Piedmont Triad Advisory Committee Welcomes New Members from Academic Life Science R&D

Nancy Johnston, NCBiotech Piedmont Triad executive director
Nancy Johnston,
Piedmont Triad
executive director

The North Carolina Biotechnology Center’s Piedmont Triad Office is welcoming four new members to its regional advisory committee at its October meeting. 

The four, academics with expertise in life science R&D, are Gregory Burke, M.D., Wake Forest School of Medicine; Stephanie Dance-Barnes, Ph.D., Winston-Salem State University (WSSU); and Joseph Graves Jr., Ph.D., the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering (JSNN) and Wayne Szafranski, assistant vice chancellor, outreach & economic development, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (NCA&T).

“Having expert leaders from our research universities contributing to the discussion and activities in the region is a valuable asset to our committee,” said Nancy Johnston, executive director of NCBiotech’s Piedmont Triad Office. “Understanding current research underway and its future potential to disrupt the life science landscape is a key component to developing a regional strategy that furthers our statewide position as a global life science leader.”

The advisory committee assists the Piedmont Triad Office’s efforts to recruit life science companies to the region, which includes Winston-Salem, High Point, Greensboro, Burlington and other cities along the I-85 corridor.

“The advisory committee consists of relevant executive-level regional leaders from academia and industry that validate the importance of biotech through their commitment and volunteer efforts,” said Johnston. “When seeking to recruit a company, they serve as advocate, advisor and resource.”

Advisory committee initiatives include engagement with NCBiotech’s Regional Impact of Statewide Engagement across North Carolina (RISE_NC) initiative; and hosting Triad BioNight 2019, the region’s iconic life science excellence awards evening in collaboration with the NCBiotech Piedmont Triad Office.

The Piedmont Triad region is home to 81 life science companies that employ nearly 7,500 people.  

New Committee Members Bring Expertise in Life Science R&D

Gregory Burke, M.D.
Gregory Burke, M.D.

Burke joins the advisory committee as the representative for Wake Forest School of Medicine, Wake Forest Innovations and Wake Forest Innovation Quarter. Burke is the chief science officer and senior associate dean for research at the Wake Forest School of Medicine, where he is a professor in the School of Public Health Sciences and at the Translational Science Institute.

Burke is nationally recognized as a leader in population research on cardiovascular and other chronic diseases. His research focuses on how to best prevent the onset of chronic disease to increase lifespan and improve quality of life.


Stephane Dance-Barnes
Stephanie Dance-Barnes, Ph.D.


Dance-Barnes succeeds Morris Clarke as the representative from WSSU. She is the co-chair of WSSU’s Department of Biological Sciences and is an associate professor of cell and molecular biology. 

Dance-Barnes studies the biological diversity of breast cancer tumors, using genomics, molecular genetics, and cell biology. This research is focused on developing improved and more-targeted therapies that are specific to each tumor subtype. 


Joseph Graves Jr., Ph.D.
Joseph Graves Jr., Ph.D.


Graves, the interim dean and professor of nanoengineering at the JSNN, succeeds Jim Ryan, Ph.D., as the representative of that academic collaboration of North Carolina A&T State University and the University of North Carolina Greensboro. 

His research concerns the evolutionary genomics of adaptation, particularly as relevant to postponed aging and bacterial responses to nanomaterials. He has also written extensively concerning biological concepts of race in humans. He has published more than 90 papers and book chapters on these topics.




Wayne Szafranski
Wayne Szafranski

Szafranski represents the NCA&T on several boards in an economic development capacity. He also is responsible for the university’s intellectual property portfolio and technology transfer operations, and negotiating research relationships.

His work involves not only establishing research ties to businesses, but also developing workforce, curriculum and entrepreneurship training.


Here is a complete list of Advisory Committee members:

  • Chair: Michael Kelly, chief operating officer/chief financial officer, Piedmont Pharmaceuticals
  • Vice Chair: Daniel (Dan) Erb, PT, Ph.D., dean, Congdon School of Health Sciences, High Point University
  • Jerry Barker, chief sales officer, Sightlife Surgical and president, Novex Innovations
  • Stephanie Dance-Barnes, Ph.D., co-chair, Department of Biological Sciences, Winston Salem State University
  • Michael Batalia, Ph.D., CLP, co-founder, Wide Eyed Technologies, LLC
  • Bill Bullock, senior vice president, Statewide Operations & Economic Development, North Carolina Biotechnology Center
  • Gregory Burke, M.D., MSc, chief science officer, Wake Forest School of Medicine
  • Barry Burks, Ph.D., president, Burks Technical Services
  • Jennifer Byrne, co-founder and CEO, Javara Inc.
  • Robert Egleston, executive director, Leadership Winston-Salem
  • Algie Gatewood, Ed.D., president, Alamance Community College
  • Gary Graham, president, Graham Personnel Services
  • Joseph Graves Jr., Ph.D., interim dean and professor of biological sciences, Joint School of Nanoscience & Nanoengineering
  • Andrew Hebard, president and CEO, Technology Crops International
  • Nancy Johnston, executive director, Piedmont Triad Office, North Carolina Biotechnology Center
  • Alan Jones, director of business development, Duke Energy
  • Genevra Kelly, MPH, institute partnerships, Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine
  • Troy Knauss, partner, Guardant Partners and vice chairman, Angel Resource Institute
  • John Merrill, executive director, Gateway University Research Park
  • George "Randy" Parker, Ed.D, PE, president, Guilford Technical Community College
  • Mark Phillips, VP of state operations and executive director, Eastern Office, North Carolina Biotechnology Center
  • Russ Read, executive director, National Center for the Biotechnology Workforce, Forsyth Technical Community College
  • Cynthia (Cindy) Rothschild, Ph.D., partner, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton
  • Simon Selwood, M.Sc., Ph.D., director, business development, SoBran Bioscience
  • Terri Shelton, Ph.D., vice chancellor for research and economic development, University of North Carolina Greensboro
  • Wayne Szafranski, assistant vice chancellor, outreach & economic development, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University 
  • Megann Vaughn Watters, vice president, corporate development, Laboratory Corporation of America
Mindy Hamlin, NCBiotech Writer
Mon, 10/01/2018 - 12:07