Cancer Research Day Career Panelists

Alejandro Bernal, PhD 

Global Therapy Lead - Oncology, Apothecom 

Alejandro is the Global Therapy Lead at ApotheCom overseeing the entire oncology portfolio. Alejandro has served in various capacities with several healthcare communications agencies, focusing on brand strategies, strategic positioning, medical education, as well as publication planning and sales training initiatives for global and US clients. He has extensive scientific and clinical expertise in oncology (biologic and nonbiologic therapies in solid and hematologic malignancies) As Global Therapy Lead in Oncology, Alejandro’s responsibilities lie in the telling of a brand’s scientific story by way of a robust and timely publication plan as well as innovative and strategic delivery of medical education initiatives to solidify a brands’ place among the therapeutic armamentarium to optimize patient outcomes. 

Prior to joining Apothecom, Alejandro was a Medical Scientist on the US Oncology Medical Affairs team at Bristol-Myers Squibb, where he focused on protocol development and implementation for non-registrational data generation initiatives for nivolumab and dasatinib. Prior to embarking on his health care communications career, Alejandro received his PhD in immunology from the Weill Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences of Cornell University, focusing on novel signaling pathways conferring survival benefits within hematologic malignancies. He also was Postdoctoral research fellow on the Vascular Research Team at J&J Pharmaceutical and Development and became Senior Research Scientist with Progenra where he was involved in drug discovery for targets within the ubiquitin system, with an emphasis on oncology. 

Sarbani Bhattacharya, PhD 

Intellectual Property Analyst, Cleveland Clinic Innovations 

Sarbani joined Cleveland Clinic Innovations (CCI) at the Cleveland Clinic in 2016 as a patent information analyst. As part of the Business Analytics team, she provides an expertise and support in patent searching and prior art analysis, freedom-to-operate (FTO), non-infringement analysis, inventor outreach, as well as IP due-diligence, in relation to licensing opportunities under consideration. 

Prior to CCI, Sarbani was a Postdoc at the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, and afterwards the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Notre Dame. During her time at Notre Dame, Sarbani began a transition in her career interests towards intellectual property and, in 2014, enrolled in the Master of Science in Patent Law program at Notre Dame. Through participation in this program and subsequent internships at the University of Notre Dame Office of Technology Transfer as well as a prominent patent law firm in India, she was taught the foundations of patent law, patent application drafting, patent prosecution, searching, and analysis. Sarbani holds a PhD in Biochemistry & Structural Biology from the Max Delbruck Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC-Berlin), Berlin, Germany. 

Beverly Falcon, PhD 

Senior Research Scientist – Oncology Discovery Research, Eli Lilly and Company

Beverly Falcon is a senior research scientist at Eli Lilly and Company in Indianapolis, IN. Beverly received her BS in microbiology from Bowling Green State University and her PhD in biomedical sciences from the University of Florida. During her postdoctoral fellowship at The University of California, San Francisco she worked in collaboration with multiple companies examining the mechanism of actions of novel drugs targeting the tumor microenvironment. This work solidified her interest in drug development and in 2011, she joined Eli Lilly as a postdoctoral fellow and was hired as a scientist 3 years later. Beverly’s research interest includes angiogenesis, tumor microenvironment, immuno-oncology, drug development, and biomarker development. 

Aamir A Khan, PhD 

Senior Electrical Engineer, Paradromics, Inc. 

Aamir Ahmed Khan was born and raised in Karachi, Pakistan. He attended NED University of Engineering & Technology in Karachi where he was an active member of the Robotics Club and won several engineering competitions. While still an undergraduate, he twice presented his research in IEEE conferences and completed a prestigious internship at the national space agency of Pakistan. In 2007, he received his bachelor’s degree in Electronic Engineering with a specialization in microelectronic systems & VLSI design. After graduation, Aamir worked at Digitek Engineering for a year where he designed high-bandwidth digital communication systems. 

In 2008, Aamir won a scholarship to study for a master’s degree in Communications Engineering at Munich University of Technology (TUM) in Germany, where he specialized in the field of high-performance scientific computing. For his master’s thesis, Aamir wrote simulations on supercomputers to accurately model the electromagnetic interactions of nanoparticles and presented his research at an IEEE conference. 

Aamir joined Prof. Scott Howard’s lab at Notre Dame In 2011 where he developed optochemical probes for two-photon 3D quantitative oxygen imaging in live animals. He also designed a two-photon microscope and an optical instrumentation framework to characterize oxygen-sensitive probes. During his PhD, Aamir published 8 journal articles and presented at numerous OSA conferences. He was the inaugural recipient of Berry Family Foundation Graduate Fellowship in 2013. During his time at Notre Dame, Aamir served in leadership positions at IEEE, SPIE, and OSA student chapters as well as the president of Muslim Students Association. For his service, he received Sr. Jean Lenz Leadership Award from Notre Dame Student Affairs in 2014. He graduated from Notre Dame with a PhD in Electrical Engineering in 2017. 

Aamir’s passion for neurotechnology and his invaluable hands-on experience with microelectronics system design led him to Paradromics Inc. – a Silicon Valley startup company – where he is developing the world’s first high-bandwidth implantable brain-machine interface. Aamir lives with his wife and their two children in San Jose, CA where they frequent Yosemite National Park and Lake Tahoe. 

Ian Sander, PhD 

Consultant, IQVIA Consulting Services 

Ian received his BS in biochemistry from Miami University and his PhD in biochemistry from the University of Notre Dame. While pursuing a PhD, Ian developed the drug discovery video game Fit2Cure, took entrepreneurship courses through the MBA program, and led multiple McCloskey business plan competition teams. 

As a postdoc, Ian worked with Prof. Matt Leevy to help start two companies based on innovations developed in Prof. Leevy’s lab, and mentored several ESTEEM and patent law students. 

After two years as a postdoc, Ian joined Quintiles (now IQVIA) as an Associate Consultant in 2015. 

As a Consultant at IQVIA consulting services, Ian advises pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies on: 

  • Clinical development strategy 
  • Asset evaluation / due diligence 
  • Endpoint strategy and/or development 
  • Pricing and market access 
  • Launch planning and execution 
  • Commercial analysis and forecasting 
  • Portfolio strategy 
  • Patient centric drug development