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Virginia Bio Welcomes New Members to its Board of Directors

Virginia Bio, the premier statewide non-profit association representing the life science industry in Virginia, has elected five new members to their Board of Directors for a term of three years beginning January 1.

The newly elected directors are: Robert Day, COO, TECHLAB, Inc., Blacksburg; Kolaleh Eskandanian, VP and Chief Innovation Officer Children’s National Health System; Mark Gignac, Executive Director, Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR); Michael Perham, Director, Innovations and External Relations, HHMI Janelia Research Campus; and Denise Toney, Director, Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services in the Virginia Department of General Services.

Chairman of the Virginia Bio Board, Andy Krouse, CEO of Cavion, Charlottesville, said, "These men and women represent the breadth and depth and best of this dynamic industry across Virginia. These leaders are committed to help bring more innovations more quickly to market to address pressing problems in health and medicine, feeding and fueling the world, and protecting the environment. The Board looks forward to working with them and learning from them."

“The Virginia Biotechnology Association has served as a critical resource for the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) to help connect with and support other equally minded partners to further biotechnology pursuits as part of our applied research efforts,” said Mark Gignac, Executive Director. “I am excited to join the Board of Directors and contribute toward the goal of accelerating growth of economic development for the Virginia bio-ecosystem, which aligns very closely with IALR’s mission.”

Members also re-elected the following directors to an additional three year term: Alan Connor, President & CEO, Cadence, Staunton; Alex Euler, Director, Life Science Investment, CIT, Herndon; Elaine Horn-Ranney, President, CEO, & Co-Founder, Tympanogen, Richmond; Warren Martin, Executive Transaction Advisor, Falls River Group, Fairfax; John Niederhuber, Executive Vice President, Inova Translational Medicine Institute, Fairfax; and Jim Powers, Chairman & CEO, HemoShear Therapeutics, Charlottesville.

New Board Member Backgrounds

Mr. Robert Day is the Chief Operating Officer at TECHLAB, Inc. in Blacksburg, Virginia. He has spent 22 years in quality and operations at FDA regulated companies, including both pharmaceutical and medical devices. In his 17 years at TECHLAB, Rob has assumed multiple roles of increasing responsibility in quality management and operational functions. Previously, Day worked in various management roles at Elizabeth Arden with a majority spent as microbiology lab manager.

Day has a bachelor’s degree in Biology with a concentration in microbiology and immunology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and an M.B.A. focused in project management from the Keller Graduate School of Management of DeVry University.

Kolaleh Eskandanian is the VP and Chief Innovation Officer Children’s National Health System in Washington, DC. In this role she oversees the Office of Innovation and Technology Commercialization, the Sheikh Zayed Institute’s operations, and plays a leadership role in the development of the Children’s National Research and Innovation Campus at Walter Reed. She is the Principal Investigator of the FDA-funded National Capital Consortium for Pediatric Device Innovation (NCC-PDI), focused on accelerating the path to market for pediatric devices. Kolaleh works with a large network of small and large businesses, nonprofits and government agencies---addressing the unmet medical needs of children. Kolaleh’s expertise includes the full spectrum of product development activities, having held management positions at Accenture, a global management consulting firm, where she directed major product launches for clients. Dr. Eskandanian is also the co-PI on the FDA-funded Global Pediatric Clinical Trials Network grant and the CTSI-CN lead of the Orphan Product Accelerator.

Dr. Eskandanian’s own innovations are in the market space, used by millions. She is the lead inventor of the first-ever adverse event reporting system, initially deployed in a research academic environment. Prior to joining Children’s National, Dr. Eskandanian held positions with Intelsat, Accenture, and Georgetown University. Her background is in mechanical engineering with a PhD in operations science and an MBA from American University Kogod School of Business.

Mark Gignac is the Executive Director of the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) in Danville, Virginia. Mark is a graduate of Virginia Tech. After graduating college, Mark spent his early career building an electronics manufacturing business (E.D.S.) that operated for over three decades in Danville, VA. As an entrepreneur, Mark was always interested in the economic development aspect of a community and became involved in the community though his involvement with the Danville City Council, Danville Development Council, Dan River Business Development Center, Southside Rising Venture Capital, Southern Piedmont Technology Council and many other activities. Mark’s activities in the economic development area continue as the Executive Director of the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) whose mission is economic transformation. Mark has brought a business approach to IALR which now operates in an aggressive, customer service driven fashion. Mark and his wife Leannah have four wonderful children and three granddaughters.

Michael Perham leads the Department of Innovations and External Relations at HHMI Janelia Research Campus in Ashburn, Virginia. He has led the department of Innovation Management at Janelia since the beginning of 2016, and overseen community outreach and alliances since 2017. He handles technology management, IP protection, and dissemination for Janelia in service of the Open Science initiative and drives engagement with Loudoun County through the Chamber of Commerce, relationships with LCPS, and other initiatives.

Prior to HHMI Janelia, Mike was Director of IP and Licensing at Health Diagnostic Laboratory, an innovative testing laboratory for cardiometabolic testing in Richmond, and Director of IP and Commercial Contracts at ZyGEM/Microlab Diagnostics, a developer of reagents and rapid DNA analysis instrumentation in Charlottesville. He previously handled academic technology transfer as a Licensing Associate at the University of Texas Medical Branch, the Rice University Office of Technology Transfer and the University of Virginia, where he started and managed the UVAPF Advisory Council. He has a PhD in biophysical chemistry from Rice University, a BS in Chemistry, and a BA in Math from the University of Texas.

Dr. Denise Toney is the Director for the Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services (DCLS), Virginia’s State Laboratory. Denise has worked at DCLS for over 20 years with nearly 30 years of professional laboratory experience in areas of biochemistry, microbiology and molecular biology. She has worked to build and strengthen laboratory partnerships at the local, state and federal level through the implementation of quality analytical testing and a commitment to providing services that address the public health, environmental and agricultural needs of the Commonwealth. Denise led efforts at DCLS to build and secure funding for a premier molecular testing facility designed to rapidly detect and track highly infectious and emerging diseases of public health significance. She has extensive experience with state government, public health, fiscal and policy development, laboratory operations/management, quality assurance and safety, and workforce development. Throughout her career, she has developed a passion for the education and mentorship of students and scientific professionals. She holds an adjunct faculty appointment at Virginia Commonwealth University, provides guest lectures at area universities and colleges, and welcomes opportunities to provide scientific mentorship and promote careers in science and public health.

You can view the complete list of Virginia Bio board members at

About the Virginia Biotechnology Association

Virginia Bio is the statewide non-profit trade association for life science innovation and commercialization, comprised of life science companies, research institutions, health care providers and the professionals who enable them to succeed. We promote the considerable scientific, economic and social impact of the life sciences industry in Virginia, and advocate before state and federal policymakers for policies that support innovation and entrepreneurship, help the industry thrive and bring improved health, medical care, agriculture, fuels and environment to the state, nation and world. Virginia Bio is an affiliate of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), AdvaMed and the Medical Device Manufacturers Association (MDMA) and collaborates closely with the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). To learn more, visit or Follow Virginia Bio on Twitter at @VABio.

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Last Updated: 03-Jan-2019