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Panelist Biographies

Dr. V. Bobby Bringi

Dr. Bringi leads a team of MSU, MBI and international developers working to commercialize AFEX—a disruptive technology that upgrades underutilized agricultural residues into high-quality cattle feed as well as a feedstock for bio based fuels and chemicals. He was the co-founder of Phyton, a venture that developed and commercialized a groundbreaking route to the sustainable production of the anti-cancer drug, Taxol, in collaboration with Bristol Myers Squibb.  He later served as CEO of MBI, presiding over its growth into a well-respected biotechnology hub that has been sought after by leading industry and academic innovators for de-risking and scale-up services. He earned his doctorate from Cornell University in chemical engineering, with a minor in plant cell biology. In 2015, Bringi was elected as a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.

Dr. Noel Day

Dr. Day is a skilled patent attorney with a particular focus on due diligence and patent prosecution. She assists clients with U.S. and international patent procurement and assessing the value of patent estates. Dr. Day possesses a technical background in immunology and molecular biology. Her areas of experience include: Prosecution of global intellectual property portfolios relating to biologics, drug products, skin care, diagnostics and genomics for universities and private companies; Assisting clients with maximizing exclusivity, including life-cycle management and Patent Team Adjustment; Extensive experience conducting patentability and freedom-to-operate reviews related to pharmaceutical, biotechnology, food safety and animal safety industries; and, Due diligence regarding licensing and acquisitions of prescription products, research tools and over-the-counter products.

Dr. Bob Dietrich

Dr. Dietrich earned a BS at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Horticulture, an MS in Plant Pathology at the University of Minnesota, and a PhD in Genetics at UC-Davis working on gene regulation during seed germination in Arabidopsis.  After finishing his PhD he did a post doc at the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding in Cologne, Germany, working on the molecular basis of plant defense responses.  After three and a half years, the lab moved to the University of North Carolina, where he continued the work for two more years.  He then got a job at Novartis, in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, which became Syngenta following a merger.  Dr. Dietrich has been at Novartis/Syngenta for eighteen years and has worked on a number of projects including disease resistance, functional genomics, and vegetable marker discovery.  He is currently in genomics research as part of the team that manages their next generation sequencing platform, and he has a group that evaluates new sequencing/genomics methods and technologies.

Dr. Brian Petroff

Dr. Brian Petroff is Associate Professor and Section Chief, Endocrinology, Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health in the Department of Pathobiology and Diagnostic Investigation, College of Veterinary Medicine at MSU.  He received his B.S., D.V.M. and Ph.D. degrees from The Ohio State University, and was a veterinary intern in private practice.  He was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Kansas Medical Center.  A common theme of the research in Dr. Petroff’s laboratory is endocrine disruption in disease and from clinical treatments. Past and current work has focused on premature reproductive senescence in polluted environments, prevention of hormone-dependent cancers and female infertility resulting from cancer treatment. In addition, as part of a high volume veterinary diagnostic center, the laboratory investigates novel diagnostic approaches in clinical endocrinology.

Dr. Peggy Petroff

Dr. Peggy Petroff started as a pre-vet student at the University of Delaware, then Virginia Tech, and graduate school (M.S. and Ph.D.) in Animal Science at The Ohio State University. She was a Postdoctoral fellow, then Research Assistant Professor, then tenure track assistant/associate professor at the University of Kansas Medical Center, and she is now Associate Professor in the Departments of Pathobiology & Diagnostic Investigation, and Microbiology & Molecular Genetics at MSU. She moved to MSU January 2015. Dr. Petroff’s research interests are the immunology of pregnancy, ie, why the fetus is not rejected by the maternal immune system.

Dr. Rachel Spurbeck

While an MSU genetics student in Dr. Cindy Arvidson’s laboratory, Dr. Spurbeck conducted her dissertation research entitled “Inhibition of Neisseria gonorrhoeae epithelial cell interactions by vaginal Lactobacillus species” and graduated in 2010. After graduate school she went to the University of Michigan for a postdoctoral position where she was in the laboratory of Harry LT Mobley and worked on determining virulence factors of uropathogenic E. coli. While in her post doc, she became interested in applied research, and so took a scientist position in research and development at Swift Biosciences, a biotech start up that developed Next Generation Sequencing library preparation kits. After 2.5 years at Swift, she moved to Battelle Memorial Institute where she is currently a Genomics Research Scientist in the Applied Genomics and Biology business unit in the CBRNE Defense Department. She is very interested in new technology and applications for advancing knowledge and utilization of these concepts to make a difference in the world, which makes this position ideal.

Dr. Arianna Smith

Dr. Smith graduated from the Genetics Program at MSU in June 2014. During her graduate career she explored the function of maternally deposited mRNAs and proteins in egg development in mice. Following significant teaching experiences during graduate school, Arianna continued on to do a one year visiting professorship at Kenyon College, an opportunity that led to a continuing position.  Arianna is currently an Assistant Professor at Kenyon College and is on leave to complete a postdoctoral fellowship in the lab of Dr. Karen Racicot in the OB/GYN Department in the MSU College of Human Medicine.