Publishing Team

Chris Comish — Founder, Publisher, and CEO

Chris developed the BioNews Services concept as a way to leverage digital news content as a means of reaching and connecting with rare disease populations who had little to no access to fresh, accurate, and authoritative information about their disease online. His vision has fueled the growth and maturation of patient/caregiver ecosystems that are enriching rare disease communities online while also providing a platform for offering valuable services for helping biotech, health, and life sciences companies fulfill their marketing and promotional objectives. Chris works in every facet of the BioNews work process, from serving as a direct contact with all clients to helping shape the editorial focus of each site in the publisher role.

Kellie Benn — Editor-in-Chief

Kellie started out as a copy editor with BioNews Services in February 2018 and now serves as the editor-in-chief for the organization. She had previously worked for a variety of newspapers as a copy editor, working her way up to deputy night editor at a regional newspaper in Virginia. She is an Army veteran and served for eight years as a Russian linguist. After leaving the service, she went on to graduate from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, with a bachelor’s degree in communication and Russian. Her interest in and experience with the Russian language led her to a Fulbright fellowship in 2012, awarding her the opportunity to spend an academic year in Oryol, Russia, teaching English to university students. A lifelong equestrian, she can usually be found at the barn hanging out with her horse, Penny, in her spare time.

Brad Dell — Director of Columns

Brad has cystic fibrosis and a double-lung transplant. Technically deaf, he hears with the help of cochlear implants. Before BioNews, he worked as a copy editor and journalist for several culture and lifestyle magazines in Hawaii. He was also the executive editor for Honolulu’s Abstract Magazine. He serves as the BioNews director of columns, boosting patients’ and caregivers’ voices to cultivate change in the chronic conditions community. To do so, he recruits, trains, edits, and supports dozens of columnists.

Michael Morale — Sr. Director of Multi-Channel Content

Michael received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, with a major in management information systems, in 1990 from the University of Texas at Dallas. In 2000, he received his Master of Business Administration, with a major in management, from Amber University. In his working career, Michael worked for various companies, including ExxonMobil Corporation, where he was responsible for safety and ergonomics for the Dallas region. Along with working for ExxonMobil, Michael was an adjunct faculty member and college instructor for the Dallas County Community College District for 18 years. Due to his spinal muscular atrophy, (SMA), he was forced to go on permanent disability in 2010. Michael began working for BioNews Services as a YouTube developer and podcast specialist in June 2018. After being promoted to director of forums and multimedia, BioNews Services combined our multimedia and social media divisions, and Michael was promoted to senior director of multichannel content. In this role, Michael oversees all multimedia platforms, including podcasts, flash briefings, and YouTube videos. Michael also oversees all social media platforms, including SoundCloud, Spotify, iTunes, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Kevin Schaefer — Director of Forums

Kevin graduated from North Carolina State University with a bachelor’s degree in English in 2016, and he is passionate about different forms of storytelling. He started at BioNews in 2017 as a columnist for SMA News Today, sharing his experiences as an adult with SMA type 2. He eventually transitioned to a full-time role, helping build the company’s multimedia and forums divisions. As director of forums, he is responsible for supporting the director of multichannel content in bridging the gap between our patient populations and our websites. He does this through building and maintaining patient and caregiver forums across BioNews’ disease sites. He oversees every step of the process, including hiring, training, and guiding forum moderators. His goal is to create engaging and supportive online communities for patients and caregivers to connect.

News and Resource Pages Staff

Patrícia Silva, PhD — Sr. Managing Editor 

Patrícia holds a PhD in medical microbiology and infectious diseases from the Leiden University Medical Center in Leiden, Netherlands. She has studied applied biology at Universidade do Minho and was a postdoctoral research fellow at Instituto de Medicina Molecular in Lisbon, Portugal. Her role in BioNews has led her to build a team of PhD researchers who also serve as science writers and editors, whose role is to ensure that the science and research that BioNews reports on daily is 100% accurate, while also written in a way that allows patients and caregivers to easily grasp the important details.

Ana de Barros, PhD — Managing Editor 

Ana holds a PhD in immunology from the University of Lisbon and worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Instituto de Medicina Molecular (iMM) in Lisbon, Portugal. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in genetics from the University of Newcastle and received a master’s in biomolecular archaeology from the University of Manchester, England. After leaving the lab to pursue a career in science communication, which she has always been passionate about, she served as the director of science communication at iMM. Ana currently works as a managing news editor for BioNews Services and has been part of the BioNews family since its very early days.

Inês Martins, PhD — Managing Editor 

Inês holds a Bachelor of Science in cell and molecular biology from Universidade Nova de Lisboa and is currently finishing her PhD in biomedical sciences at Universidade de Lisboa. Her work has been focused on blood vessels and their role in both hematopoiesis and cancer development.

José Marques Lopes, PhD — Managing Editor 

José is a managing news editor with a PhD in neuroscience from Universidade of Porto in Portugal. He has also studied biochemistry at Universidade do Porto and was a postdoctoral associate at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, and at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, Canada. His work has ranged from the association of central cardiovascular and pain control to the neurobiological basis of hypertension, and the molecular pathways driving Alzheimer’s disease.

Joana Carvalho, MSc — Managing Editor 

Joana is currently completing her PhD in biomedicine and clinical research at Universidade de Lisboa. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in biology and a Master of Science in evolutionary and developmental biology from Universidade de Lisboa. Her work has been focused on the impact of non-canonical Wnt signaling in the collective behavior of endothelial cells — cells that make up the lining of blood vessels — found in the umbilical cord of newborns.

Shayna Korol — News Researcher

Shayna Korol joined BioNews Services in 2020 as a news researcher. She previously worked as a healthcare journalist, academic editor, and research assistant. Shayna is passionate about science communication and disability rights, and earned her bachelor’s degree in health science and policy from Brandeis University.

Forest Ray, PhD — Science Writer

Forest Ray received his PhD in systems biology from Columbia University, where he developed tools to match drug side effects to other diseases. He has since worked as a journalist and science writer, covering topics from rare diseases to the intersection between environmental science and social justice. He currently lives in Long Beach, California.

Marisa Wexler, MSc — Science Writer 

Marisa holds a master’s degree in cellular and molecular pathology from the University of Pittsburgh, where she studied novel genetic drivers of ovarian cancer. She specializes in cancer biology, immunology, and genetics. Marisa began working with BioNews in 2018, and has written about science and health for SelfHacked and the Genetics Society of America. She also writes/composes musicals and coaches the University of Pittsburgh fencing club.

Marta Figueiredo, MSc — Science Writer

Marta Figueiredo holds a master’s in evolutionary and developmental biology and a PhD in biomedical sciences from the University of Lisbon, Portugal. Her research is focused on the role of several signaling pathways in thymus and parathyroid glands embryonic development.

Patrícia Inacio, PhD — Science Writer 

Patrícia holds her PhD in cell biology from University Nova de Lisboa, and has served as an author on several research projects and fellowships, as well as major grant applications for European Agencies. She also served as a PhD student research assistant in the Laboratory of Doctor David A. Fidock, Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Columbia University, New York.

Steve Bryson, PhD — Science Writer

Steve holds a PhD in biochemistry from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto, Canada. He worked as a medical scientist for 18 years, within both industry and academia, where his research focused on the discovery of new medicines to treat inflammatory disorders and infectious diseases. Steve recently stepped away from the lab and into science communications, where he’s helping make medical science information more accessible for everyone.

Aisha Abdullah, PhD — Science Writer 

Aisha Abdullah received a bachelor’s in biology from the University of Houston and a PhD in neuroscience from Weill Cornell Medical College, where she studied the role of microRNA in embryonic and early postnatal brain development. Since finishing graduate school, she has worked as a science communicator making science accessible to broad audiences.

Diana Delgado, PhD — Science Writer

Diana holds her PhD in biomedical sciences, with specialization in genetics, from Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal. Her work has been focused on enzyme function, human genetics, and drug metabolism.

Teresa Carvalho, PhD — Science Writer

Teresa holds her master’s in cell and molecular biology from Coimbra University, Portugal. She worked as a researcher and science communicator at the Institute for Research and Innovation in Health, in Oporto, Portugal. She has worked as science writer and patient advocate at the Pulmonary Hypertension Association Europe. Her work has been focused on providing patients access to treatments, raising awareness for pulmonary hypertension, and promoting patient engagement and empowerment through the contents she creates.

Margarida Maia, PhD — Science Writer

Margarida Maia joins BioNews as a science writer after more than 10 years of researching, editing, and writing in the sciences. A biochemist (University of Porto, Portugal) with a PhD in biomedical sciences (VIB and KULeuven, Belgium), Margarida lives in Lisbon, Portugal, with her husband and two children. Her main interest is science communication. She is also passionate about design and the dialogue between art and science.

Vanda Pinto, PhD — Science Writer

Vanda Pinto is a science writer for BioNews based in Porto, Portugal. She holds a PhD in biomedicine from the University of Porto and worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Bristol Medical School in the United Kingdom and at the Institute of Molecular Pathology and Immunology of the University of Porto in Portugal. Her research focus was on the molecular mechanisms that underlie human diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus, inflammatory bowel disease, inflammatory myopathy, and diabetic nephropathy. She is passionate about health communication and is very happy to be part of BioNews where she believes her work will have an impact on patients living with a rare disease.

Features Staff

Hawken Miller — Features Writer

Hawken is a recent graduate from the University of Southern California and a young journalist with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. He has previously worked for the Washington Post, Sacramento Bee, KTLA 5 News and at USC Annenberg Media. When not writing columns, he’s reporting on rare disease-related news for BioNews.

Mary Chapman — Features Writer 

Mary began her professional career at United Press International, running both print and broadcast desks. She then became a Michigan correspondent for what is now Bloomberg BNA, where she mainly covered the automotive industry plus legal, tax, and regulatory issues. A member of the Automotive Press Association and one of a relatively small number of women on the car beat, Chapman has discussed the automotive industry multiple times of National Public Radio, and in 2014 was selected as an honorary judge at the prestigious Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance. She has written for numerous national outlets including Time, People, Al-Jazeera America, Fortune, Daily Beast, MSN.com, Newsweek, The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press. The winner of the Society of Professional Journalists award for outstanding reporting, Chapman has had dozens of articles in The New York Times, including two on the coveted front page. She has completed a manuscript about centenarian car enthusiast Margaret Dunning, titled “Belle of the Concours.”

Copy Editing Staff

Grace Frank — Sr. Copy Editor – News

Grace has worked as an editor and reporter for leading American newspapers, including The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, and the Tampa Tribune, for many years. She has won numerous journalism awards, including recognition as the best education reporter in Florida (an annual honor given by the statewide teachers union) and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for an investigative series into eye surgeries wrongly conducted outside a clinical trial. Grace holds a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Chicago (attending on a full-tuition fellowship), and a bachelor’s in political science, with minors in English, German, and economics, from Rutgers University-Newark, N.J., campus.

Jeff Webb — Copy Editor – News

Jeff joined BioNews Services in 2016 as a copy editor and fact-checker, where he does his best to make sure science stories are relatable to our core readers — patients and caregivers. Jeff has been a writer and editor for more than 40 years. He spent three decades as a daily newspaper journalist, more than half that time at the St. Petersburg Times (now the Tampa Bay Times) where he was an editorial writer and columnist. Before the Times, he was an award-winning projects editor and manager at two newspapers in New Jersey. Since retiring as a daily print journalist in 2008, Jeff has been a freelance writer and editor specializing in healthcare news and trends, and has profiled hundreds of physicians. Jeff is a Vietnam War-era veteran of the U.S. Air Force and majored in English at Delaware State University. He lives on Florida’s West Coast, where he plays lousy golf and fishes more than he catches.

Maureen Castellano — Copy Editor – News

When Maureen Castellano joined BioNews as a copy editor in 2019, it marked her return to journalism after 15 years as a diplomat, tutor, writing coach, and volunteer advocate. Maureen started her career as a newspaper reporter in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, covering the state and federal courts and writing about key criminal and civil trials and Supreme Court rulings. From there, she moved to television production, heading the Trial Tracking department at Court TV and helping coordinate the network’s live trial coverage and special programming, including a partnership with NBC’s “Dateline.” Maureen then began an overseas adventure as a diplomatic spouse in Hong Kong, Beijing, and Paris, where she edited a U.S. Embassy newsletter, worked with children as a reading and writing tutor, and served as a tour guide. Now back in the U.S., and residing in South Florida, she serves as an alumni admissions interviewer for Northwestern University and coaches high school students on college and scholarship applications. She also is in her 12th year as a Girl Scout Troop Leader and administrator.

Sandee Tkazcuk — Copy Editor – News

Sandee started as a copy editor at BioNews in December 2018. She comes from a newspaper and magazine background, with 12 years of experience at the Calgary Herald in the areas of business and community news, and special sections. She has an English degree from the University of Calgary, and a master’s in journalism from the University of Western Ontario. Along with her husband and son, Sandee enjoys hiking and biking the trails of a quaint farming community in Connecticut. She also loves to travel to faraway places, including Guatemala and Nepal where she participated in Habitat for Humanity’s homebuilding projects. Her favorite place to visit remains the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

Dave Boddiger — Sr. Copy Editor – Columns

David is a news editor and reporter with 20 years of experience in journalism in the U.S. and Latin America. He is the former editor-in-chief of The Tico Times in Costa Rica, and has worked as a reporter, editor, and translator for several English- and Spanish-language media outlets over the years, including Univision, La Raza, and La Opinión. In 2010, he was awarded the Wake Forest University School of Medicine’s Addiction Studies Program Journalism Award for his coverage of addiction and illicit drug trafficking while reporting for the medical journal The Lancet.

Paige Wyant — Copy Editor – Columns

Paige joined BioNews Services in March 2020 as a copy editor in columns. Previously she held progressive positions at “The Mighty,” where she began as an editorial intern and worked her way up to chronic illness editor. During her three-plus years at “The Mighty,” she worked to elevate the voices of people with chronic and rare diseases through editing, writing, and community leadership. Paige graduated from the University of Southern California in 2017 with a bachelor’s in English and a minor in culture, media and entertainment. She currently lives in Fort Collins, Colorado, with her dog, Phillip.