Fiona Armoo

Fiona Armoo

Assistant Research Associate, IBRI Diabetes Center

Fiona Armoo

Fiona Armoo

Assistant Research Associate, IBRI Diabetes Center

Fiona Armoo joined the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute (IBRI) in February 2021 as an assistant research associate in Dr. Michael Kalwat’s lab. Armoo works with Dr. Kalwat to research the molecular mechanisms of regulated secretions in cells and the use of pharmacological tools for this purpose.

Prior to joining the IBRI, Armoo worked as a COVID-19 lab technologist, where she was responsible for COVID-19 diagnostics using a lab technique called real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR).

Armoo received her bachelor’s degree in biology from The College of Wooster in May 2020. While at Wooster, she researched how the volatiles of brown marmorated stink bugs inhibit the blood feeding behavior of the aedes aegypti mosquito.

Armoo was born in Ghana and moved to the US in 2012.

Olivia Ballew, PhD

Olivia Ballew, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow, IBRI Diabetes Center

Olivia Ballew, PhD

Olivia Ballew, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow, IBRI Diabetes Center

Olivia Ballew, PhD, joined the IBRI in August 2020 as a postdoctoral fellow. She works on the mechanisms of pancreatic beta-cell dysfunction in type 1 diabetes in the lBRI Diabetes Center under Dr. Decio Eizirik.

Prior to joining the IBRI, Olivia completed her PhD at Indiana University. Under Dr. Soni Lacefield, Olivia studied the mechanisms underlying meiotic commitment in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. She discovered novel roles for two checkpoints in ensuring meiotic commitment.

Olivia received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2012.

Additionally, Olivia competes at the elite level in the marathon. She qualified for and ran in the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials.

Luiz Barella, PhD

Luiz Barella, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow, IBRI Diabetes Center

Luiz Barella, PhD

Luiz Barella, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow, IBRI Diabetes Center

Luiz Barella, PhD, joined the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute (IBRI) in January 2021 as a postdoctoral fellow. He works to understand the molecular pathways that lead to beta cell dysfunction and death and that trigger the deleterious dialogue with the immune system in type 1 diabetes in Dr. Decio Eizirik's lab within the IBRI Diabetes Center.

Prior to joining the IBRI, Barella worked at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda. There he focused on identifying the molecular pathways of beta-arrestins in pancreatic beta cells function and dysfunction. These intracellular proteins are closely associated with G-protein coupled receptors. Through his work, he was able to identify potential new targets for anti-diabetic drugs.

Barella received his PhD at the University of Maringa in Brazil in 2013, where he studied the roles of the autonomic nervous system in diabetes and metabolic diseases associated with the environmental conditions of the early life that lead to the development of metabolic disorders in adult life.

Whitney Bullock, PhD

Whitney Bullock, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow, Pharmaceutical Biotechnology Center

Whitney Bullock, PhD

Whitney Bullock, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow, Pharmaceutical Biotechnology Center

Whitney Bullock joined the IBRI in December 2019. She spends half of her time as a postdoctoral fellow with the Indiana University (IU) School of Medicine and the other half here at the IBRI researching mechanotransduction in bone and developing antibodies targeting the Wnt signaling pathway in bone mechanotransduction.

Prior to joining the IBRI, Whitney worked on her PhD at IU, where she explored the role of mechanical signaling in regulating bone biology. While completing her PhD she generated new mouse models using both ES cell line and Crispr/Cas9 gene editing technologies, and phenotyped these novel genetic mutations using radiographic, histological, biochemical and other analyses.

She also mentored undergraduate students and served as a teaching assistant for the Biomedical Engineering Biomechanics laboratory course in Biomedical Engineering at Purdue University.

Whitney obtained her bachelor’s degree in Animal Sciences from Purdue University in 2010. She earned her Doctor of Philosophy in Cell Biology and Anatomy from Indiana University in 2019.

Erica Cai, PhD

Erica Cai, PhD

Assistant Investigator, IBRI Diabetes Center

Erica Cai, PhD

Erica Cai, PhD

Assistant Investigator, IBRI Diabetes Center

Erica Cai, PhD, joined the Lilly Diabetes Center of Excellence within the IBRI Diabetes Center in April 2021. She also is a member of the Indiana University Center for Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases.

Cai’s current research focuses on beta cell protection and diabetes prevention. Her ultimate research goal is to better understand diseases and help improve quality of life.

Prior to joining the IBRI, Cai was an instructor in medicine at the Harvard Medical School. She worked in the laboratory of Dr. Peng Yi and the CRISPR screen core facility at the Joslin Diabetes Center. Her research projects used a multidisciplinary approach to investigate beta cell physiology, including cell regeneration, cell function, stress response, and autoimmune protection.

Cai obtained her bachelor’s degree in medical technology from Taipei Medical University and her master’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from National Taiwan University. She was trained by Dr. Minna Woo and received her PhD in medical science from the University of Toronto, Canada.

Cai was a three-time awardee of the Best Annual Trainee Award in the Banting and Best Diabetes Center at the University of Toronto. Her research works led to publications in peer-reviewed international journals, including Nature Metabolism, Cell Metabolism, PNAS and Diabetes.

Robert Considine, PhD

Robert Considine, PhD

Administrative Director, IBRI Diabetes Center

Robert Considine, PhD

Robert Considine, PhD

Administrative Director, IBRI Diabetes Center

Robert V. Considine, PhD, joined the Division of Endocrinology at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, Ind., as an Assistant Professor in 1997 and was promoted to Professor in 2013. Prior to his appointment at the IU School of Medicine, he was on the faculty of the Department of Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Pa., where he had completed his doctoral training.

Dr. Considine’s research is focused on understanding the contribution of obesity to the development of diabetes and its complications. In early work, his lab made seminal observations about the function of the adipose tissue hormone leptin in humans.  More recently, the Considine Lab has focused on the effects of bariatric surgery to alter gut hormone release and improve glucose homeostasis and insulin sensitivity.  In collaboration with David Kareken, PhD, at the IU School of Medicine, Dr. Considine is also utilizing neuroimaging techniques to understand the reward system response to food cues in human subjects.  

Dr. Considine is currently the Associate Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded Diabetes Center at the IU School of Medicine, and oversees the Analyte Laboratory, which provides quantitation of adipokines, cytokines, gut peptides and hormones from human and animal samples.  He is also the Statewide Director for Endocrine and Reproductive Biology, a second-year course in the IU School of Medicine curriculum. 

Christopher Contreras, PhD

Christopher Contreras, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow, IBRI Diabetes Center

Christopher Contreras, PhD

Christopher Contreras, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow, IBRI Diabetes Center

Christopher Contreras joined the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute (IBRI) in September 2020 as a postdoctoral fellow in the IBRI Diabetes Center’s Templin Lab.

Prior to working at the IBRI, Contreras was a postdocoral fellow at Indiana University School of Medicine in the Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research. There, he was investigating the role extracellular vesicles play in beta cell signaling, mechanisms involved with extracellular vesicle cargo loading, as well as the potential for extracellular vesicles as biomarkers for diabetes.

Contreras received his PhD. in biochemistry and molecular biology in 2018 from Indiana University, where he researched abnormalities in glycogen metabolism in Lafora disease. In 2008 he received his bachelors degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of New Mexico.

Additionally, Contreras enjoys mountain biking, fishing and camping.

Stephane Demine, PhD

Stephane Demine, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow, IBRI Diabetes Center

Stephane Demine, PhD

Stephane Demine, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow, IBRI Diabetes Center

Stephane Demine is a postdoctoral fellow working in the Lilly Diabetes Center of Excellence located here in the Diabetes Center. He works with Decio Eizirik, whom he partnered with at the University of Brussels.

While at the University of Brussels, he helped to identify new biomarkers suitable for the in vivo imaging of pancreatic beta cells, in collaboration with other universities (University of Mons, University of Brussels (VIB)) and industrial partners (Eurogentec). The most-advanced probe, a short camelid antibody targeting DPP6, was recently shown to accumulate in human beta cells grafted in mice and to correlate with the number of cells transplanted. The preclinical development of these probes is continuing at the IBRI Diabetes Center.

He also focused on the characterization of beta cells derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). He showed that human iPSC-derived beta cells respond to pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1β + IFNγ and IFNα), by activating the same pathogenic processes as adult human primary beta cells. These cells thus represent a valuable tool for future research on the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes. His future goal is to use this cell model to better understand how some single nucleotide polymorphisms are associated to type 1 diabetes developments.

Stephane obtained his PhD at the University of Namur in Belgium in 2016, where he worked extensively on the elucidation of the molecular mechanisms triggered by a mild mitochondrial uncoupling in white adipocytes, a new anti-obesity therapeutic approach.

Doreen Eastes

Doreen Eastes

Research Associate, Pharmaceutical Biotechnology Center

Doreen Eastes

Doreen Eastes

Research Associate, Pharmaceutical Biotechnology Center

Doreen Eastes is a research associate in the IBRI’s Pharmaceutical Biotechnology Center (PBC), which she joined in June 2019. In this role, she is responsible for establishing hybridoma production capabilities and development of new and existing protein therapeutics.

She joined the IBRI in 2016 as a research analyst in the IBRI’s then Single Cell Analytics Center, which was phased out in the spring of 2019 to pursue external commercialization of its diagnostic platform. Prior to the IBRI, and since 2015, she was a research technician in the Wells Center for Pediatric Research at Indiana University (IU) School of Medicine in Indianapolis. Before that and since 1998, she served as an assistant diabetes research scientist at Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, and then as a research associate at PreClinOmics, also in Indianapolis. Her broad scientific experience also included research at Scherling-Plough Animal Health in Mundelein, Ill., Interdisciplinary Center for Cell Products and Technologies (ICCPT) in Terre Haute, Ind., and at Pitman-Moore Inc., also in Terre Haute.

Doreen earned her B.S. in microbiology from Indiana University (IU) in Bloomington, Ind., and her M.A. in microbiology, also from IU-Bloomington.

Decio Eizirik, MD, PhD

Decio Eizirik, MD, PhD

Scientific Director, IBRI Diabetes Center

Decio Eizirik, MD, PhD

Decio Eizirik, MD, PhD

Scientific Director, IBRI Diabetes Center

Dr. Eizirik is a Professor at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) Center for Diabetes Research, Brussels, Belgium, and a member of the ULB medical faculty. He is also an Investigator for the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute (IBRI) and Scientific Director of the IBRI Diabetes Center.

He has published more than 370 full papers and reviews in peer-reviewed international journals and has received several national and international prizes, including the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Diabetes Care Research Award in 1998; the “2012 Albert Renold Prize Lecture for Outstanding Achievements in Research on the Islets of Langerhans” awarded by the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) in 2012, and the “2013 Rumbough Award for outstanding achievements in type 1 diabetes research” awarded by the JDRF.

Dr. Eizirik is listed by the ISI Essential Science Indicators among the 1 percent most cited scientists in Clinical Medicine and Biology & Biochemistry, with an h-index of 81. He has served as Honorary (Scientific) Secretary of the EASD and as Deputy Editor of Diabetologia, the official journal of the EASD. His research focuses on the molecular mechanisms regulating insulitis and beta cell apoptosis in type 1 diabetes, pancreatic beta cell imaging, generation of beta cells from inducible pluripotent cells and on the search for novel approaches to prevent the progressive loss of beta cell mass in diabetes.

Andrew Elmendorf

Andrew Elmendorf

Assistant Research Associate, IBRI Diabetes Center

Andrew Elmendorf

Andrew Elmendorf

Assistant Research Associate, IBRI Diabetes Center

Andrew Elmendorf joined the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute (IBRI) in January 2021 as an Assistant Research Associate in Dr. Jonathan Flak's lab. Elmendorf works with Dr. Flak to study diabetes, specifically how the central nervous system regulates glucose metabolism.

Prior to joining the IBRI, Elmendorf was a research technician at the Indiana University School of Medicine, where he was involved in prostate cancer research, as well as researching the cellular response to stress in health and disease. During his undergraduate years, he was involved in medical research investigating molecular mechanisms by which bone tissue senses mechanical loading, also at the IU School of Medicine.

Elmendorf earned his B.S. in biology from Indiana University in the spring of 2020.

Jonathan Flak, PhD

Jonathan Flak, PhD

Assistant Investigator, IBRI Diabetes Center

Jonathan Flak, PhD

Jonathan Flak, PhD

Assistant Investigator, IBRI Diabetes Center

Jonathan Flak joined the IBRI in September 2019. Immediately upon arrival he began setting up his own lab within the IBRI Diabetes Center. In his lab, Jonathan will focus on studying the central nervous system’s regulation of glucose metabolism as it relates to diabetes.

More specifically, Jonathan will build on work he began at the University of Michigan that is aimed at distinguishing markers for ventromedial hypothalamic neurons involved in glycemic regulation from the rest of the nucleus, a known brain area critical to balancing glucose, to help determine new targets/brain systems that may prove important in future therapeutics. He plans to identify the downstream systems from these subsets of ventromedial hypothalamic neurons to establish the mechanisms of how the brain can tune metabolic function (e.g. energy expenditure, glucose uptake and glucose mobilization).

Prior to establishing his lab here at the IBRI, Jonathan worked in the lab of Martin Myers at the University of Michigan. This project was an outgrowth from his work in this lab, where he began using cre-dependent mouse models and viral systems to study leptin action in the brainstem periaqueductal gray and lateral parabrachial nuclei. His work with Prof. Myers led to research published in Nature Neuroscience and the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Jonathan received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biopsychology and Cognitive Sciences with honors from the University of Michigan in 2004. And, he obtained his PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Cincinnati in 2011.

Anna Geisinger

Anna Geisinger

Research Associate, Bioanalytical Technologies

Anna Geisinger

Anna Geisinger

Research Associate, Bioanalytical Technologies

Anna Geisinger is a research associate in the IBRI’s Bioanalytical Technologies group. Bioanalytical Technologies supports all of the IBRI’s research centers by helping to innovate the next generation of bioanalytical systems and methods. In her role, Anna is responsible for cell and bacteria culture, assay validation and protocol development, and molecular analysis.

Anna joined the IBRI in November of 2017 as a research analyst in the IBRI’s Single Cell Analytics Center (SCAC), which developed a technology platform to ultimately achieve the diagnosis of infections and diseases from a single cell. With the efforts to commercialize the platform externally, in May 2019, the SCAC transitioned to the internal Bioanalytical Technologies support group.

From 2016 to before joining the IBRI, Anna served as a microbiologist with the Indiana State Department of Health Laboratories. She was responsible for assay development and testing, clinical testing, and outbreak monitoring. From 2011 to 2016, she served as a contractor research associate at then Dow AgroSciences (now Corteva Agriscience) responsible for nucleic acid and protein isolation, molecular analysis, and high-throughput experience associated with DNA isolation and analysis.

Anna earned her B.S. in biology from Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind., with minors in chemistry and Spanish. While at IU, she also served as an undergraduate teaching assistant in the biology department.

Austin House

Austin House

Research Associate, IBRI Diabetes Center

Austin House

Austin House

Research Associate, IBRI Diabetes Center

Austin House joined the IBRI in July 2020 as a Research Associate in the IBRI Diabetes Center (IDC). He is part of a team focused on the molecular basis of diabetes and its complications, including mechanisms for beta cell regeneration. He and the IDC team are seeking to understand the disease while achieving technological breakthroughs in the way we diagnose, treat and manage diabetes in Indiana and beyond.

Prior to joining the IBRI, he served as a graduate research assistant at Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville, which is where he obtained his bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 2018 and just recently received his master’s degree in pharmacology.

Austin has a background in bioassays including qPCR, ELISA, calcium and nitrite assays. He also is experienced in cell culturing, CRISPR-Cas9 and plasmid cloning techniques. His recent work has been to evaluate an immortalized microglia cell model activated with LPS and treated with a drug toward the determination of whether treatment affects inflammatory pathways.

June Javens-Wolfe, PhD

June Javens-Wolfe, PhD

Research Associate, Pharmaceutical Biotechnology Center

June Javens-Wolfe, PhD

June Javens-Wolfe, PhD

Research Associate, Pharmaceutical Biotechnology Center

June Javens-Wolfe, PhD, joined the IBRI as a Research Analyst in December 2018 in the Pharmaceutical Biotechnology Center (PBC). In her current role as Research Associate, she is responsible for the general research and development of new and existing protein therapeutics.

Prior to the IBRI and since 2015, she worked for two contractors for Eli Lilly and Company in Indianapolis – Advanced Testing Laboratory as a Biology Project Coordinator, and with Eurofins Lancaster Laboratories as a Biochemist in BioProduct Development. From 2004 to 2013, she served as a visiting research associate and graduate research assistant at Indiana University-Bloomington, Ind., and from 2013 to 2014, she held adjunct faculty positions at DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind., and at IU-Bloomington.

She has been responsible for several significant research accomplishments, including being the lead author of a research article on the cellular localization of microbial polysaccharide export proteins published in Molecular Microbiology. Dr. Javens-Wolfe earned her PhD in molecular, cellular and developmental biology from IU-Bloomington, and a BA in biology from DePauw University.

David Johnson

David Johnson

Assistant Research Associate, IBRI Diabetes Center

David Johnson

David Johnson

Assistant Research Associate, IBRI Diabetes Center

David Johnson joined the IBRI in November 2019 as an assistant research associate in the IBRI Diabetes Center (IDC). In this role, he will work with Johnathan Flak to study the central nervous system’s regulation of glucose metabolism as it relates to diabetes.

David was previously a study technician at Covance Laboratories in Greenfield, IN, where he performed absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion (ADME), good laboratory practice and toxicology research studies. He also was responsible for the collection and documentation of pertinent data, including test material administration, sample collections and sample processing. While studying at Michigan State University, he served as a teaching assistant in the Charles Drew Science Scholars Program and was an undergraduate research intern in the College of Veterinary Medicine.

David received his bachelor’s degree in neuroscience – cognitive and computational from Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich.

Michael Kalwat, PhD

Michael Kalwat, PhD

Assistant Investigator, IBRI Diabetes Center

Michael Kalwat, PhD

Michael Kalwat, PhD

Assistant Investigator, IBRI Diabetes Center

Michael Kalwat joined the Lilly Diabetes Center of Excellence within the IBRI Diabetes Center in November 2020. He also is a member of the Indiana University School of Medicine Center for Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases (CDMD). Kalwat’s research is focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms of regulated secretion and the use of genetic and pharmacological tools for this purpose.

The Kalwat Lab will bridge small molecule and genetic high-throughput screening with target and pathway identification in dedicated secretory cell types. Because many of these cell types malfunction in metabolic diseases (i.e., failure of insulin-secreting β cells in diabetes), new knowledge about the regulation of their basic cell biological functions is critical to advancing the field and therapeutic development.

Prior to joining the IBRI, Kalwat trained as a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Melanie Cobb at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, where he developed key reagents for assaying secretory cell function. His work yielded a cohort of distinct small molecule secretion modulators with impacts on calcium influx, cAMP generation and the unfolded protein response.

Kalwat received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry from Purdue University in 2007. Subsequently, he completed his PhD dissertation in Debbie Thurmond’s lab in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Indiana University School of Medicine in 2012, where he focused on cytoskeletal regulation of exocytosis. 

Li Lin

Li Lin

Assistant Research Associate, IBRI Diabetes Center

Li Lin

Li Lin

Assistant Research Associate, IBRI Diabetes Center

Li Lin joined the IBRI in September 2020 as an assistant research associate in the IBRI Diabetes Center. In this role, she works with Dr. Andrew Templin on the mechanisms of diabetes pathogenesis related to islet immune responses and beta cell death.

Before joining the IBRI, Li worked as a research technician at University of Pittsburgh, where she was involved with lab operations and studies investigating antifungal immune response in the kidney. She also was responsible for animal colony breeding, maintenance and genotyping.

Li received her B.S. in Nursing from Wuhan University in China in 2016 and then earned her Master of Public Health degree in Infectious Diseases and Microbiology from the University of Pittsburgh in 2018.

Mustapha Moussaif

Mustapha Moussaif, PhD

Senior Staff Scientist, Pharmaceutical Biotechnology Center

Mustapha Moussaif

Mustapha Moussaif, PhD

Senior Staff Scientist, Pharmaceutical Biotechnology Center

Mustapha Moussaif, Ph.D., joined the IBRI in January 2019 as Senior Staff Scientist in the Pharmaceutical Biotechnology Center (PBC).  In this role, he is responsible for establishing operational platforms for biotherapeutic antibody discovery, lead optimization and developability.

Prior to the IBRI, he worked as Scientist in the Bio-Therapeutics/Lead Engineering group with Boehringer-Ingelheim in Ridgefield, CT. Prior to that, he was a Senior Scientist in Biotherapeutics Discovery at the Icahn Medical School in Mount Sanai, NY. and worked as a Research Scientist at New York University in New York City. From 2004 to 2010, he was a Research Associated with the department of molecular pharmacology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.

Dr. Moussaif also served as Postdoctoral Research Associate in Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, and as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Wayne State University in Detroit, Mich. He earned his Ph.D. in Biology and Biological Sciences from the University of Liège, Liège, Belgium, and his B.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University Abdel Malek Essaadi in Morocco. He has published and contributed to the publication of more than 15 research articles.

Daniel Preston

Daniel Preston

Research Associate, IBRI Diabetes Center

Daniel Preston

Daniel Preston

Research Associate, IBRI Diabetes Center

Daniel Preston joined the IBRI in July 2020 as a Research Associate in the lab of Dr. Decio Eizirik in the IBRI Diabetes Center. He is part of a team responsible for maintaining and differentiating inducible pluripotent stem cells (iPSC), deriving pancreatic beta cells and conducting functional studies utilizing iPSCs.

Prior to joining the IBRI, he worked as a molecular biologist for Advanced Testing Laboratories in the Lilly Research Labs, identifying novel biomarkers and studying their roles in several autoimmune diseases. From 2016 until 2019, he studied as a graduate student in the Blazer-Yost lab at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. There he focused on identifying the molecular pathways responsible for the production and secretion of cerebrospinal fluid from the choroid plexus and contributed to studies aimed at ameliorating the pathophysiology associated with hydrocephalus.

Daniel received his Bachelor of Science in Biology and Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry from Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis in 2015. He obtained his Master of Science in Biology with a focus on Molecular Biology and Cell Physiology from Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis in 2019.

Michael Pugia

Michael Pugia, PhD

Investigator and Director, Bioanalytical Technologies

Michael Pugia

Michael Pugia, PhD

Investigator and Director, Bioanalytical Technologies

Michael Pugia, PhD, is an Investigator and Director of the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute's (IBRI) Bioanalytical Technologies group, effective May 2019. Before that, he served as Director of the IBRI’s Single Cell Analytics Center leading the efforts to develop new single-cell bioanalytical technology for measuring proteomic biomarkers as targeted diagnostics for the fields of endocrinology, oncology and infectious disease.

Prior to joining the IBRI, Michael spent 30 years in the biomedical in-vitro diagnostic industry for the Bayer and then Siemens diagnostic divisions. In his roles at Bayer and Siemens he contributed to 21 new product launches that have since produced more than 25 billion test results worldwide. Some of the products also helped to establish new, cost effective healthcare programs, such as Japan’s use of microalbumin/creatinine ratio for annual mass screening of all children for kidney disease.

He spent 15 of those 30 years as a director of research and development working on new systems and methods for point of care (POC) diagnostics and hospital laboratories. Additionally, he spent 20 years leading next generation analytical and diagnostic technology research teams in collaboration with leading design house, health care institutions, universities and technology companies around the world. In his last eight years, he served as a principle key expert for Siemens’ Healthcare sector in Strategic Innovations and lead the Siemens’ contribution to the EU IMI CANCER ID program by placing the Circulating Tumor Cell platform into leading EU cancer centers and the U.S. Siemens CLIA lab for clinical research use.

For his entire career, Michael’s primary biochemistry research interest for clinical diagnostics has been identifying immunity markers for infections in diabetes and co-morbidities.

In 2009, Michael was honored with the Siemens Inventor of the Year award for his pioneering work on the miniaturization of “lab-on-a-chip” diagnostic tools for POC testing. He also was recognized with nine Bayer Science and Technology Awards including the Outstanding Bayer Technology Award, the Bayer Corporate Quality Excellence Award and the Near Patient Testing Segment General Manager Award for Exceptional Leadership for his contributions to the CLINITEK and MULTISTIX urinalysis product lines. 

The American Association of Clinical Chemistry celebrated him as the Samuel Natelson Senior Investigator in recognition of outstanding service for the advancement of clinical chemistry and as the winner of the 1st Annual AI Free Memorial Lectureship.

Michael holds 60 allowed US patents and has 72 pending US patent applications yielding more than 500 worldwide patent filings. He also has more than 60 peer review publications, 15 book chapters and hundreds of conference papers and lectures in a wide variety of chemistry disciplines to his name. He earned his PhD in chemistry from Texas Tech University and his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Clarkson University.

While working in industry, Michael has held pro-bono adjunct positions as a Visiting Scholar at the University of Notre Dame and as a Clinical Research Professor at the University of Louisville Medical School to pursue his research into the causes of inflammation during kidney disease and diabetes.

Rong Qi

Rong Qi, PhD

Data Science Analyst, Applied Data Sciences Center

Rong Qi

Rong Qi, PhD

Data Science Analyst, Applied Data Sciences Center

Rong Qi received her BA in Biopharmacy at the Southwest Normal Univerity in China and then achieved her PhD in Biology under Dr. Xinyuan Liu at the Shanghai Jiaotong University. Following her PhD, she was the cell biology leader at Dragonfly Science. Next, Rong proceeded to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital for a postdoctoral assignment in the Tumor Cell Biology Department. Continuing to pursue her other passion, Rong went back to school at the Univeristy of Memphis to obtain a MS in Computer Science degree. At her internship in the Data Center Group at Intel, Rong was able to solve a challenging problem of integrating the MKL library into Cloudera and achieving the expected performance gain. Rong's mix of science and technology is a strong fit for the mission of IBRI.

Timothy Richardson, PhD

Timothy Richardson, PhD

Scientific Director of Molecular Innovation

Timothy Richardson, PhD

Timothy Richardson, PhD

Scientific Director of Molecular Innovation

Timothy Richardson is a Senior Research Professor in the Department of Clinical Pharmacology at Indiana University School of Medicine where his primary responsibilities include leading the Medicinal Chemistry Core of the IUSM-Purdue TREAT-AD (Target Enablement to Accelerate Therapy Development for Alzheimer's Disease) Center.

Prior to his transition to the IU School of Medicine, he was a Research Fellow at Eli Lilly and Company. During his industrial career he contributed to discovery programs that delivered new molecular entities for the treatment of endocrine, musculoskeletal and autoimmune diseases. He led technology platform teams focused on gene regulation, epigenetics and nuclear receptors. He also served as a Group Leader in Discovery Chemistry, a role in which he guided multiple discovery teams that built a portfolio of small molecule therapeutics for the treatment of autoimmune diseases.

Dr. Richardson finished his career at Eli Lilly and Company as a founding member of the RNA Therapeutics Team focused on oligonucleotide-based medicines. 

Dr. Richardson joined the IBRI in February 2021 as Scientific Director of Molecular Innovation, where he is applying his academic and industrial experience in collaboration with institute scientists and external research partners to drive translational science that rapidly advances novel therapeutics for unmet medical needs.

Daniel Robertson

Daniel Robertson, PhD

Investigator and Director, Applied Data Sciences Center

Daniel Robertson

Daniel Robertson, PhD

Investigator and Director, Applied Data Sciences Center

Daniel H. Robertson, a proven and experienced technical leader in information technology (IT), computational science and research, is focused on defining and developing the Institute’s computational analytics, digital and data science capabilities.

Dr. Robertson originally joined the IBRI in mid-2015 as part of a loaned executive program at Eli Lilly and Company, but in mid-2017 he accepted a permanent position at the IBRI due to the opportunity at the IBRI to drive innovative research among multiple life sciences companies, academic institutions and technology companies to advance solutions to critical problems.

His most recent role at Eli Lilly and Company was Senior Director of Research IT where he led the IT team supporting discovery systems and processes across six global research sites and nine functional/therapeutic areas. During his leadership role in IT at Lilly, Dr. Robertson restructured Research IT to become a leaner, more efficient organization, reset the Research IT strategy supporting the discovery functions, delivered emerging new technology and analyses through informatics, enhanced support for HPC, cloud, and internal big data storage and analysis. He also transformed the IT support for Open Innovation Drug Discovery program to be the first high-performing DevOps team, which was recognized with an InformationWeek 500 award. Throughout his 10 years in leadership roles at Lilly, Dr. Robertson developed several individuals within his organization to advance to higher level roles in other organizations within Lilly. He joined Lilly as a research scientist in Lilly Research Laboratories and performed numerous independent contributor and scientific leadership roles before transitioning to the IT organization in 2010.

Dr. Robertson earned his PhD in physical chemistry from Florida State University and his Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry, graduating Summa Cum Laude, from Florida Southern College. After earning his PhD., Dr. Robertson served as an NRC/NRL Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., and then held several positions at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) from 1993 through 2000. He last served as Associate Scientist and Director of Technical and Administrative Services and Manager of the Facility for Computational Molecular Science at IUPUI before joining Eli Lilly and Company in 2000.

Dr. Robertson has published 67 papers in refereed journals, authored three invited book chapters, and conducted more than 65 professional/technical presentations. He has been honored with multiple awards from Eli Lilly and Company and IUPUI, and is a member of the American Chemical Society, American Physical Society and physics and mathematics honoraries.

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Gitanjali Roy

Gitanjali Roy

Research Associate, IBRI Diabetes Center

Gitanjali Roy

Gitanjali Roy

Research Associate, IBRI Diabetes Center

Gitanjali Roy joined the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute (IBRI) in March 2021 as a Research Associate in the IBRI Diabetes Center (IDC). She works in Dr. Michael Kalwat's lab to research the molecular mechanisms of secretory cells using genetic and pharmacological tools.

Before joining the IBRI, she graduated with a master's degree in biochemistry and molecular biology in January 2021 from the Indiana University School of Medicine, where her research area was bioinformatic analysis of phosphoproteome of triple negative breast cancer cells. She also worked with different data analysis softwares for mass spectrometry proteomics data investigating the changes in cellular signaling in response to phosphorylation.

She graduated from the University of Calcutta in India with a bachelor's degree in life sciences in 2007 and a master's degree in molecular biology and genetics in 2009. She worked in the pharmaceutical industry in quality assurance from 2009 to 2018, where she was responsible for the operation of the analytical chemistry lab and microbiology department.

Donalyn Scheuner

Donalyn Scheuner, PhD

Senior Research Associate, IBRI Diabetes Center

Donalyn Scheuner

Donalyn Scheuner, PhD

Senior Research Associate, IBRI Diabetes Center

Donalyn Scheuner, Ph.D., joined the IBRI in March 2019 as Senior Research Associate in the IBRI Diabetes Center. In this role, she is responsible for planning and coordinating the research on the mechanisms of pancreatic beta-cell dysfunction and death in type 1 diabetes, working in close collaboration with Dr. Decio Eizirik.

Prior to the IBRI and since 2017, she worked as a Scientific Consultant for DLS Consulting in Greenfield, IN, on a multisite NIH project grant. From 2009 to 2017, she served as Senior Scientist in Islet Biology at Lilly Research Laboratories in Indianapolis. From 2004 to 2009, Dr. Scheuner was a Research Specialist at Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI. From 1995 to 2004, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at HHMI. And from 1994 to 1995, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow focusing on NIH Developmental Neurobiology and Neuroscience at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH.

Dr. Scheuner has been responsible for more than three-dozen scientific publications and nearly the same number of presentations, and she has been recognized with numerous honors, awards and fellowships. She earned her Ph.D. in Pharmacology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI, and her B.S. in Chemistry, also at Michigan.

Megan Sopko

Megan Sopko

Senior Research Associate, Pharmaceutical Biotechnology Center

Megan Sopko

Megan Sopko

Senior Research Associate, Pharmaceutical Biotechnology Center

Megan Sopko joined the IBRI in April 2019 as Senior Research Associate in the Pharmaceutical Biotechnology Center (PBC).  In this role, she is responsible for the general research and development of new and existing protein therapeutics.

Prior to the IBRI and since 2010, she served as a Technologist/Technician and then as a Technologist for Corteva Agriscience, the Agriculture Division of DowDuPont (formerly Dow Agrisciences) in Indianapolis. She was involved in diverse lab operations and research, and in the training of other technicians. From  2004 to 2010, she was a Lab Technician and Scientist with Kelly Scientific Resources in Indianapolis. She was involved in gene expression and other genetic research.

Megan earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. She has been responsible for three scientific publications covering genetic and protein research.

Natalie Stull

Natalie Stull

Manager, Facilities and Lab Operations

Natalie Stull

Natalie Stull

Manager, Facilities and Lab Operations

Natalie D. Stull is Manager, Facilities and Lab Operations for the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute’s Metabolic Phenotyping Core Facility. In that capacity she is charged with managing projects with multiple principal investigators from the IBRI and other research campuses with mouse and rat phenotyping services, as well as other facility and lab-related operations.

Stull joined IBRI to continue her lengthy career as a scientist and research analyst in laboratory settings. Most recently, she served as the Associate Consultant Scientist in the Clinical Diagnostic Laboratory, a CAP/CLIA lab in the Department of Experimental Pathology at Eli Lilly and Company. Prior to that engagement, Stull was a research analyst, technician and lab manager for 14 years (2001-2014) in the Wells Center for Pediatric Research for Indiana University’s School of Medicine. During that time she worked for Dr. Raghu Mirmira and managed the Islet Core.

From 1990 through 2001, Stull served as a research technician and lab coordinator at the Thomas Jefferson University and Hahnemann/MCP University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was during this time she honed her skills in rodent surgical techniques.

Stull has authored or co-authored 28 publications during her career, including six resulting from research conducted in collaboration with Dr. Mirmira at the Wells Center for Pediatric Research. Stull received her Bachelor’s of Science degree in biology from Indiana University.

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Andrew Templin, PhD

Andrew Templin, PhD

Assistant Investigator, IBRI Diabetes Center

Andrew Templin, PhD

Andrew Templin, PhD

Assistant Investigator, IBRI Diabetes Center

Andrew Templin joined the IBRI Diabetes Center in June 2020. He also holds positions at the Indiana University (IU) School of Medicine and the Roudebush VA Medical Center. Andrew’s lab studies the relationship between islet inflammation and beta cell dysfunction and death in the setting of diabetes. Ultimately, the goal of the Templin Lab is to uncover novel mechanisms of diabetes pathogenesis that affect islet beta cell health, and to use this information to develop new treatments for diabetes.

Prior to joining the IBRI, Andrew served as an Acting Instructor of Medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle. During his time there, he studied the role of islet amyloidosis in islet inflammation and beta cell loss in collaboration with Dr. Steven Kahn. This collaboration led to publications in Diabetes, Diabetologia, and Diabetes Care, among others.

Andrew received his Bachelor of Science degree from IU in 2006, during which time he was a member of the Hutton Honors College. After working and studying at Northwestern University in the Feinberg School of Medicine, Andrew returned to IU and obtained his PhD in Cellular and Integrative Physiology under the mentorship of Dr. Raghu Mirmira, graduating in 2014.

Andrew is a native Hoosier who enjoys travel, soccer, the Chicago Cubs and Golden Retrievers.

Li Zhang, MD, PhD

Li Zhang, MD, PhD

Assistant Investigator, IBRI Diabetes Center

Li Zhang, MD, PhD

Li Zhang, MD, PhD

Assistant Investigator, IBRI Diabetes Center

Li Zhang joined the IBRI Diabetes Center in December 2020 and established the Zhang Lab in the Indiana Biosciences Research Institute's Lilly Diabetes Center of Excellence. In addition to her appointment at the IBRI, she also is a member of the Indiana University Center for Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases.

Dr. Zhang's lab studies the pathogenesis of islet autoimmunity and antigen-specific immune interventions for treating type 1 diabetes (T1D), an autoimmune disease. Her group has developed multiple immune interventions, including antigen-specific vaccine, monoclonal antibodies and engineered T cells, and tested their efficacies in reducing the progression of T1D in the spontaneous T1D mouse model.

Ultimately, the goal of the Zhang Lab is to translate the proof of principles tested in pre-clinical models and to develop a drug-like immune therapy to treat new onset T1D in high-risk individuals.

Dr. Zhang started T1D and autoimmune diseases research as a research scholar at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Diabetes Center in 2005 after receiving her PhD from the University of Shandong School of Medicine. In 2006, she started her postdoctoral training under the mentorship of Dr. George S. Eisenbarth at the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes, University of Colorado.

In 2015, she joined the Baylor College of Medicine as an assistant professor to build her independent lab. During her time there, she studied the role of islet antigen-specific T cells and CAR-T cells in preventing T1D. In addition, she showed the efficacy of monoclonal antibodies in reducing T1D can be significantly improved with broad islet antigen-specificity. These projects were published in the Journal of Autoimmunity, Journal of Visual Experiments, mAbs and others.