Biotechnology Faculty & Staff
Dr. Alexandra Gorgevska
Science Professor III
Department Chair Biotechnology
Dr. Gorgevska is the Department Chair for Biotechnology. She also served as the Department Chair for Natural Sciences at Palm Beach State College 2011 thru 2018 as well as the Director of the Biotechnology Program and STEM Outreach in 2018. In 2017, she 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. Kevin Ogden has over 15 years of biomedical and bioinformatics research experience. He earned his B.S. in Physiology from Michigan State University, during which time he conducted research in the lab of Dr. Stephanie Watts in the Pharmacology and Toxicology Department. He examined how altered serotonin signaling mechanisms in arteries contributes to hypertension. He then earned his Ph.D. in Molecular and Systems Pharmacology from Emory University. During his Ph.D. studies with Dr. Stephen Traynelis in the Department of Pharmacology at Emory University, he investigated cellular communication in the brain and how disruption of this communication can lead to diseases such as schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease. He defined two new drug-binding sites on an important signaling molecule in the brain, the NMDA receptor. He was also part of an interdisciplinary team project comprising pharmacologists and medicinal chemists that led to discovery of the first subunit-selective NMDA receptor positive allosteric modulator. Dr. Ogden next joined Dr. Gavin Rumbuagh’s lab at Scripps Florida to study how altered function of genes commonly mutated in intellectual disability and epilepsy contribute to the disrupted neural activity associated with these disorders. After Scripps, he moved into the genomics industry as a senior computational biologist at Ocean Ridge Biosciences. He develops new bioinformatic pipelines and evaluates genomic algorithms to address complex problems in next generation sequencing data analysis such as discovering new variants from RNA sequencing and estimating differential transcript isoform usage. He also designs custom ad-hoc analysis approaches tailored to discover new biological trends and insights from RNA sequencing experiments.
Dr. Clementz is a 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.
Dr. Sirtana Yasui
Adjunct 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