Biotechnology Faculty & Staff
Dr. Alexandra Gorgevska
Science Professor III
Department Chair for Biotechnology and Natural Sciences
Dr. Gorgevska is the Department Chair for Biotechnology and Natural Sciences at Palm Beach State College. She also recently served as the Interim Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at the Palm Beach Gardens Campus, overseeing all Natural Sciences, Allied Health, Health Concepts and Nutrition, Paralegal Studies and Business & Entrepreneurship. She received her Bachelor's Degree in Biochemistry & Business Management from the University of Michigan and her Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the Department of Chemistry at Wayne State University specializing in DNA-protein cross-links. Her research involved the investigation and discovery of novel mechanisms and structures of formalin cross-link formation between DNA and proteins that form as a result of the fixation process during biopsy preservation. She has worked as a research technician in the Vascular Research Laboratory at William Beaumont Hospital and a research fellow at the University of Michigan-Department of Physiology studying peripheral vascular occlusive disorders. She was a post-doctoral research fellow at the National Institutes of Health in the National Institute on Aging, where she investigated the mechanisms of rare premature aging disorders, primarily that of Werner's Syndrome.
Dr. Gorgevska has and continues to be involved with the development and expansion
of biotechnology curricula to meet the needs of the emerging bioscience community.
In 2009, she was honored with the Distinguished New Faculty Award at the 20th International
Conference on College Teaching and Learning. She was a research mentor with the U.S.
Army eCybermission program. She also served as the Curriculum Development Manager
for the Employ Florida Banner Center for Life Sciences at Palm Beach State College,
which was a 3-year 1.2 million dollar grant-funded strategic plan to modernize Florida's
workforce in order to meet the workforce needs of the state. Dr. Gorgevska was the
Principal Investigator for a National Science Foundation Advanced Training Education
(NSF-ATE) grant, a 2-year $200,000 funded project that helped to increase enrollment,
retention and success of biotechnology students within the program and into their
careers. She worked with the Quantum Foundation Science Path Institute, which was
a 3-year grant initiative to provide professional development training and updated
curriculum for high school science teachers. She helps represent the PBSC Biotechnology
Program as part of the LSSF, Life Sciences South Florida consortium, including serving
on the student research symposium planning committee. She worked with the PBSC Math
& Science Institute for 10 years, which was a summer honors program for dual enrolled
and PBSC students. She is currently involved with the PBSC STEM Collegiate High School
program. She is also a chemistry instructor with the AAUW Tech Trek summer program
for 8th grade girls. She strives to provide high quality instruction by recruiting
well-qualified adjunct instructors from industry and research. She provides career
mentorship to students in addition to seeking new, relevant curriculum to help train
a well-qualified workforce.
Dr. Tod Fairbanks
Science Professor III
Dr. Tod Fairbanks is a tenured professor of Science Biotechnolgy at Palm Beach State College. He is also 38-year veteran of the healthcare industry. Professor Fairbanks received three degrees from the University of Vermont (UVM): B.S., Medical Technology; M.S., Botany (algal cell biology); M.Ed., Foundations of Education. He began his career as a medical technologist/supervisor/clinical instructor at the Medical Center Hospital of Vermont/UVM, Burlington, Vermont and then moved to an Assistant/Associate Professor position in Laboratory Sciences at the University of Illinois at the Medical Center, Chicago. He received his Ph.D. in Immunology from Rush University, Chicago and subsequently moved to Abbott Diagnostics at Abbott Laboratories, North Chicago where he worked on new worldwide diagnostic products. From Abbott, Dr. Fairbanks moved into the pharmaceutical industry including Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pharmacia and Pfizer, where he worked for the last 17 years in global marketing research, competitive intelligence, global new product development, global marketing, corporate development (Mergers & Acquisitions) and finally, oncology licensing. The licensing position included evaluations of several hundred biotech and university partnering opportunities per year. Most of his pharmaceutical experience involves oncology and pharmacogenomics.
Dr. Becky A. Mercer is the Director of Biotechnology Programs and STEM Education at Palm Beach State College. Dr. Mercer earned her Ph.D. in Metabolic Sciences from the Department of Molecular Medicine at Columbia University in New York City. During her graduate studies, she investigated cellular and genetic mechanisms involved in pulmonary emphysema and lung cancer, using mice, rabbits and guinea pigs, cell-based assays, and human lung biopsies. Her work has been published extensively in peer-reviewed scientific journals and presented at international conferences.
Dr. Mercer began her science career as an undergraduate research assistant in Los Angeles at the University of Southern California’s Neurosciences Department and in the USC Dental School, investigating mechanisms of bone remodeling, osteoporosis, and cell development, publishing her first scientific manuscript in 1998. Dr. Mercer served as a Senior Research Associate at Telios Pharmaceutics in San Diego, CA and as an Editor at the Journal of Clinical Investigation. After grad school, Dr. Mercer came to Florida to pursue post-doctoral training in the Department of Cancer Biology at Scripps Florida, where she was a part of a research team that identified a novel protein involved in cAMP-activated gene transcription. After completing and publishing her postdoctoral work, Dr. Mercer was invited to join Scripps’ High Throughput Screening group as the Associate Scientific Project Manager where she assisted in securing projects to identify novel chemical probes as part of an $80 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Dr. Mercer holds a Certificate in Project Management from Florida Atlantic University and is a Director at Ocean Ridge Biosciences, a Palm Beach Gardens-based genomics company. Dr. Mercer is an active member of several Palm Beach County economic and education committees, non-profits, and school advisory boards, and has developed teacher professional development, high school internships, and community STEM programs.
Dr. Becky Mercer Faculty Webpage
Dr. Mark Clementz
Adjunct Biotechnology Professor
Dr. Clementz is an adjunct professor of Biotechnology and Microbiology at Palm Beach State College. He completed his postdoctoral fellowship at The Scripps Research Institute in the laboratory of Susana Valente. He earned his B.S. in Biology from Benedictine University and Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from Loyola University Chicago. In his predoctoral work, he studied antagonism of the innate immune system by SARS coronavirus. As a postdoc, he characterized host cell restriction factors of HIV replication as well as investigated the mode of action of an HIV Tat inhibitor along with generation and characterization of HIV mutant virus against this inhibitor.
Adjunct Biotechnology Professor
Nick Bild is an adjunct professor of Biotechnology at Palm Beach State College and
a bioinformaticist at The Scripps Research Institute. He earned his B.S. in Information
Systems and M.S. in Medical and Bioinformatics from Grand Valley State University.
He has been involved in a number of large scale research projects, including the ENCODE
and modENCODE projects during his time at the University of Chicago. His professional
interests include the application of computational resources and algorithm development
to solve big data problems in biology and health care.
Adjunt Biotechnology Professor
Dr. Yasui’s passion is making chemistry a more enjoyable and manageable subject to students, rather than a cringe-worthy requirement. She has combined experiences in research at federal and academic laboratories - with over 25 papers published; along with teaching at college and high school levels. These experiences have made her realize how crucial a chemistry background is for students, and she strives to help them develop an appreciation, and ultimately a passion for the subject. While she has a core method of teaching chemistry, it is adjusted every semester based of the background of each student.
Dr. Yasui graduated from Ohio University with Ph.D. in physical organic chemistry and worked at the Forensic Chemistry Center, US Food and Drug Administration (FDA); University of Illinois (UIC) and Texas Christian University (TCU). Her research focused on food and drug tampering and/or poison cases; structures of proteins and small chiral molecules; and enzyme kinetics of heme porphyrins.
Biotechnology Lab Specialist
Edison Mejia has a Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology from the University of Antioquia- Colombia. His passion for science started 20 years ago while studying diagnosis, infection and epidemiology of Trypanosomiasis.
Edison later joined Stony Brook University in Long Island, NY where he worked for 12 years as a Research Specialist in the Molecular Genetic and Microbiology Department. During his time there, he worked with tissue culture and performed experiments with a chimera of Hepatitis C virus. He also conducted experiments on Yersinia bacterium and its interaction with eukaryotic cells. Edison then moved on to the Pharmacological Sciences Department where he participated in projects involving molecular cloning, protein expression and purification, structural and biochemical characterization of different mitochondrial proteins and X-Ray Crystallography.
Administrative Assistant II
561-207-5055 | Email Brenda Lesser