Executive Committee


Principal Investigator

Jinglu Tan, PhD

Jinglu Tan, PhD

James C. Dowell Professor and Chair of the Biological Engineering Department at the University of Missouri

Jinglu Tan is James C. Dowell Professor and Chair of the Department of Biological Engineering at University of Missouri-Columbia; Director for the Division of Food Systems and Bioengineering in the College of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources (CAFNR); Co-Director of the Bioprocessing and Biosensing Center of the MU Food for the 21st Century Program.

Tan is also former Interim Chair for the Department of Chemical Engineering in the College of Engineering; past Interim Chair, Department of Food Science; past Interim Chair, Hotel & Restaurant Management Program; and past Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Biological Engineering, at the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Co-Principal Investigator

Jerry Parker, PhD

Jerry Parker, PhD

Associate Dean for Research; University of Missouri School of Medicine
Co-Director, Operations, Integration, and Evaluation, University of Missouri Institute for Clinical and Translational Science

Jerry Parker has an extensive background in academic leadership. He is currently Associate Dean for Research and Clinical Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Prior, he was Associate Chief of Staff for Research and Development at the Harry S. Truman Memorial Veteran's Hospital; He also has served as Director, Behavioral Health at the HSTMVH which involved administration of a comprehensive behavioral health program, including inpatient psychiatry, addictions treatment, day treatment, outpatient psychiatry, homelessness program, and a network of clinics across the state of Missouri.

In these practitioner and behavioral health administrator roles, he developed a keen sensitivity to the challenges involved in the delivery of health care services and the implementation of evidence-based practices, as well as a deep understanding of the need for clinical and translational research in these areas.

Co-Principal Investigator

Christopher (Chris) Fender, MS

Christopher (Chris) Fender, MS

Director of the University of Missouri Office of Technology Management and Industry Relations

Chris Fender, Director of the Office of Technology Management and Industry Relations at the University of Missouri, Columbia, is responsible for stimulating the development and commercialization of advanced technology and transforming University of Missouri intellectual property into successful business enterprise.

On behalf of MU, Fender interacts with faculty, community, business and state government leaders to promote University of Missouri intellectual property. As a U.S. Patent co-inventor, Fender understands the value of intellectual property and the invention to commercialization process.

Coulter Program Director

Cynthia Helphingstine, PhD, MBA

Cynthia Helphingstine, PhD, MBA

Coulter Program Director

Cynthia Helphingstine is the Program Director of the Coulter Translational Partnership at the University of Missouri, a grants program proven to accelerate the translation of biomedical innovations into solutions for unmet clinical needs. Helphingstine has more than 30 years of experience creating and leading life science start-ups, running her own boutique consulting business and working for an industry leader.

Most recently, she was President and CEO of the Fairbanks Institute in Indianapolis where she led the creation of a novel biorepository for drug discovery and biomarker validation studies leading to the development of personalized medicine. Helphingstine holds a BA in microbiology and PhD in immunology from the University of Missouri-Columbia and an MBA from the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management.

Assistant Coulter Program Director

Jaya Ghosh, PhD

Jaya Ghosh, PhD

Assistant Coulter Program Director

Jaya Ghosh earned her Bachelor of Engineering degree from Manipal Institute of Technology in India. While in college she became interested in research and her final year collaborative research work was recognized as one of the best projects of the year. During her stint at Infosys Technologies Limited, she worked as a software and testing engineer, implementing testing modules and developing business software migration platforms for important product lines. Her team received the TNS Star Award at Infosys Technologies Limited.

While completing her PhD in Bioengineering at Mizzou, she developed a patent pending technology as part of her dissertation research project. Most recently, she completed the University of Missouri's Biodesign Program as part of an exclusive 3-person team that successfully performed hands-on investigation to identify unmet clinical needs, designed, built and tested prototypes of solutions, conducted proof-of-concept studies, and developed market research and business cases to bring inventions to market.