Name:  Agnieszka Truax, Ph.D.
WIB Position:  Chapter Chair
Company: University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Title: Postdoctoral Fellow
Bio Data:  

Aga is a Postdoctoral fellow at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, where she is doing research on how inflammation plays a role in metabolism and colon cancer. Aga has graduated with a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Physiology and Biology from Georgia State University. Prior to that Aga has received her Master In Medical Microbiology at the University of Lodz in Poland where she is from. She is motivated, goal oriented scientist with expertise in the fields of immunology, epigenetics, and molecular cell biology. Aga is always very energetic and innovative and loves working with people. Her focus in WIB is on building a community for education, networking and mentorship for women of all stages of career growth. 

Name:  Alicia Koblansky Ph.D.
WIB Position:  Communications Chair
Company: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Title: Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Bio Data:  

Alicia received her Ph.D. in Pharmacology from Yale University and is currently working as a postdoctoral fellow studying inflammation initiated tumor progression and their possible therapeutics. Prior to graduate school she worked as a Development Associate in Avigen, Inc., a gene therapy company, In her free time, you can find her on the lake as one of the captains of the Raleigh Dragonboat team. 

Name:  Tara Ann Cartwright
WIB Position:  Communications Co-Vice Chair
Bio Data:  

Tara Ann received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, and completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. She also received her B.A. in Biology from Notre Dame of Maryland University and her M.S. in Physical Science from Marshall University. 

Name:  Ambalika S. Khadria, Ph.D.
WIB Position:  Communications Co-Vice Chair
Company: Ramsey Lab
Title: Postdoctoral Fellow
Bio Data:  

Ambalika (Rika) is a postdoctoral fellow at the Ramsey lab in University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she is working on the design of nanofluidic platforms for whole genome mapping. Rika graduated with a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to that she finished her M.Sc. in Biological Sciences from National University of Singapore, after completing her Bachelor's degree in Chemistry from University of Delhi, India, where she grew up. Aside from work, Rika devotes her free time to various different activities - film making, dance choreography, and science communication, to name a few. Rika is a strong proponent of sharing knowledge, something that WIB nurtures through the strong connections between women coming from various disciplines and backgrounds. Her goal as a WIB volunteer is to bring more people together for the greater cause of providing everyone with easy access to making informed decisions for their careers.

Name:  Meredith Earl, Ph.D.
WIB Position:  Program Chair
Company: Liquidia Tehnologies
Title: Principle Scientist
Bio Data:  

Meredith is a principle scientist at Liquidia Technologies where she combines her experience working with nanoparticles and the PRINT technology with emerging vaccine research areas. Prior to joining Liquidia, Meredith earned a PhD in Inorganic Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a BS degree in Chemistry from Case Western Reserve University.

Name:  Louise Giffin
WIB Position:  Program Committee Vice Chair
Company: Heat Biologics, Inc.
Bio Data:  

Louise is a postdoctoral scientist at Heat Biologics, Inc. where she contributes to the research and development of immunotherapy vaccines for a variety of human cancers. Before transitioning to industry, she received her PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for her studies on an oncogenic human herpesvirus. Louise appreciates the importance of having a strong professional network, and is enthusiastic about contributing to the Women in Bio programs committee and bringing many more great events to the RTP chapter in the future. 

Name:  Cerdi Beltre
WIB Position:  Funding Chair
Bio Data:  

Cerdi Beltre is the Director of Data Strategy and Business Development at Merge eClinical, a Division of IBM Watson Health where she is responsible for the execution of the strategic initiatives for Investigator Information Services and is leading the initiative to create a Global Investigator Performance Score. She has 19 years of clinical research experience spanning site operations, IRB/ethics, regulatory compliance via internal audits and monitoring. She oversaw clinical research operations for a 7 billion dollar healthcare system in New York, which is one of the largest in the U.S. as well as a Clinical Research Service department, in which she drove the creation of the Finance, Investigational Pharmacy, and Recruitment Cores with a mission to facilitate high-quality patient-centered research. 


Name:  Kimberley Parker, Ph.D.
WIB Position:  Membership Chair
Company: Biogen Idec
Title: Sr. Engineer
Bio Data:  

Kimberley is a PhD Chemical Engineer with 14+ years R&D and project management experience in the life sciences industry, including biopharma, industrial biotech, and ag sectors.  In her current role at Biogen, she leads late-stage cell culture process development projects.  

Name:  Ludmila Francescatto
WIB Position:  Membership Vice Chair
Company: Duke Cancer Institute
Title: Regulatory Affairs Coordinator
Bio Data:  

Lu is a Regulatory Affairs Coordinator at the Duke Cancer Institute in the department of Hematologic Malignancies and Cellular Therapy. 

Prior to this position, she was a Postdoctoral Researcher at Duke University in the Center for Human Disease Modeling where she studied rare human genetic disorders. She received her PhD in Developmental Biology from Virginia Commonwealth University. 

Name:  Michelle Ricther
WIB Position:  Young Women In Bio Chair
Company: Q2 Solutions
Title: Senior Lab Project Services Coordinator
Bio Data:  

Michelle Richter received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from N.C. State University in 2011. Michelle has participated in youth development and outreach for many years and is excited to help develop and build STEM outreach to young women here in the Triangle.

Name:  Lauren Lilley Lohmer
WIB Position:  Young Women In Bio Vice Chair
Company: Nuventra Inc.
Title: Clinical Pharmacology Associate and Sr. Project Manager
Bio Data:  

Lauren Lilley Lohmer is a Clinical Pharmacology Associate and Sr. Project Manager at Nuventra Inc. Lauren earned her PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology from Duke University and her BS in Biology from the University of Notre Dame. She is excited to help young women in the RTP area engage with STEM.

Name:  Jhuma Das
WIB Position:  Mentors, Advisors, Peers (MAPs) Co-Chair
Company: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Title: Research Associate
Bio Data:  

Jhuma's long-standing research interest is to address important questions and problems in soft matter, structural biology, protein engineering, and biomolecular dynamics. After finishing her Ph.D. in Physics at the University of Missouri, she became a postdoctoral research fellow and continued her journey as a research associate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is currently focused on understanding the origin of a number of fatal human diseases and offering alternative therapies by applying her computational biophysics background. Her principle projects involve the computational modeling of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) channel and mucin proteins. She implements computer simulations to understand the molecular basis of human diseases by deciphering the structure-function relationship of these pathogenic proteins. She further utilizes this insight for the development of effective therapeutics to treat Cystic Fibrosis (CF) and other currently incurable diseases. Following her passion to find cures for deadly ailments, she has successfully led multiple drug screening campaigns to find effective drug candidates towards Cystic Fibrosis. In addition, she is actively involved in several other collaborative projects including Alzheimer’s disease, in which she pursued the multi-scale modeling of Apolipoprotein E (ApoE).  She is a strong believer of continual growth  and giving back to the community through mentorship. Driven by this desire, she has joined Women in Bio and she is determined to bring her energy and mentorship skills to the RTP-MAPs program. She is thankful for the opportunity to work with women in science pursuing diverse career paths.

Name:  Elizabeth Turpin
WIB Position:  Mentors, Advisors, Peers (MAPs) Co-Chair
Bio Data:  

Liz is currently an advisor to biotech companies, where she is helping smaller biotech and startup companies develop R&D programs and solicit funding.  Previously, Liz held R&D and Marketing roles at Pfizer and Zoetis where she focused on assay development, vaccines, infectious diseases, molecular biology and diagnostics.  Liz received a PhD in Pathology and MS in Infectious Diseases from the University of Georgia.  Liz has been a strong advocate of mentoring and developing people and is excited to help lead the RTP MAPs program.

Also meet our Committee Associates, who assist the efforts of Chapter Chairs and support the successful implementation of their initiatives!