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Leadership

Rhiannon is a Scientific Associate Director in Discovery Toxicology at Bristol Myers Squibb San Diego where she oversees an in vitro toxicology laboratory and serves as a project toxicologist for discovery phase programs. Her laboratory interests include the use of complex in vitro models and microphysiological systems in the identification and characterization of tox liabilities to support discovery programs. In her role as a project toxicologist, she is responsible for the proactive design and execution of nonclinical toxicology studies to support successful candidate nomination. Previously, Rhiannon worked as a Senior Scientist in Translational Safety Sciences and project toxicologist for discovery and development phase programs at Theravance Biopharma. Collaborating with representatives from safety assessment, DMPK, and pharmacology, she implemented and served as lead for an internal working group aimed at expanding knowledge and integrating the use of complex in vitro models in the drug development process at Theravance Biopharma.

Rhiannon achieved a BS in biochemistry and BFA in dance from the University of Oklahoma where she was also selected as a McNair Research Scholar. She attained her PhD from the University of Arizona by investigating the impact of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease progression on ADME-related genes, drug disposition, and toxicity using a combination of human liver tissue data and rodent models of disease. In her postdoctoral studies at the University of North Carolina and the Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences, Rhiannon shifted her focus to in vitro liver models to investigate the regulation of efflux drug transporter function and zonal differences in nuclear receptor activation and hepatocyte response. Rhiannon then leveraged her in vivo and in vitro liver knowledge to lead a team focused on improving functional features of a 3D bioprinted liver model and expanding disease modeling capabilities while at Organovo. Rhiannon is a Diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology and an active member of the Society of Toxicology and the American College of Toxicology.

Rhiannon N Hardwick, PhD, DABT, BMS

Past Chair (2024-2025)

Anna is a Senior Principal Scientist within Cellular and Mechanistic Toxicology group in Drug Safety Research & Development at Pfizer where she provides strategic guidance on the utility and context-driven application of novel complex in vitro models. She received a dual major PhD in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and Environmental Toxicology from Michigan State University where she continued as a Postdoctoral Research Associate and subsequently as a Research Assistant Professor investigating mechanisms linking coagulation and liver repair in models of liver injury.

Anna has co-authored 43 peer-reviewed publications. Anna has been a productive member of the Society of Toxicology for the last 15 years and is looking forward to contributing her enthusiasm and energy to the IQ MPS Leadership.

Anna K. Kopec, PhD, Pfizer

Chair (2024-2025)

Dr. Rhiannon David is Director of Microphysiological Systems (MPS) in Clinical Pharmacology and Safety Sciences at AstraZeneca, Cambridge, UK, where she is responsible for the overall strategy to implement advanced cell models (including organoids and MPS) to address gaps and improve the human-translation of pre-clinical safety assessment.

Prior to joining AZ, following completion of her PhD at the University of Birmingham, Rhiannon undertook postdoctoral research at Imperial College London where she developed an interest in novel techniques that would improve the in vivo relevance of in vitro assays. After joining AZ in 2015, Rhiannon led the development and application of a bone marrow MPS for improved pre-clinical safety assessment. In her current role as Director of MPS in Safety Innovation, Rhiannon leads a multidisciplinary matrix team to drive and coordinate the development and integration of advanced cell models to bring safer medicines to patients quicker.

Rhiannon David, PhD, AstraZeneca

Vice Chair (2024-2025)

Kim is a Senior Director and Distinguished Scientist at Genentech Inc. where she heads the Complex in vitro Systems (CiS) lab, a core group focused on employing new predictive tools to enhance clinical translational outcomes. She has prior experience holding key leadership positions in two biotech startups, one of which she co-founded while in graduate school at UT Austin. Prior to that, as a co-appointed postdoc at Roche and at the Wyss Institute in Harvard, Kim invented methods to bioprint human tissues and use them to model drug disposition, mode of action, and safety. She has ~50 peer reviewed publications and 16 patents and patent applications. Kim holds a B.S. degree in chemical engineering and Ph.D. in biomedical engineering; she is also a former United States Marine Corps officer and veteran.

On a more personal note, Kim is a staunch advocate for this MPS/Organoid space and her group is doing the heavy lifting to incorporate models into routine use in pharma, helping to reduce our reliance on animals in drug testing. She is also advocating for more diverse human representation in these systems and believes that DEI work should start at the bench in preclinical drug development. She welcomes collaboration and precompetitive joint development on these topics.

Kim Homan, Ph.D. Genentech Inc.

MPS Vice Chair Elect (2024-2025)

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