Tag: People

Southern Research breaks ground on new biotech center and campus renovations

Birmingham, Ala. – Southern Research today broke ground on a flagship biotech center that will anchor the development of 200,000 square feet of new or renovated wet lab space for life sciences. The new facility, located on the corner of Richard Arrington Jr., Blvd., and Ninth Avenue South, will double the organization’s lab space for researching infectious diseases and greatly expand its work to develop new treatments for cancer and other serious illnesses.

The new center is expected to create 150 new jobs at Southern Research and to double the institution’s annual economic impact to $300 million a year.

“This project represents a major investment in the city of Birmingham and in the great work being done by our Southern Research team,” said Josh Carpenter, Ph.D., president and CEO of Southern Research. “It builds on our strengths and puts us in a position for dynamic growth in the future.”

The Alabama Legislature included $45 million for the Southern Research building in the state budget for 2023, marking the state government’s first-ever investment in the 80-year-old campus.

“This represented an opportunity to create high-paying jobs in Birmingham and to support one of the state’s most important industries,” Gov. Kay Ivey said. “Scientific and technical innovation is a major driver of Alabama’s economic growth, and Southern Research has long been a key player in making it happen.”

Construction alone will create more than 1,100 project-related jobs and generate more than $190 million in economic activity, Carpenter said.

In addition to expanding space for research on infectious diseases like COVID-19, the new facility will allow Southern Research to ramp up its efforts to target common diseases that have a profound impact on the well-being of Alabamians and communities.

In addition to this new facility, Southern Research plans to renovate much of its campus and build new space to advance genomic diagnostics work over the next few years.

The city of Birmingham and Jefferson County have each been asked to provide funding alongside Southern Research and the State of Alabama to help accelerate this capital investment. While the contributions have not been approved at the City or the County, officials on both sides of Linn Park expressed support for the expansion.

“This is a transformational moment for Southern Research and for Birmingham,” said Birmingham Mayor Randall L. Woodfin. “As someone who benefited from a COVID-19 treatment developed with Southern Research’s experts, I am especially grateful to the scientists who work here and I’m proud to help them take their work to the next level.”

As Economic Development Committee Chair of the Jefferson County Commission, Steve Ammons called the Southern Research project yet another example of local leaders working across partisan and jurisdictional lines to benefit the entire Birmingham metro area.

“When we work together, we can do big things,” Commissioner Ammons said. “This expansion at Southern Research is an important project that will create economic ripples across this county and state.”

Ray Watts, MD, president of the University of Alabama at Birmingham and chair of the Southern Research board of directors, said the new facility will help fulfill his vision of creating a world-class biotech corridor that stretches from the UAB campus to Southern Research and Ascension St. Vincent’s Birmingham.

“Between UAB and Southern Research, we are working to ensure that Birmingham and Alabama become the biotech commercialization center of the Southeast,” Watts said. “This new facility will help us incubate new biotech entrepreneurs and attract top talent to this area. Southern Research and its vision for this center are intricately tied to the future success of Birmingham.”

Alongside the new construction, Southern Research has contracted Brasfield & Gorrie to help renovate more than 40,000 square feet of its existing campus facilities in Birmingham’s Southside. Investments include building out more vivarium space and launching a new clinical diagnostics lab.

Southern Research expands, diversifies board of directors

The Southern Research board of directors has expanded to 15 members, with new additions representing a diverse range of national expertise.

The new members were recently approved by the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees and will join the current board in May 2022.

“Southern Research considers diversity of thought both a key asset and core value,” said Josh Carpenter, Ph.D., president and CEO of Southern Research. “We are pleased to welcome leadership that includes men and women whose varied perspectives will strengthen our organization and the science that defines our mission.”

New members include:

  • Regina Benjamin, MD, the 18thS. Surgeon General, founder and CEO of Bayou Clinic/Gulf States Health Policy Center in Bayou La Batre. As a graduate of UAB School of Medicine, is a national and international leader in medicine and public health. Benjamin is involved in venture capital, digital health and serves on corporate boards.
  • Mike Brock, partner at Kirkland & Ellis. Based in Washington, D.C., Brock has extensive legal experience representing companies in complex litigation, including successful representation of top pharmaceutical companies in product liability cases.
  • Bobbie Knight, president of Miles College. Knight is the first woman to serve in this role, after an almost 40-year career as an executive at Alabama Power Co. Knight also chairs the board of managers for the Birmingham Times Media Group.
  • Jeanne Marrazzo, MD, the C. Glenn Cobbs endowed chair and director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Heersink School of Medicine. As an infectious disease specialist, Marrazzo is internationally recognized for her work in women’s health and as a national media spokesperson for managing COVID-19.
  • Scott Phelps, vice president of the Greene Group. Before joining Greene Group, Phelps had a successful legal career at Bradley Arant. He also serves on the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees.
  • Ken Simon, principal at Ken Simon Law. A former trial judge, Simon has wide-ranging legal experience including securities and municipal bond transactions to corporate compliance and arbitration.
  • Lee Styslinger, III, co-chair and CEO of Altec Inc. Styslinger is an active investor in healthcare start-ups, a member of the Business Roundtable, and serves on several boards and councils advising U.S. presidents on trade policy and workforce development.
  • Neel Varshney, MD, founding partner of Patient Square Capital. Based in the Bay Area, Varshney is a UAB graduate and trained as a physician before starting his business career and co-launching Patient Square Capital, a dedicated health care investment firm.
  • Selwyn Vickers, MD, CEO of UAB Health System and dean of UAB Heersink School of Medicine. Vickers is an internationally recognized pancreatic cancer surgeon, researcher and pioneer in health disparities research.

Current members of the Southern Research board include Chairman Ray Watts, MD, president of UAB; Finis St. John IV, chancellor of University of Alabama System; Mark Crosswhite, chairman, president and CEO of Alabama Power Co.; Ruffner Page, retired McWane Inc. president; Christopher Brown, Ph.D., vice president for research at UAB; and Jamey McMahon, chairman of Ligon Capital.

“This is an exciting time for Southern Research, and on behalf of all the board of directors, I am thrilled at the caliber of people who will help guide us into the future,” Watts said. “I know this group will build on Southern Research’s excellent history to create something truly of national significance.”

Southern Research announces new key additions to staff, leadership team

Southern Research today announced key additions to its staff and leadership team.

Brantley Fry has joined the organization as its new vice president of People and Community. Fry served as state director for former U.S. Sen. Doug Jones and most recently has worked as chief of staff and general counsel for Pack Health. In her new role at Southern Research, she will guide employee recruitment and retention, employee safety, communications, STEM programs and other community engagement initiatives.

“We created this role because Southern Research is principally a community of scientific professionals, and in order to be our best as an organization, we must devote strategic resources to becoming a place where people can thrive by becoming part of our community,” said Josh Carpenter, Ph.D., president and CEO of Southern Research. “Brantley has the experience to help us maximize our very best assets – our team – and make sure we achieve our mission of advancing science and creating economic opportunity for our community as a whole.”

The new position was created as part of an effort to restructure, modernize and expand Southern Research operations in Birmingham, including the construction of a new biotech facility at its Southside campus.

“I am proud to be joining Southern Research at a pivotal moment in history,” Fry said. “This organization has been at the leading edge of science since its inception, including throughout the COVID-19 crisis. We’re poised to reach new heights and become an even greater asset to our community.”

Fry’s selection was announced along with several other significant staff changes.

Among other changes, Mark Suto, Ph.D., the vice president of the Life Sciences section of Southern Research, has retired, and his team has been split into two new divisions, Scientific Platforms and Contract Research Oriented (CRO) Services, which will be led by veteran scientists.

New vice president for Scientific Platforms

Corinne E. Augelli-Szafran, Ph.D., is the vice president for Scientific Platforms, a division that conducts early drug-discovery research to identify new treatments for a variety of illnesses.

Augelli-Szafran joined Southern Research in 2014 as head of the chemistry department. She has more than 30 years of drug discovery, management and leadership experience in the pharmaceutical industry, academic institutions and not-for-profit research organizations. Before coming to Southern Research, she spent eight years at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital where she was recruited to establish an academic-based drug discovery laboratory focused on identifying treatments for Alzheimer’s. Prior to Harvard, Augelli-Szafran served in leadership roles at Parke-Davis Pharmaceutical Research and Pfizer Global Research and Development.

“Corinne has demonstrated success in drug discovery in both academic and big pharma settings, and she has been an outstanding leader for Southern Research’s medicinal and analytical chemistry teams,” Carpenter said. “We are grateful for her willingness to take her leadership to another level.”

Said Augelli-Szafran: “I’ve been proud to be a part of what Southern Research has accomplished in the past and look forward to what it is going to accomplish in the future. There’s never been a better time to be a scientist and be part of the strong team working at Southern Research.”

New vice president for Research Services

Kevin Burton, Ph.D., has been named vice president of Research Services, a division that conducts later-stage drug-discovery research to test the effectiveness of potential new treatments before they move to human clinical trials.

Burton has extensive experience in research and development in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries. Prior to joining Southern Research, Burton spent more than a decade at Evonik, where his roles included serving as head of Global Healthcare Solutions and Global Drug Delivery Services.

“Kevin has a significant scientific expertise as well as a track record of building and maintaining business relationships,” Carpenter said. “He will be a great asset for Southern Research as well as the clients and partners that rely on our services.”

“This is a wonderful opportunity to make a lasting impact in the region and am excited to join the talented team at Southern Research,” Burton said. “I’m proud to build on the legacy Southern Research has created in Birmingham and look forward to expanding our business while creating more opportunity for the clients and the community at large.”

Other new staff members include:

New director of High-Throughput Screening Center

Paige Vinson, Ph.D., has been hired as the director of Southern Research’s state-of-the-art High-Throughput Screening Center, where advanced robotic equipment can sift through hundreds of thousands of compounds looking for potential treatments for illnesses like COVID-19.

Vinson replaces Bob Bostwick, Ph.D., who retired in December after nine years of service at Southern Research. During his tenure at Southern Research, Bostwick participated in several collaborative research programs funded by grants and contracts with an emphasis on drug discovery of antiviral agents.

“I am fortunate to be joining Southern Research at this time when the institute is creating a forward-thinking vision and undergoing growth,” Vinson said. “Under Bob’s leadership, the HTS group has developed into an impressive team, made up of extremely talented and knowledgeable individuals. This provides us with a solid foundation to continue the respected work the HTS lab has performed in the past and the ability to address our partners’ new needs requiring high-throughput assay expertise.”

Vinson gained experience in providing high-throughput solutions to customers in the drug discovery space as part of the laboratory automation business unit at Thermo Fisher Scientific. Immediately before coming to Southern Research, she spent more than six years as director of HTS at Vanderbilt University and provided leadership in the molecular pharmacology group of the Warren Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery.

“Paige brings incredible credentials and expertise to Southern Research,” Carpenter said. “This important center, built by Bob’s stellar work, is in good hands and will undoubtedly see many more successes to come.”

New director of communications

Briana Bryant joined Southern Research in December as the organization’s new communications director, overseeing external and internal communications.

Bryant previously served as the marketing manager of the Bill L. Harbert Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She brings more than a decade of strategic communications and media relations specialization, with broad experience in the innovation and entrepreneurship, small business and corporate industries.

“Briana will play a key role in telling the world about the exciting and groundbreaking work that we see every day at Southern Research,” Carpenter said. “We’re excited to have her as part of the team.”

“Southern Research has made enormous contributions to science and I can’t wait to help share the organization’s story with the communities we serve,” added Bryant.

The organization is hiring for multiple scientific and administrative roles. Learn more and apply here.

Birmingham’s Southern Research appoints CEO, EVP

Southern Research, the groundbreaking scientific discovery and research institution headquartered in Birmingham, on Thursday announced that its board of directors has appointed Josh Carpenter, Ph.D., as its new president and CEO, and Allen Bolton as its new executive vice president for Strategy and Finance.

Both appointments are effective June 1.

Founded in the Magic City in 1941, Southern Research is an independent, non-profit scientific research organization where more than 400 scientists and engineers work across three divisions: Life Sciences, Engineering, and Energy & Environment. Southern Research has attracted national research partnerships with leading industries in the fields of pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, defense, aerospace, the environment and energy.i

“Josh and Allen are forward-thinking leaders who are ready to chart a bold new course for Southern Research,” stated University of Alabama at Birmingham President Ray L. Watts, who is chairman of the Southern Research board of directors. “They have the full support of the Board as they begin to lead an amazing team of scientists, engineers and innovators who are working to solve problems and change the world for the better.”

Southern Research generates over $150 million in annual economic impact and supports more than 1,000 Alabama jobs.

“The work of Southern Research results in life-changing advancements and innovative solutions,” said Southern Research board member Mark Crosswhite, who also serves as the chairman, president and CEO of Alabama Power Company. “Josh and Allen’s vision and expertise will play an important role in leading this institution forward as a continued center of excellence.”

Carpenter most recently served as director of Innovation and Economic Opportunity for the City of Birmingham, where he led the City’s efforts in workforce development, COVID recovery and business expansion. Previously, he served as the director of External Affairs at UAB. He earned his doctorate in political economy from the University of Oxford where he studied on a Rhodes Scholarship.

“I am truly honored to take the helm of Southern Research and lead this incredible team that is finding solutions to improve people’s lives around the world. Southern Research has had 80 successful years, but I know the best is yet to come,” commented Carpenter.

Bolton most recently served as senior vice president for Finance and Administration at UAB, where he was also a member of the board for Southern Research. He was previously an executive in finance and strategy at the Medical College of Wisconsin, and was senior associate dean for Administration and Finance at the UAB School of Medicine as well as executive administrator at the Comprehensive Cancer Center, the largest research center in the University of Alabama System.

“Discoveries made at Southern Research have provided breakthroughs in cancer research, pushed the boundaries of science and saved lives. I am grateful for this opportunity to work alongside dedicated and talented people who have an unmatched passion for science and discovery,” concluded Bolton.

https://yellowhammernews.com/birminghams-southern-research-appoints-ceo-evp/

Birmingham’s Southern Research under new leadership

Josh Carpenter, PhD, has been appointed president and CEO and Allen Bolton executive vice president for strategy and finance at Birmingham-based Southern Research.

The scientific discovery and research institution employs more than 400 scientists and engineers.

“Josh and Allen are forward-thinking leaders who are ready to chart a bold new course for the company,” said University of Alabama at Birmingham President Ray Watts, chairman of the Southern Research board of directors and interim CEO since the departure of Art Tipton in 2019.

“They have the full support of the board as they begin to lead an amazing team of scientists, engineers and innovators who are working to solve problems and change the world for the better.”

Carpenter served as director of innovation and economic

opportunity for the City of Birmingham before coming to Southern Research. Previously, he was director of external affairs at UAB. He holds a doctorate in political economy from the University of Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.

“I am truly honored to take the helm of Southern Research and lead this incredible team that is finding solutions to improve people’s lives around the world,” Carpenter said.

Bolton most recently served as senior vice president for

finance and administration at UAB.
Founded in Birmingham in 1941, Southern Research is an independent, nonprofit scientific

research organization where scientists and engineers work across three divisions: life sciences, engineering and energy & environment.

Southern Research Appoints Josh Carpenter as President and CEO and Allen Bolton as Executive VP for Strategy and Finance

Two prominent Birmingham leaders have been named to leadership posts at Southern Research – the scientific discovery and research institution headquartered on Birmingham’s Southside.

Josh Carpenter has been named president and CEO, and Allen Bolton has been named executive vice president for strategy and finance. They begin the new roles on June 1.

They’ll be taking the reins at an organization with vast potential for shaping the future of Birmingham’s economy and its innovation ecosystem.

Carpenter, a Rhodes Scholar, most recently served as director of innovation and economic opportunity for the city of Birmingham. He previously worked at UAB.

Bolton most recently was senior vice president for finance and administration at UAB where he also served on the board of Southern Research.

“I couldn’t be more enthusiastic about what’s in front of us because of the people who are there,” Carpenter said.

In addition to the expertise of the people and the legacy of Southern Research, Carpenter said he was attracted to the role because of the organization’s potential to transform the region’s economy.

Historically, he said Birmingham has been home to many islands of innovation. One of his goals is to create a better through-line to connect those pockets of R&D excellence in the community and raise their collective impact.

“Southern Research, perhaps better than any other organization, is specifically geared toward playing the role of that translational bridge – translating ideas to innovation and economic opportunity,” Carpenter said. “If we can create the storefront to access those immense capabilities, we can present ourselves as the next frontier market in biotech.”

Carpenter said Birmingham is well-positioned for growth in life sciences, precision medicine and related fields, and he said Southern Research, with expertise in those fields and others, can play a critical role in that innovation economy.

With the way the medical sector is trending, Carpenter sees a growing need for the type of capability expertise that can be found on the campus of Southern Research, which has 400 employees.

He’s also excited about the role the organization can play in building the local innovation ecosystem – an effort with vast implications for Birmingham’s economy.

There have been numerous examples of successful biotech companies that have originated from research conducted in Birmingham but ultimately moved elsewhere. One of his goals at Southern Research is to help build an environment that keeps those companies – and the jobs they create – in metro Birmingham.

“Southern Research is at it’s finest when the halls are brimming with first-rate intellect that come up with a novel discovery that becomes a commercial enterprise and creates jobs right here in Birmingham,” he said.

Carpenter said there will be a focus on having a deeper and more profound relationship with UAB, which is located adjacent to Southern Research’s campus.

“We have not tapped the potential of working to integrate our approach,” he said.

Carpenter also said a priority will be adapting Southern Research’s business model to capitalize on the opportunities at hand. What that will entail is likely to become more clear with a strategic plan that could be released later this year to coincide with Southern Research’s 80th anniversary.

He said he’s happy to have a veteran leader like Bolton joining him at Southern Research.

“No one has better experience navigating not just the UAB ecosystem, but a labyrinth of medical systems,” Carpenter said. “He’s going to be a really effective arbiter of our strategic and financial interests.”

https://www.bizjournals.com/birmingham/news/2021/05/13/new-leaders-take-the-reins-at-southern-research.html

Southern Research selects new president and CEO

Birmingham’s Southern Research announced today that Josh Carpenter will be its new president and CEO, effective June 1.

Allen Bolton will also serve as its new executive vice president for strategy and finance.

Carpenter recently served as the City of Birmingham’s director of innovation and economic opportunity, where he led the city’s efforts in workforce development, COVID recovery and business expansion. He will lead the independent, non-profit scientific research organization which employs more than 400 engineers and scientists.

UAB President Ray Watts, who chairs the Southern Research Board of Directors, said Carpenter and Bolton are “forward-thinking leaders who are ready to chart a bold new course for Southern Research.” Alabama Power President and CEO Mark Crosswhite, a board member, said the two men’s “vision and expertise will play an important role in leading this institution forward as a continued center of excellence.”

Carpenter also previously served as UAB’s director of external affairs and earned a doctorate in political economy from the University of Oxford, where he studied on a Rhodes Scholarship.

“I am truly honored to take the helm of Southern Research and lead this incredible team that is finding solutions to improve people’s lives around the world,” he said. “Southern Research has had 80 successful years, but I know the best is yet to come.”

Bolton most recently served as UAB’s senior vice president for finance and administration and served as a Southern Research board member. He was also executive administrator at the Comprehensive Cancer Center, the largest research center in the University of Alabama System.

“Discoveries made at Southern Research have provided breakthroughs in cancer research, pushed the boundaries of science and saved lives,” Bolton said. “I am grateful for this opportunity to work alongside dedicated and talented people who have an unmatched passion for science and discovery.”

Southern Research generates more than $150 million in annual economic impact and supports more than 1,000 Alabama jobs.

https://www.al.com/news/birmingham/2021/05/southern-research-selects-new-president-and-ceo.html

Alabama Power Foundation grant accelerates research on potential ALS drugs

A Southern Research scientist’s early-stage work on potential new therapies for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, is getting a push thanks to a grant that will speed the project.

Rita Cowell, Ph.D., Fellow and Chair of the Neuroscience Department in Southern Research’s Drug Discovery division, is studying compounds that in lab tests have prevented the neuronal loss that is a hallmark of ALS, a devastating condition characterized by muscle atrophy and paralysis.

The Alabama Power Foundation grant will permit her to accelerate her research into these compounds and to gather the extensive scientific data needed to apply for substantial federal funding opportunities.

“In this internal project, we’re actually working on two areas of ALS research,” Cowell said. “One is related to drug discovery, and the other focuses on understanding the biology of this debilitating disease.

“We don’t have additional resources to devote to this work, so this grant allows us to expand our studies, which have a lot of potential.”

NOVEL TREATMENTS

Rita Cowell, Ph.D., Fellow and Chair of the Neuroscience Department, is studying compounds that in lab tests have prevented the neuronal loss that is a hallmark of ALS.

ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord, killing motor neurons in the body that control movement. It’s sometimes called “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” after the baseball great from the 1930s.

The ALS Association says the condition, which usually strikes people between the ages of 40 and 70, affects at least 16,000 Americans at any given time. The average life expectancy of an ALS patient is two to five years from the time of diagnosis, the group says.

Cowell said there are only two FDA-approved drugs to combat the disease, and while these medicines have been shown to slow the progression of ALS, they don’t help some patients at all. That leaves them with no treatment option.

“There is a desperate need for new drugs for ALS,” she said.

Myla Calhoun, President of the Alabama Power Foundation, said the grant provided to Cowell’s team can help to deepen the understanding of this devastating disease and contribute momentum to promising drug discovery efforts.

“Health and Human Services is one of the five focus areas of the Foundation and we hope this grant will help position our state as a leader in medical research and development,” said Calhoun. “Southern Research is uniquely positioned to make progress in this area, and our grant will allow its Drug Discovery team to continue moving therapies closer to patients in need. “

CELL DEATH TRIGGER

Working in Southern Research labs, scientists have identified compounds that have the potential to counteract the cell death that is a central feature of ALS. This neuronal loss is tied to an overabundance of what is called “reactive oxygen species,” or ROS, a stress response that leads to cell death.

“Certain cells, like the motor neurons that are lost in ALS, have been shown to be sensitive to this stress response over time,” Cowell said. “The compounds we have identified could boost the ability of these neurons to counteract the stress response and protect them from cell death.”

To move the project forward, Cowell’s team will conduct key tests of the compounds in a series of cell-based assays to gauge how the chemicals work against ALS. The data could provide a pathway to government or commercial funding for tests in mouse models of ALS and eventually Phase I clinical trials.

“This drug discovery research is in its very early stages, so we don’t expect to have a lead compound in a clinical trial after one year of funding,” Cowell said. “But the grant from the Alabama Power Foundation will help us move toward our long-term goals of discovering new approaches and therapeutics to treat ALS.”

Cowell’s team in Southern Research’s Neuroscience Department focuses on the mechanistic underpinnings of why people develop neurological diseases and disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS, schizophrenia and depression.

Southern Research taps April Brys to lead Drug Development division

Southern Research announced today that April M. Brys, Ph.D., an experienced life sciences executive with a strong track record in research and leadership roles, has been named vice president of the non-profit organization’s Drug Development division.

Over a long and successful career, Brys has consistently achieved strategic, financial and operational goals, making her the ideal leader for Drug Development at Southern Research, according to Art Tipton, president and CEO.

“April’s strong scientific and business background brings to Southern Research the leadership we sought to continue to grow and expand our Drug Development division,” Tipton said. “Her experience will be invaluable as we seek to build new capabilities within the division while also forging new relationships and identifying new business opportunities.”

Southern Research drug development
April Brys is vice president of Drug Development at Southern Research.

Brys, whose first day at Birmingham-based Southern Research was Monday, said she looks forward to directing growth strategies for the Drug Development division, whose wide-ranging work has included evaluating bioterror threats and combatting diseases including influenza and HIV/AIDS.

“With an impressive history of exploring how to make medicines safer, improve vaccines and develop new therapeutics, Southern Research is well positioned to continue making important contributions in these areas,” Brys said.

“I am excited to join the organization and lead the effort to expand the Drug Development division’s capabilities and reach this year and beyond.”

Southern Research’s Drug Development division provides commercial and government clients with a wide variety of nonclinical and clinical trial support services. It conducts in vitro and in vivo testing of small molecule compounds, vaccines, biologics and other test articles in therapeutic areas including infectious disease, central nervous system disorders, and cancer.

Drug Development works alongside Southern Research’s Drug Discovery division to extend the Birmingham-based organization’s rich heritage of helping bring novel therapeutics to market.

Southern Research scientists have discovered seven drugs used in cancer treatments and conducted critical evaluations on a large number of medicines now being used to treat patients suffering from a sweeping range of illnesses.

LEADERSHIP ROLES

Brys joins Southern Research after nearly 19 years at Columbus, Ohio-based Battelle Memorial Institute, a global non-profit applied science and technology development organization.

For the past four years, she served as director of Battelle’s Clinical and Nonclinical Business Line, where she directed large multi-disciplinary research programs, managed key customer relationships and identified critical technology growth areas. In this role, Brys had full responsibility for a $120 million enterprise with a 350-person workforce serving both government and commercial market sectors.

During her tenure at Battelle, Brys also served as director of biomarker services and as a senior research scientist who rose to lead the Immunology Group within the organization’s biotechnology product line.

Before joining Battelle, she spent nearly five years as a postdoctoral fellow at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

Brys earned a bachelor’s degree in microbiology from Rutgers and master’s of philosophy and doctorate degrees in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale University.

 

3 new members join Southern Research Advisory Board

The Southern Research Advisory Board, comprised of emerging leaders in the Birmingham business community who are committed to enhancing the organization’s mission of scientific and engineering advancement, has added three new members.

Key Foster of McWane Inc., Angele Monconduit of Alabama Power, and Beeland Nielsen of Coca-Cola Bottling Co. UNITED joined the Advisory Board during its first quarter meeting on Feb. 21.

“Southern Research is making great strides in its endeavors today, and we are pleased that these three outstanding leaders have elected to contribute their time and talents to help support the organization’s mission of solving the world’s hardest problems,” said Advisory Board Chairman David Perry, vice president of Corporate Strategy at Protective Life Insurance Co.

KEY FOSTER

Southern Research
Key Foster

Foster joined McWane in 2011 and has responsibility for operating divisions focusing on high-tech companies and commercial real estate investments, as well as corporate development initiatives. Previously, Foster helped lead the turnaround of two public companies, advised Lehman Brothers during its bankruptcy, and executed $13 billion in mergers and acquisitions, financing and real estate transactions.

Foster has held senior management roles in public and private companies and has a successful track record leading early stage growth companies, corporate turnarounds, principal investments and corporate development. He was co-founder of Redmont Hospitality and served in senior roles at Gaylord Entertainment and the Trust Co. of Sterne, Agee & Leach.

Foster received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Washington and Lee University and an MBA from Vanderbilt University. He holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.

ANGELE MONCONDUIT

Southern Research
Angele Monconduit

Monconduit serves as the assistant to the executive vice president of External Affairs for Alabama Power. Since 2002, Monconduit has served in a variety of leadership roles responsible for ensuring the safe, reliable, and cost-effective operation and maintenance of the company’s generating power plants.

She is engaged with several civic and charitable organizations, including the Women’s Fund of Birmingham and the National Society of Black Engineers, where she co-hosts an engineering camp for over 200 Birmingham students every summer. She has been recognized by the Engineering Council of Birmingham for her service to the community and is a Distinguished Service Award recipient.

Monconduit graduated from the University of Evansville with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering.

BEELAND NIELSEN

Southern Research
Beeland Nielsen

As corporate senior director of Commercial Leadership at Coca-Cola Bottling Co. UNITED, Nielsen has responsibility for all commercial leadership and capability functions. He previously served as director of Commercial Leadership-Retail for the company, with responsibility for leading project development and implementation focusing on Go-To-Market processes, strategic route planning, commercial capabilities, and sales force automation.

Prior to joining Coca-Cola UNITED in 2004, he worked for Regions Bank as a management trainee and retail branch manager. He completed a comprehensive management training rotation in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and served as retail sales manager for Coca-Cola UNITED’s Tennessee Valley Division.

Nielsen received a bachelor’s degree in English literature from The University of the South, Sewanne and later completed an MBA at Vanderbilt University.

“The addition of these new members will enhance Southern Research’s relationship with the Birmingham business community,” said Watson Donald, the organization’s senior director of External Affairs. “They will join with the other Advisory Board members to provide us with valuable feedback on our multifaceted activities as they move forward in their own business careers.”

In addition to Perry, existing Advisory Board members are:

  • Alexia Borden, senior vice president and general counsel, Alabama Power
  • Jay Brandrup, principal, Kinetic Communications
  • Deon Gordon, president, TechBirmingham
  • Danny Markstein, managing director, Markstein;
  • Liz Pharo, managing partner, Featheringill Capital
  • Shannon Riley, president and CEO, One Stop Environmental
  • Elizabeth Scribner, analyst, Model Risk Management & Validation,
    Regions Financial Corp.
  • Mitesh Shah, vice president and assistant general counsel, Vulcan Materials Co.

The Southern Research Advisory Board was established in 2015.