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David Hirschberg, PhD

FOUNDER & CATALYST

Senior Scientist and Affiliate Associate Professor at the University of Washington Tacoma; Science and Technology advisor supporting Edgewood Chemical Biological Center (ECBC, US Army RDECOM).

Dr. Hirschberg is the visionary founder and leader of RAIN. A Tacoma native, he created RAIN to drive BioTech jobs and companies in Tacoma. His vast network of scientific collaborators extend across the US and to nations around the world. 

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Judy Nguyen, PhD

HEAD SCIENTIST 

PhD (BCMB, Neuroscience) from John Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Dr. Nguyen is a molecular biologist with an interest in developing detection methods for health- or environmentally-related targets. She previously worked to characterize a novel gene using mutational analysis and investigated previously uncharacterized behavior by glia cells in the nervous system. Dr. Nguyen works to expand the life sciences capabilities for the region and to provide scientific opportunities for students and military members and their families.

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Rebekah Ryan

 

CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER, Head of Operations

University of Oregon.

Rebekah was an HR & Accounting Manager for a national finance company, started and sold a successful bookstore, and served as a start-up and small business consultant in Illinois prior to joining the RAIN team. She manages all RAIN finances, and oversees many other business team functions.    

 
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Kristine Grace, DDS, MS, MBA

DIRECTOR OF BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

Director of Marketing at IntellaHealth, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon Medical Teams Intl, Entrepreneur. 

After completing a Masters degree in Cellular Biology and residency program in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Kristine went to private practice in Pierce County for 18 years. She retired after completing a MBA and started several companies. She is passionate to grow BioTech in her hometown of Tacoma.

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Mandy Galuszka, MS Ed

EDUCATION COORDINATOR 

M.Ed. from Walden University.

Mandy graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in Biology and has taught high school and middle school science for 13 years. She collaborates with local educational organizations to perform STEAM outreach for local schools. 

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Matt Wiener 

OPERATIONS MANAGER

BS (Physics, Math), University of Puget Sound, Entrepreneur.

Matt was the Founder and Director of a digital tutoring company while at UPS.  As a serial entrepreneur, his passion for the Tacoma community and business development drove him to RAIN where he helps grow our network and raise funds for our educational programs.  

 
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Catherine Ryan

RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Catherine joined RAIN as a volunteer in September of 2017 before quickly converting that into an internship under Head Scientist, Dr. Judy Nguyen.

After a year and a half of consistently exceeding expectations and going above-and-beyond in her assignments, she now fulfills her role as Research Assistant with the same level dependability and attention to detail she always has.

Currently, she is developing an isothermal DNA amplification technique for the detection of environmental DNA, building assays for RAIN's educational programs, and leading the iGEM Team's Wet Lab work.

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Brendan Studebaker

RESEARCH ASSISTANT

BS (Biomedical Science), University of Washington Tacoma

Brendan is a high-achieving 4th year Biomedical Science student at the University of Washington Tacoma and was one of RAIN’s earliest interns! He contributes now as a Research Assistant, both helping our Science Team execute research objectives as well as training the next wave of student-interns and iGEM students. Brendan also brings his RAIN lab training back to campus with him, where he is currently engaged in a Neuroscience research project.

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Andrew Struthers

LOGISTICS COORDINATOR

South Puget Sound Community College 

Andrew brings an extensive background in logistics and shipping coordination.  He spent 15 years utilizing all major shipping software and retail distribution of packages prior to going RAIN. He is passionate about the minutia of details, customer service, human resources, and small business management. Andrew is in charge of all shipping and logistical concerns for RAIN, its contract work, and collaborating companies.

 
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Ryan Culbert

RAIN Intern

Biomedical Science, University of Washington Tacoma

Apprenticeship with Dr. Stan Langevin, Immunological Research

In addition to his apprenticeship, Ryan coordinates pop-up learning experiences in Biology for local students.

Ryan is a 4th year Biomedical Science student at University of Washington Tacoma gaining hands-on skills and experience at RAIN.

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Ian Gutierrez

RAIN INTERN

Pacific Lutheran University, Stadium High School

Ian came to RAIN as an iGEM intern in February of 2018 and has worked his way into a number of collaborative projects under Dr. Judy Nguyen.

Ian now serves as a Student Leader for the 2019 RAIN iGEM Team, helps run RAIN’s Bioengineering Summer Camp, and assists on Class Demos.

He is heading to Pacific Lutheran University in the fall with a 4-year Full-Ride scholarship to study Computer Science and pursue a double major in Biology. Ian will continue to work at RAIN in a limited capacity during his time at PLU.

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Shah A. Khan

RAIN Intern

BS (Biomedical Science), University of Washington Tacoma

Apprenticeship with Dr. Stan Langevin, Immunological Research

In addition to his apprenticeship, Shah coordinates pop-up learning experiences in Biology for local students.

Shah came to RAIN as a capstone student performing research and has stayed to take advantage of opportunities in Biomedical Science and Medical Research.

 

Board of Directors

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Janet Kruzel

VICE CHAIR

“I believe in the power of education and mentoring.  When I heard Professor David Hirschberg describe his dream, I wanted to become part of his team to make it happen, here in the Tacoma area. The hand-on experience RAIN provides students is a valuable bridge from thorough academic studies into real world settings. RAIN complements the systems in place, and is creating networks that can generate powerful synergies.  RAIN is an opportunity for me to contribute the investment, financial and analytical skills from my business career to the benefit of students and my community.”

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Jeff Watts

BOARD CHAIRMAN

“I joined RAIN to support Professor David Hirschberg’s vision of developing a biotech industry in Tacoma by growing biotech talent, jobs, and companies here.  We need scientists, techies, and entrepreneurs, but we also need business folks and investors comfortable with new businesses and passionate founders. With my career primarily focused on investments in the private equity industry, I hope my contribution is to bring that business experience and perspective to this exciting endeavor!”

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David McCune, MD, MPH. 

FOUNDING MEMBER

"Since 2012 I have served as the Consultant to the Army Surgeon for Clinical Research. My goal is to increase the number and the size of clinical and translational research studies at Madigan. These efforts have resulted
in collaborations across multiple medical specialties and in collaborations between Madigan and numerous commercial and academic research partners. This has increased access for military patients to clinical research and improved the quality of care delivered at Madigan. My current focus is to create a sustained culture of innovation and collaboration that will benefit the regional biotech sector, improve
academics at Madigan and in the region, and continue to work toward the triple aim (reduced costs, better
outcomes, increased autonomy) for military patients."

 
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Mark Holcomb

FOUNDING MEMBER

“The current growth in the Puget Sound region provides Tacoma with extraordinary opportunities.   One of Tacoma’s best assets is the strong universities, community colleges and technical colleges in the area.   RAIN provides a platform for our local students to (i) have a practical, hands-on education in the sciences and start-up businesses, (ii) be exposed to information and new technologies, and (iii) have opportunities to develop relationships and find employment in the local business community.  I am excited to be part of a unique organization that helps our students and community prosper. ”

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Kristine Grace, DDS, MS, MBA

"The Mission of RAIN aligns with my belief that Tacoma can become a BioTech hub in the Northwest. RAIN combines the people, place, and power to accelerate projects that will advance growth in the life science sector and is uniquely qualified to do so. The relationship with our universities, healthcare organizations, secondary education centers, and governmental partners has strengthened our ability to grow research, provide training to students, and ultimately drive better products for the public."

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David Hirschberg, PHD 

FOUNDING MEMBER

"Years ago, I returned to Tacoma with a dream of starting a life science incubator that would educate students, grow jobs, and turn out start-up companies for our region. RAIN is the recognition of that dream. My strength is in creating innovative spaces where people can collaborate develop skills and invent useful tools. RAIN is about rapid prototyping of ideas, demonstration of technology to investors and solutions to local problems. RAIN is about fundamental work from the bottom up. We want to be Tacoma’s hometown innovation center, a proving ground for technical expertise. We are developing human capital for the community."

 
 
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Paul Amoroso MD, MPH. 

FOUNDING MEMBER

Dr. Amoroso joined the Institute in September 2011. He is a research epidemiologist with extensive experience in research administration. A specialist in Aerospace Medicine, Dr. Amoroso also has a background in Health Policy and Management. His primary research interests include leveraging technology and data to improve patient care, and building collaborative groups of investigators to conduct research on the cutting edge of medicine.