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The Biological Sciences Dean’s Leadership Council

The Dean’s Leadership Council is the Division of Biological Sciences preeminent volunteer group that plays a key role in advancing Biological Sciences by providing key leadership and sage counsel, and by helping the Division acquire the resources essential to our growth and progress in the 21st century global economy.

  • Bob Balderas
    Bob Balderas, UCSD Parent, VP of Research & Development, BD Biosciences, is responsible for developing and driving R&D programs for BD Biosciences. As a corporate scientist, site manager, collaboration builder and marketer in the field of biotechnology, he has contributed to the growth of BD Biosciences and Pharmingen. He has more than three decades in leadership positions in both academia and the biotechnology industry. Mr. Balderas holds a MBA from the University of San Diego and received his BS degree in Microbiology from San Diego State University.
  • Julia Brown
    Julia R Brown, UCSD Parent and an executive from the life science industry, is a member of the board of directors of three companies involved in drug development. From 2000-2003, Brown was executive vice president of Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and served as advisor to the CEO until 2008. Prior to joining Amylin, she was executive vice president of Dura Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Julia spent over 25 years with Eli Lilly and Company in progressively more senior roles. Brown is vice chair of Corporate Directors Forum, and a member of National Association of Corporate Directors. She is a member of the board of CleanTECH San Diego. Brown is a trustee and chair emerita of the board of trustees of the UC San Diego Foundation.
  • Gary Curtis
    Gary Curtis '69, CEO, URSA Technologies, is a serial biomedical entrepreneur who has launched, built and managed and/or sold 8 companies over the span of decades, including Concentric Medical, a global leader in ischemic stroke therapies and Radio Therapeutics Corporation, which was sold to Boston Scientific in 2002. Prior, he built ValleyLab and Advanced Cardiovascular Systems each into multi hundred million dollar businesses. In 1992, he established one the first alumni endowed scholarships at UCSD in memory of his father, Thomas Curtis. Revelle College, '69. 2009 Distinguished Service Award, UCSD Alumni Association.
  • Erik Engelson
    Erik Engelson '82 & '84, President and Chief Executive Officer of Lucira Health, was previously CEO of Medina Medical, which he sold to Medtronic. Previous associations include Partner at The Foundry, a medical device incubator, CEO of two Foundry companies, CFO of Fluidigm Corporation, and Venture Partner at Versant Ventures and Institutional Venture Partners. Earlier, Mr. Engelson spent 13 years in various operating roles at Target Therapeutics where he led the early start-up into the then nascent field of Interventional Neuroradiology, developed its first products, helped take the company public and became its General Manager. He is the inventor of 50+ medical device patents. Mr. Engelson holds B.A. and M.S. degrees in Microbiology and Bioengineering from UC San Diego, and an Executive MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
  • Dave Goeddel
    Dave Goeddel '72, PhD, is Managing Partner at The Column Group, a leading venture capital firm dedicated to creating the next generation of biotechnology companies. Goeddel co-founded Tularik in November 1991, served both as VP of R&D then CEO, when Tularik was acquired by Amgen. He served as Amgen's first Senior Scientific VP. Prior, he was the first scientist hired by Genentech from 1978 to 1993 served in various positions, including Fellow, Staff Scientist and Director of Molecular Biology. His pioneering work in the fields of gene cloning and expression of human proteins has been the basis for five significant marketed therapeutics including human insulin, human growth hormone, interferon-alpha, interferon-gamma and tissue plasminogen activator. Revelle College '72, biochemistry Outstanding Alumnus 1996.
  • Garret Hampton
    Garret Hampton, Ph.D., President, Clinical Sequencing and Oncology at ThermoFisher Scientific, is responsible for leading the company’s clinical next generation sequencing strategy. Prior to ThermoFisher, Garret was Senior Vice President, Clinical Genomics, at Illumina, responsible for the development of sequencing-based solutions in oncology, reproductive health and whole genome sequencing for the diagnosis of rare disease. Before joining Illumina, Garret held a variety of leadership positions at Genentech / Roche; Celgene, and The Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation, focused on drug target discovery, drug development and precision medicine. Before moving into industry, Garret was Assistant Professor of Medicine at UCSD, San Diego after a 2-year postdoctoral fellowship at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. Hampton received his PhD from the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (now Cancer Research UK) under Sir Walter Bodmer. He has authored over 150 peer reviewed articles and reviews, with 10,000 lifetime citations.
  • Kenneth Jenkins
    Kenneth Jenkins, PhD, Member, Mintz, is a seasoned intellectual property attorney well-regarded for his patent prosecution and counselling work in the life sciences area. Ken has been repeatedly recognized among Southern California’s leading attorneys by a variety of publications including Chambers USA, the San Diego Business Journal (“Best of the Bar”), Super Lawyers, the San Diego Daily Transcript (“Transcript 10”), Managing Intellectual Property (“Patent Star”) and by IAM Patent 1000 as a top patent practitioner with “superlative technical expertise” and as among the IAM Patent 1000 World’s Leading Patent Practitioners. He represents a wide variety of life sciences entities including innovative life sciences companies, from start-ups to the largest biotech companies, as well as world leading research institutions. Ken has represented the Regents of the University of California since 2002 and currently works with eight UC campuses. Mr. Jenkins holds a JD from the University of California - Hastings College of the Law, PhD in Chemistry and Biochemistry from University of Colorado, and received his BS degree in Biochemistry from University of Texas.
  • Daniel P Kolk
    Daniel P Kolk, Ph.D., Senior Director Product Development Hologic Inc., Dan Kolk received his B.A. in Biochemistry/Cell Biology from UCSD in 1983 and his Ph.D. from Arizona State University in 1992. His Ph.D thesis focused on gene regulation of the immune response by cytokines. He did his Post-Doctoral Fellowship in the laboratory of William Wachsman MD, Ph.D. in the UCSD Department of Medicine. There he studied transcriptional control of HTLV transformation of T-cells. He was hired by Gen-Probe Inc. in 1995 to work on an NHLBI request for proposal to develop a molecular diagnostic assay to detect HIV-1 and HCV in blood donations. This assay and subsequent iterations of it are still used worldwide for blood screening and have been very successful in nearly eliminating transfusion transmitted infections. Dan and the other development team members at Gen-Probe received the William W. Otterson Award from San Diego’s CONNECT organization for most innovative product in 2011 for this assay. Gen-Probe also received the National Medal of Science for this product. Subsequently, Dan worked on integrating this and other assays on the high-throughput fully automated TIGRIS platform. Gen-Probe was subsequently bought by Hologic where Dan has led the development of three novel fully automated respiratory virus diagnostic assays that run on the Hologic’s new Panther Fusion platform. These three assay were CE-marked and received FDA approval in 2017.
  • Wendy W. Kwok
    Wendy W. Kwok, JD, '99, Founder, Sunstate Development LLC, is active in business ventures. Prior to this, Ms. Kwok was appointed to the California Legislative Counsel Bureau. Ms. Kwok established endowments to promote undergraduate and graduate biological science research at UCSD. She is a trustee of the UC San Diego Foundation, San Francisco Bay Area Regional Vice-Chair of the $3B capital campaign for UC San Diego, and member of the Birch Aquarium Board. Ms. Kwok also supports the missions of various civic organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area. She serves on the Board of Directors of Self-Help for the Elderly, advocating the welfare of seniors. Being an advocate for environmental conservation and ecological preservation, she is a member of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Leadership Council. She is a volunteer scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and a naturalist for the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve. Ms. Kwok received her B.S. in Animal Physiology and Neuroscience from UCSD, Revelle College. 2019 True Triton Award, UCSD Alumni Association.
  • Elaine Lea-Chou
    Elaine Lea-Chou, Ph.D. '99, is the Director of Corporate Strategy for OncoNano Medicine Inc., a biotech start-up developing nanoparticles capable of cancer imaging, therapeutic drug delivery, and immuno-oncology therapeutics and vaccines. Their lead product is in Phase 2 clinical trials as an intraoperative fluorescent diagnostic imaging agent capable of detecting multiple types of solid cancers. Ms. Lea-Chou's expertise is scientific technology and competitive assessment within the life sciences and medical fields. Her focus of interest is molecular oncology, diagnostics, and cutting edge biotechnology. Her life science career began at the laboratory bench with a summer internship at NIH when she was 15 years old. She spent the next decades in R&D developing commercialized GFP, expression vectors, and diagnostic assays before transitioning to marketing and launching molecular products and microarrays for BD Clontech and Agilent. Ms. Lea-Chou has more recently consulted for a variety of biotech and pharmaceutical companies including Genentech, Onyx Pharmaceuticals, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Nanostring. A strong advocate of STEM education and youth mentoring, she has served as a science fair judge for the Intel N+1 and Santa Clara County science fairs for 8+ years, a past Commissioner and Executive Board Member (3 terms) for the Northern California Junior Lacrosse Association, and currently serves as a scientific interpretive guide for the Don Edwards U.S. Fish and Wildlife Refuge in Northern California.
  • Mark L. Lewis
    Mark L. Lewis, Board Director and Advisor, has participated in the life sciences industry for over 40 years developing and commercializing platforms and technologies for DNA sequencing, genotyping, flow cytometry, molecular biology, PCR, high content screening and confocal imaging. He has held research and development, commercial, and general management roles at leading organizations including Illumina, BD Biosciences, Swift Biosciences, Molecular Dynamics, Nycomed-Amersham, and Beckman Instruments. Currently, Mark is on the Board of Directors for Swift Biosciences, a next generation sequencing (NGS) library preparation provider, Miroculus, a digital microfluidic company, and Prime Genomics, who are developing diagnostics for breast cancer detection and management. In addition, Mark is also a member of the Campaign Cabinet and a co-instructor for the Professional Pathways Course for life science PhDs and graduate students at UC San Diego. In his most recent full-time role, Mark served as interim CEO at Swift Biosciences. He has also held Senior Vice President roles in Product Development, General Management, and Customer Support at Illumina, a leading supplier of systems for genetic analysis. During his time at Illumina, Mark directed the development of the HiSeq TM and MiSeq TM next-generation sequencing platforms and supporting reagents. Mark earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from UC San Diego.
  • Magda Marquet
    Magda Marquet, Ph.D.

    Dr. Magda Marquet is a life sciences serial entrepreneur. She is the co-founder of AltheaDx, a commercial stage, precision medicine company with the world’s leading pharmacogenomics test for anxiety and depression, and ALMA Life Sciences, LLC, an early stage investment firm creating and growing innovative healthcare companies. Dr. Marquet co-founded Althea Technologies and, as its co-CEO with full P&L responsibility, led the company to become a leader in the field and a highly profitable, commercial company. As a result, she guided Althea to a successful acquisition by Ajinomoto, a global Japanese company and leader in amino acid technology. Prior to starting Althea Technologies, Dr. Marquet held several positions in pharmaceutical development in companies such as Vical and Amylin Pharmaceuticals.

    She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Arcturus Therapeutics (ARCT) and AnaptysBio (ANAB). She also served on the Board of Pfenex (PFNX) until its acquisition by Ligand Pharmaceuticals. In addition, she is the Chairman of the Board of Micronoma, Matrisys Biosciences and ProciseDx. She serves on the UCSD Biological Sciences Leadership Council and is the former Chairman of the Board of BIOCOM and UCSD Moores Cancer Center. She also serves on the Board of Overseers of Scripps Research Institute.

    As a former founder and CEO, Dr Marquet has broad operational, fund raising expertise including venture, private equity and venture debt. She also brings expertise in M&A, global commercial development, regulatory strategies and building a winning culture of innovation and strategic growth.

    Dr. Marquet holds a Ph.D in Biochemical Engineering from INSA/University of Toulouse, France. She has received numerous prestigious awards throughout her career including the 2005 Regional Ernst&Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in the Life Sciences category, the Athena Pinnacle award, the Director of the Year award (Corporate Governance) from the Corporate Directors Forum and has been inducted into the CONNECT Entrepreneur Hall of Fame.

  • Karen Possemoto
    Karen Possemato ’89, Independent Marketing Consultant, was formerly Vice President, Corporate Marketing and Communications for Illumina Inc., the market leader in DNA sequencing. In her role, Karen oversaw all areas of internal and external communications, marketing, philanthropy and community engagement over a 16 year period of rapid growth in the genomics market. During her tenure at Illumina, she established the Illumina Women’s Leadership Network, the Illumina Foundation and drove many community engagement programs for the company. With nearly three decades in the life sciences industry, Karen has worked for industry-leading companies such as Qiagen and Invitrogen in leadership roles across customer support, product management, technical communications and marketing. She believes that the connection between education, industry and non-profit sectors is essential to innovation. Karen earned a B.A. in biochemistry and cell biology from UC San Diego.
  • Tim Scott
    Tim Scott ’87, Co-founder and President, Pharmatek Laboratories, Inc. Mr. Scott serves on the boards of Avelas Biosciences and TEGA Therapeutics. He is a member of the board of BIOCOM and CONNECT, non-profit organizations supporting the needs of bio/pharma and technology companies in Southern California. In the community, Mr. Scott serves as a trustee for the La Jolla Playhouse, and on the executive committee of the Foundation of La Jolla High School. He founded and chairs the Pharmatek Foundation, a non-profit organization that encourages and supports sponsored volunteerism in the San Diego community. Mr. Scott earned his B.A. in Biochemistry from the University of California, San Diego. He earned his J.D. from the University of San Diego and is a member of the California Bar.
  • Mel Simon
    Mel Simon, PhD, Founder, Agouron Pharmaceuticals and serves as a Director of Agouron Institute. He has been a Professor in the Division of Biology at the California Institute of Technology since 1982, where he is the Anne P. and Benjamin F. Biaggini Professor of Biological Sciences. From 1965 to 1982, Simon was a member of the faculty in the Department at the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Simon served as a Director of Diversa Corp. since May 1994 until March 12, 2008 and as a Director of Verenium Corporation from May 1994 to March 12, 2008. He received a B.S. from the City College of New York and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Brandeis University.
  • John Wehrli
    John Wehrli, Life Sciences Partner at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. Mr. Wehrli's practice focuses exclusively on the global representation of companies in the biotechnology, pharmaceutical and medical device industries and he has over 35 years life sciences industry experience. Prior to joining Wilson Sonsini, Mr. Wehrli was a partner at Jones Day and spent over a decade as a partner at Latham & Watkins and previously spent 4 years at Cooley in their life science practice. He has served as Vice President, General Counsel & Secretary for Pharsight Corporation, a publicly held clinical development biotechnology company, and was chief legal officer at Trega Biosciences, a publicly held San Diego combinatorial chemistry company. He is also co-founder of several biotech start-ups including NaviCyte, a computational pharmacokinetics company. Wehrli also worked for the U.S. Department of Energy and held numerous positions as a research chemist and in scientific computing management at a major multinational pharmaceutical company, Syntex Corporation, now part of the Roche Group. Although Mr. Wehrli spent much of his scientific career as a classical bench chemist, his scientific specialty is in the development of software and use of computational and mathematical tools in systems biology and chemistry. Mr. Wehrli holds a graduate degree from the University of California, Berkeley and is his Ph.D dissertation research focused on computational and behavioral neuroscience.
  • Don Yeckel
    Donald Yeckel, Trustee and Founding Chair, Ray Thomas Edwards Foundation. Mr. Yeckel is also President of the Torrey Pines – La Jolla Rotary Foundation, Past President of the Rotary Club of Torrey Pines, La Jolla, past Treasurer and Chair of the Finance Committee of the La Jolla Historical Society, and a member of the Friends of Balboa Park Advisory Council. A magna cum laude graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Mr. Yeckel served for seven years as an infantry officer in the United States Marine Corps before a long career as a financial consultant at Merrill Lynch, retiring as a vice-president in 1999. Since his retirement, he has devoted himself to community service and tending his award-winning garden.