I have been in Science since a kid :). I built my first laboratory in my parent's Emmaus PA basement where I made nitrogen triiodide among other "things"! It would cause great fun and laughter as it would mysteriously "go off" while we were eating dinner. I managed to survive my teenage years and retain all my digits and limbs. From there I went to Penn State, where I could pursue my passion of chemistry and biology. I studied Biochemistry and worked in the great Richard Frisque Lab as both a laborer and student. After Penn State, I ended up working as an analytical biochemist for Tektagen (now Charles River Labs) and then the PA State Police as a Forensic Scientist. After several years I decided to go work for a startup biotech called STC (now Orasure). After several years of that, I left and started Avecon Inc., a diagnostics development startup. I sold that to my partner a year later and joined Merck and Co. Inc. where I stayed for 10 years, starting writing code and building applications more than not, and met some amazing people, friends, and colleagues. After 10 years at Merck, I left for GSK where I was the Philadelphia Site Head for Discovery Informatics and Head of the Structural Biology Domain. I left GSK after a large restructuring and spent the next 7 years at Accelrys (now Biovia) where we had great success in Scientific informatics software and services. I had a concept and idea I wanted to build and my next move took me to Schrodinger where we ended building a realtime comp chem and med/syn chem collaboration tool called LiveDesign. I left Schrodinger for a great opportunity to head up the R&D division for LabAnswer (now Accenture). After great success there I left to become Head of R&D IT for Medimmune (AstraZeneca). AZ was a great place to work but unfortunately, because of my family commitments, I had to resign. So here I am, 20/15 Visioneers and very happy and very motivated :)
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As a global thought leader in Medicinal and Synthetic Chemistry, I am an accomplished and passionate “drug hunter” with over 31 years of pre-clinical drug discovery experience in large pharma. I earned my B.S. in Biochemistry from Lehigh University and received a Ph.D. in synthetic organic chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania, under the direction of Professor Amos B. Smith III. After 8+ years at Merck Research Labs in Rahway NJ, where I began my industrial career as a medicinal chemist in the Department of Discovery Chemistry, I joined Johnson & Johnson where I established a high throughput chemistry unit and assisted with the establishment of high throughput screening and the subsequent medicinal chemistry post-screening follow-up. In 1999, I moved on to SmithKline Beecham Pharmaceuticals, which became GlaxoSmithKline in 2000, where I rose through the ranks to Senior Director. I had the pleasure of working at GSK for over 20 years prior to retiring in 2019. I am passionate about applying science and enabling technologies to further the quality of life around the world.
I was born and grew up in Oviedo, the capital of the beautiful region of Asturias in northern Spain (a part of Spain that is always green), where I obtained my undergrad (Biology) and Ph.D. (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology). Excited about the possibility of seeing the world while doing science, I did my postdoc at the NIH (Bethesda, MD), studying collagen mutations in human genetic diseases. Afterwards, back in Oviedo for a few years, I studied biomarkers of breast cancer prognosis and progression.
Feeling restless and impatient about the pace of change in Spain’s research environment, I came back to the US, to have a great time working in epithelial responses to infection and lung defense and repair at Washington University (St. Louis). Following the traditional academic career path, I then became an Assistant Professor at Wake Forest School of Medicine (Winston-Salem, NC), supported by startup funds and several foundation grants. It was there that one beautiful summer afternoon a dear colleague brought to my attention an interesting opportunity in pharma. It was an excellent fit for my profile, and something different and exciting. I just had to look into it.
I joined GSK (Philadelphia, PA), where I held positions of increasing responsibility eventually becoming VP and Head of the Stress and Repair Discovery Performance Unit, responsible for the delivery of novel mechanisms to address disease progression in chronic respiratory diseases. Our focus was on cellular stress responses and mechanisms of repair and remodeling, including genetics, functional genomics and other ‘omics approaches. After 14 wonderful years at GSK, I started yet another path as a scientific consultant for biotech and pharma, and I am greatly enjoying working with different companies offering innovative and pragmatic approaches to help advance their drug discovery programs.