Archives: Team Member

Josh Carpenter

Dr. Carpenter joined Southern Research in 2021. Prior to joining the organization, he served as director of innovation and economic opportunity for the City of Birmingham, where he led the city’s efforts in talent development, COVID-19 recovery and business expansion. Previously, Dr. Carpenter served as the director of external affairs at the University of Alabama at Birmingham where he was also an assistant professor in economics. He is a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, serves on the boards of Birmingham Promise and the American Association of Rhodes Scholars, and co-chaired Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin’s transition committee. Dr. Carpenter earned a doctorate in political economy from the University of Oxford where he studied on a Rhodes Scholarship.

Oliver Hampton

Dr. Hampton joined Southern Research in 2023 and brings more than 15 years of industry and academic experience innovating novel sequencing techniques and computational analysis workflows for a wide range of multi-omic and clinical data applications for RWD/RWE, precision medicine, therapeutic target discovery, and clinical trial matching.

Prior to joining Southern Research, he served as Vice President of Bioinformatics and Biostatistics at Aster Insights, a health informatics solutions firm dedicated to improving cancer care via the use of precision medicine. He was also Group Leader of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s Platform Informatics core facility, where he led a team responsible for the design, implementation, and maintenance of sophisticated and automated analysis workflows that transform next generation sequencing data into high-confidence data ready for clinical actionability and research hypothesis generation. Dr. Hampton was also Research Assistant Professor in the Human Genome Sequencing Center at Baylor College of Medicine where his research focused on the genetics of pediatric malignancies.

He graduated from New Mexico State University with a Bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and a Master’s degree in computer science. At Baylor College of Medicine, he earned his Ph.D. in Structural and Computational Biology and Molecular Biophysics.

Harry Ledebur

Dr. Ledebur joined Southern Research in 2024—bringing with him 25+ years of experience across the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and contract research industry. In his role as COO, Dr. Ledebur leads SR’s preclinical drug discovery and development operations. Dr. Ledebur’s scientific career has centered on the discovery, characterization, and development of novel therapeutics. He recently held executive positions in the contract research industry, serving as Vice President and General Manager of Contract Research Organization Operations at AmplifyBio and Vice President of Life Sciences Research The Battelle Memorial Institute. He has also held key leadership roles at several biotech companies including Axonia Medical, NanoMed Pharmaceuticals, Chromos Molecular Systems, and Caprion Pharmaceuticals.

Dr. Ledebur earned his B.S. in Biochemistry from The Ohio State University and his Ph.D in Molecular and Cell Biology from Pennsylvania State University. He also currently serves on the board of the East Tennessee chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Corinne E.

Dr. Augelli-Szafran has more than 35 years of drug discovery and leadership experience in pharma, academia and not-for-profit organizations. After 17 years at Parke-Davis/Pfizer, where she held a number of leadership roles mainly in the neurodegenerative field of study, she spent 8 years at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital where she built a drug discovery laboratory from ground zero with a focus on novel Alzheimer disease therapies. Currently her responsibilities in her role as Vice President of Scientific Platforms, the Drug Discovery division at Southern Research, include the leadership and management of synthetic, medicinal and bioanalytical chemistry, high throughput screening, oncology and structural biology and computer-aided drug design, which includes more than fifty professional employees focused on the identification of new therapies in several therapeutic areas. Other duties include the support and contribution of the overall strategic roadmap of Southern Research, management of budget and resources, and the strengthening, identification and development of key collaborators and partnerships.

Some of the current key research programs that involves Dr. Augelli-Szafran’s strategic oversight include new therapies for Cystic Fibrosis, antivirals, oncology, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, dermatology, and kidney disease. She is responsible for and funded by multiple grants, including 3 R01s, UG3, U19, DoD and DTRA awards, NIAID Task Orders and a NIAID BAA as well as Foundation and commercial funding. She is an Affiliated Professor in the Department of Neurology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, a faculty member in the Department of Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, School of Public Health, a member of the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center and a member of the Gregory Fleming James Cystic Fibrosis Research Center. Dr. Augelli-Szafran has been a standing member on NIH grant review panels (NINDS) for 15 years, a reviewer for several journals and a mentor to several graduate and undergraduate students. Her scientific record includes more than 65 publications, 165 presentations, and 35 issued and published patents. She received her BA in Biology from the University of Pennsylvania and her MS and PhD in Organic Chemistry from New York University.

Khalilah Brown

Dr. Khalilah Brown is a native of Huntsville, Alabama, and received her BS in Biology with Honors from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and her Doctor of Medicine from the University of Alabama School of Medicine. She completed her pediatric residency training with the University of Florida at Sacred Heart Hospital. After completing her training, she participated in the National Health Service Corps at Quality of Life Health Services in Gadsden, Alabama.

Dr. Brown has spent the last 14 years working in public health. In 2009, she began that part of her career with the Jefferson County Department of Health by serving as a Public Health Medical Officer in primary care. After seven years of clinical work, she was promoted to Child Health Medical Director and Laboratory Director. As an advocate for children’s healthcare, Dr. Brown serves on several community boards—helping to advance services for mothers and children in the greater Birmingham area. She currently chairs the State of Alabama Perinatal Advisory Committee, is the immediate past chair for the Maternal Child Health Roundtable of Jefferson County, AL, and is the past co-chair of the Healthcare Access priority group of the Health Action Partnership of Central of Alabama.

Dr. Brown joined Southern Research as Vice President of Medical Affairs and Patient Advocacy in March of 2023. In her new role as the leader of the Catalyst program, Dr. Brown will seek to increase access to precision medicine and clinical trials for Alabamians.

Moníca Mason

Mason leads efforts among the in vivo lab operations, veterinary, pathology, bioanalytics and the central repository teams in support of studies in toxicology, infectious disease, cell immunology and cancer therapeutics research programs. She is an experienced multi-disciplinary leader with a 30-year career in drug development. Before joining Southern Research in 2019 as a quality assurance auditor, she was a program manager at the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where she was responsible for operational administration of the Phase 1 clinical trials program. Mason has a master’s degree in anatomic science and a bachelor’s degree in biology from UAB. She holds industry-specific board certifications and earned UAB graduate certificates from the Center for Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning, Teaching and Biotechnology and Regulatory Affairs programs.

David A. Rutledge

Rutledge joined Southern Research in 1986 and has served in several leadership positions, including chief financial officer and senior controller, before joining the executive leadership team. He has more than 20 years of experience in the public and private sectors and earned a master’s in business administration from the University of Alabama. He is a certified public accountant in the state of Alabama. Rutledge credits his devoted career at Southern Research to a deep belief in the organization’s mission and impact.

Ricardo “Ricky” Brito

Brito serves as Southern Research’s Chief of Staff. Brito comes to Southern Research with over 15 years of supply chain, operations, legal, and strategic planning experience, with previous roles as an active-duty US Army Officer, and, most recently, managing supply chain sustainability for Southern Company. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of South Alabama, graduated from Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law, and studied Corporate Innovation and Sustainability at Harvard Extension. Brito is a member of the Alabama State Bar Association, a Pathfinder Alumni of the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity, and was previously an active member of the Sustainable Supply Chain Alliance.