MassBio Staff

MassBio Senior Management


Robert K. Coughlin, President & CEO

Robert_CoughlinAs President and CEO of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, Bob's mission is to foster a positive environment that enables each biotechnology company to achieve its full potential in Massachusetts, making the state a world center for biotechnology.  He is very familiar with all areas of the Massachusetts life sciences super cluster and is a passionate advocate for research and the biotechnology community.

Bob has spent his career in both the public and private sectors, most recently serving as Undersecretary of Economic Development within Governor Deval Patrick's administration in 2007.  Prior to that, he was elected as State Representative to the 11th Norfolk district for three terms.  In the legislature both healthcare and economic development were his priorities.

In the world of business he specialized in the environmental services industry and moved on to capital management and venture capital.  He has held senior executive positions in both fields.

He is a graduate of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy where he majored in Marine Engineering, and is a Lieutenant in the United States Naval Reserve.

Bob has also been active in the community, having served on the boards of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital.  He has served as the honorary chairman of the Great Strides Cystic Fibrosis Walk since 1996.  In 2009 he co-chaired the Children's Hospital Boston signature event, Champions for Children's.

Email Robert Coughlin


Joseph Fazio, Vice President, Finance & Administration

joseph_fazioMr. Fazio has been with MassBio since January 2004 and is currently the Vice President of Finance and Administration. At MassBio he is responsible for guiding senior management in financial planning and results management, developing and maintaining necessary accounting policies and systems, directing all aspects of accounting operations, managing relationships with insurance providers, auditors, and banks, managing HR and other administrative support functions for the organization, and generally helping insure that members receive maximum value for their MassBio financial commitment.

Joseph came to MassBio with significant Controller-level experience. Most recently he worked for four years in the biotech industry, employed as Controller by Eligix/BioTransplant, a development stage company focused on cancer therapies. He also served as Controller with a chemical manufacturer, as well as with a restaurant equipment distributor.

Joe received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He is a lifelong resident of the Boston area, and is married with three adult children.

Email Joseph Fazio


John Hallinan, Chief Business Officer

john_hallinanJohn Hallinan joined MassBio in 2012 as the Chief Business Officer and oversees the MassBio Innovation Services programs.

John’s fiscal experience in the life sciences and software industries reflect positions of increasing responsibility across a broad range of strategic and operational disciplines. His background encompasses venture financings, corporate development, technology licensing, and mergers and acquisitions.

Prior to MassBio, John was the Chief Financial Officer at Cytel, a leader in the design and implementation of adaptive clinical trials, and he had been active with MassBio—serving on the Economic Development Advisory Group and as co-chair of the Finance Committee & Entrepreneur’s University.

Before joining Cytel, John served as CFO at Signet Laboratories, a leading supplier of diagnostic assays to the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. Prior to Signet, John was interim CFO at Cambium Learning, a private equity-backed publishing company that completed two acquisitions during his tenure. John was the Chief Financial Officer of AnVil, Inc. a venture-funded silico drug discovery company, where he led the company’s healthcare market business development efforts. At CambridgeSoft Corporation, John rose to CFO of that leading pharma/bio applications and enterprise solutions supplier. As Animation Technologies’ CFO, he guided the company’s first and second rounds of venture funding.

John holds a BBA from St. Bonaventure University and is a certified public accountant. He lives with his wife Denise in Marlborough, MA.

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Sarah MacDonald, Executive Vice President


Sarah is Executive Vice President at MassBio, overseeing communications, policy & advocacy, events and strategic initiatives, including implementation of MassBio's Impact 2020 report. Before joining MassBio, Sarah served in a variety of association and policy positions, including Interim Executive Director of the Massachusetts Pharmacists Association and Deputy Chief of Staff in the Department of Business Development for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. At MassBio, she is responsible for enhancing the organization's standing as a leading voice in the biotechnology industry by conceiving, developing and executing a comprehensive internal and external communications strategy and advocacy agenda.

Sarah is a graduate of Hartwick College and has a Master’s degree from Northeastern University. She also successfully completed the Emerging Leaders Program at the Center for Collaborative Leadership at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and was proud to have served six years as a selectman in the town of Dedham.

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Kendalle Burlin O'Connell, Esq., Vice President, Member Services

Kkendalle_oconnellendalle is the Vice President of Member Services and serves as In-House Counsel for MassBio. Kendalle first came to MassBio in 2008 as Director of the Purchasing Consortium and was named Director of Strategic Alliances last year. She has grown the offerings of the MassBio Purchasing Consortium by adding new supplier agreements and increasing the value of existing agreements through building valuable partnerships with the supplier companies. Beyond continuing to oversee MassBio’s Purchasing Consortium, Kendalle is responsible for member programs, outreach and engagement, as well as new member development.

Prior to joining MassBio, Kendalle practiced law in the areas of Estate and Medicaid Planning, Probate and Asset Protection, and Labor and Employment Law. She holds a B.A. from Sacred Heart University and a Juris Doctor from Suffolk University Law School. She resides in Georgetown, Mass., with her husband, Steve.

Email Kendalle Burlin O'Connell


MassBio Staff

Peter Abair, Director, Economic Development & Global Affairs

peter_abairPeter Abair is MassBio’s Director of Economic  and Global Affairs. In his position, he provides consulting services to companies looking to locate to or grow in Massachusetts, manages MassBio's global partners programs, and leads the development and publication of the Industry Snapshot - MassBio's annual economic analysis of the life sciences industry.  Prior to joining MassBio, he served the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in several economic development functions including Director of the Massachusetts Department of Economic Development, Massachusetts Office of Business Development, and Associate Director of the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development. He has served in the administrations of four governors and began his career on the Washington, D.C. staff of the late Congressman Silvio O. Conte.  Peter holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and International Relations from Boston University and a Masters in Public Policy and Administration from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  A native of Pittsfield, MA, he now resides with his family in Sudbury, where he serves on several local boards.

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Erica Beck, Manager, Operations

erica_beckErica joined MassBio in November of 2011 as Manager of Operations. She oversees the general office operations for MassBio and MassBioEd, and performs various Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable functions. Prior to joining MassBio, Erica worked in a non-profit setting at Boston College, and was an International Account Coordinator for International Forest Products Corporation. Erica received her B.A. in English with a minor in Philosophy from Boston College in 2006, and has also studied mental health counseling. She currently resides in West Roxbury, Massachusetts.

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Rakhshita Dhar, Director, Innovation Services


Rakhshita joined MassBio in October of 2010 as Innovation Services Manager. She is in charge of managing Innovation Services programs including MassCONNECT and the Innovation Exchange.
Rakhshita earned her MS in Biotechnology from Georgetown University. Prior to MassBio she interned at Adjuvant Global Advisors, a life science business development firm in Bethesda, MD.
She is passionate about life sciences and its interaction with the world of business and commercialization.

Email Rakhshita Dhar


Laura Hamilton, Manager, Member Recruitment

Laura Hamilton joined MassBio in October 2013 as Manager of Member Recruitment. Laura is responsible for educating prospective members on the many services and benefits included in membership, as well as completing the sales process. Prior to joining MassBio, Laura worked in Sales Development/Marketing for a Financial Services company in Boston.

Laura is originally from Cork City, Ireland and grew up in Boston, MA. She is a graduate of Northeastern University and holds a BSBA in Finance. Laura is passionate about business, technology, economic development and innovation.  Laura looks forward to an exciting career in the Massachusetts biotechnology industry.

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Kris Kelly, Assistant, Finance

Kris_KellyKris joined MassBio in March 2013 and is currently the Finance Assistant to the Vice President of Finance and Administration.  Kris is responsible for the monthly financial reporting for MassBio and MassBioEd. Kris came to MassBio with significant financial and accounting experience.  Most recently she has been self-employed providing accounting and financial support for small businesses.  She has also worked as a Senior Internal Auditor at Gillette, and Finance and Administration Manager at Duracell. Kris holds a MBA from University of CT, and lives in Everett with her three daughters.

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Susan Martin, Director, Governmental Affairs

susan_martinSusan Martin joined MassBio in September of 2011.  She brings over 16 years of legislative experience working for Members of the Massachusetts State Legislature to her role as Manager of External Affairs.  Susan is responsible for managing multiple public policy projects as well as tracking and analyzing legislation and regulations at both the state and federal level.  Prior to joining MassBio, Susan served as Staff Director for former State Representative Steve Tobin and former State Senator John O’Brien.  She also worked with the legal team at the Senate Committee on Ways and Means under former Chairwoman Patricia McGovern.  Susan holds a Bachelors Degree from Curry College and is a graduate of Boston Latin School.

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Jeff Ouimette, Director, Information Technology & Design

jeff_ouimetteJeff joined MassBio as Manager of Information Technology in July of 2008, and is in charge of maintaining the organization’s information technology and designing all its marketing materials. Prior to joining MassBio, Jeff was Director of Media Services for the Pawtucket Red Sox Baseball Club, where he ran the daily IT operations, while designing all of the creative design (web, graphic, & video) for the club.
Jeff is a Rhode Island native and attended Northeastern University.  He currently resides in Foxboro, MA with his wife Jennifer and his two daughters, Lucy & Lily, and his son Jeffrey Jr.

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Lauren Perna, Director, Member Engagement

lauren_pernaLauren joined MassBio in February of 2010. As the Director of Member Engagement, Lauren focuses on maintaining and developing member relationships. Prior to joining MassBio, Lauren managed logistics with a high-end office furniture company and before that was a Store Manager with Olympia Sports. Lauren is a graduate of Dedham High, and she holds a B.A. in both Communications and American Studies from Fordham University. Lauren currently resides in Norwood with her dog, Tessie.

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Jessica Roche, Director, Communications

jessica_rocheJessica joined MassBio in September 2009.  As the Director of Communications for MassBio and MassBioEd, Jessica works to develop and execute a strategic communications plan to increase the visibility of both MassBio and MassBioEd, their respective programs and services, member companies, stakeholders and the life sciences industry in general. Jessica holds a BA in English from Wheaton College (MA) with a concentration in media and cultural studies and a minor in education. She is currently pursuing her MBA at Boston University.

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Lea Sansone, Manager, Member Benefits

lea_sansoneLea joined MassBio in July of 2012 as the Member Services Assistant. Her role includes working with the membership and events team and assisting with member outreach, committees, and other related projects. She graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 2012 with a degree in Marine and Coastal Policy. She is interested in policy and life sciences and is looking forward to developing her career in the biotech industry.

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Susan Silberman, Director, Member Services

SusanSusan is the Director of Member Services where she oversees membership management and focuses on onboarding new members and member outreach to ensure our member organizations are receiving full value and access to MassBio’s resources. Prior to this, Susan was the Director of Operations at Women Entrepreneurs in Science and Technology (WEST) where she was responsible for membership growth and outreach, event planning and logistics, revenue tracking and external communications.  Her industry experience spans chemical manufacture for R&D and small molecule drug discovery, Environmental Health and Toxicology risk assessment, IP technical support, SBIR contract management, client & vendor relationship management as well as domestic & international procurement and sourcing.
Susan received a BA degree from Mount Holyoke College; BSc, Cum Laude, in Chemistry from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; completed all coursework including qualifier examinations for the PhD in Genetic Toxicology at MIT, and a Short Course in Risk Assessment at the Harvard School of Public Health. She is an active member of AWIS, the Association for Women in Science;  MIT Alumni Association; Mount Holyoke College Alumnae Association; MHC NPO, Mount Holyoke College Non-Profit Organization Alumnae; UMASS Amherst Chemistry Students & Alumni; AMITA, Association of MIT Alumnae and the Appalachian Mountain Club.

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Halley Smith, Executive Assistant to the President & CEO

halley_smithHalley joined MassBio in 2008. As the Assistant to the President & CEO, Halley manages scheduling, correspondence and travel planning for the President & CEO. In addition, Halley provides high-level support for Senior Management and pitches in on various MassBio projects and initiatives. A resident of Nahant, Massachusetts, Halley is a graduate from the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and was an active member of the PsiChi National Honors Society.

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Elizabeth Steele, Director, Events

elizabeth_steeleElizabeth is the Director of Events where she plans and oversees Signature Events for the organization.  Most recently, she served as a consultant to MassBio where she assisted in running the organization’s involvement in the 2012 BIO International Convention.  Prior to MassBio, Elizabeth was the Associate Director of the Massachusetts Office of International Trade & Investment, where she managed foreign direct investment for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and was a main organizer of Governor Patrick’s Innovation Economy Missions to Israel, the United Kingdom, and Brazil.  Elizabeth also worked at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver where she provided large scale transportation management for Gameday Management Group.

Elizabeth is a graduate of Clemson University with a BS in Political Science.  She also holds an MPA from Suffolk University’s Sawyer Business School and a MS in Political Science with an International Relations specialization from Suffolk University. 

Email Elizabeth Steele



Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation Staff

Lance Hartford, Executive Director

lance_hartfordLance Hartford is the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation and is responsible for achieving the mission of promoting and delivering quality biotechnology educational experiences in schools, the workplace and in the community. Prior to this position, he worked as an executive in the not-for-profit sector for over twenty years providing leadership and innovation as the Chief Operating Officer of the Massachusetts Bay Red Cross, Crittenton Hastings House and Harvard Hillel. He also served as a consultant to the sector in areas of strategic planning, organizational development and financial development. Lance serves on several not-for-profit boards and for several terms held the position of Treasurer of the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts.

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Larissa Fawkner, Director of Corporate and Community Relations


Director of Corporate and Community Relations, directs MassBioEd’s partner engagement, fundraising, and external relations. Larissa has a diverse career leading external relations and strategic stakeholder engagement in both the private and nonprofit sectors. She previously managed community relations for the Boston Globe and the Boston Globe Foundation, and east coast corporate social responsibility for Starbucks Coffee Company, and directed Marketing, Media and Public Events for the Boston Harbor Islands national park area and Island Alliance. Larissa holds a B.A. from Syracuse University and is a graduate of the Boston College Carroll School of Management’s Center for Corporate Citizenship program.

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Whitney Hagins, BioTeach Mentor & Program Coordinator

Whitney_HaginsWhitney joined MassBioEd in 2013 as BioTeach Mentor and Program Coordinator. She serves as technical mentor to new BioTeach schools and supports MassBioEd teacher professional development and curriculum design programs. Whitney recently retired from a 33 year teaching career, most recently at Lexington High School where she taught all levels of biology and served as the department head. She has co-authored two high school biology textbooks as well as developed curriculum for several scientific supply companies. Whitney has presented over 100 workshops on all aspects of biology and teaching at local, national and international venues.

Rachel_KrebsAs the BioTeach Program Manager, Rachel works with the MassBioEd team to organize BioTeach events.  BioTeach offerings include professional development workshops for teachers and corporate and university career exploration visits for high school students. Prior to joining MassBioEd Rachel worked on cardiovascular and oncology clinical trials (at New England Research Institutes and the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group respectively), as well as with research ethics committees (i.e. IRBs) (at Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston College, and Harvard University).  She has an undergraduate degree in Biology from Tufts University and a graduate management degree from Boston College, which included several non-profit courses. Rachel was raised in Plymouth, MA and enjoys nature photography and volunteering.  She has volunteered with Boston Cares and organized an alumni soccer game for her high school.

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Michelle Mischke, Director, Biotechnology Education Progams

Michelle MischkeMichelle joined the MassBioEd team in March 2014 as the Director of Biotechnology Education Programs. She comes to the organization with extensive research, teaching, and administrative experience. She taught a range of undergraduate biology courses at MIT and was a course coordinator and content developer for 7.00x, the first large online biology course offered by edX. While at MIT, she was involved in K-12 science outreach and education programs. Michelle holds a B.A. in both Biology and Chemistry from Colorado State University and a Ph.D. in Pharmacology from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Prior to joining the Department of Biology at MIT, she worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University.  Michelle joined MassBioEd to refocus on K-12 STEM education and to work with teachers to improve science literacy and encourage student interest in the life sciences and biotechnology.

Email Michelle Mischke





Also see our Board of Directors.

Katie joined MassBio in July for a 6-month co-op position with the Communications department. She is currently in her junior year at Northeastern University and is perusing a Bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in English. Last year, she spent six months interning as a reporter and writer with TechTarget, an information technology company in Newton, MA. Katie is from southeastern Connecticut, and is currently a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.

About MassBio

MassBio is a not-for-profit organization committed to advancing the development of critical new science, technology and medicines that benefit people worldwide.

Founded in 1985, MassBio represents over 600 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, research hospitals, and service organizations involved in life sciences and health care, and works to advance policy and promote education, while providing member programs and events, industry information, and services.

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