Scientific Advisory Board

IFER represents a unique opportunity to advance better, more ethical science by relying on the expertise and dedication of a Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) of scientists from academia, industry and government to select the best possible projects to support.

The lifeblood of any organization is the people who consistently support and guide its efforts to ensure that it stays on course with its principles. These scientists who have volunteered their time and expertise inspire and guide the mission of IFER. As professionals in their areas of expertise, they represent the highest principles of science for discovery, knowledge and understanding.

The Scientific Advisory Board of IFER reviews the proposals for the selection and funding of the Graduate Student Fellowship Program. They also agree to mentor select graduate students to ensure that the funding IFER allocates to these projects is properly used. Members of the SAB have also represented IFER at science conferences, authored articles, and promoted the mission of IFER among their colleagues in science.


Nancy Douglas, Ph.D. earned her B.S. in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology from the University of Colorado and then participated in studies of photoreceptor proteins in plants at the Plant Gene Expression Center of the University of California, Berkeley and of HIV and SIV protein structure/function in the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry of the University of California, San Francisco. She went on to receive her Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology from Cornell University examining DNA replication in budding yeast. She then worked for 10 years in the department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Cornell exploring how temperature and pH changes influence disease and microbial community dynamics in Caribbean corals. During that time, Dr. Douglas also acted as a scientific consultant to the Regulatory Testing Division of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals reviewing and commenting on proposed US and European chemical testing protocols/plans involving animals. She currently works as an independent contract bioscience editor.


John W. Harbell, Ph.D. serves as the current chairperson of the IFER Scientific Advisory Board and is President of the Society for In Vitro Biology. He earned his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Most recently he was the Principal Scientist at Mary Kay, Inc. and was responsible for directing pre-clinical and clinical evaluations and performing final safety clearance on cosmetic ingredients. He served as an internal and external consultant on the use of in vitro methods for preclinical safety and efficacy testing. Dr. Harbell partnered with external collaborators in bringing modern toxicological methods to the regulatory arena in China.

Dr. Harbell was co-founder, Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer at the Institute for In Vitro Sciences, Inc., where he provided scientific direction for laboratory-based programs, and developed and designed in vitro bioassay programs for corporate clients to evaluate toxicology and efficacy. Dr. Harbell has also served on extramural panels (ECVAM Ocular irritation Task Force, and OECD Test Guideline task forces) supporting the promotion of in vitro methods in regulatory applications. He has been an active member and officer of the Society for In Vitro Biology and their Executive Council since 1994. Dr. Harbell is also a member of the Society of Toxicology and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has an impressive list of published articles and research grants from both government and private sources. Dr. Harbell retired from the USAR in 2001 after a distinguished military career, achieving the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.


Patrick Hayden, Ph.D. is the Vice President of Scientific Affairs at MatTek Corporation. He is involved in directing product development research and commercial production of the company’s engineered in vitro human tissue models. His interest in cellular and molecular toxicology research using both in vivo and in vitro model systems and has spanned more than 30 years. He has served as Principal Investigator on NIH and Department of Defense funded projects that led to development of widely utilized commercial in vitro tissue models including MatTek’s EpiAirway™ human airway tissue model and EpiDerm-FT™ human skin model. He has also been an active collaborator in academic and industry research projects which have utilized these in vitro human models, and has authored/co-authored numerous research publications. Dr. Hayden received his B.S. degree in chemistry from the University of MD (College Park, MD), a Ph.D. in chemical biology from Clarkson University (Potsdam, NY), and conducted post-doctoral studies at NIEHS. Prior to joining MatTek, Dr. Hayden gained experience in preclinical toxicity and efficacy testing of consumer products while employed by the Gillette Company.


Pamela Osenkowski, Ph.D. is a Science Advisor for the National Anti-Vivisection Society and joined the IFER SAB in 2012. Dr. Osenkowski earned her B.S. in Biology at the University of Michigan and her Ph.D. in Cancer Biology at Wayne State University. She conducted her postdoctoral studies in Alzheimer disease at Harvard Medical School and later obtained a faculty position at Michigan State University-College of Osteopathic Medicine. She is currently an Instructor in the Biology Department at Loyola University Chicago, where her teaching efforts are focused in the areas of genetics, biochemistry, cellular biology and molecular biology.


Bernard E. Rollin, Ph.D. (B.A. City College of New York; Ph.D. Columbia University) is a Professor of Philosophy, Professor of Animal Sciences, Professor of Biomedical Sciences, University Bioethicist and University Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Colorado State University. He is widely published (more than 500 articles and seventeen books) and has lectured extensively on animal ethics, genetic engineering, animal pain, animal research, animal agriculture and veterinary ethics. Among his many other activities, he currently serves as a Science Advisor to NAVS. His recent book, Science and Ethics (Cambridge University Press, 2006), addresses issues concerning animal research, xenotransplantation, and biotechnology and how ethical considerations have finally found their way into empirical science. His memoir, Putting the Horse before Descartes (Temple University Press, 2011) recounts many of his efforts to encourage more thoughtful and humane treatment of animals.


Sherry L. Ward, Ph.D. received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Michigan State University, and M.B.A. and Executive M.S. in Technology Management from the University of Maryland University College (UMUC). She was awarded a National Institutes of Health (NIH) predoctoral fellowship at Michigan State University (MSU), an American Red Cross postdoctoral fellowship at the Holland Laboratory, and an NIH postdoctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University. Her areas of research experience include vascular cell biology, prostaglandin enzymology, antibody and protein chemistry, molecular immunology, human ocular cell biology, and in vitro toxicology.

Dr. Ward currently works as a consultant in the area of in vitro toxicology, as the Contributing Editor for AltTox.org, and as an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Management and Technology at UMUC. Over the past five years, she has taught classes in microbiology, biotechnology entrepreneurship, and project management. She has many years of experience as a scientific grant reviewer for various private and Federal grant programs.

As a Staff Scientist at the Gillette Company in the 1990’s, Dr. Ward developed and characterized the first human conjunctival epithelial cell lines, developed an extensive program of industry-academic research collaborations to research human models and mechanisms of eye irritation, and managed an interlaboratory validation study for an assay to assess eye irritation using a stratified human corneal epithelial cell model.

Dr. Ward has served on various government panels, including ICCVAM peer review panels for ocular irritation and endocrine disruptor test methods, and an EPA panel on nanoscale materials. She was a member of the Health and Environmental Sciences Institute of the International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI-HESI) Animal Alternatives Task Force from 1993 to 2000, and worked on their projects focusing on replacing the Draize rabbit eye test. She has organized and participated in a number of ocular research symposia, and presented and published in this area. She has also published numerous online articles related to non-animal methods for toxicity testing.