We are excited to host 2 separate panel discussions at PharmaSUG 2023! Join us on Monday morning for the Technology discussion, and come back again on Tuesday afternoon for the Diversity, Equity & Incllusion (DEI) panel.

Technology Panel Discussion - Putting Digitalization to Work

Monday, May 15, 10:30-11:30 AM
Golden Gate 6-7

This panel will feature industry leaders and technology experts Matt Becker, Mike McDevitt, Mike Stackhouse and Paul Slagle. They will share their insights on how the latest technological developments revolutionize the pharmaceutical industry. Join the discussion on cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence and data-driven designs, and how these advancements transform everything from drug discovery to clinical trials. Share how you are putting digitalization to work!

Panelists (click for bio)

Matt Becker

Mike McDevitt

Moderator: Paul Slagle

Mike Stackhouse

DEI Panel Discussion

Tuesday, May 16, 1:30-3:30 PM
Golden Gate 6-7

In this 2-hour discussion, panel members Melanie Besculides, Jeffrey Lavenberg, Ji-Hyun Lee, Fanni Natanegara and Lilia Rodriguez will provide their thoughts on many aspects of DEI and will answer questions from the moderators and audience. We hope to generate a rich discussion on this issue that will promote a better understanding of the benefits, issues and challenges and will energize us to take steps to promote DEI in the workplace.

Panelists (click for bio)

Melanie Besculides

Jeff Lavenberg

Ji-Hyun Lee

Fanni Natanegara

Lilia Rodriguez

Moderators (click for bio)

Rohit Alluri

Radha Railkar

Panelist and Moderator Biographies

Rohit Alluri, MSD

Rohit Alluri currently works as an Associate Principal Scientist, Statistical Programming at MSD. Rohit has a Masters in Cellular & Molecular Biology and a Bachelors in Bio-Technology and over 14 years of experience as statistical programmer working for companies such as IQVIA and ICON. He is a member of the Diversity and Inclusion working group within his department and serves on a team that is working on forming partnerships with external organizations and educational institutions to educate and attract diverse talent to the biostatistics department at MSD.

Matt Becker, SAS

Matt Becker is a highly accomplished professional working at SAS, a leading provider of analytics software and services. With years of experience in the industry, Matt has developed a reputation as an expert in data analysis and visualization. He received his Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from a top-ranked university, where he developed a passion for the intersection of technology and data. He went on to earn his Master's degree in Data Science, honing his skills in advanced statistical analysis and machine learning techniques. In his current role at SAS, Matt is responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of data-driven solutions for clients across a range of industries. He is deeply committed to helping businesses harness the power of data to gain insights and make informed decisions, and is known for his exceptional problem-solving skills and his ability to work collaboratively with clients and colleagues alike. He has a strong track record of delivering results and exceeding expectations, and is highly regarded by both clients and industry peers. Outside of work, Matt enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, and exploring the latest trends in technology and data science. He is also an avid reader and a dedicated mentor to aspiring data professionals.

Melanie Besculides, Mount Sinai's Icahn School of Medicine

Dr. Besculides is an evaluation scientist who specializes in mixed-methods research. She is an Assistant Professor with the Institute for Healthcare Delivery Science in Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine. She leads the ongoing evaluation of the Cloud-Based Data Science educational program which aims to equip disadvantaged young adults with skills to become data scientists. She has collaborated with Johns Hopkins School of Public Health to develop surveys to ensure evaluation efforts are consistent across sites and served as a panelist on Engaging Minority and Underserved Populations in Health Science: Education and Training for Careers in Statistics and Data Science at the 2021 Joint Statistical Meeting. Dr. Besculides has also been an integral part of the comprehensive evaluation of a machine learning algorithm (MUST-Plus) to predict malnutrition, leading the qualitative evaluation and co-authoring work on quantitative aspects of the evaluation. Further, Dr. Besculides guides the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in their equity-focused quality improvement research and evaluation efforts and leads the qualitative component of a mixed methods study examining sexual toxicity among female cancer survivors.

Prior to joining Mount Sinai, Dr. Besculides worked for Mathematica Policy Research where she conducted evaluations of state and federal public health programs to assess their implementation and effectiveness, including directing national evaluations of the Universal Newborn Hearing Screening and Intervention (UNHSI) program for the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the Well-Integrated Screening and Evaluation for Women Across the Nation (WISEWOMAN) program for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Besculides began her career as an epidemiologic researcher with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, working in the Bureau of Maternal and Child Health where she implemented epidemiologic surveillance systems, and the Bureau of Communicable Disease, where she conducted spatial and temporal analysis of data from hospital emergency rooms, pharmaceutical sales, and worker and school absenteeism to assess disease outbreaks.

Jeff Lavenberg, Merck

Jeff Lavenberg is an Associate Principal Scientist, Statistical Programming at Merck, where he has worked for 6 years in late stage clinical development across multiple therapeutic areas. Prior to joining Merck, he spent 8 years in academia at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard. Jeff holds a Masters of Science in Statistics, Measurement, Assessment, Research, and Technology from the University of Pennsylvania, as well as a Bachelor of Science from Pennsylvania State University.

In addition to his work in clinical development, Jeff has been actively involved in advancing diversity and inclusion initiatives at Merck. He has co-led the department's Diversity and Inclusion working group for the past 2 years and has been an active participant in employee business resource groups both internally and externally.

As a panelist on the topic of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the pharmaceutical industry, Jeff brings a wealth of experience and expertise in promoting and implementing initiatives that foster diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. He has been instrumental in driving change at Merck and is committed to advancing these initiatives industry-wide. He is excited to share his insights and contribute to a lively and engaging discussion on this important topic.

Ji-Hyun Lee, University of Florida

Dr. Ji-Hyun Lee is a Professor of Biostatistics at the University of Florida (UF) and Division Director of the Quantitative Sciences at the UF Health cancer center. At her daily job, her responsibility is to provide strategic leadership, administrative direction, and biostatistical/computational biology support to cancer researchers. Additionally, mentoring is a key component of her work, reflecting her deep passion for guiding and supporting others in their professional growth. She earned both her Master's and Doctor of Public Health degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2000 and 2003, respectively.

Dr. Lee is a passionate advocate for the field of statistics and its vital role in society. Over the years, she has demonstrated her commitment to the profession by actively participating in professional statistical societies, particularly the American Statistical Association (ASA). She began her involvement with ASA by volunteering in her local chapter and went on to serve as a District Vice-Chair on the Council of Chapters Governing Board. Subsequently, she was elected to the ASA Board of Directors. Dr. Lee has also served on several ASA committees, including the Task Force on Sexual Harassment and Assault, the Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Outreach Group, and as an ASA representative for the Joint Mathematical Meetings. Her dedication to the field has been recognized by her election as an ASA fellow and certification as a professional statistician through the ASA, or PStat.

Dr. Lee's commitment to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is evident not only through her professional work but also through her involvement in various statistical societies. As the president of the Caucus for Women in Statistics (CWS) in 2017, an international organization aimed at advancing the careers of female statisticians, she implemented a highly successful mentoring program that benefited many aspiring statisticians. This initiative was a critical component in promoting equity and inclusivity in the field, particularly for women. Furthermore, Dr. Lee's involvement with the Korean International Statistical Society (KISS) demonstrates her recognition of the importance of promoting diversity on a global scale. Her service on KISS's Board of Directors from 2017 to 2022 reflects her ongoing commitment to advancing the careers of statisticians from all backgrounds and promoting greater diversity and inclusion within the statistics and data science profession.

Mike McDevitt, Syneos Health

Mike McDevitt, Senior Vice President of Biometrics at Syneos Health, is an industry veteran with deep operational experience across various Biometrics, Clinical and Statistical Programming groups, and has a passion for data sciences, clinical technologies, and innovation. Mike currently provides executive oversight for the Statistics, Statistical/Clinical Programming and Data Management functions at Syneos Health; prior to this role he was responsible for the Biometrics Innovation team where he oversaw the Global Standards team and worked with operations to streamline current state delivery and enable future state capabilities. Mike is a self-confessed email programmer sending untested code typed in email to get a laugh. Mike is currently looking for employment where he gets vacation and doesn’t get calls from work. Mike sees a future of digitized submissions which are mineable by consumers of all skill and knowledge levels and where TLF only stands for Tomato, Lettuce & Falafel.

Fanni Natanegara, Eli Lilly and Company

Fanni Natanegara, PhD, is a Senior Director and currently serves as the Head for the Japan Statistics team at Eli Lilly and Company. She joined Lilly in 2003 after she obtained her PhD in Statistics from Baylor University. She held various statistical and leadership positions at Lilly spanning across drug development phases and therapeutic areas in the US, Singapore, and Japan. Respect for people is a fundamental value she holds dearly as she works with colleagues around the world with different race, culture, and background than her own. She actively shares her experiences through coaching and mentorship focusing on employee engagement, recruiting, and retaining diverse talents.

Dr. Natanegara is also involved in external professional organizations such as the cross industry-regulatory-academic Bayesian Scientific Working Group, ASA Biopharmaceutical Section and Statistical Partnership among Academe, Industry, and Government committee. Whether getting involved in internal and external collaborations, she strives to create an inclusive environment where contributors can be equally involved, feel safe to speak up, and be their authentic self while working together towards common goals.

Radha Railkar, Merck

Radha Railkar is a Senior Director, Biostatistics at Merck, where she provides statistical and strategic oversight for several Vaccine Clinical Development programs and leads a group of statisticians who support clinical trials in vaccines and other therapeutic areas. Radha has a PhD in Statistics from Temple University and is originally from India. Over her 23-year career at Merck, she has worked in both early and late phase clinical development in multiple therapeutic areas. Early in her career, Radha had the opportunity to work on the Gardasil® program and played a key role in the design and analysis of several clinical trials and supported the submissions to regulatory agencies. Her research interests are in the areas of multiplicity, stratified trials with binary endpoints, missing data, methods for estimating vaccine efficacy, and modeling the relationship between immune responses and efficacy in vaccine trials. She is a member of the Diversity and Inclusion working group within her department and serves on a team that is working on forming partnerships with external organizations and educational institutions to educate and attract diverse talent to the biostatistics department at Merck.

Lilia Rodriguez, SAS

Dr. Lilia Rodriguez is an Academic Program Manager in the Academic Innovation and Strategy team at SAS where she helps advance analytics education by partnering with higher education institutions and designing programs to responsibly support minority serving institutions. Before joining SAS, Dr. Rodriguez worked on the design, execution, and coordination of equity-oriented educational programs and tools across the P-20 pipeline, including local and global university-community partnerships to cultivate professional development for college students. Dr. Rodriguez earned a Ph.D. in education from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her interdisciplinary training in the learning sciences, cultural studies, and anthropology, influence her interest in human ingenuity and innovation for social improvement.

Mike Stackhouse, Atorus Research

Mike Stackhouse is the Chief Innovation Officer of Atorus Research. Mike is a 2020 UC Berkeley School of Information Master of Information and Data Science (MIDS) program graduate. Mike and his team at Atorus have been actively developing and releasing open-source R packages, such as pharmaRTF and Tplyr. Additionally, Mike and his team have collaborated on other pharmaverse R packages such as xportr, metacore, metatools, envsetup, and more. Within industry, Mike sits on the council of Pharmaverse, as well as the board of the CDISC Open Source Alliance (COSA), and co-leads the PHUSE working group Data Visualization and Open Source Technology.