Leadership Team

HudsonAlpha leadership works to make the vision of our co-founders come to life by promoting the development of research-driven discovery, enterprise and creating a genetically-literate society.

  • Richard M. Myers, PhD
    Richard M. Myers, PhD
    President and Science Director and M. A. Loya Chair in Genomics
  • Greg Barsh, MD, PhD
    Greg Barsh, MD, PhD
    Faculty Chair
  • Flo Behn, PhD
    Flo Behn, PhD
    Director of Research Affairs
  • Michael Bryan
    Michael Bryan
    Legal Affairs & Compliance Officer
  • Lara Kohl Burhenn
    Lara Kohl Burhenn
    Director of Communications
  • Jane Grimwood, PhD
    Jane Grimwood, PhD
    Faculty Liaison & Co-Director of the HudsonAlpha GSC
  • Elizabeth Herrin
    Elizabeth Herrin
    Director of External Relations
  • Neil Lamb, PhD
    Neil Lamb, PhD
    Vice President for Educational Outreach
  • Jessica Merritt
    Jessica Merritt
    Director of Business Development
  • Julia Michaux
    Julia Michaux
    Director of Human Resources
  • Scott Ross
    Scott Ross
    Director of Information Technology
  • Jeremy Schmutz
    Jeremy Schmutz
    Co-Director of the HudsonAlpha GSC
  • Amy Sturdivant
    Amy Sturdivant
    Director of Business Recruitment
  • Gregg Tyree
    Gregg Tyree
    Senior Director of Operations
  • Carter Wells
    Carter Wells
    Vice President for Economic Development
  • Danny Windham
    Danny Windham
    Chief Operating Officer
  • Pete Yanul
    Pete Yanul
    Chief Financial Officer
  • Michael Speigle
    Michael Speigle
    Controller
Richard M. Myers, PhD
President and Science Director and M. A. Loya Chair in Genomics

Rick Myers

Richard Myers, PhD, leads the Institute and supplies the strategic oversight for the research enterprise, including sustaining a large, active laboratory. In addition to his role as President and Science Director and M. A. Loya Chair in Genomics at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, Myers continues to conduct research using genomics tools and genetics to understand how genes interacting with the environment contribute to human diseases and other traits. Myers is a native of Selma, Ala., and joined the Institute in 2008. He brings 35 years’ experience in genetics and genomics to the position. Myers previously directed the Stanford Human Genome Center, one of the first U.S. human genome centers, pioneering the next generation sequencing techniques that are elemental to the field today. Under Myers’ direction, the Stanford Human Genome Center contributed more than 10% of the data in the public Human Genome Project’s efforts to sequence the human genome. Myers earned his BS in biochemistry from The University of Alabama and PhD in biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley. Click here to view Myers’s faculty website.

Greg Barsh, MD, PhD
Faculty Chair

Greg Barsh, MD, PhD, is the faculty chair and a faculty investigator at HudsonAlpha. He is also a Professor Emeritus at Stanford University. Barsh joined the Institute in 2009 and studies the genetic mechanisms that underlie differences in individual appearance and for which a deeper understanding promises new insight into both basic biology and human disease. He earned his MD and PhD in human genetics and pathology from the University of Washington in Seattle. Click here to view Barsh’s faculty website.

Flo Behn, PhD
Director of Research Affairs

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Flo Behn, PhD, is the director of research affairs at HudsonAlpha. She joined the Institute in 2009. In her role, Behn leads HudsonAlpha’s sponsored projects administration office and supports activities that help secure grant funding for existing and emerging research programs. Behn also held previous positions at the Institute as the research affairs coordinator and a research scientist in the Myers Lab. She earned her BS in biology from the University of Toledo and PhD in genetics from Stanford University.

Michael Bryan
Legal Affairs & Compliance Officer

Michael Bryan is the legal affairs and compliance officer at HudsonAlpha. He joined HudsonAlpha in 2014 and provides counsel and guidance on all legal and risk matters and advice to the Institute on ethics and compliance-related issues, requirements, and best practices. Bryan is a member of the Alabama bar and a Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional. Prior to joining HudsonAlpha, he was the research affairs compliance officer at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, served 11 years as general counsel to an Alabama telecommunications company and Family Office of associated companies, and worked in private practice. While in private practice, he also served as a deputy attorney general under Alabama Attorneys General Sessions and Evans. Bryan is a graduate of the University of Alabama and the University of Alabama Hugh F. Culverhouse School of Law.

Lara Kohl Burhenn
Director of Communications

Lara Kohl Burhenn joined the Institute in 2019 to lead the communications department at HudsonAlpha, overseeing web, social media, news media, internal and external communications.  She has nearly 20 years of strategic communications experience in both the public and private sectors. Burhenn earned her BA in communications/print journalism from Wichita State University and is a graduate of the Governor’s Executive Development Program from The LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin.

Jane Grimwood, PhD
Faculty Liaison & Co-Director of the HudsonAlpha GSC

Jane Grimwood, PhD, serves as the faculty liaison at HudsonAlpha and co-directs the HudsonAlpha Genome Sequencing Center (HGSC). She joined HudsonAlpha in 2008. In 2000, Grimwood was a senior scientist at the Stanford Human Genome Center where she and her group were responsible for finishing and performing quality analysis on the 320 million base pairs of human chromosomes 5, 16 and 19, comprising more than 10 percent of the human genome. Grimwood earned her PhD in microbiology from the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom. Click here to view Grimwood’s faculty website.

Elizabeth Herrin
Director of External Relations

Elizabeth Herrin serves as the director of external relations at HudsonAlpha. She joined the Institute in 2007 and is a member of the advancement team for the HudsonAlpha Foundation. Herrin works with individual and corporate donors to achieve their philanthropic goals and connect them with HudsonAlpha’s mission of improving health and well-being. In addition, she manages two of HudsonAlpha’s annual fundraising events, the Spring Benefit and the Tie the Ribbons luncheon, and leads the Ambassador program. Herrin worked in the for-profit sector prior to coming to HudsonAlpha. Her experience includes working for Nortel Networks as a senior manager in Organizational Development, as well as the Walt Disney Company where she worked in marketing and promotions. Herrin earned her MBA from Vanderbilt University.

Neil Lamb, PhD
Vice President for Educational Outreach

Neil Lamb

Neil Lamb, PhD, leads the Educational Outreach team in its endeavor to foster a genetics-literate society and Alabama’s biotechnology workforce. In this capacity, he creates innovative teacher training, student experiences, public enrichment, classroom kits, and digital resources that re-shape how science education is delivered. He joined HudsonAlpha in 2006 from Emory University where he was a faculty member in human genetics and responsible for lab management, bioethics oversight, and genetic education in the School of Medicine and public outreach. Lamb’s career shifted from hands-on science to science education when he realized that he had found his true calling: inspiring a passion for human genetics and technology in others. Lamb often serves as an ambassador for the Institute, explaining hard-to-understand biological concepts to the public at the popular Biotech 101 series. Serving as a sort of ambassador at large for the Institute, Lamb also testified before the Alabama House of Representatives Ways and Means Education Committee about the myriad contributions HudsonAlpha makes to Alabama’s educational system. He earned his BS in molecular biology from Auburn University and PhD in genetics and molecular biology from Emory University. Lamb says his three children are his most fulfilling genetic achievement.

Jessica Merritt
Director of Business Development

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Jessica Merritt is the director of business development at HudsonAlpha. She supports multiple mission areas throughout the institute to expand the application of genomics across various industries. Merritt joined HudsonAlpha in 2015. Prior to joining the institute, she worked in medical sales and marketing. She enjoys connecting people, creating opportunities, building relationships, and delivering on promises. Merritt brings her expertise in identifying collaborative solutions that drive the adoption of cutting edge technologies. Merritt is often involved in forming a strategy, direction and ultimately laying the groundwork for successful collaborations. She is a graduate of the University of South Alabama with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.

Julia Michaux
Director of Human Resources

Julia Michaux is the director of human resources at HudsonAlpha. She joined the Institute in 2019. Michaux brings more than 20 years of Human Resource experience, most recently with Interfuze Corporation, where she was Director of Human Resources, and previously with Torch Technologies, where she was Senior Human Resources Manager. She has extensive background in staffing and recruitment, benefits, policy development, and employee relations. She holds a B.S., Management of Human Resource from Faulkner University.

Scott Ross
Director of Information Technology

Scott Ross is the Director of Information Technology at HudsonAlpha. He leads the operations and strategy of technology and cybersecurity to help further the missions of HudsonAlpha. Ross has over 15 years of technology experience across defense and commercial sectors He earned his B.S. in Information Systems Management from Auburn University, is an active member of the Alabama CIO Association and Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).

Jeremy Schmutz
Co-Director of the HudsonAlpha GSC

Jeremy Schmutz co-directs the HudsonAlpha Genome Sequencing Center (HGSC) and also a faculty investigator. He joined the Institute in 2008. In 1996, he joined the Stanford Human Genome Center where he and his group finished and assembled the human sequence of chromosomes 5, 16 and 19 for the Human Genome Project. He also led the quality assessment of the human genome sequence that evaluated the accuracy and completeness of the final human genome sequence. He earned his BS in computer science and a BA in biology from North Central College in Naperville, IL. Click here to read Schmutz’s faculty profile.

Amy Sturdivant
Director of Business Recruitment

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Amy Sturdivant, as the director of business recruitment, supports HudsonAlpha’s economic development mission to foster the success of bioscience companies. She joined the Institute in 2016 and recruits biotech entrepreneurs and companies of all sizes and stages to the 152-acre HudsonAlpha campus. Amy’s previous municipal planning and economic development experience in Chicagoland, as well as in Alabama, included industrial recruitment, retention, and community promotion, as well as retail attraction, development and all facets of city planning. Sturdivant graduated from Miami University with undergraduate degrees in environmental design (architecture) and in interdisciplinary studies, then continued to University of Illinois for graduate studies in Architecture and Urban and Regional Planning.

Gregg Tyree
Senior Director of Operations

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Gregg Tyree is the senior director of operations at HudsonAlpha. He joined the Institute start-up team in October 2007. In his role, Tyree is responsible for all property management, including leasing, construction, cafe/vending, Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS), security, material/inventory management and furnishings. He earned his BS in business from Athens State University and his MBA from Florida Institute of Technology. Tyree is Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) and is also a Certified Facility Manager (CFM). Tyree is a member of The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) and also serves on the board of directors for the North Alabama Chapter of the International Facility Management Association (IFMA) and on the board of directors for the Community Free Clinic of Huntsville.

Carter Wells
Vice President for Economic Development

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Carter Wells joined HudsonAlpha in 2009 and leads Economic Development at the Institute with the founders’ vision of innovation, collaboration and impact, at the forefront of mind.

HudsonAlpha’s Economic Development mission is driven by the overarching goals of growing the biotech presence on the Institute’s campus and throughout north Alabama; leveraging the HudsonAlpha ecosystem for entrepreneurs, start-up companies and small businesses; creating opportunities for collaboration and for genomic services; and generating economic impact to local, state and regional stakeholders.

Wells and the Economic Development team work to recruit companies for expansion and relocation; encourage and support entrepreneurs to start and grow biotech companies; connect talented and driven people for collaboration; and find proven and creative ways to overcome barriers to success for HudsonAlpha associate companies. Wells and the Economic Development team also build and strengthen relationships with various community and governmental stakeholders. In addition to these responsibilities, Wells directs HudsonAlpha’s Business Development and Operations teams.

Today, over 850 people work on the HudsonAlpha campus, which is home to the Institute’s non-profit genomic research laboratories and 45 biotech companies.

Wells brings to the role a diverse wealth of experience, having served from 2010 until 2020 as Chief Executive Officer of iCubate, Incorporated, a molecular diagnostics company. Under his leadership, Wells and team achieved FDA clearances and CE marks on comprehensive bloodstream infection diagnostic tests; entered into successful international licensing and joint venture agreements and made initial integration into the U.S. clinical microbiology market.

Wells serves as a District Chair and Board Member for the Business Council of Alabama and is a member of the U.S. Army Community Relations Committee. He is past chairman of BioAlabama and former board member of the startup incubator BizTech and the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library. Prior to joining HudsonAlpha, Wells served as Chief of Staff for U.S. Representative Bud Cramer.

Wells is married to Juliet Hettinger Wells and together they have three wonderful children.

Danny Windham
Chief Operating Officer

Danny Windham is the chief operating officer at HudsonAlpha. He joined the Institute in 2019 and has more than 20 years of leadership experience, serving as president and COO at Adtran (2005 – 2007) as well as CEO at Digium (2007 – 2018). Windham is actively involved in the entrepreneurial community and has supported the development of multiple startups. He also has a strong commitment to giving back to his community and serves on multiple boards including the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce, Biztech and Leadership Alabama. He was also chairman of the Madison YMCA fundraising committee and a volunteer pilot for Angel Flight, a nonprofit organization that provides free air transportation for individuals with any legitimate, charitable, medically related need. Windham earned his BS in Electrical Engineering from Mississippi State University, where he was named a Distinguished Engineering Fellow in 2001, and MBA from Florida Tech.

Pete Yanul
Chief Financial Officer

pete-yanul-profile

Pete Yanul leads the finance and accounting team and is responsible for all aspects of financial operations, financial analysis, modeling, budgeting, forecasting and performance management, with the goal of setting the Institute on a path toward long-term sustainability and building its reputation for transparency and operational excellence. He joined HudsonAlpha in 2014 and has more than 25 years of diverse financial management experience, having spent the last 10 years in the biotech and medical device industries. Yanul is a native New Yorker and previously served in financial leadership roles at Nektar Therapeutics and Open Biosystems/Thermo Fisher Scientific and considers his return to Huntsville, Ala., an exciting homecoming. Yanul earned his BS in accounting from Le Moyne College and MBA from Syracuse University.

Michael Speigle
Controller

Michael Speigle is the controller for HudsonAlpha and joined the Institute in 2013 after spending four years in public accounting. He is an experienced financial manager with a demonstrated history of working in the nonprofit accounting industry with a specialized focus in budgeting, forecasting and federal grant compliance. He earned his BS in accounting and business administration from Birmingham Southern College with a minor in finance.