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Speakers: Pathways to Regenerative Medicine Careers

Gary Martin Green

Assistant Professor and Chief Workforce Development Officer, Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine

Gary Green is assistant professor and chief workforce development officer for the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) and chief workforce development officer for the RegenMed Development Organization (ReMDO). Prior to joining WFIRM, Green was president of Forsyth Technical Community College in Winston-Salem, NC, a regional and national leader in biotechnology education. He has presented on bioscience workforce development regionally, nationally, and internationally, including the White House, Department of Labor, US-EU, APEC, and US-Canada workforce conferences. He has also appeared on CNN, C-SPAN, and NPR addressing education and workforce development issues.


William Woodruff

Professor Emeritus, Alamance Community College

Bill Woodruff is currently Professor Emeritus at Alamance Community College where he was the head of the oldest 2-year biotechnology education and training program in the United States for 30 years. During his tenure he developed the programs beginning with production of mAb and cell culture skills, to a full biomanufacturing suite with sterile fill, to stem cell growth, maintenance and differentiation. Bill is also a founding member and director of the NSF ATE grants, Bio-Link. and NBC2.


Russ H. Read

Executive Director, Nat. Ctr. Biotechnology Workforce at Forsyth Technical Community College

Russ Read has worked in the bioscience industry for over 35 years. Formerly he was an executive with the Burroughs Wellcome and Glaxo Wellcome companies. He was heavily involved with the commercial development of antivirals like AZT and 3TC which are mainstay treatments for HIV illness. He was CEO of the Kucera Pharmaceutical Company - a startup biopharmaceutical company based in Winston-Salem, NC. He has led a national biotechnology workforce effort for 17 years called the National Center for the Biotechnology Workforce (NCBW). NCBW is based in Winston-Salem is a part of North Carolina’s Community College System, Forsyth Technical Community College and is a part of the college’s division of Student Academic Success. The NCBW focuses on achieving best practices and skill standards for the skilled technical worker.


Darren H. M. Hickerson

Associate Director, Manufacturing Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine

Darren Hickerson has been in leadership roles in the field of regenerative medicine manufacturing for over 19 years. Early work on a platelet product at East Carolina University is now in commercial manufacturing. His work at Aldagen / Cytomedix included development of cell products for multiple clinical trials and his work at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) has included more than ten clinical indications while supervising a team of >10 GMP Manufacturing Engineers.



Joan Schanck

Chief Education Program Officer, Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine

Joan Schank’s work is focused on providing high quality educational programming within the field of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. In her role, she also works to increase awareness of the Institute’s leadership role within the field of biomedicine. Joan’s professional background includes more than 20 years of specialized experience in administration, education, research, fundraising, collaborative team building, program development and direct care/services delivery within the university, community, non-profit, public health, and education setting. Throughout her career, she has recognized the importance of education and the need to develop collaborative, multidisciplinary education and research training across formal and informal educational environments.


Jill J. Keith

Professor of Biochemistry and Interim Director of the Biomedical Research Infrastructure Center, Winston-Salem State University

Dr. Jill Keith is a Professor of Biochemistry and Interim Director of the Biomedical Research Infrastructure Center, Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) and Adjunct Professor at Wake Forest University Health Sciences in Physiology and Pharmacology. She received a BS degree from York College-CUNY and a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland-College Park. As a bioorganic chemist with training in pharmacology, she conducts research related to central nervous system diseases and disorders. She served as Chair of the department of Biological Sciences at WSSU and currently teaches in the department of Chemistry. Importantly, she uses diverse teaching methods and encourages students to use metacognitive strategies and Bloom’s Taxonomy to become self-regulated learners. To assist with diversity efforts connected to training the next generation of scientists and healthcare professionals, Dr. Keith is involved with K12 outreach activities. Notably, Dr. Keith received the Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching, the highest recognition given by the state of North Carolina.


Timothy Lutz

Senior Vice President Manufacturing, ProKidney, LLC

Tim Lutz has over 30 years of experience in the biological and pharmaceutical manufacturing industry with over 25 years working in the biologics arena in both commercial and clinical operations. Additionally, Tim has more than 20 years in contract manufacturing. His primary focus has been in aseptic parenteral manufacturing. Tim is the Senior Vice President Manufacturing with ProKidney, LLC. Prior to joining ProKidney, LLC, Tim was Chief Manufacturing Officer for Matica Biotechnology, a startup CDMO providing cell and gene manufacturing services to clients developing vaccines and virus-based cell and gene therapy products. Tim has worked for protein and virus CDMO’s including Lonza, helping clients to bring their novel products to market. He was also involved in the launch of Dendreon’s Provenge, a cell therapy treatment for prostate cancer, the first commercially approved immunotherapy in the United States.


Kimberly Pearson

Kimberly Pearson is the Human Resource Director at Andersen Products, Inc., a small medical device manufacturer located in Haw River, NC. Her focus is on recruitment, employee relations, and benefit management. Kimberly has an AAS degree in Biotechnology from ACC and a BS degree in Industrial Technology with a focus on Bioprocess Manufacturing from ECU. Kimberly enjoys hiking the beautiful North Carolina mountains and spending time with friends and family.



Katie Benson

Katie Benson has a BA from Wake Forest University and worked in animal rescue for 11 years. Wanting to make a career change, she went to Forsyth Tech and earned an AAS in Biotechnology. She started working for WFIRM in February 2022 as the core technician for the RegeneratOR Test Bed.




Justin Campbell

Justin Campbell is a PhD student in the Molecular and Cellular Biosciences Program at Wake Forest University. His undergraduate studies were at Winston-Salem State University and Forsyth Technical Community College. Prior to entering graduate school, he was a lab technician at Forsyth Tech as well as the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine. For his PhD studies, he is specializing in Molecular Medicine and Translational Science and would like to perform work for the Department of Defense upon graduation. Some of his personal hobbies include playing music, cooking, and gardening.


Yosauri Fernandez Figuereo

Research Laboratory Technician II, Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine

Yosauri Fernandez Figuereo is a research laboratory technician II under Dr. Steve Walker at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine. She received her B.S. degree in Ecology and Environmental Management from PUCMM in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, an A.S. degree in Biotechnology from Forsyth Tech Community College and is currently applying to Ph.D. programs to further her studies in Genetics and Regenerative Medicine.


Jennie Chambers Smith

Process Development Technician II, Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine

Jennie Smith is a Process Development Technician II at Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, where she specializes in development of tissue engineered organs for clinical translation. She attended Forsyth Technical Community College and Winston-Salem State, where she received an Associates of Applied Science-Biotechnology and Bachelor of Science-Biology.


Kristina Stumpf

Research Technician lll, Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine

Kristina Stumpf is a Research Technician lll at Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) in Dr. Frank Marini’s Lab. She has worked on many different projects at WFIRM and is very proficient in immunofluorescent staining, imaging, and data analysis. Kristina is a graduate of Forsyth Technical Community College with a degree is Biotechnology and completed her internship at WFIRM before being hired after graduation. She currently working toward a degree in Information Technology and Data Analytics.


Elisabeth Willard

Elisabeth Willard is currently employed by the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine and a Cellular and Molecular Biology student at Winston-Salem State University. Elisabeth worked in both a textile and computer parts factory prior to receiving her Associates of Applied Science from Forsyth Technical Community College in Biotechnology.