News Editorial Staff
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.
Mike Nace – President
Mike has been closely associated with BioNews since its inception, helping Founder and CEO Chris Comish operationalize his vision for the company. Throughout the course of BioNews’ development, Mike guided the creation of virtually every role in the company, from content creators and editors to managers and directors, helping to craft scalable organizational structures and work processes, as well as the design needed to accommodate BioNews’ multi-channel, multi-content approach to serving rare disease patient communities online. As President of BioNews, Mike empowers the company’s talented, passionate team of business professionals, scientists, journalists and patient advocates to maximize their service and outreach to patients, families and caregivers.
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 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.
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 Multichannel Content. In this role, Michael oversees all of our 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.
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.
Patricia Silva, PhD – Sr. 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.
Ana de Barros, PhD – Managing News 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 BSc in Genetics from the University of Newcastle and received a Masters 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 Science Editor for BioNews Services and has been part of the BioNews family since its very early days.
Ozge Özkaya – Managing Resource Page 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.
Patrícia Inacio, PhD — News Science Writer
Patricia holds her Ph.D. 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 — News Science Writer
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 from an MSc in Reproductive and Developmental Biology from Imperial College London and completed a BSc in Cell and Molecular Biology at Universidade Nova de Lisboa. Her work has focused on molecular biology, epigenetics and metabolism.
David Melamed, PhD — News Science Writer
David holds a PhD in Biological Sciences from Columbia University in New York, NY, 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 writing team.
Ines Martins, PhD – News Science Writer
Marisa Wexler, MSc — News Science Writer
Marisa holds an MS 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.
Emily Malcolm, PhD — News Science Writer
Emily holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Iowa and is currently a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She graduated with a Masters in Chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology and holds a Bachelors 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.
Joana Carvalho, MSc — News Science Writer
Joana is currently completing her PhD in Biomedicine and Clinical Research at Universidade de Lisboa. She also holds a BSc in Biology and an MSc 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 – News Science Writer
Mary M. Chapman 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 – Sr. Journalist
Florida native Larry Luxner, 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.
DISCLAIMER: Batten Disease News is a science and health publishing website that occasionally writes about clinical trials taking place in the Batten Disease research community. The information provided on this site is designed to help educate patients on clinical trials that may be of interest to them, based on the topic of the story, and to help patients contact the centers conducting the research. Batten Disease News is neither promoting research nor involved in conducting any clinical trials. Some study summaries have been edited for clarity purposes to make them easier to understand.
Note: Batten Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.