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 has served on the Board of Directors and as Treasurer of MassBioEd since June 2019. He worked as an Assurance Senior Manager in Ernst & Young LLP’s Life Sciences Practice in Cambridge, MA through December 2019. With over 10 years of experience, he assisted 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, 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 with various clients. 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

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.

Wynter J. Duncanson, PHD


Wynter earned her B.S.E. in Bioengineering with a minor in Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. Upon completion of her Ph.D. at Boston University in Biomedical engineering, she began a post-doc in Applied Physics at the Harvard Paulson School of Engineering. After her post-doc, she participated in developing a Western-style education and research system in a three-year-old University, Nazarbayev University (NU), in Kazakhstan in Central Asia.

Through research and teaching at NU, she was able to provide unprecedented access to a research-based engineering curriculum. She worked with a few students to found the first International Affiliate Student chapter of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) in Central Asia. In her time as a lecturer at Boston University, she has been engaged in supporting students as the faculty advisor for the National Society of Black Engineers and building the graduate student pipeline through recruiting at National Affinity conferences. As the Assistant Dean of Outreach and Diversity, she is leading the College of Engineering at Boston University towards becoming a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive college for all, particularly those from traditionally underrepresented groups.

She has been actively increasing the graduate student pipeline by amplifying the College’s presence at conferences serving URG students, and creating a prospective student database from these conferences and through databases. In addition, she has been building our faculty pipeline through hosting research symposia in which post-docs and late stage graduate students are invited. To expand our impact and truly reach underrepresented populations worldwide, she has been developing partnerships with Minority Serving Institutions and other organizations worldwide. She has been developing partnerships with Minority Serving Institutions and other organizations to identify barriers inhibiting progress in inclusion.

Wynter has become the leader of the 9-year-old, Boston University (BU), College of Engineering undergraduate facilitated engineering outreach program, the Technology Innovation Scholars Program (TISP). Historically, BU’s undergraduates, “Inspiration Ambassadors" went into middle and high school classrooms educating and inspiring students about engineering and helping them complete mini-engineering activities, known as "Innovations in a Box". In our new post-COVID world without physical classrooms, we have expanded and refined our reach by working with elementary schools and using a blended modality of remote and in-person learning. She has been working to increase access for engineering outreach for underserved populations in the greater Boston area.

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 Goppel is a Consultant on the Program Management team at Avania Clinical, a global CRO focused on advancing medical devices, novel technology and combination products from feasibility through post-approval trials. Her team provides early stage strategic consulting services that include feasibility and benchmarking analysis, pre-clinical study design, and tailored regulatory strategies. Prior, as Sr. Program Development Manager for Life Science Strategic Initiatives at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, she led demand-driven program development in biotechnology, medicinal chemistry, biomedical and chemical engineering, and project management for technical symposia, research partnerships and consulting contracts with industry and government partners.   

Kristin earned her B.S. in Chemical Engineering cum laude from Cornell University. After beginning her career in product design and development at Procter & Gamble and Arthur D. Little Inc., she then focused on her biotechnology interests with roles in process and project design engineering at Anika Therapeutics and Genzyme Corporation. She first partnered with the MassBioEd team during her tenure as WPI’s Associate Director of Pre-collegiate Outreach, and continues to support the valuable work the foundation does as a member of the Board and several program steering committees.

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.

Amita Joshi


Amita is the Senior Director, Alliance Management at Intellia Therapeutics where she manages partnerships and alliances for Intellia. Prior to this role Amita was iAwards Scientific Program Director at Sanofi where she helped to launch and managed the Sanofi Innovation Awards (iAwards) Program, a partnership with academic centers and universities within North America to identify and fund translational research. During her time at Sanofi, Amita has also served as Director of Alliance Management where she supported several key drug discovery technology platform alliances including in computational drug design, small molecule drug discovery and antibody development across multiple therapeutic areas. Amita has 15 years of experience in biomedical & life sciences technology evaluation and managing academic-industry collaborations focused on translational research opportunities.

Amita started her career at Partners HealthCare Innovation where she where she managed research innovation portfolios across multiple departments at the Brigham & Women’s Hospital and supported intellectual property management, licensing and commercialization. Amita also helped in the formation of start-ups and licensing of foundational IP while also negotiating contracts that helped advance research at the Brigham through industry funding.  Amita Joshi received her Ph.D. degree in Molecular Biology from the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, India and has completed a postdoctoral fellowship in epigenetics and transcription biology in the laboratory of Dr. Kevin Struhl at Harvard Medical School.

Amita enjoys participating in initiatives that promote science education among students and the community and advancing promising life sciences technologies that aim to improve healthcare. She has served as a volunteer at the Museum of Science and is frequently a judge for MassChallenge competitions to evaluate and mentor innovative start-ups.

Lora Marden


Lora is the Senior Director and Head of Patient Advocacy & Engagement at Kiniksa Pharmaceuticals. She has over 15 years of experience working in the rare disease biotech space and social services. Prior to joining Kiniksa, she held several roles of increasing leadership responsibility in the areas of Marketing, Patient Services, Operations, and Patient Advocacy at Sanofi-Genzyme, Alnylam, and Sobi. She began her career with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as a Social Worker providing case management and support for underserved families in the state. As a part of the Sanofi Talent Executive Program, she helped develop a Career Lattice vs. Ladder Summit and Mentorship Program. While at Sanofi Genzyme, she also received the Sanofi Champion of Customers Award, which is granted to the top 1% in the company globally. 

Lora received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Rochester and completed the Strategic Marketing Management Executive Education Program at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. She is also a member of the Wampanoag Tribe of Aquinnah and is passionate about professional development, mentorship, diversity, and inclusion in biotech and life sciences.  

Shelley Seymour

Seymour_ShelleyShelley Seymour is an educator at Hampshire Regional High School in Westhampton, MA, where she has taught biology and the school’s life science electives since 2005.

She works with high school students of all levels, and she aims to make biology accessible and significant to all. She especially enjoys revealing students’ sense of wonder and curiosity for the world around them and giving them a place to develop and explore with purpose. An important core value Shelley holds as an educator is to put teaching people above teaching material and to always consider how students will go out and interact with the world around them using what they have experienced in her classroom.

Prior to working at Hampshire, Shelley started her teaching career in the Springfield, MA public schools, where she spent four years teaching middle school science. Shelley holds a B.A. in Biology from Connecticut College and an M.Ed. in Secondary Science Education from UMass, Amherst.

Rita Smith


Rita L. Smith is currently the Director Business Human Resources for AbbVie Bioresearch Center (Worcester, MA) and Cambridge Research Center (Cambridge, MA), the company’s center of excellence for biologics and neuroscience.  In this role, lead the site’s Human Resources function and supports the Research & Development and Operations functions.

Prior to this role, Rita was Director, Business Human Resources to AbbVie’s Chief Human Resources Officer and EVP and the global HR function. 

Rita joined AbbVie in December of 2013, as HR Business Partner Operations supporting Purchasing and Supplier Management (PSM) and Manufacturing Science & Technology (MS&T). She also held a previous role in Executive Development leading our manager level key talent workshop, the Emerging Leader Program (ELP) and Executive Coaching program for our global senior leaders.

Prior to AbbVie, Rita was Senior HR Business Partner of Operations Business Group (OBG) in the Defence Business at Rolls Royce and held progressively responsible HR Business Partner and Labor Relations roles at Ford Motor Company.  Rita started her career as a Staff Attorney in house counsel to Service Employees International Employees (SEIU).  Rita has a Juris Doctorate (JD) and Master’s of Public Administration (MPA) from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.

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.