The BETC has several course instructors who together have an impressive breadth and depth of experience in both academia and industry. Program participants benefit from instructors’ direct working knowledge of biomanufacturing and their insights into innovations and trends in the field. Click below to learn more about them.
Dianna Kilcoyne Ambach – Dianna has been working in the biotech industry since earning an undergraduate degree in biology. Read more.
She has experience in many different roles in both the manufacturing and development fields within Genzyme. Most recently, her time has been spent as a member of the Gene Therapy Department as a principle development associate and cell culture manager where her responsibilities include upstream development and optimization of a pilot-scale production process. Prior to joining the Gene Therapy Department, Dianna worked in manufacturing as a support technician for Genzyme, where her group was responsible for the preparation, filtering, and filling of various purification buffers and growth media. This general process included writing, amending, and following GMP-compliant standard operating procedures (SOPs) specific to each batch of material made.
– Tara is a chemical engineer with eight years of industry experience in cell culture, bioprocess development, and process analytical technology. Read more.
She is currently a senior bioprocess engineer within the process development group at Merrimack Pharmaceuticals. Her work focuses on the scale up, engineering, and support of upstream processes for early- to late-stage clinical products, commercial products and next-generation products. Her particular areas of interest include new technology development, understanding factors affecting process scale up, process analytical technology and utilization of multivariate analysis, and first principle models. Tara is also actively involved in mentoring grade school and high school students in science, technology, engineering, and math.
Eszter Birck-Wilson, PhD – Dr. Birck-Wilson has more than two decades of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry.Read more.
Her areas of expertise include biochemical analysis and process development/scale-up of biopharmaceutical processes. Her analytical and preparative protein purification experience and knowledge of related areas was developed during her tenure at several companies, including STC Biologics, Inc., (co-founder and chief technology officer); Lonza Biologics, Inc. (head of manufacturing technical support—scale-up, process monitoring and improvements, analytical development, biostatistical analysis group); GTC Biotherapeutics (director of process and analytical development); Ares Advanced Technologies-Serono (director of protein purification); Seragen, currently Lonza Hopkinton, Inc., (manager of process development); and Medarex Inc.,(senior scientist).
Eszter received a master’s degree in organic chemistry and holds a doctorate in analytical immunology from Eötvös University in Budapest, Hungary. She performed post-doctoral research at the University of California, San Francisco, and at Purdue University. She has been involved in teaching bioprocessing for several years at community colleges in New England.
Amy Doucette – Amy has a master’s degree in biotechnology engineering and experience as both a project engineer and a manufacturing engineer.Read more.
Amy Doucette graduated from Villanova University in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. While working for Abbott Laboratories (now AbbVie Bioresearch Center) as a project engineer, she went on to receive a master’s degree in biotechnology engineering. In 2007, she accepted a position with Bristol-Myers Squibb as a manufacturing engineer to support the construction, commissioning and validation of the LSCC (Large Scale Cell Culture) project in Devens, MA. While in this position she supported inoculum, the seed bioreactors and production bioreactors, along with their related equipment and processes (including CIP & SIP). She is thrilled to be on WPI’s BETC team and hopes to both educate and inspire students and employees interested in learning more about biomanufacturing.
Joe Gaffen – Joe has more than 40 years experience in the automation and control of large-scale processes. Although he held differing positions during the course of his career, including positions in Engineering and Management, the specialty of Process Control has always been his primary area of expertise and enjoyment..Read more.
Some of his applied automation projects were featured in editions of Control, Control Engineering, and InTech in the 1980’s and 1990’s. The majority of Joe’s career was spent in Brewing and in Bioreactor development. As an instructor, Joe’s vision/goal/hope and dream is to inform and entertain. Joe holds a BS from WPI, and while not attempting to either inform or entertain, he is practicing his retirement skills.
– Don has experience in both biologics manufacturing and process development.Read more.
Don Gibbs has been in the biotech industry since 1988, performing purification and separation operations. His experience is in both biologics manufacturing and process development. Areas of specific expertise include chromatography, chromatography column packing, direct flow and tangential flow filtration, and aseptic operations. Prior to involvement in the biologics, he was employed as a high school math and science teacher.
Brian Hagopian – Brian is a subject matter expert, consultant, and trainer in the field of high purity water and waste water treatment.Read more.
Brian Hagopian, CPIP, received his degree in chemistry from Colgate University and is currently the President of Clear Water Consulting, Inc. in the greater Boston area. Brian brings over 35 years of experience as a high purity water and industrial wastewater subject matter expert, consultant, trainer, educator, and expert troubleshooter helping clients design and validate water purification systems, solve complex operational problems, assess risks, and remediate compliance observations. In addition to being an instructor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute’s Biomanufacturing Education and Training Center (WPI-BETC), Brian is also a Massachusetts certified instructor offering state approved courses for the licensing of industrial wastewater operators. Brian is an active volunteer, belonging to several professional societies including the American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE), the Association of Facilities Engineers (AFE), the International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE), and the Parenteral Drug Association (PDA). Brian is also a grill master for a local soup kitchen that feeds about 125 people in the Greater Lowell area once a month. As a founding member of the Innovation Academy Public Charter School in Tyngsboro, MA, Brian helped develop and implement an education curriculum based on systems thinking in addition to being part of the team that applied to the state, was granted a charter, secured and built out a facility, and was involved in the initial hiring of teachers and staff. Brian is one of 150 worldwide to hold the Pharmaceutical Industry Professional (CPIP) credential.
Brian has contributed to numerous recent publications including the ISPE Good Practice Guide on Sampling of Pharmaceutical Water, Steam, and Process Gas Systems (Dec 2016), ASPE’s Plumbing Engineering Design Handbooks, Volume 2 – Plumbing Systems (Feb, 2019), and is currently involved in rewriting several chapters in the ISPE Baseline Guide for Pharmaceutical Water and Steam Systems (expected out Sept 2019). Brian joined WPI in 2013 and is an instructor of Critical Utilities for the Fundamentals of Bioprocessing for Engineers Program.
Jean-François Hamel, PhD – Dr. Hamel is a biological and bioprocessing engineer with extensive experience in both upstream and downstream processing.Read more.
Jean-François Hamel loves to share his passion for biological and bioprocessing engineering with academic students and professionals. He is a hands-on teacher in MIT’s Chemical Engineering Department and has been an industry consultant for more than 25 years.
Jean-François has studied original upstream and downstream problems in varied microbial and cell culture processes, at the bench (down to µL) and pilot scale (up to 1,500 L), and integrated advanced analytical technologies for process improvement. In his teaching and research Jean-François has had the opportunity to beta-test or evaluate novel technologies, such as the first rock-bed single-use bioreactor and portable microbial flow cytometer, in-situ glucose and O2/CO2 optical sensors, auto-samplers, modular analyzers, expanded-bed chromatography, and computer simulation tools. His current projects focus on biofuels from microalgae and yeast, vaccine antigen and monoclonal antibodies from mammalian cells, stem cells, and proteins from microbes, which have been studied in traditional or single-use bioreactors.
Jean-François received a master’s degree in biochemical engineering from MIT, and a PhD from the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris (part of Sorbonne Universités). He is enthusiastic about joining the BETC instructional staff, contributing to the center’s original course offerings, and working with the course participants.
Roy Hegedus, PhD –Roy is an adjunct instructor/lecturer in the WPI Biology and Biotechnology Department and is a Scientific Director at LakePharma, Inc. in Worcester.Read more.
His current work is to purify virus for gene therapy applications. From 2015 to 2018, he was the manager of the WPI Bioprocess Lab. Prior to joining WPI, he was a senior scientist at AbbVie Bioresearch Center (formerly Abbott) in Worcester and was involved in protein purification and enzymatic conversion at both the laboratory scale and the production scale. He has worked in other areas as well: the purification of antibiotic molecules, the development of medical diagnostic devices, the manufacture of continuous fiberglass strands, and the design and operation of chemical plants. Roy’s PhD and BS are in chemical engineering and are from UMass Amherst and Lehigh University, respectively.
Courtney Hewett (Debreceni) – Courtney graduated with a biology degree from UMASS Amherst and has been in the industry for ten years working for Genzyme and Shire. She started her career as a Manufacturing Technician and has since held positions as a Manufacturing Senior Training Specialist and Production Technical Support Project Manager.Read more.She worked in each of the typical Manufacturing departments including Equipment and Solution Preparation, Purification, and Cell Culture. Her area of expertise is cell culture and has experience with adherent and suspension cell culture using different technology platforms including large and small scale bioreactor, roller bottle, and single use technologies. She helped with the start-up two Shire Manufacturing facilities and in her current role manages quality systems requiring cross functional alignment. She has been an instructor at the BETC since 2014 and enjoys working with students to further their knowledge of biomanufacturing in the hands on specialized BETC laboratories.
– Angela has professional experience in cell culture, laboratory support, and assay support.Read more.
Angela Johnsen entered the biotech field in 2005 via the biotechnology certificate program at Middlesex Community College. She has worked at GlaxoSmithKline and Genzyme Corporation and currently works as a development associate in cell culture in the Gene Therapy Development group in the Framingham campus. In addition to her work in cell culture, Angela has also held positions in laboratory support and assay support.
Brian has over 12 years of biologics experience. Read more.
He is currently a Project Manager at Bristol Myers Squibb. Previously, Brian was the Technical Lead for Upstream commercial manufacturing supporting the construction, validation and commercialization of the BMS Devens facility, a 6 x 25,000L production facility (the 3rd largest in the world). His most recent project was the site’s transition to multi-product operations. Prior to BMS, Brian worked at Abbott Bioresearch Center supporting clinical and commercial manufacturing. Brian holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Management.
Emily Johnson – Emily is a section manager for Maintenance at Abbvie Bioresearch Center. Read more.
Previously, Emily was the Maintenance Section Manager at Abbvie Bioresearch Center. Prior to that she supervised Fermentation and Purification areas for both clinical and commercial manufacturing. Earlier in Emily’s career she was an operations technician and a vaccine manufacturing associate for non-Hodgkins Lymphoma at Biovest International. Emily holds a Biomedical bachelor’s degree. Emily joined WPI’s Corporate and Professional Education program in 2014 as an instructor in Fermentation operations in the Fundamentals of Biomanufacturing program.
– Kevin has experience in process development, manufacturing, and the design and start-up of commercial facilities.Read more.
Kevin Lauziere holds a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and has worked for more than 30 years in the biotechnology industry. Over the course of his career he has worked for several companies including Genzyme, Seragen, BASF Bioresearch Center, Abbott Bioresearch Center (now AbbVie Bioresearch Center) and Bristol-Myers Squibb before becoming a consultant. Early in his career he worked in the process development area, designing methods for purifying proteins that were scaled up for commercial production; as well as the development of analytical methods for determining the concentration and purity of these proteins. Later he moved into a manufacturing role to manage the production of both clinical and commercial products. He has also been part of teams responsible for the design and start-up of three commercial facilities through licensure and is currently consulting with a number of local biotechnology companies on a number of different projects.
– is an engaging classroom facilitator, who focuses on participant-centered learning techniques and direct student involvement in the education process. Read more.
His experiences over the last 12 years in the pharmaceutical/biotech industry include: small scale API manufacturing, quality control analytical testing/method development, and CGMP/technical/behavior-based training. Jonathan has extensive experience in the design and development of eLearning, On-The-Job, and classroom content that is aimed at captivating learners. Jonathan received an MS in Learning and Organizational Development from Suffolk University and a BS in Chemistry from WPI.
– Markus is responsible for both clinical and commercial manufacturing operations.Read more.
Markus Schoemer is a manager responsible for both clinical and commercial manufacturing operations in the BioProcessing Operations group at AbbVie Inc., a research-based pharmaceuticals company that discovers, develops, and commercializes advanced therapies. Markus has more than 20 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry, working for such companies as Lonza and Baxter. Most recently he received an Operations President’s Team Award for customer service excellence. Markus joined WPI’s Corporate and Professional Education program in 2008 and is an instructor for the Chromatography 1 Module in the Fundamentals of Biomanufacturing program.
– Andre is a chemical engineer with 30 years experience developing and supporting manufacturing operations.Read more.
Andre Walker, BSChEng, CPIP, is a consultant with over 30 years of experience providing engineering and technical support for manufacturers of biopharmaceuticals, medical devices, and consumer products, including 13 years in Director roles for Biogen with postings in the US and Europe. Walker has lead teams that support every aspect of manufacturing operations including Facilities, Utilities, Maintenance, Metrology, Automation, Technical Support, Label and Pack, Qualification, and Process Validation. As Director of Manufacturing Engineering and Technical Support at commercial facilities between 2000 and 15,000 liter capacity, Andre regularly interacted with Regulatory Agencies explaining and defending world class GMP engineering and support systems. Former Chairman of the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE), he continues to contribute through articles, presentations, and chairing ISPE’s annual BioManufacturing conference committee. Andre enjoys providing added context during training through sharing of his real world experiences with the class.