NewYorkBIO Board of Directors


Peter G. Robinson, MPH
Chairman of the Board

Mr. Robinson is the Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the University of Rochester Medical Center and Vice President, Government and Community Relations for the University. He has responsibility for the University’s role in economic development and is a member of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council. He is a voting member of the New York State Public Health & Health Planning Council, the Chairman of the Boards of High Technology of Rochester, Inc. (HTR) and Excell Partners, Inc., as well as Chairman of the Board for NewYorkBIO. He previously served as Chairman of the Greater Rochester Enterprise (GRE), and he also serves on the boards of several private and public community agencies. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the City College of New York and Master’s degrees from the New School for Social Research and Columbia University.



Judith Dunn, PhD
Immediate Past Chair

Judy Dunn is the CEO of Empire Discovery Institute, a NY State funded effort to catalyze the progression of discovery research to clinical application. Judy is an experienced pharmaceutical executive with more than 25 years of international experience in the industry. Prior to joining EDI, Judy served as Vice President of Clinical Development at Roche in Basel Switzerland and Head of the Roche Innovation Center in NYC. She has held positions in both the research and commercial divisions of Pfizer, led clinical programs in psychiatry at Sepracor, and served as Vice President of Clinical Research at Flexion, a start-up biotech company. In addition, Judy is a founding member and past Scientific Program Chair for the CNS Summit, an organization focused on delivering new treatments to patients suffering from brain disorders and is a member of the Mayor’s LIFESCI NYC Advisory Council, where she works to promote collaboration and growth in the New York life sciences community. Judy attended Wesleyan University and the University of Rochester, where she obtained undergraduate and graduate degrees in Neurobiology. She has been the recipient of a research fellowship in neuropharmacology from the Center for Brain Research at Strong Memorial Hospital and a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Clinical Research from Pfizer.


Cynthia Green, PhD, MBA
Executive Committee, Secretary

Cyndi Green is a Senior Director in Worldwide Business Development at Pfizer with responsibility for anti-infectives and vaccines. Cyndi joined Pfizer NYHQ in 2003 as Associate Director of Operations in Licensing and Development and has broad biotech and pharma experience in business development, strategy, venture capital and consulting. Currently, Cyndi has responsibility for partnering marketed and clinical stage assets, technologies, diagnostics, research platforms and patents. Cyndi played an integral role in the formation of RGo Biosciences (previously a resident in The Pfizer Incubator), led diligence activities for the formation of the Pfizer-GSK HIV joint venture (ViiV Healthcare), and has led/co-led a multitude of licensing assessments and divestitures over the years.


Donald Mazzullo, Esq.
Executive Committee, General and Legislative Counsel

Mr. Mazzullo is Partner at Harter Secrest and Emory and has represented a wide range of companies, not-for-profits, and associations in the state capital for twenty-three years. He started the government affairs practice group at Harter Secrest & Emery in 1984, and under his leadership, it has become an effective and respected lobbying firm. During that time, he has developed relationships with legislators on both sides of the aisle, has worked with several administrations, and has navigated numerous leadership changes in the Legislature.Mr. Mazzullo has represented a variety of clients in many industry sectors, including the New York State Restaurant Association, New York Biotechnology Association, GlaxoSmithKline, Delta Air Lines, Emerging Industries Alliance of New York State, New York State Chiropractic Association, Association of Safety Group Managers, Genesee & Wyoming Railroad, Amalgamated Transit Union, New York State Telecommunications Association, DaimlerChrysler Corporation, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Genencor (A Danisco Company), OSI Pharmaceuticals, New York Hall of Science, and New York State Clinical Laboratory Association, together with numerous other private corporations and municipal, civic, and charitable organizations.


Robert Van Nostrand
Executive Committee, Treasurer

Bob Van Nostrand has been associated with NewYorkBIO for more than two decades. He was CFO of OSI Pharmaceuticals for over 20 years, helping to grow the company from an early phase to a major acquisition target. He has also been CFO of Aureon and is a member of the Board of Directors of Achillion.



Jane Wasman
Executive Committee, At-Large

Ms. Wasman is a strategic leader with 20+ years in the biopharma industry and extensive U.S. and international experience. An adaptable executive, she has achieved success in a range of settings, from large, public multinational companies to privately held start-up companies. Her expertise includes M&A, strategic development, corporate governance, international, litigation, commercial, compliance and government affairs, as well as operational implementation. As President, International, General Counsel and Chief, Strategic Development at Acorda Therapeutics, Ms. Wasman leads long-range planning and development in addition to international expansion. In this role, she collaborates with senior leadership on commercialization, licensing/M&A strategy and implementation, investor relations, product pipeline development and government affairs activities. She also built and manages Acorda’s legal, compliance, IP and quality functions. Her department was recognized as one of four "Best Legal Departments" nationally by Corporate Counsel in 2013. Ms. Wasman played a central role in Acorda’s IPO and transition from a private, development stage entity to a public, commercial company. Additionally, she led the legal process for two key acquisitions - the $525M acquisition of Civitas Therapeutics and the first-ever acquisition of a dual stock exchange-listed Finnish company, Biotie Therapies, in a $400M transaction. She also helped build Acorda’s corporate governance/board infrastructure, and works closely with the board of directors on strategic, operational and governance matters. Prior to her 13 years at Acorda, Ms. Wasman spent over eight years at Schering-Plough Corporation in various leadership positions – including Staff Vice President and Associate General Counsel as well as Staff Vice President, European Operations – Legal and litigation & regulatory roles – that supported commercial, international, regulatory, licensing/M&A and global R&D activities. She was based in Europe for three years, establishing and running the company’s European legal office. Previously, Ms. Wasman was an attorney at two global law firms and Associate Counsel for the U.S. Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Her early career provided broad industry experience, including industrial, financial, real estate and communications. Ms. Wasman has served since 2007 on the non-profit Board of Directors of NewYork BIO, including its Executive Committee and Public Policy Committee (Chair). She is also on the General Counsel Executive Committee of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO). Ms. Wasman graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University, and earned her J.D. from Harvard Law School. She currently resides in New York City.


Dan Brettler

Dan is Managing Director, Senior Vice President, Life Science and Technology Practice Leader at Conner Strong and Buckelew where he is responsible for all aspects of risk management & insurance products and services delivered to Life Science & Technology clients of Conner Strong & Buckelew. In addition, he has management responsibilities for growing the practice within the strategic plan of the overall insurance brokerage. Brettler has 20 years of solid risk management & insurance experience, the majority of which has been devoted exclusively to the Life Science & Technology industries. Specific areas of insurance expertise include on a global basis Products Liability, Human Clinical Trials, Directors’ & Officers’ Liability and Property Coverage for GMP facilities.


Richard Catalano

Richard A. Catalano is an audit partner in KPMG’s Metro New York business unit. Mr. Catalano has over 30 years of experience serving clients principally in the fields of healthcare and life sciences. He assists private and public companies at various stages of development from early start-up to large multinational companies. He advises companies on SEC disclosures including IPOs, due diligence and complex accounting matters. Mr. Catalano has been involved with NewYorkBIO for over 25 years. He serves on the corporate advisory board of the Dolan DNA Learning Center and on the board of directors of Farmingdale College Foundation. Mr. Catalano is member of American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, New York State Society of CPA’s, and the Healthcare Financial Management Association. He received his BBA in accounting from Hofstra University.


Ellen Corenswet, Esq.

Ellen is a corporate lawyer with over 40 years of experience representing companies--from early stage to public—as well as investors in the life sciences and technology industries. Ellen also advises pharma venture capital organizations in their investments in life sciences companies. She is resident in the firm’s New York office. Ellen is passionate about working with founders and management teams in early stage companies and takes a hands-on, pragmatic, business-focused approach to advising these companies as their outside corporate general counsel. In addition to providing day-to-day strategic advice, Ellen advises on financings, corporate governance, employment and equity compensation issues, commercial agreements, IPOs, and M&A transactions. Ellen serves on the Council of National Advisors of Springboard Enterprises, Inc., and has been a long-time advisor to Springboard companies in the life sciences and technology sectors. Ellen is recognized as a leading life sciences corporate lawyer by The Practical Law Company (PLC) and is a frequent speaker on legal panels and at conferences.


Robert Easton

Bob Easton is Co-Chairman of Bionest Partners, an international consulting firm. For over 35 years, Bob Easton has been recognized as a leader in healthcare business consulting. He has built and led top firms, including The Wilkerson Group and Easton Associates. He has led scores of market development and strategic advisory assignments for clients, including large and specialty pharmaceutical companies, early-stage through publicly traded biopharmaceutical companies, and diagnostics businesses. He has influenced the decision-making of numerous healthcare professionals and supported hundreds of client executives in Australia, Japan, Canada, U.S., Europe and Israel. His interest in healthcare began when he managed a medical diagnostics business for Union Carbide. His education includes an MBA from Harvard Business School and engineering degrees from Rice University.


Jenna Foger


Todd Little

Todd Little is President at Taconic Biosciences. A Taconic employee since 1991, Little has 30 years of experience in the development and production of in vivo models and services for drug discovery and pre-clinical investigations. During his tenure at Taconic, he spearheaded Taconic’s diversification into technical services and led the geographic expansion of the company into Denmark, Germany, California and Indiana. He also serves on the Transnetyx Board of Directors and was a founding member and previous Chair of Bioconnex, an Albany NY life sciences networking group.


Kate Merton


Hala Mirza

Hala Mirza is the Vice President, Corporate Communications and Citizenship at Regeneron, a leading science-driven biotechnology company. At Regeneron, Mirza leads corporate citizenship, philanthropy, employee volunteerism, internal and external communications, product communications and community relations. Mirza’s team manages all of Regeneron’s STEM education and outreach programs including the Regeneron Science Talent Search, the nation’s most prestigious high school science talent competition. The company also has a number of long-term, impact-focused regional science education initiatives. Mirza joined Regeneron from Pfizer, where she was the VP, Corporate Affairs for R&D and Strategy. In this role, Mirza drove an internal and external campaign that reshaped the conversation around Pfizer as a science and innovation leader. Prior to joining Pfizer, Mirza was Managing Director, W20 group, a leading healthcare integrated communications agency, where she played a key role in driving the agency’s tremendous growth over eight years. Previously in her career, Mirza served as Public Relations Officer at the American Red Cross Biomedical Services. Mirza is a member of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association and the Arthur W. Page Society. She holds a BA in English Literature from The George Washington University, where she was a Tip O’Neil Scholar.


Timothy O'Connor, PhD

Timothy O’Connor was appointed executive vice president of The Rockefeller University in February 2016. In this role, he oversees most university operations, including research support, technology transfer, facilities, and information technology, as well as finance, investments, human resources, and legal affairs. Working in partnership with the other executive officers, he provides administrative leadership to the university and represents the president both internally and externally. He originally joined the university in 2013 as chief of staff and vice president. Dr. O’Connor’s career has focused on both biomedical research and academic administration. Most recently, he served as associate provost for science and technology at Yale University; prior to that, he was associate research professor and vice chair in the Department of Genetic Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College. He currently serves on the boards of the New York Structural Biology Center, the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, and Friends of the East River Esplanade.


Joel Papernik

Joel Papernik is partner at Mintz Levin.  Joel concentrates on corporate, commercial, and securities matters as well as strategic transactions and corporate structuring. He is a member of the firm’s Opinions Committee and has also served as a member of the firm's Policy Committee.He has extensive experience counseling high-technology businesses and the individuals creating them. He frequently guides acquisitions, collaborations, and licensing transactions in the life sciences industry. As more life sciences companies have extended their activities from discovery to development, his practice has been more involved with development and later stage activity.


Greg Plowman, PhD

Dr. Plowman holds a Joint appointment as Vice President Oncology Research at Eli Lilly and Senior Vice President, Research at ImClone. He previously served as a senior director in research for six years at Genentech, a member of the Roche Group. He directed research efforts in anti-angiogenesis (attempting to block the formation of blood vessels that supply nutrients and oxygen that encourage cancerous tumor growth), biomedical imaging, and tumor biology and was responsible for building a pipeline of innovative agents for treatment of cancer and ocular disease.He has 25 years of experience in cancer research including leadership roles at four biotechs (Oncogen, Sugen, Exelixis, and Genentech) that became part of three pharmaceutical companies (Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pharmacia, and Roche).



Prem Premsrirut, PhD

Dr. Premsrirut is CEO of Mirimus and  an expert in the development and use of RNAi transgenic mice. She was an inventor of technological advancements that lead to the development of a high-throughput platform for rapid and efficient generation of conditional RNAi transgenic mice. She pioneered a novel approach for the generation of "speedy” chimeric GEMMs based on rederivation of mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs) from existing mouse strains with a predisposition to cancer.  Dr. Premsrirut received a Ph.D. in genetics following her training in the laboratory of Dr. Scott Lowe at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.


Dennis Purcell

Dennis is Founder and Senior Advisor at Aisling Capital. During his tenure, Dennis has been directly involved with over two hundred completed transactions and supervised over $15 billion of financing and advisory assignments in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical products industries. Prior to Aisling Capital, Mr. Purcell served as Managing Director of the Life Sciences Investment Banking Group at Chase H&Q (formerly Hambrecht & Quist). Dennis is a frequent commentator on the industry and has been honored in various publications as a top contributor to the Life Sciences Industry. He sits on numerous private and public healthcare company boards, such as Real Endpoints and Summus Global. He is actively involved with many of the industry’s professional organizations. He is Executive Chairman of Poliwogg Holdings, a company devising new financed products for the healthcare industry. Dennis received his M.B.A. from Harvard University and his B.S. in Accounting from the University of Delaware.


Lily Safani

Lily Safani has served as the CEO of Gilda’s Club NYC (GCNYC) since February 2007. GCNYC is a non-profit organization whose mission is to support, educate and empower cancer patients and their families in New York City – free of charge. Gilda’s Club believes that no one should face cancer alone. Their comprehensive cancer program is a complement to medical treatment and includes support and networking groups, educational lectures, and healthy lifestyle workshops for everyone impacted by cancer – men, women, teens and children – in a beautiful Clubhouse in the West Village and at hospital partners throughout New York City. Each year Gilda’s Club reaches over 20,000 New Yorkers living with cancer. With over 39,000 New Yorkers newly diagnosed with cancer each year, there is an unmet need to provide a comprehensive cancer support resource to help individuals learn to live with cancer whatever the outcome. Lily moved to Gilda’s Club from Continuum Hospice Care, a subsidiary of Continuum Health Partners and the largest hospice in New York City. As the Senior Vice President of Business Development, she was responsible for strategic planning, business development and human resources. She directed efforts to successfully increase the patient census and market penetration throughout the city by developing new partnerships with NYC hospitals, nursing and assisted living facilities in the five boroughs. From 2002 to 2005, Lily served as the Vice President of Development, Marketing and Public Relations for North General Hospital, the only private, not-for-profit hospital in the underserved Harlem community. During her time there, Lily established a development and marketing infrastructure, formulated and began implementing a 5-year business plan to meet fundraising goals and engaged the Board of Directors in fundraising for the first time. She was instrumental in securing over $2.5 million in donations in less than 2 years, establishing an effective public relations program to increase their visibility, and promoting the hospital and its services throughout Harlem. In 2002, Lily switched from financial services to the non-profit healthcare sector, motivated to use her for-profit experience to make a difference wherever she could, particularly in the underserved communities of New York City. Her first experience in healthcare increased her awareness of the tremendous disparities in medical care within low income communities as evidenced by their poorer outcomes and higher mortality rates across almost all chronic illnesses. From 1989 to 2002, Lily served as Founder and President of Safani Direct Inc., a successful direct marketing agency, specializing in new business development and marketing for the financial services industry. Among her clients were the Northeast’s leading financial institutions including Citi, MasterCard International and JPMorganChase. Prior to founding her company, she worked at Tempest & Safani (1984-1988), Benton & Bowles Direct (1981-1984) and Citicorp (1977-1981) specializing in strategic planning, new product development, direct marketing and branding for the financial services and computer technology industries. Lily holds a BA from Barnard College, an MBA from the Wharton Graduate School of Business, and has completed Harvard Business School Strategic Perspectives in NonProfit Management. She also serves on the board of NYBIO. Outside of work, she and her husband, Dr. Jeffrey Friedman, spend time with their twin daughters, Nathalie and Alexandra, enjoying the beach, travel, New York City and their individuality.


Arthur Tinkelenberg, PhD

Dr. Arthur H. Tinkelenberg, PhD is former President and Chief Executive Officer of Enumeral Biomedical Corporation. Dr. Tinkelenberg previously served as a Partner of Ascent BioMedical Ventures (ABV). Prior to joining ABV, Dr. Tinkelenberg worked in the Healthcare Investment Banking and Mergers and Acquisitions Groups at Robertson Stephens. He has served as a Director of a number of companies, and is currently an Advisor to Torreya, a strategic advisory firm focused on the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors. Dr. Tinkelenberg earned his Ph.D. degree in Molecular Genetics from The Rockefeller University where he studied cell growth regulation and signal transduction as a Rockefeller and National Science Foundation Fellow and earned his BA degree in Biology, with honors, from Grinnell College.