2024 Keynote Presenters & Speakers

Keynote Speakers

Brenda Carillo-Conde, Principal Scientist in Bioprocess R&D, Pfizer Inc

Brenda has a comprehensive training in Chemical and Biological Engineering. As a Principal Scientist in Bioprocess R&D at Pfizer Inc, she is responsible for the development and implementation of scalable and robust conjugation manufacturing processes to support the bioconjugates and vaccine portfolio. She leads technology transfer of conjugation vaccine processes to pilot and commercial manufacturing facilities for the production of clinical and commercial supplies.

Raches Ella, CDO, Bharat Biotech

Raches Ella leads the Global Product Development division at Bharat Biotech, where they are dedicated to discovering and developing life-saving vaccines and therapeutics. Through his role, he oversees product development, medical, safety, and regulatory support for the entire pipeline and works closely with external science and innovation partners to bring new treatments to market.

Paul Hauer, Partner / Consultant, EDGE Veterinary Vaccines Consulting Group

Dr. Paul Hauer is currently a partner at EDGE Veterinary Vaccines Consulting Group, L.L.C., in Ames Iowa. Dr. Hauer received D.V.M., M.S. and Ph.D. degrees, all from Iowa State University. He started his career as a mixed animal practitioner in Galena Illinois and Preston Minnesota. He joined the USDA in 1988 and served as a field veterinarian for a couple of years before returning to Ames in 1990. Dr. Hauer worked in the biologics testing laboratory for 10 years, then served as a Biologics Reviewer and Section Leader. He moved to the position of Associate Director of the National Veterinary Services Laboratories from 2007 until 2014 and then finished his USDA career as Director of the Policy, Evaluation and Licensing Unit in the Center of Veterinary Biologics until he retired in 2022.

Regular & Workshop Presenters

Joe Bazzill, Research Scientist IV, Nanovaccine Institute

Joe is an industry focused pharmaceutical scientist specializing in vaccine development and nanoparticle formulation. Over the past ten years, his training and professional experience spanned the full scale of vaccine nanoparticle development including proof-of-concept research, early phase research and development, preclinical/clinical development, and commercialization support. 

Jennifer Bermick, Associate Professor of Pediatrics-Neonatology, University of Iowa

Jennifer Bermick is a Neonatologist at the University of Iowa. Her laboratory studies early life immune development, including approaches to improve neonatal vaccination strategies.

Nicholas Bockenstedt, Graduate Student, Iowa State University

Nicholas is a graduate student working in the labs of Dr. Douglas Jones (V PATH) and Dr. David Verhoeven (V MPM) at Iowa State University. His research focuses on evaluating an implant-based vaccine strategy (vaccine platform for extended antigen release).

Paola Boggiatto, Veterinary Medical Officer, Infectious Bacterial Diseases Research, USDA National Animal Disease Center

Research veterinary medical officer at the National Animal Disease Center. I am a veterinary immunologist with an interest in adaptive immunity and persistent bacterial infections. Our group studies two bacterial diseases of agricultural importance with zoonotic potential, bovine brucellosis and bovine tuberculosis. Our work focuses on understanding the mechanisms of immunopathogenesis and on the development of improved diagnostics and vaccination strategies.

Ken Carson, Lead Scientist, Pharmaceutical and Bioengineering Department; Southwest Research Institute

Dr. Carson is a Lead Scientist in the Microencapsulation and Controlled Release section of the Microencapsulation Department within the Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Division of Southwest Research Institute where he provides technical solutions for clients and performs research in microencapsulation processes, chemistry, biochemistry, and molecular/cellular biology.

Ratul Chowdhury, Assistant Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Iowa State University

Chowdhury’s lab focuses on understanding and leveraging protein structural biology for uncovering disease mechanisms, surveillance, and timely interventions. The lab develops and uses computational tools which combine biochemistry, machine learning, and optimization to design broadly neutralizing antibody formulations for care of humans and livestock alike. In addition, the lab focuses on understanding metal protein interactions.

Lance Daharsh, Vice President of Research and Development, Genvax Technologies

Lance Daharsh is Vice President of Research and Development at Genvax Technologies. Genvax utilizes self-amplifying RNA and nanoparticle technology to create herd specific livestock vaccines. He received his PhD in Genetics, Cellular, & Molecular Biology at the Nebraska Center for Virology (University of Nebraska-Lincoln) and an Executive MBA in Food, Agriculture, & Biosystems at Iowa State University. He has held previous positions at Iowa State University and GeneSeek – Neogen Corporation.

Fabian Diaz, Postdoctorate Research Associate, Iowa State University

Fabian Diaz has a DVM and a PhD in Biological Sciences, and is currently a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Preventive Medicine at Iowa State University.

Izabela Galeska, Director Formulation Development, Merck

Dr. Galeska is a Pharmaceutical team leader with over 20 years of experience in animal health and a track record of innovation in oral, chewable, and parenteral dosage forms, with numerous publications and patents.

Maneesh Jain, Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Nebraska Medical Center

Dr. Jain’s research is aimed at improving early detection and treatment of pancreatic cancer. One of the major focus of his research is to improve the delivery and distribution of therapeutic agents for pancreatic cancer. Jain’s team is studying the role of signaling pathways involved in the complex cellular crosstalk in the tumor microenvironment with a goal to selectively modulate the obstructive effects of stroma. His laboratory is also interested in evaluating biomarkers for early diagnosis, and developing targeted therapeutic approaches (radioimmunotherapy, antibody therapy, and immunotherapy) that exploit differential overexpression of mucins in pancreatic cancer.

Sean Kelly, Research Scientist III, Nanovaccine Institute

Dr. Sean Kelly received his BS in Chemical and Biological Engineering at Colorado State University and PhD in Chemical and Biological Engineering from Iowa State University, where he remained as a postdoctoral researcher and now serves a Research Scientist III at the Iowa State University Nanovaccine Institute.

Kevin Legge, Professor of Pathology, Department of Pathology, Department of Microbiology and Immunology; Director, Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Immunology, University of Iowa

Dr. Kevin Legge received his BS and then PhD in Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville followed by a postdoctoral fellowship studying immunity against influenza virus at the University of Virginia. He then joined the University of Iowa in 2004 where he now serves as the Director of the Immunology Graduate Program and Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Pathology. Dr. Legge’s research is focused on studying the immune response to influenza virus infections and vaccinations as well as CD8 T cell, CD4 T cells and dendritic cells (DC) immunity to pulmonary pathogens. For a number of years he studied how to optimize the effector and memory T cell and B cell responses via vaccination to confer protection to both homo- and heterologous influenza virus infections as well as the contribution of T cell proliferation within the lungs to the magnitude of the T cell response using nanovaccines.

Ansuja Mathew, Postdoctorate Research Associate, Iowa State University

Ansuja is a motivated science liaison who is interested in exciting and challenging opportunities in the field of biomaterials, nanotherapeutics design & delivery and Raman metabolomics.

Balaji Narasimhan, Director, Nanovaccine Institute; Anson Marston Distinguished Professor & Vlasta Klima Balloun Faculty Chair; Chemical & Biological Engineering, Iowa State University

Dr. Narasimhan’s research focuses on the molecular design of nanoscale polymer systems and biomaterials to precisely control molecular architecture and functionality in these systems. The overall goal is to answer critical questions related to organization and dynamics occurring on length scales ranging from the nanometer to the micron-scale at surfaces of and interfaces between nanoparticles, inorganic materials (e.g., Si surfaces), cells, and biomolecules (e.g., drugs, proteins). The tools that his lab utilizes include novel synthesis methodologies, precise functionalization of nanoparticles, and state-of-the-art surface/interfacial characterization.

Inna Ovsyannikova, Professor of Medicine, Mayo Clinic

Inna G. Ovsyannikova, Ph.D., studies the genetics of innate and adaptive immune responses to viral and bacterial vaccines. Her interests include vaccine-preventable infectious diseases, particularly the application of mass spectrometry to develop peptide-based vaccines against smallpox, measles, influenza and agents of bioterrorism.

Mike Roof, Chief Technology Officer, Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics bioscience platform, Office of the Vice President for Research; Iowa State University

Michael Roof serves as Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for the Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics research and innovation platform at Iowa State University, which supports the state of Iowa’s biosciences-based economic growth initiative. In his role as CTO, Roof leads efforts to identify and accelerate development of new technologies and innovations with strong commercial potential in the Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics platform.

Kathleen Ross, Core Facility Manager, Nanovaccine Institute

Dr. Kathleen Ross received her BS in Biomedical Engineering at Michigan Technological University and PhD in Chemical and Biological Engineering from Iowa State University, where she now serves as Core Facility Manager and Research Scientist III at the Iowa State University Nanovaccine Institute.

Filip Viskupic, Assistant Professor, Political Science, South Dakota State University

Filip Viskupič is an assistant professor of political science at South Dakota State University. He researches the impact of politics on vaccine policy and people’s vaccination attitudes and behaviors.