2021 GREAT Symposium Speakers


GREAT Symposium: Career Round Table Discussion

March 24, 2021, 2:00-3:30pm, via Zoom

Confirmed Panelists:


  • Matthew Cabeen, PhD

Matt Cabeen earned B.S. degrees in Diagnostic Genetic Sciences and Molecular Cell Biology from the University of Connecticut. He completed his doctorate under Christine Jacobs-Wagner at Yale University, where his dissertation focused on the generation of curved cell morphology by the alphaproteobacterium Caulobacter crescentus. He then conducted postdoctoral work with Richard Losick at Harvard University, where he brought Pseudomonas aeruginosa to the lab and also studied stress responses in Bacillus subtilis. He joined the faculty in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Oklahoma State University in Fall 2017. He presently teaches popular upper-division classes on Antibiotics and Antibiotic Resistance as well as Introductory Microbiology. His research team includes a postdoc, 4 PhD students and 12 undergraduate scholars, many of whom have received prestigious scholarships. Projects in the lab are directed at 1) understanding molecular signaling pathways in P. aeruginosa, with a focus on biofilm formation, and 2) elucidating the fundamental properties of environmental stress signaling complexes in B. subtilis . As a graduate student, Cabeen was supported by the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program and was then a Merck Postdoctoral Fellow of the Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Foundation. Today, research in the Cabeen lab is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and the Oklahoma Center for Advancement of Science and Technology. He lives in Stillwater, OK with his wife and 4 sons.



  • Paul DeAngelis, PhD

Presidential Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.

The DeAngelis laboratory discovered multiple hyaluronan, chondroitin, and heparosan synthases, the enzymes that polymerize essential complex polysaccharides found in the extracellular matrix. These catalysts were then harnessed to create novel sugar polymers with utility for medical applications. These chemoenzymatic synthesis methods result in products with new chemical functionalities and unrivaled size control in the polysaccharide world. Some inventions include recombinant polysaccharide production systems, biomaterials, anti-inflammatory agents, and sugar-based drug delivery systems commercialized by four biotech companies (Hyalose, Choncept, Heparinex, Caisson Biotech). He has 81 peer-reviewed papers, 46 US patents and more than 100 international patents. He is on boards of the journals of Glycobiology and Analytical Biochemistry, and the Canadian Glycomics Network and the European Industrial Biotechnology Innovation and Synthetic Biology Acceleration group.



  • Paul Carson, PhD  

Dr. Paul Carlson is a principal investigator in the Laboratory of Mucosal Pathogens and Cellular Immunology, Division of Bacterial, Parasitic, and Allergenic Products, Office of Vaccines Research and Review, CBER, FDA. Dr. Carlson received his PhD from the University of Pittsburgh; he performed postdoctoral research at the University of Michigan in the laboratory of Phil Hanna. His research at FDA has focused on infections caused by the enteric pathogens Clostridium difficile and Vancomycin resistant Enterococcus (VRE) species, specifically,  1) mechanisms of C. difficile pathogenesis; 2) development of genetic tools to study C. difficile; 3) host response to C. difficile; 4) the role of the host microbiota in C. difficile colonization resistance; 5) the interactions between the host immune system and the microbiome; 6) bacteriophage therapy against VRE.

Dr. Carlson is a member, and former co-chair, of both the FDA microbiome working group and  the Joint Agency Microbiome (JAM) working group, as well as member of the Microbiome Interagency Working Group (MIWG). His regulatory responsibilities include product (Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Control) review for fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT), defined live biotherapeutic products, and bacteriophage therapies.



  •  Meredith E. Wilkerson, PhD

Meredith Wilkerson currently works in the OU Office of Technology Commercialization as the Licensing Officer.  In this capacity, she manages the life sciences portfolio of technologies developed at the University of Oklahoma.  This entails vetting technologies for intellectual property protection and licensing of technologies to industry partners for commercialization.  Meredith earned her PhD in neuroscience, completed two post-doctoral fellowships, and has managed clinical trials at the site level in Oklahoma City and Edmond, OK. 


Rachel Clinton_Bio Photo

  • Rachel Clinton, MS

Rachel Clinton is an infectious disease epidemiologist with over ten years of experience in research and applied infectious disease epidemiology.  She received her Bachelors of Science in Zoology-Biomedical Sciences (OU-Norman) and Masters of Science in infectious disease epidemiology from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Her master’s thesis focused on the evaluation of the standard of care among patients with HIV/AIDS receiving care along the U.S.-Mexico Border and in Oklahoma.  In 2011, she was nominated for the OUHSC Outstanding Thesis for her work on this cohort study.

Rachel spent ten years working for the Acute Disease Service, Communicable Disease Division, at the Oklahoma State Department of Health as an infectious disease epidemiologist and later as the program manager for the Communicable Disease Division.  She was responsible for the infectious disease investigation and control for over thirty infectious diseases including gastrointestinal pathogens, vector borne, vaccine-preventable diseases, tropical diseases and emerging pathogens, as well as hospital-acquired and antibiotic-resistant organisms.  This position focused on disease investigation and control, consultations with both healthcare personnel and the public as well as countless outbreak investigations including Ebola, Zika, and COVID-19.  Rachel is currently an epidemiology consultant for a national organization providing direction on development of policies in the public and private sectors related to control of the COVID-19 pandemic.


*Student Q&A with Keynote Speaker: 11:30am-12:30pm, via Zoom

  • Please submit your questions for the keynote speaker by next Thursday, February 25th. Email all questions to walker-hoolehan@ouhsc.edu
  • The sign-up link to meet with the keynote speaker will be sent the morning of next Thursday, February 25th


GREAT Symposium Keynote Address

March 25, 2021, 1:00-1:45pm, via Zoom

Keynote Speaker  


John Burklow-1


John T. Burklow, NIH Associate Director for Communications and Public Liaison 

Director, Office of Communications and Public Liaison

John Burklow is the Associate Director for Communications and Public Liaison at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the nation’s primary biomedical research agency, which means he is the communications director for the agency. With an annual budget of $42 billion, NIH is the largest supporter of medical research in the world.  Mr. Burklow directs the NIH Office of Communications and Public Liaison and oversees news media operations, online communication, social media, leadership presentations, editorial operations, science communication, public inquiries, corporate communications, Freedom of Information Act requests, special events, visitor and community programs, and other communication-related efforts. Mr. Burklow and his staff coordinate and integrate communication among NIH’s 27 institutes and centers, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the White House, other Departments across the government, outside organizations, and public information offices at NIH-supported grantee institutions.

Mr. Burklow serves as the chief advisor to senior-agency leadership on communications issues.  He coordinates communications efforts that involve collaborations with outside organizations such as major TV networks, HBO, Discovery Channel, and National Geographic, and oversees the ever-increasing expansion of agency communications efforts into social media as well as traditional media.


Mr. Burklow received the 2012 Presidential Rank Award, conferred by President Obama, for exceptional service to the American people over an extended period-of-time.  Over the past year, he has dedicated much of his time to communicating internally and externally about NIH’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He has a master’s degree in public health education from UNC-Greensboro, and a bachelor’s degree in communications from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale.  He lives in Kensington, MD with his wife, Debra Egan, a researcher at the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, and has three grown sons.