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About New England Chapter

About LRIG New England

LRIG New England is a rapidly growing special interest group focused on laboratory automation. Our membership consists of scientists and engineers, primarily from the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry, with chapters across the US and in Europe. Our semi-annual regional meetings are informal and are intended to facilitate communication and to share current best practices and experiences in laboratory automation. Presentations and vendor exhibits cover such topics as high throughput screening, drug discovery, combinatorial chemistry, compound purification and distribution, data management, pharmaceutical dosage form, dissolution testing and product formulation along with others.  

Chapter Officers

Executive Chair
Daniel Cinicola

Daniel has more than 25 years of experience in the automation industry working as an instrument provider with Zymark(now PerkinElmer) and TekCel(now Hamilton Storage) and within research with Millennium (now Takeada), Amgen, and most recently Noveratis Institute for Biomedical Research.  Daniel has now started his own company so he can use his broad experience to aide companies as they begin or enhance their laboratory automation needs.

Greg Wendel

Dr. Wendel is the Head of Sample Management and Engineering group at the Novartis in Cambridge, MA, a group which is responsible for the daily production of compound plates for the NIBR Screening groups globally as well as support of the Cambridge based Screening systems.  Prior to joining Novartis, Dr. Wendel was at the Broad Institute in Cambridge where he managed the Compound Management, implementing automation platforms and re-engineering lab processes. Earlier in his career Dr. Wendel served in a variety of roles within Zymark Corporation across a 10 year span, leading the development and application of novel automation systems within pharmaceutical labs.  He has served as the Chair of the SiLA-US committee and is currently a member of the Executive Board of LRIG-New England. 

Tim Blakenship

Tim has been working with lab automation since 1989, holding sales, applications and service positions with Beckman, Gilson, Agilent, Millipore, and Brooks Automation. He currently is a Senior Sales Specialist with PerkinElmer Discovery and Analytical Sciences. He has served as the Secretary of the LRIG New England chapter since November of 2002.

Executive Committee Member (Former Chair)
Julie Monagle

Julie is seasoned project and portfolio manager with significant experience in technology development and implementation. She is a strong people manager with extensive background in biotech and the pharmaceutical industry. She employs a business savvy approach to adapting and developing technology (automation and informatics) to solve scientific challenges in drug discovery and development.

Executive Committee Member
Scott Reeves

Scott has been involved in creating and implementing laboratory automation solutions since 1993. He was first introduced to laboratory automation as a Research Associate at Myco Pharmaceuticals implementing new technologies for High Throughput Screening and Assay Development. Scott then joined Zymark Corporation in 1996, first as a Systems Engineer developing and implementing robotic system solutions for laboratory applications then as a Senior Software Engineer / Project Leader within the R&D group. In 1999, Scott joined REMP, a pioneer in Automated Sample Storage Systems, as a Senior Software Engineer and later as US Product Manager and Operations Manager. Transitioning through several acquisitions over the years with REMP, Scott is presently a Technical Sales Manager with Brooks Life Science Systems. He received his B.S in Biology from Boston College in 1993 and his M.S in Medical Physiology from Boston University School of Medicine in 1996. 

Executive Committee Member
Marsha Paul

Marsha is an Organic Chemist and Automation Professional with over 31 years experience. She has received numerous patents in Polymer Technology while employed as a Research Chemist for Dow Chemical Company. Following this position, she gained extensive knowledge in laboratory automation while holding various positions such as Vice President of Sales and Marketing for TekCel Corporation, Applications Engineer, Automation trainer and Sales and Zymate Systems Executive for Zymark Corporation; Automation Sales Consultant in Drug Discovery for Beckman Coulter and a Senior Sales Account Manager for Caliper Life Sciences. She is a member of the American Chemical Society, Women in Science and on the LRIG and Framingham University Alumni board. She received her BS in Chemistry from Framingham State University and graduate training in Biochemistry at Brandeis University and Business Management at Boston University.

Executive Committee Member
Scott Rehlander

Scott has been writing and architecting software in the biotech automation industry since 2006. He has experience developing robotic scheduling algorithms, writing interfaces for in-house devices, developing operating system agnostic APIs and integrating complex sample management systems. His experience lies primarily in .NET and web technologies including C#, Javascript, XAML and WCF. He also has experience with technologies such as ASP MVC and WebApi, jQuery, Angular, Knockout, PHP, Windows Phone, iOS, Android and various enterprise database management systems. Scott graduated from Framingham State University with a B.S. in Computer Science.

Executive Committee Member
W. Steve Fillers

Dr. Fillers has designed, built, staffed and managed automated laboratories at Novartis and at Biogen. More than 25 years of experience in developing custom robotic systems applied to scientific research, clinical diagnostics and sample management. Extensive publications/presentations advising on approaches to simple and very complex laboratory automation projects. 
He is a founder of the Laboratory Robotics Interest Group (LRIG) and remains active as an Executive Board member for the New England chapter and as a member-at-large for the Global LRIG Board. He has served on automation-related committees for the SBS, ALA (SLAS) and Miptec organizations and is currently a member of the Editorial Board for JALA.

Executive Committee Member
Ted Peters

Currently working on building Relay’s platform infrastructure including, identification and implementation of vendor solution, key process integrations and automated solutions for sample management and HTS screening. Formally starting my career at Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc. in the Clone Processing labs and moving through Quality Research Management and into Compound Management. I carried these skills into starting  Constellation Pharmaceuticals Inc. and seeing Constellation through a fairly large collaboration with Genentech. Of course, being involved in LRIG has been instrumental in my personal and professional growth.

Executive Committee Members

Steering Committee Members

John Fink

John Fink is currently the Marketing Manager of cryogenic solutions at Brooks Life Science Solutions.  Prior to this he held Product Management roles at Thermo Fisher Scientific managing Liquid Chromatography, Laboratory Automation and Robotics products, software and consumables.

Ben Geldhof

Currently director of automation at Moderna therapeutics. Prior to this held positions as group leader, project leader and mechanical engineer at Roche, Carestream, Protedyne, Barco and Volvo. Has experience designing and implementing automated equipment for use in lab automation, life science, molecular imaging, electronics and automotive manufacturing.

Rita Vicaire

Rita is the CWO of The Robot Whisperer, LLC, a liquid handling automation and process engineering consultancy she founded in 2007. Rita has 20 years of experience as a bench scientist and liquid handling specialist in life science laboratories. Previously, she was a Lab Automation Manager at Millennium Pharmaceuticals and a Field Automation Specialist with Tecan.

Tim Ikeda

Tim is a biochemist/enzymologist and automation scientist. He has 19 years of experience in instrumentation and assay development at Bayer, DuPont and AstraZeneca. He has worked in the Oncology and Discovery Sciences early drug discovery at AZ's Waltham site for the past 13 years. His experience includes delivering instrumentation & processes for DuPont's first HTS screens in Agricultural Products, compound management, bespoke computer systems for compound tracking & data munging, and lab development. He particularly hates seeing bench scientists hobbled by poor or inefficient IT systems and delivers both ad hoc solutions and global projects to resolve such problems.

Christina Majer

Christina recently joined Ribon Therapeutics where she is Head of Screening and Data Systems. Her group is responsible for assay development and screening, outsourcing, compound management, and the database.  She began her career at Millennium Pharmacueticals (now Takeda) in Compound Management and from there, left to help start Epizyme. At Epizyme, she honed her scientific skills with assay development and screening and gained even more in depth knowledge of scientific infrastructure while managing the compound management group and the database. From there she passed through Warp Drive Bio where she streamlined, updated, and transitioned existing screening assays and data processes to more automated systems. 

Other Steering Committee Members