjoys contributing to organizations focused on building better communities, supporting young women professionals and encouraging future scientists and engineers. She is a board member of the Massachusetts Conference for Women, the Home for Little Wanderers and the Mass Women’s Forum. Connolly has been involved in the American Cancer Society, Hope Lodge and the American Diabetes Association. She was a member of the MassBioEd Foundation for nearly 10 years — three of which she served as chairwoman. She is a past recipient of the Working Mother of the Year award from Working Mother Magazine.

Connolly earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ithaca College. She and her husband, Scott, are parents to four children and live in the Boston suburbs.

Robert Coughlin

Robert CoughlinRobert Coughlin is President and CEO of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council He is very familiar with all areas of the Massachusetts life sciences super cluster and is a passionate advocate for research and the biotechnology community. Mr. Coughlin has spent his career in both the public and private sectors, most recently serving as Undersecretary of Economic Development within Governor Deval Patrick's administration.  Prior to that, he was elected as State Representative to the 11th Norfolk district for three terms. In the legislature both healthcare and economic development were his priorities. 

In the world of business he specialized in the environmental services industry and moved on to capital management and venture capital.  He has held senior executive positions in both fields.

He is a graduate of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy where he majored in Marine Engineering, and is a Lieutenant in the United States Naval Reserve.

Mr. Coughlin has also been active in the community, having served on the boards of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital. He has served as the honorary chairman of the Great Strides Cystic Fibrosis Walk since 1996.  In years past, he co-chaired the Children’s Hospital Boston signature event, Champions for Children’s.

Debbie Durso-Bumpus

Debbie Durso-BumpusDebbie Durso-Bumpus is the Chief People Officer at Blueprint Medicines.  In this role she has responsibility for defining the organizations human resources strategy.  She manages the overall delivery of human resources services, programs and policies (including workforce planning, employee relations, recruitment/staffing, performance management, leadership and development, compensation, benefits administration and organization development) in support of the organizations goals.  Additionally, Ms. Durso-Bumpus works closely with the Board of Directors, executive and management teams on change management initiatives as the organization experiences significant growth. 

Ms. Durso-Bumpus is involved in many community outreach activities associated with STEM education and served on the Corporate Giving Committee during her tenure as a HR leader at Cubist Pharmaceuticals prior to joining Blueprint Medicines.

In 2013, Ms. Durso-Bumpus received the “Rising Star” award by Healthcare Business Women’s Association. Over the past three years, she has been published in C&EN magazine on multiple articles related to career and employment trends. Ms. Durso-Bumpus earned a B.S. degree in Business Management from Bentley College and continues to be active with Alumni Relations by serving as a Mentor to the Emerging Leaders MBA program. Currently, she is a member of Healthcare Business Women’s Association (HBA), Human Resource Leadership Forum (HRLF) and Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Kristin Goppel

K Goppel

Kristin Powers Goppel is a Senior Program Development Manager for Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s Corporate and Professional Education group.  She works closely with WPI faculty and industry partners to identify and develop opportunities for online and customized graduate education in biotechnology, biomedical and chemical engineering and the life sciences.  Prior, as Associate Director of WPI’s Summer Programs, she successfully led WPI’s efforts to build and diversify their pre-collegiate enrichment programs though faculty engagement, strategic programming for girls, need-based tuition-assistance programs, and community and industry partnerships. 

Kristin earned her B.S. in Chemical Engineering cum laude from Cornell University.  She began her engineering career in product design and development at Procter & Gamble and Arthur D. Little Inc. before focusing on her biotechnology interests with roles in process and project design engineering at Anika Therapeutics and Genzyme Corporation. 

Through her collaboration with both industry and higher education, Kristin continues to be an avid supporter of both the life science industry and STEM education for students and professionals.  She serves on the BioTeach Program Steering Committee and as an advisor to WPI’s Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society.

Robert Gottlieb 

rgRobert Gottlieb, who is the Principal at the communications and strategy consulting firm, RMG Associates,  has more than 30 years of experience in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries as a consultant on strategy and communications, in-house communications director, and journalist. He has substantial experience and a strong track record in work with well over 100 companies and organizations ranging from start-ups in and outside of the U.S. to multi-nationals. Robert and RMG Associates bring particular expertise in corporate positioning, external and internal communications strategy, and preparation for financing and partnering.  He has helped more than 20 clients develop business plans to support venture and public financings.  

Robert co-founded Feinstein Kean Healthcare (now a division of Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide), a Massachusetts-based communications and business consulting firm focused exclusively on biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and related healthcare organizations. Robert has been an active member of the biotechnology community in Massachusetts for more than 25 years. Robert served as an advisor to the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council for over 15 years. He also participates as a mentor in MIT’s Venture Mentoring Service and as a member of the Board of Directors of the New England Israel Business Council. 

Robert holds a B.A. degree from Trinity College (Connecticut).

John Heffernan

jJohn is currently principal at Park Street Strategies, which
he founded in 2014. He represents a diverse clientele focused on biotechnology and life sciences, as well as other sectors within the innovation economy. He is a seasoned professional in association management, coalition building, government affairs and economic development.

He was formerly a member of the senior management team at MassBio, the largest life sciences trade association in the world, where he oversaw federal and state policy, as well as economic development. He spearheaded efforts to create and maintain a climate in which the life sciences industry can thrive. He also led an effort to revitalize the Massachusetts Biotech Caucus, which creates a venue to educate legislative staff, elected and appointed officials and other stakeholders on the vital role innovation plays in the local economy and global healthcare.

John holds a B.A. in Communications degree from Fordham University.

Melissa Monahan

MM headshot

Melissa Monahan is the Chief of Staff, President and CEO’s Office at Boston Medical Center Health System. Previously, she held the role of Associate Director of US Corporate Communications at EMD Serono, where she was responsible for positively positioning the company with external and internal audiences, driving the positive reputation of the company through digital, media and advertising support and setting the communications strategy to enable the business to achieve its business and scientific leadership goals.

Prior to joining EMD Serono, Ms. Manganello was the Director of Strategic Communications at Boston Medical Center (BMC), New England’s largest safety-net hospital and trauma center.  At BMC she managed the media relations and internal communications for the hospital and was responsible for developing and implementing broad, pro-active internal and external communications strategies in support of BMC’s key priorities.  Earlier in her career, Ms. Manganello was a Senior Vice President at Rasky Baerlien Strategic Communications, where she managed the firm’s healthcare practice working with a range of high profile healthcare companies and organizations.

A graduate of Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications, Ms. Manganello serves on the Board of Healthworks Community Fitness, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing high-quality fitness opportunities and health education for women and children in low-income neighborhoods to prevent and treat lifestyle-related chronic diseases, improve health and fitness, and promote well-being and empowerment.

Sridaran Natesan, Ph.D.

srDr. Sridaran Natesan is the Vice President of External Innovation and Partnering. He is also a member of the leadership team of the Prospective Strategic Initiative group at Sanofi-aventis. From 2005-2009, he served as the co-leader of the stem cell initiative and Distinguished Scientist at Sanofi-aventis.

Dr. Natesan received his Ph.D degree in Molecular Genetics from the University of Calgary and pursued his post-doctoral work at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories in New York. Dr. Natesan joined Ariad Pharmaceuticals in Cambridge, MA in 1994 as a Senior Research Scientist in its Gene Therapy Division. Later, he joined Aventis Pharmaceuticals as a Principal Scientist and led a group focused on cell based screens and stem cell biology. Dr. Natesan is one of the founding members of the Aventis Cambridge Genomics Center and played a key role in the development of the center serving as its Head of the Scientific Programs and as a member of the senior management for several years. He also served as the Head of Molecular Pharmacology at the center during this time.

Dr. Natesan is a member of the Industry Committee of International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR). He is also member of the Outreach committee of the US India Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Natesan is responsible for setting up major academic alliances at Sanofi-aventis alliances including those with MIT and Harvard.

 Mary Ellen Wiltrout, Ph.D.

mewMary Ellen Wiltrout is the Director of Online and Blended Learning Initiatives and Lecturer in Digital Learning for the MIT Department of Biology. Mary Ellen completed her undergraduate degree in biological sciences from Carnegie Mellon University and her biology studying translesion synthesis at MIT. From 2009 to 2013, she co-taught the molecular biology course at Harvard University as a preceptor. She also developed several of her own courses at Harvard Extension School.

In 2013, Mary Ellen moved to the Broad Institute to be part of the core group with Michelle Mischke and Brian White to create Eric Lander's MITx course, 7.00x Introduction to Biology - The Secret of Life. Mary Ellen now oversees the execution and evolution of MIT Department of Biology’s digital learning strategy with her group. The group develops digital learning content for MIT students and advises evidence-based teaching practices. They also implement these practices in the creation of world-wide bound MITx on edX MOOCs. Mary Ellen’s group completes research on the design of digital learning content as well.