Mel Billingsley, Ph.D.
President/CEO, Life Science Greenhouse of Central Pennsylvania
Mel Billingsley, Ph.D., is president and CEO of the Life Sciences Greenhouse, professor of pharmacology at Pennsylvania State University Milton S. Hershey College of Medicine (MSHCM), and professor of biotechnology and entrepreneurship, Penn State University – Harrisburg, PA campus. His background includes rich and varied experience as a researcher, educator and investor, as well as a long history of actively fostering the advancement of technology within the larger community. He has an undergraduate degree in biophysics and microbiology from the University of Pittsburgh, a doctoral degree in pharmacology from George Washington University, and a postdoctoral degree in neuropharmacology from Yale School of Medicine.
Kevin Harter, M.B.A.
Professor of Practice in Entrepreneurship and Director, Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Penn State Harrisburg
Kevin Harter is an experienced healthcare and technology executive and board member, award-winning serial entrepreneur, and long-time volunteer for education-related initiatives.
In his latest role, Kevin is back in Central Pennsylvania helping Penn State to support its Invent Penn State Initiatives. He is serving as Professor of Practice in Entrepreneurship and Director of the new entrepreneurial initiative at Penn State Harrisburg. In this role, he is looking to leverage the assets of the region, and the faculty and students at Penn State to create a sustainable ecosystem built around innovation. Additionally, he serves as the Interim Director of the Center for Medical Innovation at the College of Medicine.
Recognition for his professional and volunteer achievements includes the Entrepreneur of the Year Award from Ernst & Young/Inc. Magazine, the Entrepreneurial Achievement Award from Ben Franklin Technology Partners, Outstanding Leadership in Technology Award from the Technology Council of Central PA, and the Alumni Fellow and Philip Mitchell Service Award from the Pennsylvania State University. He earned a BS in information systems and an MBA from Penn State University.
Charles Smith serves as the founder and CEO of Apogee Biotechnology Corporation and Entrepreneur-in-Residence in the Office of Technology Development at the College of Medicine. In addition to both of these roles, he also serves as a professor in the Department of Pharmacology.
Charles’ research relates to signaling systems involved in tumor growth and have been supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and other sources for over 20 years. He has more than 120 research publications and multiple U.S. and international patents. The majority of these relate to the identification of new targets for chemotherapy, and the design, synthesis and evaluation of new drug candidates.
Charles has led Apogee Biotechnology Corporation; a drug discovery company focused on developing proprietary compounds for the treatment of cancer, through a series of National Institutes of Health funded projects and is currently conducting trials of ABC294640, a first-in-class inhibitor of sphingosine kinase-2, in patients with cancer.
Prior to returning to Penn State Hershey, Charles held positions at the Burroughs Wellcome Company, University of Hawaii, Fox Chase Cancer Center and the Medical University of South Carolina.
Michele Washko has more than 20 years experience working for or advising enterprises of various types and sizes, ranging from start-ups to SMEs and the Fortune 100. She has particular expertise in the healthcare innovation, having worked for Merck & Co., Inc., in new product launches; as Vice President Strategic Services for the Life Sciences Greenhouse of Central Pennsylvania, an early-stage venture fund; for Geisinger Health System in its Institute for Advanced Application; and most recently, as a Principal with Life Sciences Innovation Consulting. Functional areas for which she’s had responsibility include strategic planning, product commercialization, alliance management, marketing, communications and finance. Michele has served on the board of numerous young biotech firms and non-profit organizations. She is a member of the Corporate Faculty at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology where she teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in entrepreneurship and healthcare economics. Michele received her BA from Emory University, an M.B.A. from Penn State University and certificate in Executive Leadership from Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
Sara Love, M.B.A.
Marketing and Communications Manager, Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute
Sara serves as the marketing and communications manager for the Clinical + Translational Science Institute at Penn State University. In this role, she promotes the capabilities, resources and services of the Institute to the internal and external community. Sara’s background consists of higher education and start-up experience that focuses on developing community and corporate partnerships serving the public good. She has held various newly created positions at organizations, helping to build sustainable programs and initiatives that foster entrepreneurship, workforce development and innovation in the biomedical sciences and high tech communities.
Prior to serving at the Institute, Sara held the position of associate director for business development in the Office of Technology Development at the College of Medicine. She managed the marketing, communications and industry relations efforts for the office. Working closely with faculty, industry partners and collaborators to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship on campus. Prior to joining Penn State College of Medicine, Sara managed the experiential programs at Harrisburg University of Science and Technology. In this role, she build industry partnerships with life science and high technology companies to provide research and work experiences to both graduate and undergraduate students.
Sara received her Bachelor’s Degree in Corporate Communications for Susquehanna University and an M.B.A. From Lebanon Valley College.