Chemistry & Biochemistry Alumni Advisory Board
The Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry Alumni Advisory Board was founded in November 2019 by five alumni to promote the department and serve as a support base in fundraising, scholarships, awards, and internships. Since then, the board has grown to 14 members and includes representatives from the undergraduate and graduate student bodies at OHIO. The board meets quarterly, with at least one meeting (usually in the autumn) being held on campus in Athens to facilitate interactions with current students and faculty.
The Alumni Board is currently planning several career preparation workshops and activities for spring 2023 semester. These will be held in a hybrid format, and both undergraduate and graduate students are welcome to attend. Stay tuned for more details!
Richard Couch, Chairman | Class of 1984
Rick graduated from OHIO with a B.S. in Chemistry in 1984 and earned his master’s degree in chemistry from Lehigh University in 1996. He has extensive experience in the pharmaceutical industry, where he helped develop and lead global regulatory CMC (chemistry, manufacturing and controls) teams at Merck and Celgene. Rick is currently a Principal Consultant at R3LS, LLC.
John Wetzel | Class of 1982
John graduated from OHIO in 1982 with a B.S. in Chemistry. After receiving a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Johns Hopkins University in 1989, he performed postdoctoral research at the Suntory Institute for Bioorganic Research in Osaka, Japan. John’s industrial career has focused on drug discovery and development. His past positions included Director, Department of Chemistry at Synaptic Pharmaceutical Corporation and Director, Chemistry Support Services at Lundbeck Research USA. Since 2005, he has been a full-time independent consultant, guiding pharmaceutical clients in the manufacturing of investigational drug substances and drug products. His current positions include Director, Chemistry, Manufacturing & Controls, South Rampart Pharma and Director, Chemistry, Manufacturing & Controls, BioMimetix, and Principal, Wetzel Chemistry Consulting, LLC.
Dustin Starkey | Class of 1998
Dustin graduated from OHIO in 1998 with a B.S. in Forensic Chemistry and went on to receive his Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Cincinnati in 2002 with Dr. William Heineman and his MBA in 2016 from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. While an undergrad at OHIO, Dustin played trumpet in the Marching 110, was a teaching assistant for the Chemistry Department and an undergraduate researcher with Dr. Howard Dewald. He started as a scientist at Abbott in 2002 working on the development and validation of analytical testing methods. He has since worked at Abbott’s R&D facility in Granada, Spain, was the Site Manager of Abbott’s operation at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Research Park, and served as the Senior Manager for Abbott’s Global Operations Professional Development Program. Dustin is currently an R&D Director in Global Analytical and Food Safety at Abbott in Columbus, OH. In addition to his work with the Chemistry Alumni Board, Dustin has also served on the Board of Directors for the OHIO Alumni Association.
Timothy Holzer | Class of 1998
Tim graduated from OHIO in 1998 with a B.S. in Biochemistry and a B.A. in Spanish. While at OHIO, he was an undergraduate researcher with Dr. Martin Tuck and was also a member of the Marching 110. He earned his Ph.D. in Biochemistry in 2005 with Dr. James Forney at Purdue University, where his research focused on molecular mechanisms of gene regulation in protozoan parasites. Tim continued his research at Eli Lilly in Indianapolis in molecular pathology and development of novel diagnostic assays. He is currently Senior Director in the Clinical Diagnostics Laboratory at Lilly impacting drug development in oncology, neuroscience, and immunology.
Heather Baird Tomlinson | Class of 2000
Heather graduated from OHIO in 2000 with a B.S. in Biochemistry and went on to receive her Ph.D. in Pharmacology from Case Western Reserve University with Dr. Eric Arts in 2005. While an undergrad at OHIO, Heather was also a Cutler Scholar. She has extensive experience in clinical diagnostic testing at both Diagnostic Hybrids and Promega Corporation. At Promega, Heather led the clinical diagnostics business unit and developed global expertise in clinical oncology biomarker testing, personalized medicine and companion diagnostics. Heather recently founded Mount Baird Health with the goal of improving healthcare outcomes through research and education.
Tyson Ardo | Class of 2004
Tyson graduated from Ohio in 2004 with a B.S. in forensic chemistry and earned his MBA from Ohio State University in 2013. He has extensive experience in the pharmaceutical industry, where he focuses on quality assurance and change management. He has previously served in various leadership positions in Operations, Process Excellence, and Quality. Currently, he is the Senior Director for Quality Assurance at Hikma Pharmaceuticals.
Kelly Stevanov | Class of 2009
Kelly graduated from Ohio in 2009 with a B.S. in Biochemistry. She is currently a Senior Research Compliance Specialist in the Office of Research at the University of Cincinnati. Her areas of professional expertise include preclinical and clinical trial setup and management, research integrity and compliance, and business intelligence.
Tod Grusenmeyer | Class of 2009
Tod graduated from OHIO in 2009 with a B.S. in Chemistry and went on to receive his Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry with Dr. Russ Schmehl in 2014 at Tulane University, where his research focused on the spectroscopy and photophysics of organic and transition metal molecules. While an undergrad at OHIO, Tod was an undergraduate researcher in Dr. Jeff Rack’s lab. He received a National Research Council Fellowship in 2015 for postdoctoral studies at the Air Force Research Laboratory, where he is currently a Research Chemist.
Michael Moehring | Class of 2010
Michael graduated from OHIO in 2010 with a B.S. in Forensic Chemistry. He then spent six years as an Associate Chemist with BASF focusing on electrolyte and battery chemistry before returning to OHIO to earn an M.S. in Chemistry in 2020. He is currently a Research Scientist with Gotion Inc., where he focuses on electrolyte formulation, internal quality assurance/quality control, and academic outreach programs.
Lauren Loftus | Class of 2014
Lauren graduated from OHIO in 2014 with a B.S. in Chemistry, and went on to receive her Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry with Dr. Claudia Turro at Ohio State University in 2019, where her research focused on ruthenium complexes for photochemotherapy. While an undergrad at OHIO, Lauren was a Cutler Scholar and participated in undergraduate research with Dr. Jeff Rack. Her areas of professional expertise include molecular spectroscopy and photochemistry, and she is currently a Research Scientist at the Air Force Research Laboratory with General Dynamics Information Technology.
Grace Groborchik | Class of 2022
Grace graduated from OHIO in 2022 with a B.S. in Forensic Chemistry. During her time at OHIO, she participated in undergraduate research with both Dr. Anthony Stender and Dr. Benjamin Bythell. She also worked as a PLTL mentor for general chemistry and as a teaching assistant for analytical I and II. Outside of class, she was involved in Alpha Chi Sigma as their Alumni Secretary and Health and Safety Officer. Currently, she is working for the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) as a Forensic Scientist in the drug chemistry section. Her duties include analyzing forensic evidence for the presence of controlled substances along with testifying in court.
Jocelyn Vivona Abonamah | Class of 2016
Jocelyn left OHIO in 2010 and graduated with a B.S. in Forensic Chemistry in 2016. While at OHIO, Jocelyn was a coxswain and coach with the women’s rowing team. After working for several years in the polymer industry, she obtained her MFS in forensic toxicology from George Washington University and joined the Research and Support Unit at the FBI Laboratory in Washington D.C. as an ORISE Visiting Scientist. She then worked in the D.C. OCME toxicology department before recently returning to Ohio as an HRMS assay development technologist at the Cleveland Clinic.
Student Board Members
Eli Skelton | Graduate Student Representative
Eli is currently an inorganic chemistry Ph.D. candidate in Dr. Katherine Cimatu’s group. He previously worked with Dr. Jessica White, where his research focused on the ultrafast spectroscopy of transition metal photosensitizers. He received a B.S. in Chemistry and a Minor in French in 2018 from Allegheny College, where he was involved with undergraduate research and Greek Life.
Josie Franks | Undergraduate Student Representative
Josie is a senior undergraduate student at OHIO pursuing a B.S. in Forensic Chemistry with a Minor in Biology. She is currently the President of the Gamma Nu chapter of Alpha Chi Sigma and Vice President of the Forensic Chemistry Honors Society of Delta Delta Epsilon. Josie is also an undergraduate researcher in Dr. Eric Masson’s lab. After graduation, she plans to continue onto graduate school at OHIO and the University of Leipzig.