The RIBSL group was founded by Dr. Denice Spero and Dr. Ed Bozzi.
Ed Bozzi grew up in Providence, RI. He graduated from The University of Rhode Island with a BS degree in Chemistry. From there he went on to Brown University where he earned a PhD in Organic Chemistry working under Professor Leallyn B Clapp. He was also commissioned a 2nd Lt in the USAF having been a member of the last ROTC class at Brown University. Dr Bozzi’s first position after completing his Air Force deployment was at Dow Chemical as a Process Development Chemist. He later joined the Swiss Chemical/Pharmaceutical Company, Ciba Geigy, as a product development chemist and then laboratory manager. Dr Bozzi advanced through a number of key marketing positions in CIBA-Geigy USA, finally attaining the position, Director of the Coatings Business Center. In the early 90’s, he then accepted a position in Sao Paulo Brazil as Director of the Polymers Division, C-G South America. From Brazil, Dr Bozzi moved to Group Company Headquarters, Basel, Switzerland, to head up their billion dollar Resins Business Center. Back in the USA, Dr Bozzi was appointed President of the Polymers Division, N. America and later President of Vantico Chemical.
In 2003 Dr Bozzi began teaching chemistry at The University of Rhode Island. He later assumed the responsibility for the Biotechnology Program at URI’s Providence Campus. He also taught as an adjunct at Brown University and Providence College. He currently holds the rank of Associate Clinical Professor at URI. In 2012 he and Dr Denice Spero founded, The Rhode Island BioScience Leaders group (RIBSL).
Denice M. Spero, Ph.D.
Dr. Spero’s research career has focused on developing new drugs for CNS, autoimmune, respiratory and tropical diseases. At Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, as a Vice President in Drug Discovery, she was responsible for establishing and leading an organization within Discovery to oversee its drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics, pharmaceutics, and general pharmacology studies for the therapeutic areas Immunology and Inflammation and Cardiovascular Diseases. Her organization was responsible for all discovery early safety studies and general pharmacology (CNS, cardiovascular, pulmonary, renal), CMC, and pharmacokinetic studies. She also led an interdisciplinary team of scientists who successfully designed a series of drug candidates and moved three forward into development for Multiple Sclerosis and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Denice co-founded Developing World Cures, Inc. (DWC) and served as its President and member of the board through 2009. In 2009, Denice joined as the co-Director, to build the Institute for Immunology and Informatics (iCubed) and held an appointment as Professor at the University of Rhode Island. Denice joined NsGene, Inc. in 2013 as the Vice President of Strategic Alliances. NsGene develops cell-based, implantable therapeutics for the treatment of severe neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
She holds 70 publications and patents and has given numerous invited lectures in scientific disciplines. She was noted by the Rhode Island Business Quarterly as one of “Four Women to Watch” as a woman advancing the state’s knowledge economy and was awarded an Innovation Providence Implementation Council (IPIC) grant to bring together scientists and entrepreneurs to teach them the principles of biotechnology company start-up. In 2011, Dr. Spero received a Providence Business News Woman in Industry Leadership Award. Additional Rhode Island awards include: the RI Women in Higher Education Award and the RI BioScience Award. She co-founded and leads the RI BioScience Leaders (RIBSL) with Dr. Edward Bozzi. Working with State Representative Chris Blazejewski, she and Ed submitted legislation with support of the BSL, which was passed into law on July 4, 2013, to provide state funds to companies awarded SBIR grants and to bioscience and engineering companies to support science student interns.
She graduated, Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Wheaton College with a BA in chemistry and biology and carried out her graduate work in organic chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Brown University. She completed her post-doctoral Fellowship at Harvard University.
Denice is currently the President and Chief Business Officer of ProThera Biologics.