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East West Life Science Summit 2019 Speakers
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Amy Bernard

Amy Bernard, PhD

Director of Scientific Strategy, Allen Institute for Brain Science

Amy Bernard joined the Allen Institute in 2005 and has experience in both basic research and scientific administration capacities. With a background of over 25 years in molecular biology and neuroscience, she serves as part of the leadership team to provide strategic design and direction for the Allen Institute for Brain Science’s web products. Prior to joining the Allen Institute, Dr. Bernard was a research scientist at the University of Washington, where she studied gene regulatory patterns underlying vertebrate brain development. Dr. Bernard received a Bachelor’s degree in Natural Sciences and Mathematics from Bard College and a Ph.D. in Genetics and Biophysics from the University of Colorado, where she studied the regulation of receptor tyrosine kinases involved in signal transduction and control of cell growth. Her research interests include the use of cutting edge molecular and genetic approaches to explore the transcriptional basis of neuronal diversity and investigation of structure-function relationships in brain development. Dr. Bernard directed the Structured Science laboratory teams at the Allen Institute from 2009-2016, overseeing the delivery of petabytes of data for large-scale open science products, all made available to the public on She has authored over 40 publications, with expertise in developmental neuroscience, molecular genetics, cell biology, biochemistry, high throughput laboratory system management, and technology solutions that foster open data sharing.


Leslie Alexandre

Leslie Alexandre, DrPH

President & CEO, Life Science Washington

Dr. Alexandre is a 30-year veteran of the life science and health care industries. Her background includes leadership roles in companies ranging in size from startup to Fortune 500, the National Institutes of Health and prominent research institutions.

As President and CEO of the internationally renowned North Carolina Biotechnology Center from 2002-2007, Dr. Alexandre led the development and execution of an extremely successful strategic plan for growing the economy statewide through biotechnology.

Dr. Alexandre previously served as Assistant Director of Industrial Relations for the National Cancer Institute, led corporate affairs for Oncormed, served in senior health policy positions for two U.S. senators, and was the primary liaison between EDS and the Washington, DC health policy community.

Dr. Alexandre is the recipient of numerous business awards and other honors, and has extensive experience serving on corporate, academic and non-profit boards.

Lisa Brown

Lisa Brown, PhD

Director, WA State Department of Commerce

Lisa J. Brown, PhD, was appointed Commerce director by Gov. Inslee and began serving the agency in February of 2019. Prior to serving as Commerce director, she served as chancellor of Washington State University, where she led the health science campus in Spokane.

Lisa served in the Washington State Legislature from 1996 – 2013 in the Senate where she was majority leader and chaired the Rules Committee, Ways and Means Committee, and Energy, Technology and Telecommunications Committee. She served in the state House of Representatives from 1993 – 1996, where she was minority whip and minority floor leader. She has worked extensively on economic development in Eastern Washington and on gender equity.

Prior to state office, she was an associate professor of economics at Eastern Washington University and an associate professor of leadership at Gonzaga University.

Lisa earned her bachelor’s degree in economics at the University of Illinois and her master’s and doctoral degrees in economics from the University of Colorado in Boulder.

David Condon

David Condon

Mayor, Spokane Washington

Born the same year that Spokane was preparing to shine on the global stage at Expo '74, Mayor David A. Condon grew up in a community that was safe for families, fertile for businesses, and naturally stunning. After graduating from Gonzaga Prep, he went on to earn his bachelor's degree in Finance and Military Science from Boston College. The first re-elected Mayor in Spokane in more than 40 years, Mayor Condon remains focused on many key initiatives which began during his first term – all aimed at making Spokane safer, smarter, and healthier. These include making major investments in public safety, improving streets, growing jobs and our economy, crafting an affordable budget, leading in developing innovative infrastructure, and increasing the quality of life.

Prior to becoming Mayor of the capital of the Intermountain Northwest, Mayor Condon's distinguished professional career included serving in the US Army, owning and operating small businesses, and serving as the Senior Staff in the US House of Representatives. He was selected as an Aspen Institute Roedel Fellow with a small group of colleagues around the country for values-based leadership and exchange of ideas.


Daryll DeWald

Daryll DeWald, PhD

Chancellor, WSU Spokane

Daryll B. DeWald became the fourth chancellor or WSU Spokane on September 1, 2017. An experienced academic leader and a successful life sciences researcher, DeWald is passionate about higher education and providing avenues for students, faculty, and staff to succeed.

DeWald earned a postdoctoral appointment with the UC San Diego medical school where he was fortunate to work and learn alongside a stellar cohort of scientists: the biochemistry program included a Nobel Laureate, several National Academy of Science members, and his mentor was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. The experience reinforced his desire for a career in which he could blend scientific inquiry with teaching and mentoring students.

During his 15-year tenure at Utah State University, DeWald’s research explored how lipids regulate cancer cell metastasis and control cellular communication during plant stress acclimation. He has authored or co-authored nearly 60 publications in a wide variety of journals. He served as Biology department head, mentored more than 10 graduate and 40 undergraduate students, and served in a number of interdisciplinary administrative roles while also managing an active research lab with more than $3 million in funding from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and other agencies.


Marcos Frank, PhD

Professor and Chair, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine

Marcos Frank received his BA in psychobiology at the University of California Santa Cruz and his PhD in neuroscience at Stanford University. He completed a post-doctoral position at the University of California San Francisco in the department of physiology. From 2003-2013 He was an assistant then associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania Department of Neuroscience. He is currently Professor and Chair of the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Washington State University, in the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine. Research interests include the cellular basis for sleep regulation in adult and developing animals and the role of sleep in synaptic plasticity and brain maturation and how these processes influence neurodegenerative diseases.


Paul Read


Paul Read

Spokane Business Journal

Paul Read is publisher of the Journal of Business, a business newspaper that covers the greater Spokane-Coeur d’Alene market. Paul was one of the first six employees of the Journal when it was founded in 1986, and has been involved in the coverage of business news in Spokane for about 35 years. Prior to being named publisher in 2012, he held the positions of managing editor, assistant editor, and operations manager.

A Spokane native, Paul is a graduate of Eastern Washington University.

He serves on the boards of Greater Spokane Incorporated, Boys Scouts of America INW Council (Past President), Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce (Treasurer), United Way of Spokane County (Chair-Elect), the Association of Washington Business, Spokane-Kootenai Real Estate Research Committee (Past Chairman), and the national Alliance of Area Business Publishers (Past President). He is a past vice-chairman of Visit Spokane, past president of the local chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and past chairman of the Children’s Home Society of Washington, as well as an elder at Hamblen Park Presbyterian Church.

Ross Bogey, DO

Staff Physician at St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute

Ross Bogey, D.O., has been practicing Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation for more 23 years. He has spent much of that time in academic medicine, most recently as a Clinical Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Western University of the Health Sciences. He has extensive experience in clinical medicine and teaching, as well as his own research.

Dr. Bogey obtained his D.O. degree from Michigan State University. He completed residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of California at Davis Medical Center. He completed research fellowships in the gait laboratories at the University of Washington School of Medicine and Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Hospital.

Throughout his career, Dr. Bogey has held various director, staff physician, consulting and educator roles throughout the nation. He has trained more than 300 Resident Physicians, and recently served as the first PM&R Residency Director at Casa Colina Hospital and Centers for Healthcare.

Dr. Bogey has multiple publications related to gait recovery and neuro-rehabilitation. In addition, Dr. Bogey has developed several rehabilitation therapy biomedical devices and software, including the EMG Analyzer™, GaitTutor™, GaitMaker™, and LitePressure™ devices. He jointly holds patents on the aforementioned devices.

John Demakas, MD

Chief Medical Officer, Multicare Neuroscience Institute

John Demakas, MD, joined MultiCare Rockwood Clinic in June 2012. He received his undergraduate degree from Gonzaga University in Spokane, and his medical degree from Creighton University Medical School in Omaha, NE. Dr. Demakas completed an internship in General Surgery through Creighton University affiliated hospitals, a residency in Neurological Surgery at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, AZ, as well as U.S. Navy Flight Officer School in Pensacola, FL. He is certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery and is a member of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, Congress of Neurological Surgeons, Spokane County Medical Society, Washington State Neurological Society, North American Spine Society, and the Leksell Society.

Kenneth Isaacs, MD

Director, Spokane Neuroscience Institute, Providence Health & Services Washington

Dr. Ken Isaacs is the Regional Medical Director for Neuroscience at the Providence Spokane Neuroscience Institute responsible for developing all aspect of Spokane Neuroscience programs, now with 40 clinicians in Neurosurgery and Inpatient and Outpatient Neurology. Additionally, he works with Providence St. Joseph Health’s Neuroscience Institute programs across seven states, including programs for Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease and Neuromuscular disorders.

Prior to assuming the director role, Dr. Isaacs was a practicing Neurologist for 34 years in Washington State, and has been associated with Providence in various ministries and boards, such as Providence St. Mary Medical Center in Walla Walla and Providence Services Eastern Washington in Spokane. He served as president of Washington State Medical Association, and prior chair of Washington Health Foundation and its Healthiest State in the Nation Campaign. With interests in medical education, he created the State’s first comprehensive Clinical Shadowing Program for pre-medical students.

Prior to Medical School, he attended the University of California and Princeton University in Physics, and completed Residency and Fellowship at the University of California San Diego in Neurology and Neuromuscular Medicine.

When not working with our Neuroscience team or collaborating with colleagues, he enjoys travel with his wife Julie, including visits with his daughter’s family and granddaughter Emie.



Ryan Oelrich, MA, MBA

Executive Director, Priority Spokane

Ryan Oelrich is the Executive Director of Priority Spokane, a nationally recognized collective impact organization working to identify and address priorities for Spokane County. He’s a Culture and Health Fellow with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and has an MA in Leadership and an MBA. He was awarded the Peirone Prize for service in 2016 and has received congressional recognition for his work on poverty and homelessness issues. He also has served as the regional representative for the Epilepsy foundation in 2008.

David Hojah

Co-Founder & CTO, Loro

David Hojah, Co-Founder & CTO. David conducts Loro business and product development while managing the process of innovation and technology. Massachusetts is home, where he studied Mechanical Engineering and health management at Harvard University. An avid birdwatcher, David also has a strong background in technology with ten years’ experience in drones, and robotics, and a passion for healthcare innovation. Loro demonstrates his enthusiasm for empowering people with physical challenges to live independently and making a significant social impact. Among David’s inventions are a medical drone for emergencies, adjustable dental instruments, a convertible wheelchair & a walker, and a medical app tracking health for people with chronic diseases. He also built an autonomous personal transporter for wheelchair users that can convert any manual wheelchair into an electric wheelchair, which won an MIT Media Lab award.

Loro is a parrot in Spanish and since his childhood, David has been passionate about parrots.  In building Loro, David has developed an assistive robot, that has the ability to see, speak, sense, and interact with the people and things around them in powerful way - just like a parrot - your friendly companion on your shoulder. The Robotic companion Loro will enhance physical abilities by empowering users with more than one way to interact with their environment, communicate with their loved ones and regain their independence and freedom.

Theresa Whitlock-Wild

Co-Founder, Matt's Place Foundation

Theresa Whitlock-Wild is the co-founder of Matt's Place Foundation. After first learning about her husband's diagnosis in 2015, she became a passionate advocate for those living with ALS and their families. While her husband was a former Marine and is provided great benefits and help through the VA, Theresa learned of the many families who struggle with the additional expenses that follow such a devastating terminal illness. Determined to help families navigate this diagnosis and many others that are similar, she speaks and writes about the disease and its effects, not only on the patient but also for the families who are also affected by this disease.

Her background is in Communications and Organizational Leadership, with a recent completion of her Master's Degree in Organizational Leadership from Gonzaga University. She hopes to continue helping families through grants and technology assistance, as well as supporting the caregivers who are often the ones who need support the most.Matt's Place Foundation is currently collaborating with several local companies to begin building the 2nd Matt's Place home. These homes are designed for families to utilize as they battle the disease, free of rent or mortgage payments, with state-of-the-art technology to help provide dignity and independence for the patient and caregiving equipment to help ease the burden on the caregivers. She hopes to continue her writing, as well as to advocate for those whose voice has been silenced, through collaboration of other like-minded foundations and families who are just as passionate as she is in making a difference.


Leen Kawas, PhD

CEO & President, Athira Pharma

Leen Kawas, for her leadership and accomplishments at Athira Pharma, has won many awards and recognitions including: 40 under 40 in Life Science Leader (2017), PharmaVOICE 100 honoree (2017), Entrepreneur of the Year award from the Association of Washington Business (2016), and many others.

She also serves on multiple boards, including the Washington Governor’s Life Science Advisory Board, Scientific Review Board for the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation and Alzheimer’s Association-Washington Chapter Board. She also co-chairs the International Alzheimer's Association Business Consortium.

She earned a doctorate in molecular pharmacology from Washington State University in 2011,and received the Harriett B. Rigas and Karen DePauw awards for academic achievement and leadership skills. She holds a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD.) from the University of Jordan (2008). Dr. Kawas also completed the Executive Training Program at the Foster School of Business, University of Washington (2014).



Mark Mattke

CEO, Spokane Workforce Council

Mark Mattke is Chief Executive Officer of the Spokane Workforce Council. He is responsible for the design and performance of the regional talent development system, working with a broad community partnership to ensure that the dynamic workforce needs of business are met and individuals have the skills to succeed in the 21st century economy. Mark currently serves as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors Workforce Development Council, is chair of the Northwest Business Development Association and the General Advisory Committee for Career and Technical Education at Spokane Public Schools, and as a member of the State Workforce Training and Education Coordinating Board representing local government. His background includes experience in the private and public sectors, having worked in business management, postsecondary education, and workforce development in Washington and Idaho.

Dan Ferguson

Dan Ferguson

Director, Washington State Allied Health, Center of Excellence

Coming soon.

J.L. Henriksen

Dean, Health and Environmental Sciences, Community Colleges of Spokane

Dr. JL Henriksen has served as Dean of Health and Environmental Sciences at Community Colleges of Spokane for the past six academic years. His prior education and background are in infectious diseases and immunology. While in Spokane, he has also taught freshman level courses at Spokane Community College and helped teach medical school classes at the University of Washington School of Medicine. He oversees a diverse array of programs and courses including health education, echocardiography, respiratory care, radiology technology, medical assisting, surgical technology, vascular technology, expanded function dental auxiliary, dental assisting, invasive cardiovascular technology, medical sonography, emergency medical technician, pharmacy technician, agriculture, horticulture, natural resources, water resources, and nursing.

Meg Lindsay

Director, Education and Talent/Spokane STEM, GSI

Director of Education and Talent Development, Meg Lindsay leads the organization’s portfolio connecting business and education partnerships to grow talent in the region. Taking on the role in 2017, she also directs the Spokane STEM Network as the backbone organization working to convene and connect stakeholders in aligning talent for the high demand, technically skilled fields in today’s business environment. Greater Spokane Incorporated’s (GSI) portfolio includes programs, partnerships and policy advocacy focusing on both K-20 and working adult students as we grow our economy through connecting talent forward to emerging economies such as the life sciences industry.

Laureen O'Hanlon, PhD

Dean, Health Science and Public Health, Eastern Washington University

Laureen O’Hanlon, PhD, joined Eastern Washington University in 2015 as the founding Dean of the College of Health Science and Public Health (CHSPH). Dean O’Hanlon has served as the Interim Associate Dean and Administrator in Charge of the College of Engineering and Computer Science at California State University-Sacramento.

Dean O’Hanlon has made community service an integral part of her professional life for more than a decade and has received service, research, and creativity awards from such entities as the California Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the National Institute of Health. She served as a speech-language pathologist at Woodland Memorial Hospital and Sutter Medical Center in Sacramento and worked as editor-in-chief of the magazine published by the California Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Dean O’Hanlon also has extensive experience in fundraising and development; her efforts have resulted in notable increases in gifting for her department and her college at CSU-Sacramento.

Dean O’Hanlon holds a PhD in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Kansas, a Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology from San Diego State University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Disorders, also from San Diego State.

Steve Simasko

Chair, Department of Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience, Washington State University

Steven M. Simasko, earned a B.A. degree in chemistry from the Colorado College and a Ph.D. degree in pharmacology at the University of Washington. He was a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Pharmacology at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY prior to taking a faculty position in the Department of Physiology in the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the State University of New York in Buffalo, NY. In 1994 he returned to the west to take a faculty position in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University.

Simasko’s research includes the molecular mechanisms by which nutrient relevant signals activate vagal afferent nerves that innervate the gastrointestinal track. This signaling is an important component in the control of food intake, which if dysregulated, can lead to obesity. The overarching goal of this research is to develop insights that can inform therapeutic interventions that improve body weight regulation and general health. A second focus is investigating the neuronal basis by which chronic alcohol exposure leads to disruptions of circadian rhythms and sleep quality. Disturbed sleep is one of the most frequent complaints of both active and recovering alcoholics. Clinical studies have shown that the degree of severity of sleep disturbances is related to the propensity of recovered alcoholics to relapse into drinking. The reason for this relationship and the basis for the sleep disturbances caused by chronic alcohol exposure remain unknown.

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