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 Staff

Patrícia Silva, PhD — Sr. Managing Editor – News

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 – News

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.

José Marques Lopes, PhD — Managing Editor – News

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.

Patrícia Inacio, PhD — Science Writer – News

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.

Vanessa Pataia, PhD — Science Writer – News

Vanessa holds a PhD in biosciences from King’s College London, where she studied the effects of liver conditions on the reproductive system. She also graduated with a Master of Science degree in reproductive and developmental biology from Imperial College London and completed a Bachelor of Science in cell and molecular biology at Universidade Nova de Lisboa. Her work has focused on molecular biology, epigenetics and metabolism.

David Melamed, PhD — Science Writer – News

David holds a PhD in biological sciences from Columbia University in New York, where he studied how Drosophila ovarian adult stem cells respond to cell signaling pathway manipulations. As a graduate student and postdoctoral fellow at Columbia, his work helped redefine the organizational principles underlying adult stem cell growth models. Prior to that, David studied the genetics of fungal virulence and plant resistance as a biochemistry major at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is currently a science writer, as part of the BioNews Services news team.

Inês Martins, PhD — Science Writer – News

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.

Marisa Wexler, MSc — Science Writer – News

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.

Joana Carvalho, MSc — Science Writer – News

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.

Mary Chapman — Features Writer – News

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.”

Larry Luxner — Writer – News

Florida native Larry, a veteran journalist and photographer, has reported from more than 100 countries in Latin America, Africa, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Asia for the Miami Herald, the Washington Diplomat, the Journal of Commerce, and other news outlets. He lived for many years in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and the Washington, D.C., area. Among other ventures, he launched a monthly newsletter, South America Report, and later published CubaNews for 12 years before relocating to Israel in January 2017 and joining BioNews — first as a copy editor and now as a staff writer. Larry is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese and Hebrew, and enjoys taking long walks around Tel Aviv in his spare time.

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.

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.

Columns Staff

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.

Resource Pages Staff

Özge Özkaya — Managing Editor – Resource Pages

Özge is the managing editor of resource pages at BioNews Services. Özge’s background is in research; she holds a Master of Science in molecular genetics and a PhD in developmental biology. Özge worked as a bench scientist for six years in the field of neuroscience before embarking on a career in science communication. She joined BioNews in 2016 as a senior research columnist. Before that, she worked as the research communication officer at MDUK, a UK-based charity that supports people living with muscle-wasting condition and their family and friends. She became the managing editor of resource pages in 2017.

Emily Malcolm, PhD — Writer – Resource Page

Emily holds a PhD in biochemistry from the University of Iowa and is currently a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She graduated with a master’s in chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology and holds a bachelor’s in biology and chemistry from the University of Central Arkansas. Emily is passionate about science communication and, in her free time, writes and illustrates children’s stories.