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Executive Board

Stronger Together to bring the change

Dr. Gauri Kulkarni


Dr. Kulkarni is a Regenerative Medicine Scientist at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Winston Salem, NC;  leading a Drug discovery and development Biology team focused on developing novel Small Molecules based Therapies for fibrotic diseases and In Situ Tissue Regeneration using high throughput assays and body-on-a-chip platform. Her expertise and specialized Research areas include tissue engineering, stem cell therapy, organ-on-a-chip devices and drug discovery to repair damaged or diseased tissues and organs to make patients lives better. She also has an experience in Intellectual Property and Technology Commercialization. Dr. Kulkarni has served as a Chair of Women Postdoctoral Scientists' events and is a member of Women in Medicine and Science (WIMS) at Wake Forest School of Medicine.  Besides research, she is actively engaged  in enriching young minds through STEM education, mentoring, professional development and community outreach in USA as well as rural regions in India. She is also a visual artist and has exhibited her Science inspired paintings in the professional art galleries to bring social awareness. She envisions global empowerment of underprivileged children through education, mentoring, financial support, and soft skills development to build next generation breakthrough scientists.

Dr. Tracy Criswell


Dr. Criswell is an Associate Professor at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) and is also affiliated with the Wake Forest Women in Medicine and Science (WIMS), the Wake Forest Sticht Center on Aging and the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest Department of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences (BMES).  Her specific research interests are focused on exploring the interactions between cells and the local micro-environment that mediate cell survival, growth, and differentiation and how these interactions change as we age. In addition to research, Dr. Criswell is actively involved in STEM education, mentoring, professional development, and community outreach. She currently serves as co-chair of the WFIRM Education Committee, Chair of the WIMS Research and Education subcommittee, Co-Chair of the Wake Forest Graduate School Biomedical Sciences Committee on Race and Equity, and Chair of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society.


Dr. Allyn Howlett


Dr. Howlett is a Professor of Physiology and Pharmacology at Wake Forest  School of Medicine. S Assistant Dean of the Wake Forest University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (Biomedical Programs) has been recognized as 2022 ASPET Fellow. Selection as a fellow of the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics (FASPET) is an honor bestowed on ASPET members who have demonstrated excellence via their overall contributions to pharmacology and the Society. Dr. Howlett has also been named an R&D Trailblazer on the “Power List” of The Cannabis Scientist. Her research could have significant implications for the development of future cannabinoid medicines. She is actively engaged in promoting professional development of postdoctoral scientists.

Dr. Tandeka Boko

Secretary (August 2022-Current)

Dr. Boko is an Assistant Professor in Biology at Forsyth Tech Community College.  She  has an extensive background in STEM student support, through mentoring and advising underrepresented students, women and veterans along their educational and career pathways. Being an active member of AWIS-NC, Dr. Boko believes to empower women in STEM being an advocate for oneself, intentionally identify and accept mentors, allies, connectors and cheerleaders in order to utilize all of your resources to overcome hindrances.

Dr. Laura Watts

Former Secretary (August 2021-August 2022)

Laura Watts is an associate professor of biology and co-director of the Health Science Program at Salem College. She holds a Ph.D. in Immunology from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Her research interests include analyzing the impact of environmental contaminants, including coal ash, on soil microbes. She is also a member of the Tiny Earth network of instructors.

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