Current News

Future Innovations in Biomedical Science

Posted on Wednesday, March 21, 2018

ARCS Foundation is pleased to announce that the 2018 All Members Conference will feature a lineup of accomplished life science professionals during a panel on Thursday morning titled Future Innovations in Biomedical Science: an Interdisciplinary Perspective. Moderated by ARCS Metropolitan Washington Chapter member and founding medical director of the Wilmer Eye Institute Dr. Shameema Sikder, this panel will discuss how biomedical science is moving forward with exciting advancements and what it means for our society.  Joining her is a panel of thought leaders and researchers who have direct experience with this revolutionary work from perspectives in government, academia, and the industry.

“We hope to set up a conversation that focuses on the multiple facets of advancing biomedical sciences,” says Dr. Sikder, “I’m excited for attendees to learn about how different approaches to science are needed to advance biomedical sciences and a collaborative effort is the best one!”


Dr. Margaret McCarthy is a leading neuroscientist who has made significant discoveries related to gender differences and the brain. Her seminal research focuses on the influence of steroid hormones on the developing brain with a special emphasis on understanding the cellular mechanisms that establish sex differences. Dr. McCarthy is currently the chair of the department of pharmacology at the University of Maryland.

Dr. Kathleen Ries Merikangas is Senior Investigator and Chief of the Genetic Epidemiology Research Branch in the Intramural Research Program at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The areas of Dr. Merikangas' research include: (1) familial mechanisms for comorbidity of mental and medical disorders; (2) identification of early signs and risk factors for psychiatric disorders among high and low risk; and (3) large scale population based studies of mental disorders including high risk designs and prospective longitudinal research.

Dr. Jane Amara is a life sciences professional currently Associate Director of The Belfer Office for Dana-Farber Innovations at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Dr. Amara has previously worked in a Boston-based venture capital firm, overseeing investments in early-stage companies spun out of universities in the UK. Dr. Amara’s experience in biotech business development includes five years identifying, evaluating, and executing transactions at Biogen, as well as working on a regulated gene therapy technology for cancer and other applications.

Kunal Parikh, Ph.D., is an inventor and entrepreneur working at the intersection of medtech and social enterprise to address significant disease burdens globally. He currently serves as a research faculty member in the Center for Bioengineering Innovation & Design at Johns Hopkins University (JHU), where he leads a multi-disciplinary team developing and translating novel medical devices for unmet clinical needs. Kunal earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from The Ohio State University and a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins University where he was a Roche/ARCS Scholar.


Shameema Sikder, M.D., founding medical director of the Wilmer Eye Institute at Bethesda is an assistant professor of ophthalmology at John Hopkins School of Medicine. She specializes in the medical and surgical management of corneal disorders and complex cataracts. Dr. Sikder is also director of the Center of Excellence for Ophthalmic Surgical Education and Training (OphSET) at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. She has a particular interest in surgical education and is working on technologies that could be implemented at the international level to improve ophthalmic surgical care.