Mike Solomon, Ph.D.
Mike has more than twenty years of experience in the biotechnology industry, with the last fourteen focused on creating and operating early stage therapeutic-focused companies.
Most recently, Mike was Chief Operating Officer at Decibel Therapeutics, a biotechnology company focused on broadly treating hearing disorders. Mike’s involvement at Decibel was part of his work as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Third Rock Ventures; he led a team that created Decibel’s business plan resulting in a $52 M Series A round.
Prior to Decibel, Mike was Chief Operating Officer at Ember Therapeutics, a Third Rock Ventures company focused on obesity and diabetes, and Chief Business Officer at Link Medicine, a neurodegeneration focused biotechnology company that was sold to Astra Zeneca. Mike was also a founder and VP of Discovery at Epizyme Therapeutics, a company focused on epigenetic modulators that is now a publicly traded company, and VP of Discovery at Hypnion, Inc a sleep disorder company that was sold to Lilly in 2007 for $325 million. Mike also spent two years as a biotechnology analyst at Bank of America Securities. He started his career at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, where he was project leader for multiple programs.
Mike received his BS in Chemistry from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He earned his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin, and completed postdoctoral work in Synthetic Organic Chemistry at Scripps.
Katie Warner, Ph.D.
Katie was an early pioneer in SHAPE technologies, showing in 2009 with Dave Mathews and Kevin Weeks that SHAPE data can be used to model RNA secondary structure at high accuracy. She continued her work with Adrian Ferré-D'Amaré and Chris Abell to show the first structure-based proof-of-princple that RNA is targetable by fragments. Katie has solved multiple RNA-small molecule crystal structures, including the fluorogenic RNAs "Spinach" and "Corn."
Katie received a BA in Chemistry, with Highest Honors and Distinction, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and an MPhil in Pathology and Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Cambridge. Katie was a Beckman Scholar, a Churchill Scholar, an RNA Society/Scaringe awardee and an NIH-Oxford-Cambridge Scholar.
Kevin Weeks, Ph.D.
Kevin is a founder of Ribometrix and a Kenan Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The vision of his laboratory is to use chemical principles to explore the central role of RNA in biology with a focus on real-world problems and understanding human disease. RNA SHAPE technologies, invented in his laboratory, are used worldwide. The Weeks laboratory is applying SHAPE and other chemical technologies to challenging problems in biology, including the RNA-mediated reactions central to functions of mRNAs, lncRNAs, and viral RNAs.
Dr. Weeks obtained his BA with Honors and Department Honors in Chemistry from the College of Wooster and completed his Ph.D. at Yale, securing the Richard Wolfgang Prize for most Distinguished Dissertation in Chemistry. Dr. Weeks is a Fulbright and a Searle Scholar, an NIH EUREKA awardee, a Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science, a Life Member in Clare Hall at the University of Cambridge, and has taught many hundreds of undergraduates their first year chemistry.
Chris Thomajan, MBA
Chris Thomajan has been a CFO for over twenty-five years, working with start-up and emerging growth companies across a variety of industries. Over the past ten years, Chris has been the Managing Partner of TechCXO in Boston, a national, management consulting firm. He also runs his own practice, acting as CFO for early stage biotechnology companies such as Decibel Therapeutics, Catabasis Pharmaceuticals, Adheron Therapeutics and Relay Therapeutics. Chris holds a BA from Dartmouth College and an MBA from Columbia University.
Christine Hajdin, Ph.D.
Christine Hajdin, an expert in RNA structure and chemoinformatics, is the AD of Screening and Computational Sciences at Ribometrix. Christine began her career in Kevin Week’s lab where she developed a love for RNA. After graduation, she worked as a data scientist at Explorys, now IBM Watson Health Care, and then as an Investigator at Novartis.Christine has worked across disease areas and throughout the drug discovery pipeline performing target ID, library selection and compound optimization. She now brings a unique blend of computational expertise, as well as, early stage project development to the team.
Colleen Wilson, MBA
Colleen Wilson is a strategic HR consultant with eighteen years of experience in the life sciences industry. She has been partnering with leadership, both VC partner interim, and full-time, to grow and evolve organizations to achieve their BOD approved goals and initiatives. Her expertize also includes developing and foster a company culture required to attract and retain top R&D and G&A talent in a highly competitive market. Colleen has held roles as head of HR for multiple start-up biotech companies in the Boston area. She holds a BS from the University of New Hampshire, and earned her MBA from Babson College.
Christina Davis, MBA
Christina, who joined the team in 2018, is the Executive Assistant at Ribometrix. She has a diverse range of experience including almost a decade of work in the NC state government environmental regulatory field, various entrepreneurial ventures, and a professional background in industrial biotechnology. Her passions include biotechnology business development and innovation, marketing, entrepreneurship, and any endeavors that have a positive impact on the environment and human health.
Christina holds a BS in Environmental Science with a focus in Biology from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and an MBA in BioSciences Management from North Carolina State University.
Carolina Lin, M.S.
Carolina is a molecular biologist with over ten years of experience in RNA and cancer research, who joined Ribometrix in 2016. Carolina’s current role in the company is to validate targets for small molecule screening by studying the complexity and functionality of their RNA structure. Her work experience spans fields in microRNA, alternative splicing, and small molecule inhibitors on oncology targets.
Carolina received her Bachelor’s Degree in Biophysical Chemistry from Dartmouth College in 2005. She earned her Master’s Degree in Genetics and Genomics from Duke University in 2011
Natalie McDonald, Ph.D.
Natalie joined Ribometrix as a Screening Scientist in 2017. She has over twenty years of experience in molecular biology and genomics. Her work has included projects in early stage start-ups ranging from host responses to RNA and DNA virus infection, contract-based whole genome and transcriptome sequencing of widely-varied species, and data analysis. She brings working expertise in RNA biology, high-throughput sequencing and assay optimization and scale-up.
Natalie was awarded a B.S. in Biology with Honors from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, in 1994 and a Ph.D. in Genetics and Molecular Biology from Emory University, Atlanta, GA, in 1999
Melissa Porter, M.S.
Melissa is part of the Screening team at Ribometrix. She comes to the company with over 10 years of experience in drug discovery and has led numerous high-throughput screening campaigns. Her expertise is in assay development and validation as well as hit follow-up and characterization. Melissa earned a Master’s degree in Medical Sciences from the University of Kentucky. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, scuba diving, food and wine, Kentucky basketball, and greyhounds!
Sarah Jacobs, Ph.D.
Sarah is part of the Molecular Biology team at Ribometrix. Sarah’s current role is to validate targets for small molecule screening and development of downstream small molecule validity assays. She brings with her extensive experience in immunology, cancer biology, and virology along with experience in diagnostic assay development and global health. Sarah earned her B.S. in Molecular Biology with Highest Honors from the University of Texas at Austin in 2004 and a Ph.D. in Molecular Cancer Biology from Duke University in 2009.
Matt Smola, Ph.D.
Matt is an experienced RNA biologist and brings a diverse set of skills to Ribometrix. He began his career as a graduate student under the supervision of Dr. Kevin Weeks, where he developed new analytical tools and creative adaptations of SHAPE technology in studying long non-coding RNA in living cells. Upon completion of his Ph.D., Matt moved to Boston for postdoctoral training at Novartis where he worked to develop new cell-based screening assays, implemented strategies for structural characterization of small molecule-ribonucleoprotein complexes, and provided his RNA expertise to several project teams.
Matt holds a BS in Biochemistry with Department Honors from Miami University and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was a Graduate Research Fellow of the National Science Foundation.
Bill Pasutti, M.S.
Bill has eleven years' experience in molecular and microbiology research. While working in the Bay Area he was involved in HIV-1 viral genetic research at NCIRE, siRNA drug discovery at Merck, and small molecule antibiotic drug discovery at Novartis. He brings to the company his expertise in assay development for PCR and mass spectrometry high-throughput screening.
Bill received a BS in Microbiology and a M.S. in Molecular Biology & Genetics from Michigan State University.
Krista Marran, B.S.
Krista, a member of the Molecular Biology team at Ribometrix, brings cell-based and biochemical assay development expertise for screening small molecules. She obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from Hamilton College in 2004 and then quickly began her career in Dr. Gregory Hannon’s lab at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. There her efforts focused on improving shRNA library design and executing loss-of-function RNAi screens for genes involved in drug resistance in breast and prostate cancers. More recently, she participated in the dedicated RNA biology group at Novartis - evaluating miRNAs as therapeutic targets.
Robert Spurrier, BS
Robert Spurrier is a programming consultant for Ribometrix. He brings industry knowledge of operating large scale, distributed data processing platforms, as well as expertise in automation and software delivery. He obtained his Bachelor's Degree in Bioinformatics from the University of Pittsburgh. There he was a staff scientist in an RNA lab working on applied machine learning projects. After graduating, he spent his career up to this point as a data scientist at IBM Watson Health where he developed software on the largest clinical datasets in the world.
Brad Henke, Ph.D.
Brad is a chemistry consultant for Ribometrix. He has over twenty-five years of experience in small molecule and peptide-based drug discovery. Prior to starting his own consulting business, Opti-Mol Consulting, LLC, in 2015 Brad was Director of Chemistry in the Metabolic Diseases Division at GlaxoSmithKline’s RTP, NC, site.
Brad earned his B.S. in Chemistry from Miami University. He recevied his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Illinois, and was an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. He has authored over thirty scientific publications and is an inventor on seven patents.
Caleb Sutherland, Ph.D.
Caleb joined the Molecular Biology team at Ribometrix in 2018. He brings his passion for drug discovery and over 10 years of experience in cell-based and biophysical functional assays. While attaining his PhD in Cancer Biology, from the University of Arizona, he validated and targeted unique DNA structures found in the MYC promoter with small molecules to treat cancer.
Caleb received a BS in Molecular and Cell Biology from Boise State University, where he was a McNair Scholar and INBRE Research Fellow.
Chris was originally trained as a cell and molecular biologist before entering the biotechnology industry in 1999, where he has since built up a broad range of top management experience focused on outsourced preclinical drug discovery and the development of novel gene modulation technologies.
Much of this came from fifteen years as the lead founder, CEO and CSO of Cenix BioScience GmbH, a discovery-stage preclinical CRO with operations in Germany, Belgium and the US. Along the way, he built up a highly successful 40-staff team focused on high-throughput screening using high content assays, which combined RNAi gene silencing and compound treatments to complete nearly 100 major target discovery, target validation and drug mode of action projects.
Advancing programs in most of the top pharmaceutical companies across a very broad scope of disease indications and biological pathways, this work was also complemented by highly innovative technology development programs, including the design and development of the first commercially-available human genome-wide libraries of siRNAs, sold at the time under the Silencer™ brand by Ambion, now a part of Thermo.
More recently, Chris has been consulting for investor groups and top management teams toward advancing the build-up of young biotech startups focused on innovative therapeutic discovery and development programs.
Chris received his BSc and MSc in Biology from the University of Ottawa. He then earned his Ph.D. in Cell Biology from the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester, before carrying out postdoctoral work in Cell Biology at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, EMBL, in Heidelberg, Germany.
LaShanda started her Scientific career at the University of Chapel Hill Gene Therapy Center. That initial exposure led to her interest and exploration in Genomics, Cancer Biology, and Immunology. Upon her exploration of these areas of Science, she acquired multiple skills in microbiology, and molecular biology. LaShanda joins the Ribometrix Team with experience in experimental design, High-throughput screening, and proficiency in Laboratory Logistics.
LaShanda attained her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biological Sciences with Honors from North Carolina Central University, of Durham, NC, where she was also a member of the Howard Hughes’ Medical Institute Science Education Alliance.
Kaycee brings multiple backgrounds to the Screening Team at Ribometrix, including genetics, biochemistry, and engineering. She did her postdoc in Phillip Zamore’s lab at UMass Medical School, studying the evolution of small RNA pathways across arthropods. Before that, Kaycee received her Ph.D. in Chemistry at Pennsylvania State University under the advisement of Scott Showalter and her B.S. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology.
Kaycee's past research focused on the environmental RNA interference response to double-stranded RNA in agricultural pest insects using high-throughput sequencing and genetics. Before working with insects, Kaycee’s graduate work aimed at studying the thermodynamics of RNA:protein interactions using a variety of biochemical and analytical methods
Marilyn Thompson is an experienced business development executive with over 22 years of experience in the biotech, pharma, medical device/software and 3D scanning sectors.
She has served as a Controller, Director of Finance and Chief Financial Officer with oversight of Accounting, Finance and administrative areas of business. She has extensive experience in new business and has served as a consultant to over 35 start-up companies.
She has managed millions of dollars in NIH and NSF funded grants and continues to consult with companies concerning grant funding. Ms. Thompson attended East Carolina University where she majored in Business with a degree in Accounting.
Laura Tadvalkar, Ph.D.
Laura was previously a Manager at Clarion Healthcare, a boutique healthcare consulting firm in Boston. At Clarion, she worked with biopharmaceutical companies on due diligence, portfolio optimization, and commercial strategy – primarily in oncology and rare disease. Laura is also currently a Senior Associate at MP Healthcare Venture Management, and a Kauffman Fellow, Class 23.
Laura has a B.S. in Chemistry with Department Distinction from Yale University, and a Ph.D. in Chemical Biology from Harvard University. At Harvard, she received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, and her thesis research focused on mitochondrial disease and cancer metabolism.
Nick Taylor, BS
Nick joined the screening team with several years of experience in troubleshooting and operating liquid handling robots. Previously, he spent several years working with Myriad Genetics Laboratories in the Companion Diagnostics lab. During his time with CDx they screened cancer patient samples for AstraZeneca’s Lynparza drug trial by searching for large rearrangements in patients’ BRCA1 & 2.
Nick received a BS in Biochemistry from Brigham Young University, where he worked as an undergraduate research assistant specializing in Cre/Lox mouse colony handling for the Barry Willardson Lab.
Don Hertzog, Ph.D.
Don Hertzog, Ph.D., comes to Ribometrix from HemoShear Therapeutics where he was Head of Chemistry, leading all aspects of chemistry for HemoShear’s drug discovery programs in rare diseases. He previously served as Vice President of Early Lead Identification at Abide Therapeutics where he led a team of chemists devoted to identifying hit molecules and transforming them into leads worthy of further optimization to drug candidates.
Before joining Abide, Don was the site head for the Molecular Discovery Research Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Director of Medicinal Chemistry for Metabolic Diseases at GlaxoSmithKline, GSK, overseeing a team that progressed several molecules into preclinical development and clinical trials. This work was highlighted by Don’s leadership of the chemistry team that discovered GW856464, GSK’s clinical entry in the highly competitive field of MCH R1 antagonists for the treatment of obesity.
Don began his industrial career at Bayer Pharmaceuticals, where he was part of a team that advanced a glucagon antagonist into human trials for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Dr. Hertzog earned his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Emory University and a B.A. degree in chemistry from Hendrix College. He completed an NIH-sponsored postdoctoral fellowship at The Scripps Research Institute and has more than 40 total publications, patents, and invited presentations. Don was co-chair of the 2014 ACS National Medicinal Chemistry Symposium and has served as a member of the Long Range Planning Committee of the Medicinal Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society, ACS.