The Memphis Chapter of BioTN’S Academic Alliance’s mission is to connect early career professionals from across the Mid-South region with professionals from both the private and public sectors to share ideas, information, and career opportunities in life science and related fields. Our key demographics are students and post-docs from Memphis-area universities and research institutions.

The Memphis chapter of BioTN’S Academic Alliance is a non-profit, member organization that has functioned until June 30, 2020 under Life Science Tennessee (LST), whose mission is to advance and grow the life science industry in Tennessee through advocacy, partnerships and alignment with economic and workforce development. Over the years we have organized Beer & Biotech, a monthly networking event and for the past four years have been successfully organizing the Memphis Scipreneur Challenge.  As of July 1, 2020 all the Academic Alliance chapters have transferred operation from LST to BioTN, a 501c3 foundation whose mission is to promote the knowledge of, and education in, STEM and the biosciences; innovation and entrepreneurship in STEM and the biosciences; and the positive impact of STEM and the biosciences on human health.

For additional information please reach out to us at


President: Erika Dillard, MD, PhD

Deputy President / Vice President: Kavya Annu

Secretary / Visual Communications Director: Laura Hamel, PhD

Events and Outreach Director: Deepa Ganesh, PhD

Entrepreneurism Director / Memphis Scipreneur Challenge Director: Ryan Hughes, PhD

Public Policy Director: Faten Okda, DVM, MS, PhD

Career Development Director: Geetika Singh, PhD

UTHSC Liaison: Riu Wang

St. Jude Liaison: Faten Okda, DVM, MS, PhD


Richard Magid, PhD, Vice President, University of Tennessee Research Foundation

Clifford Froelich, PhD, Director QCA, Cognate Bioservices, Inc.

Isaac Rodriguez, PhD, Co-Founder & CSO, SweetBio, Inc.

Chad Riggs, PhD, Marketing Associate Technology Licensing, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

James Bell, MBA, President and Founder, Medical Device Guru, LLC

Abby Trotter, Executive Director, BioTN


Monthly Networking Events: We invite speakers from Industry and/or Academic Institutions to share and discuss their experiences with our students, postdocs and other Academic Alliance members.

Annual Events

Memphis Sciprenuer Challenge is an initiative of Memphis chapter in collaboration with University of Memphis (UofM), University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC), and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (SJCRH). For more information please visit Memphis Scipreneur Challenge. We recently hosted the fourth successful event in the first quarter of this year.

Biotech Job Fair is an initiative of the Memphis chapter in collaboration with all our supporters in the state of Tennessee. The annual Job Fair will highlight job availability within our state’s Biotech Industry. 

The Biotech Job Fair, has created a platform where jobseekers with life science degrees residing currently in the state of Tennessee continue to contribute to the overall growth of the state. The purpose of the Job Fair is not only to help those looking for career opportunities, but also to become a platform wherein the Industry and the Academic Institutions offering biotech jobs in the state of Tennessee are able to find suitable candidates.

Please reach out to us at for additional details.