UM prof named to MichBio board

ANN ARBOR—Officials at MichBio, the state’s life sciences industry lobbying group, announced the addition of Lola Eniola-Adefeso, university diversity and social transformation professor of chemical engineering at the University of Michigan, to its board of directors, completing a term expiring in December 2022.

The diversity and social transformation professorship was awarded to an inaugural group of nine University of Michigan professors, including Eniola-Adefeso, in September 2019. The designation was created to recognize senior faculty who have shown a commitment to the university’s ideals of diversity, equity and inclusion through their scholarship, teaching, service, or and engagement.

In addition to her role as diversity and social transformation professor, Eniola-Adefeso also holds joint appointments in biomedical engineering and macromolecular science and engineering, and serves on the steering committee of the UM Biointerfaces Institute. She earned a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania and served two years as a National Institutes of Health Postdoctoral Fellow at the Baylor College of Medicine before coming to Michigan.

As a champion for women and underrepresented minority students, Eniola-Adefeso served as co-chair of the NextProf program and founded the NextProf Pathfinder program. As graduate chair of chemical engineering, she was instrumental in recruiting a class consisting of 44 percent women and 26 percent underrepresented minorities, the most diverse PhD class in the history of the department.

Eniola-Adefeso is a co-founder of Asalyxa Bio, a startup developing treatments for Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), including the variety found in COVID-19 patients.

The company’s lead program is ASX-100, a technology that delivers an anti-inflammatory agent directly to overreactive neutrophils. The arrival of ASX-100 reduces the activity of these immune cells and minimizes harm to the body from the immune overreaction that triggers what’s known as a “cytokine storm.”

Said Stephen Rapundalo, president and CEO of MichBio: “As a leader in biomedical research and a constant champion for diversity and inclusion, I am confident that she will provide valuable strategic vision that will guide MichBio as we continue to drive bio-industry growth into the future.”

MichBio’s 17-member board is chaired by Ken Massey, director of venture development at Wayne State University as Chair, with Kevin McLeod, CEO of C2Dx, as vice chair, Robert Donofrio, vice president of food safety research and development at Neogen as secretary, and Sandra Pennell, controller at Vericel, as treasurer.

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