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Leslie Alexandre, DrPH

President & CEO


(206) 456-9562 |


As President and CEO, Dr. Alexandre serves as a leading voice for Washington state’s life science industry with the media, elected officials, business leaders, economic developers and other external audiences.  She is ultimately responsible for the development and implementation of LSW’s strategic plan to accomplish its organizational mission of “supporting and growing Washington state’s life science industry through advocacy, collaboration and commercialization." Dr. Alexandre serves on several boards, among them the LSW Board of Directors (ex-officio), the Washington State Cancer Research Endowment (CARE) Board, and the University of Washington Industry Advisory Board. 


Dr. Alexandre is an established business leader and 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. At the Georgia Cancer Center, Dr. Alexandre led teams of scientists, clinicians and administrators to secure millions of dollars in funding for research, infrastructure and community outreach from biopharmaceutical companies, foundations and government agencies. 

As president and CEO of the internationally-renowned North Carolina Biotechnology Center from 2002-2007, Dr. Alexandre led the development and execution of a strategic plan for growing the economy statewide through biotechnology. Developed on behalf of the governor, this plan resulted in tens of millions of dollars of new state investment in biotechnology education and workforce training, research, and company creation over the next five years.  

Dr. Alexandre previously served as assistant director of industrial relations for the National Cancer Institute, facilitating scientific collaborations with industry to accelerate progress in cancer research. She also led corporate affairs for Oncormed, the first commercial provider of cancer-related genetic predisposition and pharmacogenomics testing services, 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.  

The recipient of numerous business awards and other honors, Dr. Alexandre has extensive experience serving on corporate, academic and non-profit boards. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Community Health Administration from the University of California at Davis, and her MSPH and DrPH from the UCLA School of Public Health, with a concentration in the financing and delivery of health care. 



Kathleen Goodfellow 

Executive Assistant


(206) 456-9568 |


Kathleen joined Life Science Washington in March of 2017 as executive assistant to the President & CEO. Contact Kathleen in regards to executive leadership scheduling and meeting requests.


Prior to joining Life Science Washington, Kathleen served as the executive assistant to the editor at The Seattle Times, supporting the executive editor, managing editor, deputy managing editors and the associate publisher. Before the Times she spent nine years in the Seattle consulting office of PG Calc, a company that assists charities in setting up and running planned giving programs. She has more than 20 years of experience in administrative support.


Kathleen is a true Washingtonian. She grew up in Pullman, Washington, attended high-school in Richland, Washington and earned her Bachelor of Arts at the University of Washington in Seattle, where she has remained. 





Administrative & Finance Team 



Kathleen Poston

Vice President of Finance & Administration 


(206) 456-9564 |


Kathleen Poston is Life Science Washington’s vice president of finance and administration. Kathleen joined LSW in 2004 as Administrative Manager and has been promoted several times to her current position where she oversees operations, human resources and finance. Kathleen has more than 20 years of non-profit business operations, membership and event management experience.


Prior to joining LSW, Kathleen worked for eight years at Melby, Cameron & Hull, an association management company where she was assistant director for the Washington Society of Association Executives.






Jodi Kunz



(206) 456-9565 |


Jodi joined Life Science Washington in October of 2016 as controller. She is responsible for the financial statements, general ledger, accounts payable, payroll processing, tax compliance, and assists on the budget. Contact Jodi with any questions relating to the accounting department function.


Jodi has more than fifteen years of experience in the accounting industry.  Prior to joining Life Science Washington, she served as interim controller for a local non-profit and before that was controller at the Seattle Aquarium for five years. She graduated from Western Washington University with a degree in Accounting.  Jodi grew up in the Seattle area and has stayed local throughout her career. 






Membership Team 


Amanda Tran

Vice President, Membership Services


(206) 456-9569 |


Amanda joined Life Science Washington in October of 2016 as vice president, membership services. She has twenty years of nonprofit experience in membership and events management. Amanda previously worked at the Washington State Dental Association. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Hotel & Restaurant Management from Washington State University. Contact Amanda regarding Life Science Washington membership, annual programming and sponsorship opportunities.









Katy Tollefson

Events Manager 


(206) 456-9570 |


Katy joined Life Science Washington in December of 2016 as Events Manager. She is responsible for the planning and execution of Life Science Washington events including educational programming, membership networking events, and signature events such as Life Science Innovation Northwest.


Prior to Life Science Washington, she worked for the Seattle-based nonprofit organization the Technology Alliance in an events and project management role. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Western Washington University, and a Certificate in Project Management from University of Washington. 






Brian Dershowitz

Business Development Manager 


(206) 456-9571 |


Brian joined Life Science Washington in March 2017 as Business Development Manager. Contact Brian about Life Science Washington membership, sponsorship opportunities and business solution partnerships.


Prior to this role, he spent over five years with New York Road Runners responsible for revenue generation, including securing and renewing corporate sponsors and oversight of the Expo business unit. He helped secure Tata Consultancy Services as the first ever Premier Partner of New York Road Runners, representing the largest revenue deal in endurance sports. Prior to New York Road Runners, Brian worked for Argyle Executive Forum, overseeing the content of one day peer-to-peer business conferences. He holds two master's degrees: the first in Movement & Sport Science from Purdue University and the second in Sports Management from New York University. He completed his Bachelor of Arts at Rutgers University-Camden where he majored in Psychology.



Public Policy


Marc Cummings

Vice President of Public Policy & External Affairs


(206) 456-9566 |


Marc is a seasoned policy veteran with experience representing high-tech industries in both Washington, DC and Olympia. Prior to joining Life Science Washington, he served as Director of Policy & External Affairs for the PNNL, which is operated by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).


While at the PNNL, Marc was actively involved in creating and advocating for several statewide bioscience initiatives including the Life Sciences Discovery Fund and a new State-Federal bioproducts and biofuels research center at WSU Tri-cities. Due to Battelle’s philanthropic focus on math & science education, he was also deeply involved a range of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education partnerships and science education initiatives.


He has more than 20 years of policy experience at both the federal and state level supporting the growth of high-tech industries and creating innovative, public-private partnerships. He holds a Master of Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Puget Sound.

Contact Marc for matters related to legislative and public policy as well as our BIOPAC and political fundraising.


Life Science Washington Institute



Francisco R. Velázquez, MD, SM

Executive Director 


(206) 456-9560 |


Francisco R. Velázquez, M.D., S.M. is a highly-respected leader and passionate champion for Washington state’s health care/life science ecosystem. A nationally known pathologist and physician executive, Dr. Velázquez is the former President and Chief Executive Officer for PAML and PAML Ventures, a healthcare solutions company focused on diagnostics, and one of the top ten reference laboratories in the country. Prior to his role at PAML, Dr. Velázquez held numerous clinical, academic, and executive positions in healthcare systems, academic institutions, integrated delivery systems, and publicly traded companies. In addition to significant expertise in mergers and acquisitions, systems integration and financial turnarounds, Dr. Velázquez has considerable experience with life science startups. He currently provides guidance for Prevencio and ImmunArray.

Dr. Velázquez is as an active member of numerous boards for professional and nonprofit organizations, among them Greater Spokane, Inc. (GSI); Vision 2030 Group of GSI (Co-chair, Life Science Commercialization Committee); Life Science Washington; and the Spokane Symphony. He also serves on the Regional Advisory Committee for the President of Eastern Washington University and on advisory boards for both medical schools in Spokane.

Dr. Velázquez has written and lectured extensively on Health Care Economics, Consumerism in Healthcare, Life Sciences Technology, Intergenerational Impact in Health Care, and Economic Development. He received his medical training at the Mallory Institute of Pathology in Boston and the Boston University Medical Center, and subsequently obtained a Masters in Healthcare Management at Harvard University.



Jessica Roberto, PhD

Associate Director, Entrepreneurship & Innovation


(206) 829-2394 |


Dr. Roberto is responsible for the development of educational resources and tools to support life science entrepreneurs. Contact her with specific questions regarding the Startup Playbook, educational seminars/Boot Camps, Innovation Marketplace, Life Science Law Series, or Business Library.

Prior to joining Life Science Washington, Dr. Roberto served as a Bridge Fund Associate at the W Fund, while also conducting research in liver immunology as a Post-Doctoral Scientist at the University of Washington. She has additional experience in due diligence consulting for early stage life science investors and companies.

She received her PhD in Pathobiology/Global Health from the University of Washington.




Ingrid Ruf, PhD 

Director of Entrepreneurship 


(206) 456-9563 |


Dr. Ruf is responsible for the entrepreneurial education programs within the Life Science Washington Institute, including the WIN Mentoring Program, SBIR grant support, health economics and career development programs. She also manages current grant funding within the Institute.


Before joining the Life Science Washington Institute, she was an Assistant Professor at the University of California, Irvine pursuing research in viral oncology and a Staff Scientist at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center working on microRNAs as biomarkers.

She received her PhD in Genetics and Molecular Biology from Emory University and completed postdoctoral studies at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.







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