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BioME Annual Conference 2023

September 21, 2023 @ 1:30 pm - 7:00 pm EDT

Evolving Bioscience: Building the Ecosystem

Join us at the BioME Annual Conference 2023 on September 21st from 1:30-7:00PM at the University of Southern Maine’s Abromson Community Education Center in Portland, ME. Learn about the life sciences industry in Maine and network with the biotech and medical device community.

The theme of this year’s conference is Evolving Bioscience: Building the Ecosystem. The event will feature two panel sessions, engaging talks, presentations, networking and expo tables.

BioME Annual Conferences are open to all and provides the community with an opportunity to learn about the life sciences industry in Maine, and connect with industry professionals, academia, research institutions and government. BioME Annual Conference brings together nearly 250 professionals to discuss our industry’s importance within the state, partnerships and collaborations, and the latest in scientific breakthroughs.


Registration, Expo Tables & Networking
Welcome Remarks & BioME Updates
Agnieszka Carpenter (BioME)
New Dirigo Business Incentives Program
Commissioner Heather Johnson (Maine DECD)
Panel Discussion: Lessons from Other States: How to Grow a Life Sciences Ecosystem and Stay Competitive
Panelists: Carol Malysz (RI Bio), Russ H. Read (National Center for the Biotechnology Workforce), Andrea Hechavarria (NH Life Sciences), Ryan Mudawar (Massachusetts Life Sciences Center), and Moderator: Leo Waterston (FocusMaine).
Q&A Session and Comments from the Audience
BioME Advocacy Update: Bills to Watch in 2024
Michael Saxl (Maine Street Solutions)
Break: Networking, Coffee and Snacks
Maine’s Mobile Learning Lab
Kate Howell (Educate Maine)
Panel Discussion: Building Career Pathways for Maine Bioscience Talent
Panelists: Dr. Daniel Moore (Southern Maine Community College), Dr. Barbara Stewart (Bangor High School), Dr. Andrea Tilden (Colby College / MDI Biological Laboratory), Dr. Lucy Liaw (MaineHealth Institute for Research), and Moderator: Dr. Aileen Huang-Saad (The Roux Institute).
Q&A Session and Comments from the Audience
Breaking Barriers, Unlocking Potential: Clearing Career Pathways through Mentorship
Sarah Stillings (IDEXX)
Closing Remarks and Menti Polls
Networking Reception


Heather Johnson, Commissioner, Maine Department of Economic and Community Development

Commissioner Heather Johnson has a diverse background in the private technology sector including sales, operations and general management roles at Nokia, Gateway and Toshiba. After leaving the private sector, Heather accepted a position as the Executive Director of Somerset Economic Development Corporation and had the opportunity to concentrate on rural economic development. Prior to her role as Commissioner Heather served as Director of the ConnectME Authority, focusing on expanding access to and increasing adoption of broadband connectivity in Maine. As Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development Heather continues to dedicate her career to fostering economic development throughout the entire State of Maine.

Leo Waterston, Program Director, FocusMaine

Leo Waterston serves as FocusMaine’s Program Director, working closely with statewide partners to oversee programs, grants, and initiatives to grow Maine’s food economy and bioeconomy, and a thriving workforce to support them.

Leo brings diverse experience within healthcare, scientific research, and public health settings to his work in economic development. Prior to joining FocusMaine in early 2022, Leo served as the Program Director for the Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation (CORE) at Maine Medical Center Research Institute (now MaineHealth Institute for Research). While in that role, Leo also served for 5 years as the Project Director for the Maine Lung Cancer Coalition, a grant-funded, statewide, multi- sector initiative focused on reducing the burden of lung cancer in Maine. Prior to coming to Maine, Leo held various roles at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

Leo holds a Master’s degree in clinical psychology from Fordham University and a Bachelor’s degree from Clark University. Leo is a graduate of Leadership Maine (Damariscotta Class). He currently serves as Vice President on the Board of the Maine Public Health Association and is on the Executive Committee of SEA Maine (Seafood Economic Accelerator for Maine).

Carol Malysz, MBA, Executive Director, RI Bio

As Executive Director of RI Bio, Carol’s mission is to grow the life sciences economy in Rhode Island and southern New England. Having built a strong Board and life sciences community, Carol leads the organization in developing valuable collaborations among life sciences companies, entrepreneurs, sources of capital, academic and medical centers, hospitals and government organizations to ensure a high-value life sciences community. In all her actions, she advances the organization’s goals: advanced innovations that change the world and improve lives, increased visibility and influence for the life sciences sector, and increased business opportunities and economic impact.

Carol brings more than 25 years of economic development, entrepreneurship, management and marketing experience to RI Bio. Prior to RI Bio, she worked with firms across all industries in greater New England to provide executive coaching, leadership, talent development and workplace analytics consulting for startups to Fortune 500 companies.

Carol earned her MBA in Entrepreneurship from Babson College and is a graduate of the Center for Creative Leadership.

Russ H. Read, Executive Director, National Center for the Biotechnology Workforce

Russ has worked in the bioscience industry for over thirty – five 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 start-up bio-pharmaceutical company based in Winston-Salem. He has led a national biotechnology workforce effort for seventeen years called the National Center for the Biotechnology Workforce (NCBW). The NCBW is based in Winston-Salem and is a part of North Carolina’s Community College System, Forsyth Technical Community College, and the college’s division of Student Academic Success. The NCBW focuses on achieving best practices and skill standards for skilled technical workers. Russ leads or co-leads several NSF ATE grant initiatives, including BETA Skills WFIRM Regen Med. Workforce and the Workforce Hub of InnovATEBIO.

Andrea Hechavarria, President & CEO, NH Life Sciences (NHLS)

Andrea Hechavarria is President & CEO of NH Life Sciences (NHLS). This is the Granite State’s first ever life sciences association. Its arrival in New Hampshire represents an exciting new chapter in the state’s economic history. The organization will advocate to nurture, protect and grow the Granite State’s cutting edge life sciences sector and the high quality jobs it delivers.

Prior to becoming a founding member of NHLS, Andrea was Vice President of Government Affairs and Chief of Staff to the CEO at Butterfly Network, a disruptive digital health company transforming ultrasound with semiconductor technology and artificial intelligence. Prior to joining Butterfly, Andrea co-lead U.S. Federal Affairs for 3M Company with a focus on 3M’s Health Care Business, guiding the company through its COVID-19 response in Washington including the ramp up of global N95 mask production. While in Washington she also was one of the first Ambassadors for the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Foundation, where she helped advocate for a Memorial to be built on the Mall in Washington, DC to honor the service and sacrifice of all who served in the Global War on Terrorism. Earlier in her career, Andrea spent nearly a decade as a U.S. Senate aide.

Andrea is a proud NH native. She enjoys advising senior business leaders and executives on engagement and communications strategies with government officials and public policy stakeholders. She holds an M.B.A. from Johns Hopkins Carey Business School and a B.A. in political science from Loyola University Maryland.

Ryan Mudawar, Vice President of Education and Workforce Programs, Massachusetts Life Sciences Center

Ryan Mudawar joined the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) in 2009 and currently serves as Vice President of Education & Workforce Programs. He oversees the development and implementation of the MLSC’s education and workforce investment strategy and leads efforts that foster partnerships and collaboration with public, private, and non-profit stakeholders. He manages programs and initiatives that focus on enhancing, expanding, and diversifying the life sciences talent pipeline. These most notably include the MLSC’s largest and longest-running program, the Internship Challenge, which has created more than 6,000 internships for college students with over 1,000 companies. The success of the program led to the creation of a high school apprenticeship program, as well as an internship program for students with data science skills. He also manages equipment and professional development grants for public middle and high schools and capital grants for post-secondary institutions.

Prior to joining the MLSC, Ryan worked at several non-profit organizations throughout Greater Boston. He is a lifelong Massachusetts resident, receiving his Master’s in International Relations from Suffolk University and a Bachelor’s in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Mike SaxlManaging Principal, Maine Street Solutions

Mike became Managing Principal of Maine Street Solutions and Counsel to Verrill following his service as a member of the Maine House of Representatives (1995-2002) and as Speaker of the Maine House (2000-2002). Mike brings over 30 years of professional public policy experience, through his service an elected official, a campaign operative, state and federal policy staff, and lobbying at all levels of government. Through those experiences, Mike and the MSS team provide a cutting-edge combination of services to clients.

Mike grew up in Bangor, graduated from Bowdoin College and the University of Maine School of Law, represented the West End of Portland in the legislature and currently resides in Belgrade.

Kate HowellDirector of Workforce Partnerships, Educate Maine

Kate leads a variety of initiatives at Educate Maine focused on connecting learners at all levels to careers in Maine including early career exploration, internships, pre-apprenticeship, and apprenticeship. She has worked in talent development and leadership roles throughout her career. Prior to joining Educate Maine, Kate was an HR leader at a biotech company in Portland focusing on recruitment, career development, and university relations. Before moving to Maine, Kate worked in New York City and Washington, DC across a variety of industries and non-profit organizations. Kate holds a Bachelor of Science in Business from Syracuse University and a SCP certification from the Society for Human Resources Management.

Aileen Huang-Saad, PhD, MBADirector of Life Sciences and Engineering Programs and Associate Professor of Bioengineering, The Roux Institute at Northeastern University

Aileen Huang-Saad is the Director of Life Sciences, Health, and Engineering Programs at Northeastern’s Roux Institute (Portland, Maine) and an Associate Professor of Bioengineering. Leveraging her experience with design, entrepreneurship, education research, and industry, she seeks close the gap between higher education and professional practice. Specifically, she is designing interdisciplinary experiential education life sciences, health, and engineering programs to attract, retain, and advance talent in the state of Maine. These programs are designed to re-imagine how higher education and communities can work together to impact economic and talent development. Dr. Huang-Saad currently serves as Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Springer’s Biomedical Engineering Education and is a member of the Maine State Workforce Board and the National Academies’ Roundtable on Systemic Change in Undergraduate STEM Education. She is also an American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering Fellow.

Daniel Moore, PhD, Chair of Biological Sciences and Professor, Southern Maine Community College

Dr. Daniel Moore is a Professor of more than 15 years at Southern Maine Community College. As Chair of Biological Sciences, he is teaching courses and incorporating workforce development into the Biotechnology and the Marine Science programs. To complement his understanding of the life science industry, he gained new skills and knowledge by interning two months this summer at a bioscience company, KeraNetics, in Winston Salem, North Carolina, through a fellowship from the NSF ATE BETA Skills program.

Daniel is actively involved in efforts to increase STEM education in Maine by acting as a co-PI of the Growing Future STEM Teachers in Maine (GFSTM) project along with faculty at Saint Joseph’s College in Standish. This program is funded through an NSF Noyce Teacher Scholar grant. Daniel is also involved in efforts to increase the life sciences in Maine by acting as the SMCC administrator of the NIH INBRE grant and as a steering committee member of the Maine Life Science Network.

Daniel earned a PhD in Biology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, an MA in Liberal Education from St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD, and a BA in Chemistry from the University of Oregon. He has previously worked as a researcher in academic settings, such as the Maine Health Institute of Research in Scarborough and at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD, and he was a Senior Scientist at a small pharmaceutical startup in the Boston area.

Lucy Liaw, PhD, Faculty Scientist III and Professor, MaineHealth Institute for Research

Lucy Liaw is currently a Faculty Scientist at MaineHealth Institute for Research where she leads a biomedical research program in cardiometabolic disease, a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence in Metabolic Networks, and two institutional training grants to support research experiences for undergraduate college students and MaineTrack medical students. She is passionate about training, education, and mentorship, and accessibility of careers in STEM. Because of this, she has overseen the Research Training and Education programs at MaineHealth Institute for Research for over a decade. Through her academic affiliations at University of Maine, Tufts University School of Medicine, University of Southern Maine, and the Roux Institute, she serves as a professor, mentor, and advocate for students and young professional advancing within biomedical sciences and research.

Barbara Stewart, PhD, Chair of Science Department and STEM Coordinator, Bangor High School

Barbara is the chair of the science and engineering department at Bangor High School. She is also the research coordinator for the STEM Academy at Bangor which provides STEM research and educational opportunities for forty five students each year. Her students have achieved at the highest levels of science competition, including the International BioGENEius, the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), and the National Junior Science and Humanities Research symposium (JSHS). She is also a founding member of Water for ME, a nonprofit organization promoting water education and research in the state and throughout the world.

Barbara earned at PhD in chemistry at the University of Maine, a master’s degree in science education from the University of Maine and a bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan University in Connecticut. After completing her post doc at the University of Massachusetts, she moved back to Maine with her family to start an educational software company and work as a lecturer in the chemistry department at the University of Maine. She also grew up in Houlton and is proud of her county roots.

Andrea Tilden, PhD, Director of the Linde Packman Lab for Biosciences Innovation, Colby College and Director of Education, MDI Biological Laboratory

Andrea Tilden is the inaugural Director of the Linde Packman Lab for Biosciences Innovation at Colby College and is the Director of Education at the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory. In both roles, she has been at the forefront of advances in biomedical education, including developing curricula and experiential learning opportunities for undergraduates and high school students. She has helped to launch programs at Colby in neuroscience and genomics, collaborating with partner institutions MDI Bio Lab, JAX, and Bigelow. Currently, she is developing programs with those and other partner institutions to create opportunities for students in bioinformatics, data science, and biotechnology. Andrea has had a career-long dedication to diversity in STEM, having worked with various initiatives to increase access to STEM education and careers for first-generation and BIPOC students, and securing grants and other funding to support these initiatives. A native Mainer, she is dedicated to the growth of the bioscience workforce within the state and has served for over 20 years as the Colby representative to the NIH Maine INBRE Steering Committee.

Sarah Stillings, Sr. Learning and Talent Program Manager, Global Operations Program Management Office, IDEXX

Sarah Stillings is a learning practitioner with more than a decade of experience designing, developing, and delivering learning experiences across K12, Higher Education, and corporate markets. She has developed and led learning programs at Pearson Education, University of New England, and IDEXX Laboratories, helping learners build the skills they need to excel in their current roles and grow their careers. Sarah currently works in Global Operations at IDEXX Laboratories where she leads a diverse portfolio of learning and talent programs that align with the organization’s business objectives while nurturing the employee experience to improve retention, performance, and engagement.



September 21, 2023
1:30 pm - 7:00 pm EDT


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University of Southern Maine – Abromson Community Education Center
88 Bedford St
Portland, ME 04101 United States
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