Day 1 – General Sessions
Matthew Portnoy, Ph.D.
Matthew Portnoy, Ph.D., is the NIH SBIR/STTR Program Coordinator and Director, Division of Special Programs, Office of Extramural Programs, Office of Extramural Research, NIH. In this role, he manages the SBIR/STTR Programs at NIH and coordinates funding for the 24 NIH Institutes and Centers that participate in these programs. Portnoy received his B.S. in molecular and cell biology from Penn State University. He received his Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology from Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health. Portnoy then joined the Intramural Program of the National Human Genome Research Institute as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Eric Green. Portnoy made the leap to the extramural side of NIH in 2005, joining the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) as a program director. Over his time at NIGMS, he managed R01 grant portfolios in DNA repair, recombination and replication, SBIR/STTR grants, F32 postdoctoral fellowships, cooperative agreements and R25 education grants. Dr. Portnoy also served as SBIR/STTR program lead for NIGMS for nearly 6 years prior to his current post.
Richard S. Larson, M.D., Ph.D., is the executive vice chancellor and vice chancellor for research at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, where he oversees research initiatives as well as strategic planning and many operational, clinical and educational programs. He also serves as the P.I. of the UNM Clinical and Translational Science Center, a key center involved in economic development that funds and facilitates new technology development and its commercialization.
Larson’s accomplishments include over 100 published manuscripts and numerous patents. He is the editor of the bookBioinformatics and Drug Discovery, published in 2005 and as a 2nd edition in 2012. In 2006, he and his collaborators at UNM and Sandia National Laboratories were awarded the Chief Scientist Award for their hand-held bioagent sensor from the Defense Intelligence Agency. This hand-held detector was selected by R&D Magazine as one of the top products of 2010.
Larson is extensively involved in supporting and initiating commercial ventures in New Mexico. He currently has commercial partnerships with Senior Scientific, Adaptive Methods and Sandia National Laboratories. He is a member of the Board of Directors for TriCore Reference Laboratory, New Mexico’s 12th largest company, which he co-founded in 1998 and has since continually been involved with in operations and governance. Larson has also served on the Board of Directors for the National Center for Genome Research. In 2001, he co-founded Cancer Services of New Mexico, a non-profit organization which serves, free of charge, over 2,000 New Mexicans suffering from cancer each year. He is President of the Cancer Services of New Mexico Foundation and serves on the Board of Directors for Cancer Services of New Mexico.
Larson received both his M.D. and Ph.D. from Harvard University and performed his residency training at Washington University at St. Louis and his fellowship training at Vanderbilt University.
NM Governmental Speaker
Jon R. Lorsch, Ph.D., became the director of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) in August 2013. In this position, Lorsch oversees the Institute’s $2.359 billion budget, which primarily funds basic research in the areas of cell biology, biophysics, genetics, developmental biology, pharmacology, physiology, biological chemistry, biomedical technology, bioinformatics and computational biology. NIGMS supports nearly 4,550 research grants—about 10.5 percent of those funded by NIH as a whole—as well as a substantial amount of research training and programs designed to increase the diversity of the biomedical and behavioral research workforce.
Lorsch came to NIGMS from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he was a professor in the Department of Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry. He joined the Johns Hopkins faculty in 1999 and became a full professor in 2009. A leader in RNA biology, Lorsch studies the initiation of translation, a major step in controlling how genes are expressed. When this process goes awry, viral infection, neurodegenerative diseases and cancer can result. To dissect the mechanics of translation initiation, Lorsch and collaborators developed a yeast-based system and a wide variety of biochemical and biophysical methods. The work also has led to efforts to control translation initiation through chemical reagents, such as drugs.
Lorsch is as passionate about education as he is about research. During his tenure at Johns Hopkins, he worked to reform the curricula for graduate and medical education, spearheaded the development of the Center for Innovation in Graduate Biomedical Education, and launched a program offering summer research experiences to local high school students, many from groups that are underrepresented in the biomedical and behavioral sciences. In addition, he advised dozens of undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. His honors include six teaching awards from Johns Hopkins.
Lorsch is the author of more than 60 peer-reviewed research articles, book chapters and other papers. He has also been the editor of three volumes of Methods in Enzymology and a reviewer for numerous scientific journals. He has one patent and one patent application related to his translation research. Lorsch is a member of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s mentoring committee, the RNA Society’s board of directors and NIH review committees.
Lorsch received a B.A. in chemistry from Swarthmore College in 1990 and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Harvard University in 1995, where he worked in the laboratory of Jack Szostak, Ph.D. He conducted postdoctoral research at Stanford University in the laboratory of Daniel Herschlag, Ph.D.
Cathleen Cooper, Ph.D., is the director of the Division of Receipt and Referral (DRR) at the Center for Scientific Review (CSR). She came to this position after serving as Chief of the Oncology 1: Basic Translational Integrated Review Group. Earlier in her NIH career, she spent eight years as a Scientific Review Officer for CSR’s Experimental Immunology and Transplantation, Tolerance, and Tumor Immunology study sections, as well as a Referral Officer in DRR. Her scientific career started with a baccalaureate degree in bacteriology from the University of California, Los Angeles. Cooper then earned a Ph.D. in pathology at the University of Southern California where she studied naturally occurring delayed-type hypersensitivity reactions to mycobacteria. She did her postdoctoral training in molecular immunology at Columbia University, with a focus on the molecular mechanisms that regulate gene expression. Her first faculty position was assistant professor in the Department of Cell Biology and the Cancer Center at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. There, she led a research team studying the molecular regulation of early events in hematopoietic development with special emphasis on B lymphocyte and neutrophil differentiation, work funded by NIH, the American Cancer Society and private foundations. Cooper is the daughter and sister of long-time small business owners.
Amy Rubinstein, Ph.D., is a scientific review officer at the Center for Scientific Review (CSR) at NIH and acts as CSR’s point person for issues related to SBIR/STTR review. Rubinstein received her Ph.D. in biology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, studying the molecular genetics of pollen development in maize. As a postdoctoral fellow at the Carnegie Institution of Washington, she switched to the zebrafish model, working on development of the nervous system. Rubinstein then went on to participate in the formation of a start-up biotechnology company (Zygogen, LLC) that focused on designing zebrafish assays for drug discovery. She held a variety of positions at Zygogen, including director and vice president of research. Rubinstein joined CSR in 2008.