Nahla Afifi, MD, PhD, Director, Qatar Biobank

Dr. Nahla Maher Afifi earned her MBBCh with honors from Ain Shams University, Egypt and went on to gain her Master of Anatomy & Embryology degree and a Diploma of Gynecology and Obstetrics from the same university. Dr. Afifi then received her PhD of Anatomy & Embryology in 1996 – also from Ain Shams University - under joint supervision with the University of Medicine and Dentistry, New Jersey, USA. Dr. Afifi began her academic career as a Medical Researcher in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. She then served as Assistant Professor of Anatomy and Embryology at Ain Shams University and Dubai Medical College for Girls, UAE. In 1999, Dr. Afifi joined Qatar University's Biomedical Sciences Program and was promoted to Associate Professor of Anatomy and Embryology and Full Professor in 2007. She was appointed Head of Department of Health Sciences in 2007, a position she held until 2009. In December 2013, Dr. Afifi joined Qatar Foundation. She is currently the Director at Qatar Biobank. Dr. Afifi has published numerous research papers in her field of expertise and is a member in several International societies, including AAA, ASIP, ISBER & ESBB.

Clare M. Allocca, MS, EMTM, PMP, Senior Advisor for Standardization, Standards Coordination Office, National Institute of Standards & Technology

Clare Allocca is Senior Advisor for Standardization in the Standards Coordination Office at NIST. She is also Manager of ISO/TC276/WG3 Analytical Methods, and Secretary of the US Mirror Committee. Clare has over 30 years of experience in program and strategic management and R&D for biotechnology standards, advanced materials, manufacturing, surface engineering, and measurement technology. Previous positions include Chief of the US Measurement System Office, and Program Manager for Advanced Materials and Manufacturing in the Advanced Technology Program. Clare holds Bachelor of Science Degrees in Materials Science and Engineering and Geochemistry from MIT; a Master of Science Degree in Ceramic Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and a Master of Science Degree in Management of Technology from the University of Pennsylvania/Wharton Business School.

Carlos Aparicio, PhD, CEO, ImmunoSite Technologies

Dr. Aparicio, PhD has more than 25 years of experience in technical and scientific leadership in the pharmaceutical and medical devices industries where he has worked in R&D process and product development for Ciba-Geigy, Warner-Lambert, Beckman Coulter, and Abbott. Dr. Aparicio is a world leader in the robotic automation of biological assays and pharmaceutical processes that enhance operating efficiency in both research and product development settings. Prior to assuming the role of CEO in 2012, Carlos was the COO of ImmunoSite, directed the Automation Business Center, and established the Particle Testing Business Center. Carlos earned a PhD in Chemical/Biochemical Engineering from Rutgers University, a MS in Chemical Engineering from Columbia University, and a BS in Engineering Science from the University of Miami.

Sean Banks, PhD, Data Analytics Manager, Ascension - Data Governance


Gerald Batist, MD, Director, Segal Cancer Centre, Jewish General Hospital; Director, McGill University Centre for Translational Research in Cancer, McGill University


Jeff Boyd, PhD, Associate Deputy Director, Translational Research and Genomic Medicine, Miami Cancer Institute, Baptist Health South Florida

Jeff Boyd is a professor and chair at Florida International University and the Associate Deputy Director of Translational Research and Genomic Medicine at the Miami Cancer Institute. Previously, Dr. Boyd was the Senior Vice President at Fox Chase Cancer Center. Before joining Fox Chase, Dr. Boyd was the vice president for Oncology and Research at Memorial Health, and director of the Curtis & Elizabeth Anderson Cancer institute. Boyd came to Savannah from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, where he served as an attending biologist and director of the gynecology and breast research laboratory in the Department of Surgery and director of the diagnostic molecular genetics laboratory in the Department of Medicine. Boyd has received more than 14 National Institutes of Health or NIH-equivalent research grants totaling several million dollars. He has served on the editorial boards of five prestigious journals, including the American Journal of Pathology and the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Nam Bui, Senior Associate Scientist, Biobanking & Sample Management Group, Gilead Sciences

Nam Bui is currently a member of the Biobanking and Sample Management Group within the Biomarker Sciences Department at Gilead Sciences. He graduated from University of California at Davis with a Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology emphasis on Genetics. Prior to Gilead, he was at Quest Diagnostics (formerly Celera Diagnostics) for 15 years managing both Biosample and Oligonucleotide Laboratories for SNP Genotyping and NGS. He has many years of experience in Oracle databases, SQL, PL-SQL and other programming languages used in data sciences.

Jeremy W. Chambers, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work, Florida International University

Jeremy W. Chambers, PhD is an Associate Professor of Environmental Health Sciences at Florida International University (FIU). His research examines the roles of signal transduction cascades on the mitochondrial surface in physiology and disease. Recently, his group has teamed with Baptist Health and the Miami Cancer Institute to develop viable procedures to transition clinical specimens to researchers with the goal of achieving more clinically-relevant studies. He earned his PhD in Biochemistry at Clemson University. Before FIU, Dr. Chambers was a postdoctoral fellow at the Scripps Research Institute and at the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute at the University of Pennsylvania.

Rajiv Dhir, MD, MBA, Vice Chair, Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh Health Systems

Board certified Pathologist; sub-specialization in Urologic Pathology. Vice-Chair of Pathology, UPMC. Medical Director of the University of Pittsburgh Biospecimen Core (PBC) since 1998. PBC oversees biospecimen aggregation and disbursement as well as provides extensive array of Research Pathology and Imaging services.

Zuanel Diaz, PhD, Director, Protocol Support Laboratory and Biospecimen Research Facility, Baptist Health South Florida, Miami Cancer Institute


Sandra Gaston, PhD, Director, Molecular Biomarker Analytic Laboratory, Radiation Oncology, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine

I’m a molecular biologist who earned my PhD in Anatomy (Cell and Molecular Biology) at Duke University and completed postdoctoral training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (with Phil W Robbins) and the Massachusetts General Hospital (Molecular Neurogenetics Unit, with James Gusella and Rudy Tanzi). I began my independent research laboratory at MIT with funding from the Prostate Cancer Foundation and was soon after recruited to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center as a Principal Investigator and member of the Harvard Medical School faculty. In 2012, I joined the faculty of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Tufts Medical Center as Director of the Molecular Biomarker Research Laboratory and Scientific Director of the Tufts Medical Center Biorepository. In 2018 I accepted an invitation from Dr. Alan Pollack to join the faculty of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine as Director of the Molecular Biomarker Analytic Laboratory in the Department of Radiation Oncology.       

My laboratory is focused on characterizing the individual genetic and biological differences that can influence the clinical behavior of human cancers. As a translational cancer research scientist, I am committed to the development of practical, innovative technologies to support the use of human biospecimens in cancer research. My laboratory has developed tissue-print technologies that allow detailed molecular biomarker analyses of surgical and biopsy specimens without compromising the tissue for pathology diagnosis. Compared to radical prostatectomy biomarker studies, this biopsy based approach has significantly expanded the representation patients diagnosed with relatively advanced prostate cancer who are often treated with radiation or hormonal therapy instead of surgery. Recently our biopsy-based biomarker studies identified gene expression signatures of altered fatty acid metabolism that are characteristic of an aggressive prostate cancer subtype common in African Americans. This prostate cancer phenotype is a major focus of my laboratory’s current research.

My laboratory has now fully implemented tissue-print technologies in multicenter studies of RNA and DNA biomarkers in prostate biopsy tissues. At the University of Miami Sylvester Cancer Center, we are using this approach to characterize gene expression patterns in multi-parametric magnetic resonance image (mpMRI) guided biopsies, with a particular emphasis on the radiogenomic characterization of aggressive prostate cancer subtypes. Recently, my laboratory’s biopsy-based biomarker studies have been significantly expanded by the NCI Early Detection Research Network (EDRN) Prostate MRI Biomarker Clinical Trial, a major new multicenter study for which I am PI of an EDRN Biomarker Analytic Lab. I am very pleased to be invited by the Cambridge HealthTech Institute to share our experience with tissue print biobanking of biopsy specimens from clinical trials.     

Louis T. Gidel, MD, PhD, Chief Medical Informatics Officer, Baptist Health South Florida

Louis Gidel, PhD, MD, is the chief medical informatics and quality officer at Baptist Health South Florida. In this role, Dr. Gidel will align clinical informatics and data with quality metrics from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, helping to establish evidence-based best practices across the system. He’ll be responsible for performance improvement, analytics, telehealth and medical informatics. Dr. Gidel will focus on the clinical decision-making to have data-driven support. Prior to his new role, Gidel served as Baptist Health’s chief medical informatics officer and is helping to spearhead the organization’s implementation of Cerner Millennium, its new integrated electronic medical record system. He has also served as medical director of Baptist Health’s eHealth Center including telemedicine and the eICU and transfer center and co-chair of the System-wide Adult Critical Care Committee since 2009. Gidel began his career as a PhD physicist from the University of Illinois. He worked in academic research for seven years before earning his medical degree in the PhD to MD program at the University of Miami. He trained in internal medicine and a fellowship in pulmonary and critical care at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital. Gidel worked in private practice before joining Baptist Health’s eHealth center in 2006.

Sameer Kalghatgi, PhD, Director, Laboratory Operations, Coriell Institute for Medical Research

Sameer Kalghatgi, PhD, is director of Laboratory Operations at the Coriell Institute for Medical Research. In this capacity, he manages the cell culture, molecular biology, stem cell and cytogenomic laboratory supervisors and staff by providing scientific and technical guidance and leads the laboratory teams in providing these services for a large number of diverse customers and projects. Sameer’s responsibilities include optimizing daily workflows to meet all deliverables by developing and streamlining laboratory processes including SOPs and troubleshooting and exploring & onboarding new technologies. Prior to joining Coriell, Sameer was a Senior Scientist at EP Technologies LLC, an early stage company based in Akron, Ohio. He was a significant contributor to EPT’s extensive patent portfolio and was responsible for increasing investment, developing novel clinical applications of non-thermal plasma, building a world-class team, and driving major projects that proved the safety and feasibility of non-thermal plasma. As one of the founding employees, Sameer led and advised key plasma projects and served as the primary technical point of contact between EPT and external partners, pharma companies and regulatory agencies. Sameer completed his postdoctoral studies at Boston University, employing his expertise in systems biology, cell culture, biochemistry, molecular biology, gene expression analysis and animal studies to study the underlying action of long-term use of common antibiotics in increasing oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction in mammalian cells. Sameer received his undergraduate degree in electrical engineering from VJTI, University of Mumbai and earned his Doctor of Philosophy degree in electrical engineering from Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA.

Paul R. Lindeman, MD, Medical Director of Informatics, Miami Cancer Institute, Baptist Health South Florida

Dr. Lindeman is board certified in Internal Medicine with 14 years of clinical experience including eleven in Emergency Medicine. Transitioning to Informatics in 2003, he was instrumental in developing one of the first widely adopted and commercially successful EMR’s for use in the ED. He went on to develop an advanced clinical decision support tool for use in the ED helping to prevent at-risk discharges. As part of that project he presented at the Military Health System Research Symposium and was invited by the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organization (IHTSDO) to present Use of SNOMED in an Advanced CDS. Dr. Lindeman is an active member of AMIA. He joined Miami Cancer Institute in December of 2015 and is actively involved in Cerner Oncology optimization as well as a multitude of projects and initiatives across the Institute including the MCI Data Mart.

Alexander Lituev, MD, Practice Leader, Biorepository Head, Kaiser Permanente Research Bank

Dr. Lituev has over 20 years of combined clinical and research experience, and proven success in managing Biorepository, Histology, and Digital Imaging laboratories. He served as a Medical Director at Epigene Diagnostic, molecular diagnostics company, Director of Biospecimen Repository at the Center for Translational Research at CHI, one of the nation’s largest health systems; Senior VP at Cureline, a biopharmaceutical services company; CMO at the Medical center of Neuro-technology. In addition, Dr. Lituev served as a Principal and Co-principal Investigator for number of studies including TCGA, NCI-NIH, CHI/CTR multicenter pre-clinical Oncology and Autoimmunity.

He received his MD from Pavlov's Medical University, St. Petersburg, Russia with Residency in Internal Medicine and Anesthesiology and completed postgrad program - Clinical Research Conduct and Management at UC Berkeley. Dr. Lituev has coauthored number of publications and has spoken at many conferences.

Shannon J. McCall, MD, Associate Professor of Pathology, Duke University School of Medicine; Director, BioRepository & Precision Pathology Center; Vice Chair, College of American Pathologists’ Biorepository Accreditation Program Committee

Dr. Shannon McCall is an Associate Professor of Pathology at Duke University. She is also board-certified in Clinical Informatics. Dr. McCall is a practicing GI pathologist who has served as a team member on many translational science investigations including The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). She has been the Director of the Duke BioRepository & Precision Pathology Center (BRPC) since 2013. She serves as principal investigator for Duke’s institutional broad consent biobanking protocol which has gained the participation of over 4,700 patients so far. She co-leads the Precision Cancer Medicine Initiative at Duke which includes overseeing Duke’s participation in the American Association of Cancer Research’s ‘GENIE’ data-sharing project. Dr. McCall is a member of the International Society of Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER) Standards Committee and is currently serving as the Vice Chair of the Biorepository Accreditation Program Committee of the College of American Pathologists (CAP).

Jacob L. McCauley, PhD, Associate Professor of Human Genetics & Pathology; Director, Center for Genome Technology & Biorepository Facility, John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine

Dr. McCauley is a genetic epidemiologist with a background comprised of training in both molecular and statistical genetic techniques. His research focuses on the use of molecular techniques, bioinformatics, and statistical methods to identify genetic variation and to characterize its role in disease susceptibility within a variety of diseases including multiple sclerosis (MS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), stroke, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Dr. McCauley’s lab has consulted on and directed countless biospecimen collection efforts, overseen biological sample processing, tracking and quality control procedures, performed numerous genotyping and sequencing experiments, and led genetic analyses for both local and large-scale consortia projects. He is an active member of several national and international consortia pursuing novel genetic discoveries across numerous complex diseases.

Brian Neman, MHA, CEO, Sanguine

Brian Neman is the Founder & CEO of Sanguine. He is on a mission to put patients in charge of their health data to accelerate medical research and make precision medicine the standard-of-care.

Robyn Osborne, MS, Research Project Manager, Surgery, Duke University

Robyn has over 20 years of experience in basic scientific, clinical, and translational research. With extensive knowledge of Good Clinical Laboratory Practices (GCLP), laboratory policy, and standard operating procedure development and implementation. She has spent the last 10 years at Duke University, initially working with the Duke Translational Research Institute where she performed multi-color flow cytometry and supervised the sample processing laboratory. She is currently serving as a research project manager of Substrate Services Core and Research Support (SSCRS) laboratories where she has led the implementation of GLCP, developed and implemented standard operating procedures, coordinates and supervises the technical training of employees. She serves as the GCLP lead of the Department of Defense biobanking consortium in collaboration with Duke University, the Department of Surgery and the Surgical Critical Care Initiative (SC2i), supporting precision medicine in wounded warriors. Prior to joining Duke, Robyn worked for Trimeris, INC. where she was part of the team that identified HIV fusion inhibitor candidate peptides, performing anti-viral assays and mutation generation for genetic barrier determination. Robyn earned her BS at the University of California, Davis and her MS at North Carolina State University.

Don Parris, PhD, MPH, CCRC, Assistant Vice President, Center for Advanced Analytics, Baptist Health South Florida

Don Parris has over 20 years’ experience conducting research and using data in innovative ways to improve patient care and the health of populations. He is currently the Assistant Vice President of Baptist Health South Florida’s Center for Advanced Analytics and served as Baptist Health’s Director of Outcomes Research. Prior to his time at Baptist Health, he worked as a clinical project manager at M2Gen on the Total Cancer Care™ Initiative, resulting in one of the world’s largest biorepositories of cancer tumors and associated patient clinical data. At Humana, he developed the claims-based recruitment strategy for the BioImage Study, a 7,600+ person study that assessed risk in the primary prevention of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Don is a military veteran, having achieved the rank of Captain in the US Air Force. He received his bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and his doctoral degree in Epidemiology from the University of Miami.

Zasha M. Pou, MPH, Supervisor, Biospecimen Repository Facility, Miami Cancer Institute

No bio available.

Saiju Pyarajan, PhD, Director, Center for Data and Computational Sciences, VA Boston Healthcare System; Faculty, Harvard Medical School

Saiju Pyarajan PhD is the Director of the Center for Data and Computational Sciences at the VA Boston Healthcare System. He also oversees the implementation and maintenance of the informatics infrastructure for the Million Veteran Program (MVP). Dr. Pyarajan completed his post-doctoral training from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the NYU School of Medicine and obtained his PhD in Immunology from University of Massachusetts.  

Melissa Rawley-Payne, MS, Executive Director, Biospecimen Operations, Celgene

Melissa Rawley-Payne is Executive Director of Biospecimen Operations at Celgene. Prior to joining, she was Senior Director at Global Specimen Solutions, Inc. and was previously Head of BioBank at Pfizer for three years. She is an expert in the field of biobanking and has been asked to present at conferences nationally and internationally.

Jane Rogan, MCRC Biobank Coordinator, The Christie NHS Foundation Trust

Jane Rogan manages the Manchester Cancer Research Centre Biobank in the UK. She has headed up the Biobank since it’s inception in 2007 and has worked in tissue banking and it’s related governance for 15 years.

Heidi Wagner, PA (ASCP), Clinical Research Manager, Surgical Oncology, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre

Heidi brings over a decade of international experience in biobanking and surgical pathology.  Heidi managed the Institutional Tissue Bank at MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX which held over 1.2 million samples and is currently the Clinical Research Manager for the GU BioBank and the GU Clinical Trials Unit at Princess Margaret Cancer Center, Toronto, Canada. Heidi obtained her BSc in Anatomic Pathology from Wayne State University, Detroit, MI.

Through her education and experience in surgical pathology and biobank management, she has gained a working knowledge of processes and workflow improvements, accreditations and standards, operational challenges, contingency and financial planning. Heidi is actively involved in global biobanking organizations and is currently serving on multiple committees for the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER) including the 2020 Program Committee, the Education and Training Committee, the Best Practices Marketing Task Force and the International Repository Locator Working Group. 

Lynn Wetherwax, Senior Manager, Biological Sample Management & Biobank, Research Operations, Amgen

Lynn is a Senior Manager at Amgen with over 25 years of experience in multiple aspects of clinical trials including bioanalytical testing, clinical drug supplies, and specimen management. She currently leads Biological Sample Management and is responsible for managing Amgen’s biobank as well as informed consent tracking related to specimens and use of banked specimens and data for research.

Patrice Whitehead Gay, Biorepository Core Director, John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine

Ms. Gay is the Biorepository Core Director within the Center for Genome Technology at the John P. Hussman Institute for Human Genomics. She has over 15 years of experience in molecular and cell biology and serves as the primary point of contact for all biospecimen collection and distribution efforts for this facility at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.