FEATURED PROFILES

BioNews’ commitment to building and serving rare disease patient communities online is made possible through the talented, diverse group of professionals who comprise our team. Industry visionaries, award-winning journalists, proven researchers, and inspired patients come together to combine all of their unique skill sets and experience to create the content and environment that makes our communities special.

Here are just a few featured profiles from among our growing team of talented professionals:

CHRIS COMISH

Founder, Publisher and CEO

Chris Comish developed the BioNews Services concept as a way to leverage digital news content as a means of reaching and connecting with rare disease populations that 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.

FRANK LAROSA

COO/VP of Human Resources

Frank is the chief operating officer/vice president of human resources for BioNews. He has accountabilityfor HR, planning, structure, execution, and controls across the company. He has over 25 years of organizational leadership in executive management, human resources, and information technology in different industries, including public, private, and international. Frank is passionate about culture, leadership, employee development, and achieving results. He has a BS in business management with an HR minor from Indiana Institute of Technology and an AB in information systems with an accounting concentration from Computer Systems Institute. Frank also holds a Professional Human Resources certification (SHRM-CP).

Frank’s other passion is fighting for a cure and better treatments for people living with cystic fibrosis. He understands rare diseases. He has been around cystic fibrosis for 60 years and has lived directly with it for50 of those years having had a cousin whom he lost in 1966 at 6, a sister he lost in 1978 at 12, a daughter, Alyssa, he and his wife lost in 2018 at 29, and his son, Tre, 25, who also has CF. He continually advocatesfor effective laws and progress to either protect rare diseases or give those affected a voice.

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.

MICHAEL MORALE

Sr. Director of Multi-Channel Content

Michael received his BSBA, with a major in Management Information Systems in 1990, from the University of Texas at Dallas. In 2000, he received his MBA, 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 their multimedia and social media divisions, and Michael was promoted to Sr. Director of Multi-Channel Content. In this role, Michael oversees all of their multimedia platforms, including their podcasts, flash briefings and YouTube videos. Michael also oversees all of their social media platforms, including SoundCloud, Spotify, iTunes, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

DEREK OSENENKO

Senior Director of Strategy

Derek Osenenko is a multi-award-winning media executive who has held several executive editor positions, largely with the Gannett Company, as well as the Dow Jones Local Media Group. He culminated his Gannett career as executive editor of Gannett News Service. Throughout his career, Osenenko has created scores of innovative websites, magazines, specialty publications, and multimedia platforms that merged print with broadcast and digital operations. In addition, he led the creation of BioNews Services’ licensing and syndication operation, which enables media worldwide to license BioNews content.

PATRICIA SILVA, PHD

Senior Managing News Editor

Patricia holds a Phd in Medical Microbiology and infectious Diseases from the Leiden University Medical Center in Leiden, The Netherlands. She has studied Applied Biology at Universidade do Minho and was a postdoctoral research fellow at institute de Medical Moleculer 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.

BRAD DELL

Director of Columns

Brad Dell 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.

KEVIN SCHAEFER

Director of Forums

Kevin graduated from North Carolina State University with a B.A. 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, from hiring, training, and guiding forum moderators. His goal is to create engaging and supportive online communities for patients and caregivers to connect.

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OZGE OZKAYA

Managing Resource Pages Editor

Özge is the managing editor of landing pages at BioNews Services. Özge’s background is in research; she holds a MSc. 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 landing pages in 2017.

MEET OUR COLUMNISTS

No one speaks the language of patient communities like patients and caregivers themselves. Our team of patient specialists form the largest content division at BioNews and include talented writers who not only bring knowledge of their disease or condition to their role, but also writing and communication skills that help them connect with readers.

A Team That Connects

All of BioNews’ content divisions — including news, social media, columns and resource pages — as well as our sales and technical departments, are composed of business professionals who are committed to applying their unique experience and expertise to serving rare disease patient communities. Our talented team includes the following roles:

  • Fact checkers with PhD degrees who ensure scientific and medical accuracy in our content.
  • Copy editors who put the finishing touch on our content, making it readable and accessible to patients and caregivers.
  • Managing editors who keep our content calendar moving forward, 24/7.
  • Social media managers who have the skills to maximize  engagement and conversation on the web’s leading social media platforms.
  •  Ad ops professionals who are well versed in industry standards for displaying and managing digital ad campaigns.
  • SEO professionals who are experts in search engine optimization best practices, ensuring that BioNews content has the highest search engine visibility possible.
  • IT experts who keep the front- and back-end of BioNews’ sites running optimally.
  • Business development and sales experts who can communicate BioNews’ unique capabilities to companies in need of our services.

The people behind these roles combine to form a team that everyday is building a growing platform of rare disease ecosystems that make a different in people’s lives.