Meet the AWIS National Governing Board
President Bahija Jallal, PhD
As part of AstraZeneca’s Senior Executive Team, Dr. Bahija Jallal is tasked with advancing the biologic organization’s pipeline of drugs targeting cancer, infections, respiratory and inflammatory diseases, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal disorders, and pain. Dr. Jallal received a master’s degree in biology from Paris Diderot University and her doctorate in physiology from Pierre-and-Marie-Curie University. She conducted her postdoctoral research at the Max-Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried, Germany.
President-Elect Susan Windham-Bannister, PhD
Managing Director, Biomedical Innovation Advisors, LLC,
and President and CEO, Biomedical Growth Strategies, LLC
Dr. Susan Windham-Bannister is a world-renowned innovation expert, recognized by the Boston Globe as one of the “10 Most Influential Women in Biotech” in 2013. Windham-Bannister currently serves as managing partner of Biomedical Innovation Advisors LLC, as well as the president and CEO of Biomedical Growth Strategies, LLC. She received a BA from Wellesley College, a doctorate in health policy and management from the Florence Heller School at Brandeis University, and a doctor of science from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (honoris causa). She has been an AWIS member since 2016.
Secretary Robert Powell, PhD
Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science
and of Food Science and Technology, University of California Davis
Dr. Robert Powell has been a faculty member at the University of California Davis since 1984. From 2002 until 2011, he was chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science. Besides his academic position, Dr. Powell serves as Science Advisor to the Secretary of the California Department of Natural Resources. In 2014 he was appointed to chair the Science and Technology Committee. Dr. Powell has published over 110 papers in peer-reviewed journals. He holds his BA, MS, and PhD from Johns Hopkins University and has been an active AWIS member since 2015.
Treasurer Pamela Marrone, PhD
CEO and Founder, Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc.
Dr. Pam Marrone is the CEO and founder of Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. (MBII: NASDAQ). In December 2013, she was named the Sacramento Businessperson of the Year for the Sacramento, California, region by the Sacramento Business Journal. Her peers have elected Dr. Marrone as a Fellow of AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science). She has a BS in entomology, with honors and distinction, from Cornell University and a PhD in entomology from North Carolina State University. Dr. Marrone has been an active AWIS member since 1994.
Councilor Vasudev Bailey, PhD
Partner, ARTIS Ventures
Dr. Vasudev Bailey is a partner at ARTIS Ventures. He was previously at Quid and McKinsey & Co. He was also the co-founder of GLG Institute and Zufog. He received his PhD in biomedical engineering from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, where he was recognized as both a Siebel and a Medtronic Scholar. Dr. Bailey graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from University of California Irvine, where he was also recognized as both a Regents and a Henry Samueli Scholar. He has been an AWIS member since 2016.
Councilor Patricia Bartlett
Acting Assistant Secretary for Education and Access, Smithsonian
Patricia Bartlett is the Acting Assistant Secretary for Education and Access for the Smithsonian Institution, where she is defining its education program. Prior to this, Ms. Bartlett was senior advisor for Higher Education Initiatives at the Smithsonian and chief of staff to former Secretary of the Smithsonian Dr. Wayne Clough. She holds a BA in political science from Agnes Scott College and masters’ degrees in urban affairs from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and in writing from Johns Hopkins University. She has been an active AWIS member since 2015.
Councilor Sangeeta Bhatia, PhD
Sangeeta Bhatia, M.D., PhD, is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and the John J. and Dorothy Wilson Professor at MIT’s Institute for Medical Engineering and Science and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. She is the Director of the Marble Center for Cancer Nanomedicine, and a member of the Ludwig Center for Molecular Oncology and is also an Affiliated Faculty member of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, an Institute Member of the Broad Institute, a Biomedical Engineer at the Brigham & Women’s Hospital, and has been elected to Brown University’s Board of Trustees. She joined AWIS in 2017.
Millennial Councilor Jennifer Blum, PhD
Astrophysicist/Research Staff Member for the Department of Defense
Dr. Jennifer Blum is an astrophysicist and graduated from Columbia University with a bachelor’s degree in astrophysics. In 2011, she was the first African American in five years to obtain her PhD in astrophysics at the University of Michigan. Her expertise was in black holes, and she was a Rackham Science Award Fellow. She has been trained by multiple mentors, including Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson. Dr. Blum was a member of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) and of Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) while at the University of Michigan. She has been an AWIS DC mentoring circle leader for the last two years and has participated in Society of Women Engineers (SWE) conferences. Dr. Blum is currently a researcher for the Department of Defense. Her hobbies include professional voice acting in radio commercials.
Councilor April Burke
President and Founder, Lewis-Burke Associates LLC
April Burke has over thirty years of experience in legislative and regulatory advocacy and analysis in areas related to higher education, science and engineering research, technology transfer, and health policy. Ms. Burke represents leading research universities and scientific societies with Congress, federal agencies, and the White House. She received a BA from Stanford University, where she was Phi Beta Kappa, and is a graduate of George Washington University National Law Center. Ms. Burke has been an active AWIS member since 2005.
Councilor Jennifer Elisseeff, PhD
Professor, Johns Hopkins
Dr. Elisseeff is the Morton Goldberg Professor and Director of the Translational Tissue Engineering Center at Johns Hopkins Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Wilmer Eye Institute with appointments in Chemical and Biological Engineering, Materials Science and Orthopedic Surgery. She was recently elected to the National Academy of Engineering. She was elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, the National Academy of Inventors, and a Young Global Leader by World Economic Forum. In 2002 she was named by MIT Technology Review as a top innovator under 35. She is an AWIS sustaining member.
Councilor Jean I. Feldman
Head of Policy Office, Division of Institution and Award Support, Office of Budget, Finance and Award Management, National Science Foundation
Jean I. Feldman is head of the Policy Office, Division of Institution and Award Support, within the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Office of Budget, Finance and Award Management. Prior to working at NSF, she worked in policy positions for the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command. She has a BA in history and political science from Wright State University and a master’s in public administration from George Washington University. She has been an AWIS member since 2016.
Councilor Sara Kenkare-Mitra, PhD
Senior Vice President, Development Sciences, Genentech
Sara Kenkare-Mitra, PhD, is senior vice president of Development Sciences at Genentech, a member of the Roche Group. Kenkare-Mitra has had a significant impact on the development of a number of medicines leading to Genentech’s key product approvals including Avastin®, Tarceva®, Lucentis®, Xolair®, Erivedge®, Perjeta®, and Kadcyla® and more than 65 Investigational New Drug applications. Sara also is an adjunct faculty at UCSF in the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences. She was selected one of the 150 Most Influential Business Women by San Francisco Business Times in 2011. Sara was elected to the Institute of Medicine, National Academy in 2014. She has been a member of AWIS since 2010.
Councilor Wendy Mayer, MBA
Vice President Strategy, Pfizer Innovative Health
Wendy Mayer, MBA, is vice president Strategy, Pfizer Innovative Health. In this role, she is responsible for articulating and evaluating strategic opportunities across Pfizer’s Innovative portfolio (Vaccines, Oncology, Internal Medicine, Rare Disease, Immunology & Inflammation, and Consumer Health), including business development and transformative innovation. She joined Pfizer in 1997, and has had various roles across different aspects of the commercial organization. She is an AWIS sustaining member.
Councilor Pamela McCauley, PhD
Professor, Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Systems, University of Central Florida
Dr. Pamela McCauley, an award-winning university educator and internationally recognized industrial engineering researcher in the development of mathematical models, human engineering, and engineering leadership. She was recently named Program Director for the National Science Foundation (NSF) Computer Information Science and Engineering Directorate’s I-Corps Program to prepare scientists and engineers to extend their focus beyond the university laboratory and accelerate the economic and societal benefits of NSF-funded basic-research projects. She has been an active AWIS member since 2015, energetically motivating women around the world to pursue their STEM educational and professional goals.
Councilor David Ruth
Executive Director, Elsevier Foundation
David Ruth is executive director of the Elsevier Foundation, which funds programs to promote access to scientific and medical information in the developing world, expand the participation of women in science, and enhance professional education in health care. Mr. Ruth earned a master’s degree from the Columbia University School of International Affairs, with a specialization in international economics, and a bachelor’s degree in international relations from the University of Wisconsin. He has been an active AWIS member since 2011.
Councilor Gillian Small, PhD
Provost and Senior VP for Academic Affairs, Fairleigh Dickinson University
Dr. Gillian Small was recently named provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Fairleigh Dickinson University. Prior to this, she served as dean for research at the City University of New York (CUNY) and was appointed vice chancellor for research. Dr. Small came to the United States in 1985 to conduct postdoctoral research at Rockefeller University in New York in the laboratory of Nobel Laureate Dr. Christian DeDuve. Dr. Small received her PhD in biological sciences from Wolverhampton Polytechnic (now University of Wolverhampton) in England. She has been an active AWIS member since 2012.
Councilor Elizabeth L. Travis, PhD
Associate Vice President, Women Faculty Programs; Mattie Allen Fair Professor in Cancer Research; and Professor in the Department of Experimental Radiation Oncology, Division of Radiation Oncology,
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Dr. Elizabeth Travis is an internationally recognized scientist who has made seminal contributions to our understanding of the effects of radiation on normal tissue. She is a fellow of the American Society of Radiation Oncology and is a recipient of the Leadership Development Award from the Group on Women in Medicine and Science of the Association of American Medical Colleges. Dr. Travis is a tireless advocate for women faculty and is committed to furthering their academic careers and to seeing them appointed to leadership positions. She has been an active AWIS member since 2008.
Chair, Chapter and Affiliates Committee
Isabel Escobar, PhD
Professor, University of Kentucky
Isabel Escobar, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky. Dr. Escobar’s research focuses on developing and/or improving polymeric membrane materials for water treatment and water reuse operations. In 2009, she was awarded the Northwest Ohio YWCA Milestone Award for Education, The University of Toledo College of Engineering Outstanding Teacher Award, and the Toledo 20 Under 40 Leadership award. She joined AWIS in 2008.
Chair, Audit & Finance Committee
CEO, The Karene Group LLC
Karene Richards is a capital markets quantitative expert and women’s advocate with over 14 years’ experience in the investment banking industry. Ms. Richards most notably built the first carbon finance model for the World Bank in addition to a mortgage backed security model that generated $25M for Route 66 Ventures. She received a master of financial mathematics and statistics from Columbia University and an undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from Howard University. She a member of Women in Housing and Finance and has been an AWIS benefactor since 2016.