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External Advisory Board

We have assembled an outstanding group of individuals who come from across the country to serve as an External Advisory Board for the BCMB department.

Purpose

The purpose of the board is to provide input on our departmental mission and goals and to give feedback on a variety of issues regarding our curriculum, our preparation of students for future careers, the research activities in the department, and our outreach activities.


Donald L. Akers Jr., MD, FACS is a practicing vascular and general surgeon in Knoxville, TN. After graduating from UT-Knoxville, he obtained his MD from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis. He pursued his residency in General Surgery from Tulane University in New Orleans. His fellowships were in Vascular Surgery at the University of Cincinnati and in Endovascular Surgery at the UT Medical Center in Knoxville. Dr. Akers is Board Certified by the American Board of Surgery in General Surgery and Vascular Surgery. He is a Fellow with the American College of Surgeons. He joined Premier Surgical Associates following extended service as a Professor in the Department of Surgery at Tulane University from 1991-2007.

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William G. Beasley, BS, CCRP

William G. Beasley, BS, CCRP

William G. Beasley, BS, CCRP is the vice president of Clinical Research at BioMimetic Therapeutics, Inc., located in Franklin, Tennessee. He received a bachelor’s in biology (cum laude) from UT. Beasley led the orthopedic program resulting in the Device License Application (DLA) approval in Canada and pending pre-market application (PMA) review for recombinant growth factor for foot and ankle fusion applications. In addition, he directed the clinical operations for the company’s lead therapeutic application for recombinant platelet-derived growth factor (rhPDGF-BB) approved for dental applications.

Beasley’s clinical trial therapeutic experience includes CNS (Multiple Sclerosis, migraine); dermatology (psoriasis) orthopedics, periodontics, tissue engineered therapeutics, and in vitro diagnostics. He has certifications and memberships in the Certified Clinical Research Professional (CCRP), the Drug Information Association (DIA), the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP), and the Society of Clinical Research Associates (SoCRA). His awards and honors include Phi Beta Kappa, Golden Key National Honor Society, Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society, and Order of Omega.

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Kim Caldwell earned her Ph.D. at the University of Tennessee in 1995. She is currently Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Her research focuses on the cellular mechanisms that underlie neural diseases. For this she uses the nematode C. elegans. Her research has been funded by the NIH, NSF and Howard Hughes Medical Institute including a CAREER Award from the NSF. Additionally, Dr. Caldwell served as Diretor of the University of Alabama’s Howard Hughes Medical Institute Rural Science Scholars Program. She has also won awards such as being named an Education Fellow by the NSF and a UA College of Arts & Sciences Distinguished Teaching Fellow.

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Ricky Cox is Professor of Chemistry and the Anna S. Brown and Ruth B. Logan Endowed Chair in Pre-Medicine at Murray State University in Murray Kentucky. He received his doctorate in Biochemistry from the University of Tennessee in 1997. Dr. Cox joined the faculty at Murray State in 1999 where he has researched antibiotic resistance and protein biochemistry. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, Kentucky Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network, American Chemical Society, Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft. Additionally, he has taken an active role in technology-based teaching techniques and has won numerous awards for teaching excellence such as Outstanding College or University Teacher by the Kentucky Academy of Science and  Board of Regents Award for Teaching Excellence for the College of Science, Engineering and Technology. He established an American Medical Student Association chapter at Murray State and worked to create a Pre-Health Professionals Program at the university.

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Shannon Eaker earned his Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee. He then worked as a staff scientist at Los Alamos National Lab, Millipore, Tusculum College as an Adjunct Professor. In 2010 he joined GE Healthcare in Oak Ridge. GE Healthcare is a multi-billion dollar company that provides devices for medical imaging, biomanufacturing, and cell and gene therapy technologies.

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Dr. Mary Kot

Dr. Mary Kot

Mary Kot, professor of biology and former chair of Biology from 2003 until 2010 has been at Mercer University since 1991. She is currently the director of Global Health Systems and was the director of Scientific Inquiry Program at Mercer University from 2002 to 2003. She received her PhD from UT. Her specialty is cell biology and her research interest is the contribution of Candida albicans to biofilm formation. Kot has written a paper, “The Hungry Gene as a Core Text in a Freshman Learning Community” that was included in The Place of Core.

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John Lamerdin

John Lamerdin

John Lamerdin is currently senior counsel in the Intellectual Property and Litigation group of Amgen, Inc. in Thousand Oaks, California. Previously, he was associate patent counsel and patent counsel in the Patent Department of Bristol-Myers Squibb Co in Princeton, New Jersey. Before practicing as an in-house attorney, Lamerdin was an associate attorney with Jenkins & Wilson, a patent law firm in Durham, North Carolina. Lamerdin earned his PhD in the Department of Biochemistry at UT,  working in the lab of Engin Serpersu. Lamerdin also holds a JD from Franklin Pierce Law Center in Concord, New Hampshire, and an MS in chemistry (concentration in biochemistry) from San Francisco State University in California. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Redlands in Redlands, California, where he earned a BS in chemistry and a BA in philosophy. He is licensed in various state and federal courts and focuses his practice on biopharmaceutical and biotechnology patent and intellectual property matters.

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April Pyle is an Associate Professor at UCLA in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee in 2002 followed by a postdoctoral fellowship working with Peter Donovan at the Johns Hopkins University. She is a member of the Eli and Edythe Broad Stem Cell Center, the Center for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center at UCLA.

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Sean Sullivan, PhD

Sean Sullivan, PhD

Sean Michael Sullivan received his PhD in 1984 in biochemistry from UT, followed by postdoctoral training at California Institute of Technology from 1984 until 1987. In 2007 he became the executive director for Pharmaceutical Sciences Vical, Inc. located in San Diego, California. Before this position he was an associate professor in the Department of Pharmaceutics at the University of Florida for seven years.

Sullivan supervised an academic research program that developed cancer gene therapeutics for treatment of brain cancer with target focused on anti-angiogenesis and developed organ culture models for cerebral proliferating arteries and brain tumor slice cultures for screening genes and developing targeted delivery systems. He developed a drug delivery program at Ribozyme Pharmaceuticals (RPI) for the delivery of ribozymes. Both lipid and polymer based delivery vehicles were developed. He also successfully developed an in vivo ocular delivery vehicle at RPI for ribozyme delivery to the corneal epithelial layer of the eye using polyacrylic acid. He is a member of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Science and the America Society for Gene Therapy. He is on the Scientific Advisory Board for Discovery Genomics in Minneapolis.

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Michael Vaughn earned his Ph.D. at Arizona State University. He was an undergraduate at the UT-Knoxville and after earning his BS in Biochemistry,  he worked for several years as a research specialist in the lab of Barry Bruce. In 2016 he became a Staff Scientist with Bio-Logic based in Knoxville.

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Jeremy Vincent MD, is a pathologist in Knoxville affiliated with the Fort Sanders Regional Medial Center. He received his medical degree from the University of Tennessee College of Medicine. Following this he did a fellowship at the University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers in dermatopathology and a residency at Johns Hopkins University in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology. He has published papers on various areas related to cancer.

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Dr. Jason Grant Williams

Jason Grant Williams

Jason Grant Williams earned his PhD in biochemistry and biophysics in 2001 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill after graduating from the biochemistry department at UT in 1996. Since 2004 he has been working for the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences as the director of the Protein Microcharacterization Core Facility (PMCF). He manages both the scientific and administrative operations of the PMCF by overseeing personnel, budget, and scientific projects. Williams also completed his postdoctoral fellowship with NIEHS where he elucidated the antigenic surfaces of HIV p24 using limited proteolysis, chemical modification, and mass spectrometry, and also performed initial experiments into the investigation of the tertiary structures of other proteins using chemical modification and mass spectrometry.

Williams developed a unique method of sample purification, concentration, and introduction into a mass spectrometer for analyses of proteins and peptides. Some of his current memberships are with the Association of Biomolecular Resource Facilities, the American Chemical Society, the American Society for Mass Spectrometry, and the Triangle Mass Spectrometry Discussion Group. He has received a number of awards, one being the NIH/NIEHS Performance Award, which he received in 2007, 2008, twice in 2009, and 2010. He also received awards from the Merit Scholarship and the Andrew Holt Scholarship from UT.

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