BioNews’ commitment to building and serving rare disease patient communities online is made possible through the talented, diverse group of professionals who comprise our team. Industry visionaries, award-winning journalists, proven researchers, and inspired patients come together to combine all of their unique skill sets and experience to create the content and environment that makes our communities special.
Here are just a few featured profiles from among our growing team of talented professionals:
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 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 started out as a copy editor with BioNews Services in February 2018 and now serves as the news desk 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.
Director of Advocacy
Vera, who lives in suburban Washington, D.C., heads advocacy relations at BioNews. Her long association with healthcare and patient advocacy began in 2009, when she joined Adventist Healthcare, moving in 2013 to Children’s National as a senior associate director of development. While there, Vera raised funds for clinical programs and basic science at the Children’s National Rare Disease Institute and the Children’s Research Institute while creating a culture of philanthropy across institutions. She also secured grants from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Washington’s diplomatic community and other sources for educational programs, telemedicine and medical training partnerships. Later, while at Virginia’s Inova Health System, Vera launched the international advancement program and started new collaborations with the Saudi and UAE ministries of health. Born and raised in Lyon, France, Vera is using her international expertise to forge new partnerships between BioNews and patient advocacy groups from around the world. In her spare time, she enjoys family time, tennis, reading and traveling.
Director of Business Development
Matt Magarahan joined BioNews Services in 2019 as director of business development. Before joining BioNews, he has worked as a sales executive in the insurance and financial services industry and as a strategic planning, marketing and leadership consultant. Matt earned his bachelor’s degree in Math and Science from West Chester University of Pennsylvania and lives in Downingtown, PA, with his wife and their five children. He’s also a multi-instrumentalist, music producer and singer/songwriter.
VP of Human Resources
Frank has over 20 years of experience leading Human Resources in both the private and public sector, and in international industries. He is an organization transformation professional helping companies grow, transform, and improve bottom-line performance through effective professional leadership practices. He is recognized as a strategic partner with a passion for culture, leadership, winning results, and employee growth. He has been involved in numerous strategic business decisions, and led six companies through corporate-wide turnarounds/transformations. Frank also has experience as an Information Technology professional. He has a BS in Business Management with an HR minor from Indiana Institute of Technology, and an AB in Information Systems with an accounting concentration from the Computer Systems Institute. Frank also holds a Professional Human Resources certification (SHRM-CP).
Frank’s other passion is fighting for a cure and better treatments for people living with cystic fibrosis. He understands rare diseases. He has been around cystic fibrosis for 60 years, and has lived directly with it for 50 of those years: losing a cousin in 1966 at age 6, a sister he lost in 1978 at age12, and – in 2018 – he and his wife lost their 29-year-old daughter, Alyssa, to cystic fibrosis. His son, Tre, 25, also has CF. Frank is a determined advocate for effective laws that will better protect those with rare diseases, and progress in giving them greater voice.
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 head 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.
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 Director of Multichannel Content. In this role, Michael oversees all of their 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.
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 Forums Director, 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
Senior 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.
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.
MEET OUR COLUMNISTS
No one speaks the language of patient communities like patients and caregivers themselves. Our team of patient specialists form the largest content division at BioNews and include talented writers who not only bring knowledge of their disease or condition to their role, but also writing and communication skills that help them connect with readers.
A Team That Connects
All of BioNews’ content divisions — including news, social media, columns and resource pages — as well as our sales and technical departments, are composed of business professionals who are committed to applying their unique experience and expertise to serving rare disease patient communities. Our talented team includes the following roles:
- Fact checkers with PhD degrees who ensure scientific and medical accuracy in our content.
- Copy editors who put the finishing touch on our content, making it readable and accessible to patients and caregivers.
- Managing editors who keep our content calendar moving forward, 24/7.
- Social media managers who have the skills to maximize engagement and conversation on the web’s leading social media platforms.
- Ad ops professionals who are well versed in industry standards for displaying and managing digital ad campaigns.
- SEO professionals who are experts in search engine optimization best practices, ensuring that BioNews content has the highest search engine visibility possible.
- IT experts who keep the front- and back-end of BioNews’ sites running optimally.
- Business development and sales experts who can communicate BioNews’ unique capabilities to companies in need of our services.
The people behind these roles combine to form a team that everyday is building a growing platform of rare disease ecosystems that make a different in people’s lives.