Dr. Michael Smerdon, PhD


Dr Michael Smerdon

Talk Title Dr. Smerdon will give a historical view of some of the research highlights of his career while at WSU and how his research benefitted from the valuable research environment in SMB

Current Professional Title: Regents Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics, School of Molecular Biosciences at Washington State University (https://smb.wsu.edu/faculty-trainees-and-staff/faculty/profile/dr.-michael-smerdon)

Current Activities Dr. Smerdon currently has a 50% appointment in SMB and recently moved to Spokane near the WSU-Spokane campus, where he consults with several research groups and occasionally attends joint lab meetings and seminars. He is also (a) a consultant for research projects in the Wyrick, Mao and Roberts labs in SMB at WSU-Pullman, (b) writing a book on Chromatin Structure and Function with Dr. Jeffery Hansen, at Colorado State University, and (c) an active member of the Board of Directors for the Washington State Academy of Sciences.

Connection to SMB: Regents Professor and former SMB Director 

Alumna: Patricia Sadate-Ngatchou, PhD


Patricia Sadate-Ngatchou

Talk Title: “From Molecular Biosciences to Global Health: Then, In between and Now”

Professional Title: Technical Associate Director, Laboratory Sciences, Program Sciences and Technical Support, Global Health Population and Nutrition; Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Global health, University of Washington (Seattle, WA) URL: https://globalhealth.washington.edu/faculty/patricia-sadate-ngatchou

Current Activities: Provide back up and support to the Director in both administrative and management functions, including leading or supporting the conduct of laboratory capacity building and quality programs led by FHI 360; supporting laboratories across the globe as well as governments and their relevant ministries and stakeholders. Plan and direct work schedules and work plans and monitor budget/spending as well as leading or assisting with project reporting, also develop and mentor FHI 360 laboratory staff.

Connection to SMB: I have remained connected through communications with my advisor Dr Mike Griswold, Rise McGill, lab alumni and classmates. The annual pledges have been a great way to hear about new programs. I have also enjoyed receiving the WSU and/or SBM Magazines at home, as they have provided a way to stay informed about the latest advances and news within the school. I have attended few alumni events in the Seattle area, and have visited the Pullman campus a couple of times either for an event or just for a family getaway.

Alumnus: Ross Rowsey, PhD


Ross Rowsey

Talk Title: “From Maternal Age Mechanisms to Clinical Testing”

Current Professional Title: Co-Director of the Genomics Laboratory at Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN)

Current Activities: My time in SMB with the Hassold/Hunt Laboratory focused on the mechanisms leading to the maternal age effect on aneuploidy. Although the exact mechanism of the maternal age effect hasn’t been elucidated (or is likely multifactorial), we regularly test for chromosomal abnormalities including aneuploidy in prenatal and miscarriage samples. Our testing regularly demonstrates patterns that tie back to basic meiotic principles, and as such my graduate work provided an excellent foundation for my current career as a Laboratory Geneticist.

Connection to SMB: SMB/WSU was my home for 7 years, where I obtained both my B.S. and my Ph.D. while in the Hassold/Hunt labs. I still regularly catch up with Dr. Hassold at meetings to hear about the happenings in SMB, and always follow the university closely in the news (and always root for the Cougs).

Alumnae: Mimi Healey. PhD


Mimi Healey

Talk Title: “How my education at WSU influenced my career”

Current Professional Title: Head, Next Generation Sequencing Systems, Agilent Technologies, Inc.

Current Activities: Previously, I was the CEO of Lasergen, Inc. We focused on novel Next Generation Sequencing chemistry and associated instrumentation. Agilent acquired Lasergen in 2018 and I head the continued development of NGS systems.

Connection to SMB: I try to support WSU/SMB students by sharing my experiences and advise students of potential career opportunities. One benefit of working for a large company, is that I am now able to provide additional financial support with matching funds from Agilent, Inc.

Alumnus: Scott Maloney


Scot Maloney

Talk Title: “From Biology to Business and Back Again”

Current Professional Title: I'm a consultant so wear several hats, please bear with me...For WSU I'm the Director of Innovation and Private Sector Research Engagement. For my firm Crain & Company I'm the Senior Partner and Founder. I'm also the Innovator-in-Residence for the Arrowhead Center, a leading startup incubator.

Current Activities: In my current position for my firm I consult with rapidly growing startups and Fortune 500 companies in the life sciences and technology industries to materially increase their productive outcomes in merger, acquisition, funding, and commercialization activities. For WSU I deliver similar support as I work with the College of Veterinary Medicine and faculty to package their discoveries for outside licensing and then represent them during negotiations with large companies.

Connection to SMB: I'm an SMB graduate from 2002. Since that time WSU has featured heavily in my life and in many of my favorite personal and professional moments. Whether it be being appointed a Trustee to WSU, volunteering my time across colleges, working with CVM and our corporate partners, cheering our football team on, and more, WSU has been my anchor throughout my adult life urging me on and helping me to achieve new goals every day.

Alumna: Kristina Hoffman


Kristina Hoffman

Talk Title: “Timely results matter: How a forensic scientist adopted lean to shorten turnaround times and improve public safety.”

Current Professional Title: Forensic DNA Scientist

Current Activities: Kristina conducts DNA testing on physical evidence submitted to the state crime laboratory in criminal investigations and oversees the FBI DNA Database (CODIS) in the Marysville Crime Lab. Additionally, Kristina provides leadership in the

Crime Lab Division for process improvement initiatives in her role as Lean Coordinator

Connection to SMB: Kristina received her Professional Science Master’s (PSM) degree in Molecular Biosciences from WSU in 2015. Kristina advocates for management and leadership development of individuals employed in laboratory-based professions, and values the WSU PSM program in providing her this critical foundation for future management success.


Alumnus: Travis Kent, PhD

Travis Kent

Talk Title: "From Cougar to Fed"

Current Professional Title: American Academy for the Advancement of Science and Technology (AAAS) Policy Fellow

Current Activities: I am working in the program office of the Fertility and Infertility Branch and Contraceptive Research branch of the Division of Extramural Research and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. In addition to the helping with the normal grant funding cycle, I have also played a role in shaping policy in the reproductive biology space and have represented the Federal Government at national and international meetings.

Connection to SMB: I was part of the inaugural class of STARS students at SMB, working in Dr. Griswold’s laboratory as both an undergraduate and graduate student from 2008 to 2015.

Alumnae: April Binder, PhD


April Binder

Talk Title:

Current Professional Title: Associate Professor of Biological Sciences, Central Washington University (Ellensberg, WA)

Current Activities: At CWU, I teach upper division cell biology courses, including developmental biology, molecular biotechniques and the cell biology portion of our General Biology course. I also oversee undergraduate and masters students in my research lab where we study polycystic ovarian syndrome.

Connection to SMB: SMB has a strong reproductive biology presence and during my time at WSU I was also a student member of the Center for Reproductive Biology (CRB). When I moved to CWU and back to WA state, I became an adjunct faculty at WSU as a member of CRB, which provides opportunities for myself and CWU students to collaborate with WSU faculty and attend seminars/conferences.

Scientific Speaker: Nathan Treff, PhD


Nathan Treff

Talk Title: “Clinical utility and implementation of preimplantation genetic testing for polygenic disease risk”

Current Professional Title: Cofounder, CSO, and Clinical Laboratory Director of Genomic Prediction (North Brunswick, NJ; URL: https://genomicprediction.com/)

Connection to SMB: WSU alumni, Doctor of Philosophy/Biochemistry 2003. Dr’s Hassold and Hunt who are pioneers in aneuploidy research

Washington State University