Who We Are

The VBSA activities are overseen by a board of directors whom are listed below along with brief biographical information:

Board of Directors

Board Chair

Tom Scarnecchia, President
Co-Founder, Digital Aurora
Tom Scarnecchia is the cofounder of Digital Aurora a consulting company specializing in data science strategies, platforms, and data partnerships for healthcare and life science organizations. Tom is focused on creating breakthrough technologies and business partnerships to generate the real world evidence needed to improve healthcare delivery.  Tom has held leadership roles at Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson, and Lederle Laboratories.

Board members

Xavier AmbroggioXavier Ambroggio, Vice President of Industry
General Manager of the Rosetta Design Group
Dr. Ambroggio founded the Rosetta Design Group (RDG) in 2007 and serves as the General Manager. RDG is an elite CRO providing macromolecular modeling, bioinformatics, and consulting services for clients in the pharmaceutical, biotech, academic, military, government, and non-profit sectors. In conjunction with the Rosetta Commons, RDG hosts RosettaCON, a premier macromolecular modeling conference. In addition to his work with RDG, Dr. Ambroggio developed computational research infrastructure and performed research for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) with the Bioinformatics and Computational Biosciences Branch, Lockheed Martin, and MSC. Prior to RDG, Dr. Ambroggio was an NRSA postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Brian Kuhlman at UNC Chapel Hill. He received his doctorate as an NSF Fellow at Caltech with Drs. Doug Rees and Ray Deshaies, and his BS from George Mason University.
Janet Murray, Vice President of Academia
Director of Outreach, Vermont Genetics Network
As Director of the Outreach Core Dr. Janet Murray oversees the Vermont Genetics Network (VGN) Outreach Team and is involved in several local, national and international programs that are concerned with Science Education. Janet is well known throughout the state’s colleges because of her efforts to deliver Outreach Modules, and to inspire undergraduate students to consider biomedical careers. She was a postdoctoral fellow in the Pediatrics Department in the College of Medicine at the University of Vermont for 5 years before joining VGN as the Outreach Coordinator in 2006.
Dr. Murray received her Ph.D. in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics from the University of Vermont in 2000 and B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of New Hampshire in 1988. She was raised in northern New Hampshire and has lived in Vermont since 1991.
Margaret LaggisMargaret Laggis, Treasurer
Margaret is a Principal in Laggistics, a full service public relations and grass roots marketing firm specializing in controversial public issues and environmental policy. She has over 20 years of lobbying and public relations experience in Vermont. This followed stints as a minority staff member of the House Agriculture committee and a professional staff member of the Senate Agriculture committee in Washington, DC.Current clients include the Biotechnology Industry Organization, American Association of Preferred Provider Organizations, Syngenta, Beaver Wood Energy, the Indoor Tanning Association, the Vermont Groundwater Association, CropLife America and others.
Bill ChurchBill Church
President of Green Mountain Antibodies, Inc.
William R. Church, Ph.D. is the Founder and President of Green Mountain Antibodies since 1996. Previously Dr. Church was a Research Associate Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Vermont. His research focus at Vermont, and at the Mayo and Scripps Clinics, was the use of antibodies to study proteins involved in multi-protein functions such as blood coagulation and the immune response. Dr. Church received his Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry from the University of Kansas Medical Center in 1980 and a B.S. in Biochemistry from Oklahoma State University in 1974. He is a native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and has lived in Burlington, Vermont since 1984. He is a founding board member of the Vermont Biosciences Alliance.
Kerry SwiftKerry Swift (MS)
Kerry Swift has been UVM's Technology Licensing Officer since arriving from MIT in 2004. She also served as OTC's Interim Director from 2011 to 2012. At MIT's Technology Licensing Office, Kerry licensed MIT technologies in the biomedical and device sectors for six-and-a-half years. She holds a Master of Science in Molecular and Microbiology from Tufts University and is a magna cum laude biochemistry graduate of the University of New Hampshire.

At UVM, Kerry facilitates the disclosure of new technologies and their transfer to both established and new start-up companies for commercialization. Kerry also supports UVM's industry-related research activities with her experience in negotiating a wide variety of funding and research support agreements with both large and small companies.
Luke Emerson-Mason
Luke Emerson-Mason is the laboratory manager at Bia Diagnostics, an ISO 17025 accredited contract testing lab specializing in food allergen analysis. In this role he is responsible for ensuring the quality of test results, as well as researching and validating new methods and managing customer projects. He is also project manager for Elution Technologies, a food allergen immunoassay manufacturer, overseeing new product validation and AOAC approval testing. Both are based in Colchester, VT.

Luke received a B.S. in Environmental Science from UVM in 2006, and is currently there part time finishing his M.S. in Food Science. Aside from brief stints teaching snowboarding in Colorado and working at a horticulture research lab in New Zealand, he has lived in VT his entire life.

Michael Stanley
Senior Scientist, Chroma Technologies Inc.
Michael Stanley came from a teaching background: first high school, then college and university His Ph.D. in cellular biology was imaging-based and that influence led him to the industrial world, first via confocal microscopes and then to Chroma thirteen years ago.

Michael now splits his time at Chroma between experimental design for end-users and equipment manufacturers; teaching at microscopy courses with an emphasis on laser-based systems; coordination with engineering/design/sales; and trouble-shooting. In his spare time he rides custom built choppers and scooters and does his best to keep up with his eight year old son.
Robert A. Hamilton
Associate Dean and Chief Administrative Officer of the Vermont Campus of Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Dr. Hamilton is a tenured professor with ACPHS, having previously served as Department Chair and Director of Continuing Professional Development. His research interests have included pharmacoepidemiology of drug interactions and drug therapy of congestive heart failure.

Dr. Hamilton received his BS in Pharmacy from ACPHS in 1977 and his Doctor of Pharmacy from the Medical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth University in 1980. He moved to Milton, Vermont in 2009 to open the Vermont Campus, located in Colchester.
Paul Haley
Research Proteins
Tina ThorntonTina Thornton
Assistant Professor, College of Medicine, University of Vermont
Dr. Tina Thornton is an assistant professor in the College of Medicine at UVM.  Her research examines the ways in which DNA damage affects the immune system and the central nervous system.  Also, she is the coordinator of I-Trep, a UVM initiative that fosters biomedical entrepreneurship in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Puerto Rico and Alaska by providing resources and training to biomedical researchers who seek to commercialize their discoveries and by promoting collaboration between those researchers and the biomedical small business community at large.

Dr. Thornton earned her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota and her B.S. from the University of South Carolina. She was the Joyce Fox Jordan Postdoctoral Fellow at the Purdue University Cancer Center before moving to Vermont in 2005.

We always welcome people to become actively involved and help us to make sure that the VBSA continues to offer innovative, valued programs and services to the bioscience community, and we manage to have fun along the way too.  For more information please contact Rachel Marie Sargent at vermontbiotech@gmail.com