Matt Falk --Matt was born and raised in the Kansas City area and graduated from KU with a Masters in Higher Education Administration and a Bachelors in Business Administration a few years ago. Afterwards he worked in the Postdoctoral Affairs and Graduate Studies department at KU Med where he worked to help develop the ASCEND professional development program. Since then he accepted a position with BioKansas just over a year now to begin assisting the bio and life science industries in a new way. Matt is passionate about driving innovation and helping bring industry and education together.


Alex Erwin, PhD-- Alex is the Manager for Talent Development and STEMM Education at the local bioscience nonprofit, BioKansas. She received her BS in Microbiology at Missouri State University and is completing her PhD in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Kansas this spring. At BioKansas, Alex is working to generate awareness of local bioscience careers and fostering connections between students and educators in the life sciences to industry in the region. She is also helping to create professional development opportunities for scientists in the area.


Elizabeth Wenske-Mullinax, PhD -- Dr. Wenske-Mullinax is a QA Manager of Operations at Ceva Biomune Animal Health, Lenexa which produces animal biologics marketed globally. Prior to Ceva, she worked in Continuing Education at KU Medical Center where she managed the Kansas statewide sepsis program as well as directed a workplace training program for entry level Biomanufactuing positions. The program won an Excellence award from the state of Missouri for its academic/industry partnership. She spent over twenty years in Boston in the biotechnology/pharmaceutical industry with positions in research, development, and operations management. Elizabeth graduated from Wartburg College, Waverly, Iowa. She holds a PhD in Microbiology from the University of Tennessee and a Graduate Certificate in Business Administration from Harvard University. She completed her post-doctoral work under Dr. Bernie Fields at Harvard Medical School prior to joining industry. Along with working at Ceva, She is co-teaching the Regulation and Quality course in the Applied Bachelor's biotechnology program at KU Edwards. 


Sonia Hall, PhD -- Dr. Hall is the Director of Engagement and Development for the Genetics Society of America (GSA), a scholarly society committed to supporting the next generation of geneticists. GSA provides leadership and professional development training for graduate students and postdocs and promotes interaction among an international community of geneticists. Sonia received her PhD in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at the University of Kansas. She then invested two years in postdoctoral training at the University of Massachusetts Medical School – one-year in a research laboratory followed by a year training in academic administration at the Center for Biomedical Career Development.

Sonia has led the development of multiple educational outreach initiatives, including building the DNA Day Network in collaboration with UNC-Chapel Hill and the University of Kansas. During her graduate and postdoctoral training, she was passionate about creating and implementing professional development activities for domestic and international early career researchers in partnership with multiple nonprofit organizations, including the Future of Research and the Genetics Society of America. These experiences inspired her to commit to a career building partnerships in the spirit of developing innovative programs to enhance the training experience of graduate students and postdocs.



Nicole Reiz, PhD -- As the Graduate Professional Development Coordinator, Nicole works with departments and programs throughout the College on graduate professional development programming and projects. Priorities for her role include the enhancement of graduate student external funding, support for alternative career pathways, and the tracking of KU doctoral student careers over time. Nicole joined the COGA team in September 2016. Originally from Wichita, she has made Lawrence her home since 2002 earning her undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies from KU in 2007, followed by an MA and PhD in the Department of Geography and Atmospheric Science. Nicole has served KU in many roles including as a GTA, lecturer, and graduate research development specialist in the Hall Center’s Humanities Grant Development Office. She also has experience working for a Kansas City-based international non-profit.


Laura J. Peek, PhD -- Dr. Laura J. Peek is Principal Scientist and Assistant Laboratory Director for Oncimmune, a clinical laboratory that focuses on developing blood tests for early cancer detection. In this role, she oversees all aspects of the laboratory operations, including clinical testing for EarlyCDT®-Lung, regulatory compliance, R&D and assists with business development. Dr. Peek earned a B.S. degree in chemistry from Baker University in 2002. She earned M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in pharmaceutical chemistry from The University of Kansas in 2005 and 2006, respectively, during which time she was a recipient of the Madison & Lila Self Graduate Fellowship. Dr. Peek went on to complete post-doctoral training at KU in the departments of chemical engineering and pharmaceutical chemistry before joining Oncimmune as the first employee of the U.S. subsidiary in 2007. Dr. Peek currently serves on the Board of Trustees for KU’s Self Graduate Fellowship.


Sarah Cutler Tew, PhD -- Sarah is the Director of US Pet Heathcare Innovation at Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health, formerly Merial, leading the commercial development and launch of companion animal therapeutics. Her work ranges across identification and evaluation of business development opportunities, leading cross-functional product development teams, managing external partnerships, and design and analysis of clinical and technical studies. Sarah joined Merial in 2006 as an R&D project manager, then transitioned into US Business Operations in 2010. She received her undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1998 and completed her PhD in the joint Emory and Georgia Tech Bioengineering program in 2005. She continued her work in neurosteriod treatments for traumatic brain injury as a post-doctoral researcher at Emory through 2006.

Carl Gelhaus, PhD -- Dr. Gelhaus has 18 years’ experience in the field of Immunology, covering a diverse range of topics. Dr. Gelhaus has 10 years of experience in infectious disease, with emphasis on bioweapons and bioterror threats. At MRIGlobal, he is a Senior Program Manager and serves as the Director of Infectious Disease Programs, with oversight of all bacterial and viral projects. Dr. Gelhaus performed research for nearly 3 years at the United States Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Ft. Detrick, MD; 5 years of research at the Battelle Biomedical Research Center (BBRC) in West Jefferson, OH; and 5 years research at MRIGlobal headquarters in Kansas City, MO. Dr. Gelhaus has served as a Study Director for Good Laboratory Practices regulated studies supporting product licensure of medical countermeasures through the U.S. FDA Animal Rule. Dr. Gelhaus now has 9 years’ experience handling bacterial select agents under BSL-3 and ABSL-3 conditions, including Bacillus anthracis, B. mallei, B. pseudomallei, F. tularensis, and Y. pestis. Dr. Gelhaus has managed multi-year, multi-million dollar programs for DTRA, BARDA, NIAID, and commercial clients; published 11 peer-review journal articles; and produced 30 study reports in support of contract research.

Robert Gronke, PhD -- Dr. Robert Gronke is a Senior Principal Scientist in the Technical Department at Biogen, Inc. For the past 28 years, he’s been involved in the purification development, CMC team leadership, regulatory liaison and new technology assessment for recombinant biopharmaceuticals including Biogen’s commercial products AVONEX (Interferon Beta-1a), a serum-free version of AVONEX, PLEGRIDY (PEG IFN Beta-1a), BENEPALI (Enbrel biosimilar), SPINRAZA (SMA antisense oligonucleotide), APROLIX (Factor IX-Fc), and AMEVIVE (glycosylated fusion protein), along with clinical products including αVβ6, αVβ5, anti-Tau and anti-BDCA monoclonal antibodies, antisense oligonucleotide (SOD-1, SPINRAZA) and several others. Rob currently manages a group of 4 associate scientists.

Prior to joining Biogen, Inc., Dr. Gronke was a post-doctoral fellow in the Pharmacology Department at Merck Sharp & Dohme Research Laboratories in West Point, Pennsylvania (1988 – 1989). He received his Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry from the University of Kansas, Lawrence Kansas in 1987. Prior to receiving his Ph.D., he was employed as a Research Associate at the University of Illinois, Chicago (1982 – 1983). Dr. Gronke received a BS degree in Biochemistry from Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois in 1982.

Raymond Caylor, PhD -- Dr. Raymond Caylor is an ABMGG Clinical Molecular Genetics and Genomics Fellow at Children’s Mercy Hospital - Kansas City, MO. Dr. Caylor received his PhD in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at the University of Kansas. His fellowship is training him to become a Clinical Laboratory Director of a Molecular Genetics Lab. Dr. Caylor’s main interest involves next-generation sequencing in a clinical setting.

Lydia Cook McAnulty, DVM, PhD  -- Dr. Cook McAnulty earned a Bachelor of Science in Animal Sciences at the University of Missouri-Columbia and afterward, she earned her dual Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and PhD in Veterinary Pathology from the University of Missouri-Columbia's College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Cook McAnulty stayed at University of Missouri for a post-doctoral program and then accepted a Clinical Scientist position with Aratana Therapeutics in 2014. In her four years at Aratana within the Research and Drug Development group, she’s served as the Project Manager responsible for the dermatology and virology development programs for the company, in addition to serving as the co-lead on the oncology development programs. In her role, Dr. Cook McAnulty guides the enrollment of clinical field and lab research studies for small molecules and biologics; she reports results from the studies through scientific posters and presentations; she crafts development plans for investigational therapeutics; she interfaces with the regulatory agencies and her work supports Aratana's applications for product licensure.


Julie Conkright-Fincham, PhD -- Julie Conkright supports Stowers investigators through the development of high-throughput assays to screen genomic (cDNA and RNAi) and compound libraries. Utilizing state-of-the-art robotic instrumentation, she performs high throughput automation of assays in small microtiter formats and provides data analysis support to identify lead targets or compounds. In addition, she designs and builds de novo screening libraries for new applications in mammalian and non-mammalian systems using both cultured cells and whole organisms. Her advanced screening core that can handle a wide array of high content imaging and biochemical technologies in mammalian and non-mammalian systems. Julie was born and raised in rural western Kansas. She received her dual bachelor degrees in biology and microbiology from Kansas State University and served as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute predoctoral intern during her senior year. At Cincinnati’s Children’s Medical Center, she studied surfactant biology and neonatal respiratory distress in her doctoral thesis and received her Ph.D. in Molecular and Developmental Biology from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. After completing a postdoctoral fellowship at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA, where she worked on the molecular mechanism of alpha-1-antitrypsin (a1AT) secretion, Julie moved to Florida to manage the Cell-based Screening Facility at The Scripps Research Institute in Jupiter, FL. Julie was recruited to the Stowers Institute in 2010.


Lindsey Ott, PhD-- Lindsey Ott with a Ph.D. in bioengineering and an eye for innovation, Lindsey is the director of product innovation for Likarda, a world-class biotech research laboratory that works with science entrepreneurs, bio consortium members, and contract research organizations. Lindsey received her B.S. in biological/agricultural engineering from Kansas State University, her Ph.D. in bioengineering from the University of Kansas, and her postdoctoral training at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Her graduate research focused on biomaterials and tissue engineering, specifically developing biomaterial implants to treat tracheal stenosis in pediatric patients. Lindsey designed a synthetic nanofiber scaffold that could replace rib cartilage as an option to expand the trachea for infants and toddlers with a narrowed airway. In her role at Likarda, Lindsey expands Likarda’s patented 3D cell cluster technology into other preclinical drug discovery applications like oncology, immunotherapies, and ADME-Tox. She has published work in the fields of tracheal tissue engineering, biomaterial fabrication, adult mesenchymal stem cells for musculoskeletal tissue engineering, and preclinical drug discovery using 3D hepatic organoids. Lindsey has presented at numerous conferences including the Biomedical Engineering Society, Society for Biomaterials, and the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists. She is also involved in K-12 science education programs by mentoring students and developing bioengineering related curriculum for elementary school classrooms.​


Sharon E. Holte, PhD -- Dr. Holte is the Science Educator at The Mammoth Site of Hot Springs, SD--an active paleontological site, accredited museum, and non-profit 501(c)(3). She received her PhD in Biology from the University of Florida where she specialized in vertebrate paleontology. She earned a MS in Geosciences from East Tennessee State University and a BS in Geology from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. Dr. Holte's role as Science Educator has her providing STEM learning opportunities to the public through educational classes, community outreach, and museum exhibits. She aims to promote public understanding of science and to bridge formal and informal STEM education.


Peter Welsh, PhD -- Dr. Peter Welsh is Professor and Director of Museum Studies at the University of Kansas. He came to KU in 2012 with more than 30 years of museum and academic experience. He earned his Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania. His research and publications address a range of issues including the historical and legal background by which museums have come to control culturally sensitive objects; the public representation and interpretation of culture; and concerns over the sustainability of local history museums. His career has been shaped by a commitment to the idea that specialists have an responsibility to share their understandings as widely as possible, and that museums are an ideal setting in which to do that. His previous positions include director of the graduate museum studies program at Arizona State University, Director of the Deer Valley Rock Art Center, Director of the Arizona Historical Society Museum at Papago Park, Chief Curator of the Heard Museum in Phoenix, and various leadership positions with the Council for Museum Anthropology and the Museum Association of Arizona.


Mark Yocum -- Mark works in St Louis, MO for Anheuser-Busch InBev, where he serves as the North America Technical Director for ABI.   Mark and his team serve as the technical production support resource for not just brewing operations, but also for ABI’s vertically integrated businesses.  On any given day, his team of scientists are performing routine production support, innovation related research and development, instrumentation development and qualification, or troubleshooting process improvement opportunities.  The St Louis based Budweiser Technical Center serves as not just a technical support hub for ABI’s North American operation, but also leading the Global Brewer’s world-wide Instrument Management Program, its active research and development efforts for Craft Brewing, Brewing Raw Materials, Polymer Chemistry work, and full support of its Metal Container Corporation analytical service laboratory.

Mark has been with ABI for over 23 years, Brewing both in North America and abroad.  He has been the Sr. Resident Brewmaster for ABI’s Baldwinsville, NY brewery, worked as the North America Quality Director, and most recently works as the Sr. Manager for Brewing Raw Materials for the US and Canada.  Mark joined the Budweiser Technical Center in March of 2017.  Mark holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Molecular Biology from University of Illinois, and a Masters of Beer Styles and Evaluation from the Siebel Institute, in Chicago, IL.  He has guest lectured at Cornell University, Illinois Wesleyan University, and works closely with Oregon State University’s Brewing Program.   Mark is married, with 4 kids, and calls St. Louis home.


Wen-Chieh Lin, PhD -- Dr. Lin is the Director of Research at Kansas Health Institute (KHI). He oversees the organization’s broad portfolio of research work and leads KHI’s efforts related to data analysis and informatics. Prior to joining KHI, he was Research Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health and also Research Scientist in the Center for Health Policy and Research at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Wen-Chieh has extensive experience in designing studies and implementing complex evaluation plans. He uses the rich information from large administrative data sets (Medicare and Medicaid administrative databases, all-payer claims database and outcomes assessment data) and applies advanced statistical analysis for policy and program evaluation to acquire actionable information. He has investigated the impact of changes in Medicare post-acute care payment systems, examined health care utilization and expenditures for elders with behavioral health disorders, studied approaches for care integration/coordination for the homeless population, and evaluated programs for Medicaid members with multiple chronic conditions. He also has developed an integrated database for medical care and social services to improve health outcomes for older adults with complex care needs.



The SEARCH Symposium was partially funded by donations made to KU Student Endowment Board’s crowd-funding campaign, LaunchKU. If you would like to support our graduate student organizations and the 2020 SEARCH Symposium, please consider making a donation. Even the smallest donations make a difference. 


Thank you for supporting graduate students' efforts to promote science education and outreach, professional development events, and travel to professional meetings.

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