BioBank Team








Jan Akervall, M.D., Ph.D.
Clinical Director, BioBank
Medical Director Translational Research, Surgical Services

Dr. Akervall completed Medical School, ENT residency and PhD degree at Lund University Hospital, after which he did a fellowship in Head and Neck Oncology and Reconstructive Surgery in 2000-2001. He is Associate Professor at Lund University and Clinical Research Professor at Oakland University/William Beaumont Medical School. Dr. Akervall is Medical Director for The Multidisciplinary Head and Neck Tumor Clinic, Medical Director for Translational Research at Surgical Services and Medical Director for The BioBank, all at Beaumont Hospital. Clinically he specializes in endoscopic and robotic assisted head and neck cancer surgery and research wise in biomarkers for response to radiation therapy in Head and Neck Cancer.

George Wilson, Ph.D.
Scientific Director, BioBank
Chief, Radiation Biology
Director of The Erb Family Molecular and Genetics Laboratory

Dr. Wilson received his Ph.D. from the University of Liverpool in the UK in 1978 and undertook his postdoctoral training at the University of Birmingham and the University of London. In 1984, Dr Wilson joined the Gray Laboratory, the renowned radiation research institution in London, as a senior scientist and worked there for 18 years. In 2002, Dr. Wilson became Professor of Radiation Oncology at Wayne State University and the Karmanos Cancer institute. Dr. Wilson joined Beaumont in 2005 as Chief of Radiation Biology in the Department of Radiation Oncology. Dr. Wilson has published over 180 scientific articles and book chapters and has a long standing research interest in biomarkers to predict the response of tumors to radiotherapy. Dr. Wilson is the Scientific Director of the BioBank and the Director of the Erb Family Core Molecular Laboratory at Beaumont Research Institute. Dr. Wilson is a Clinical Professor in Biomedical Sciences at the Oakland University/William Beaumont School of Medicine and is also an Adjunct Professor of Radiation Oncology, Immunology and Microbiology and Karmanos Cancer Institute at Wayne State University.

Barbara Pruetz, HTL (ASCP)
Laboratory Manager

Barb Pruetz has a Bachelor’s in Science, from Oakland University, with a specialization in Histotechnology (HTL) from William Beaumont Hospital. Her professional career began in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience at Wayne State University during June, 1998 and December, 2002. Her role as a research assistant at WSU provided her the opportunity to implement and oversee the procurement of human brain specimens from the Wayne County Medical examiner’s office and through an accrual process she initiated an RNA project to study the mechanism of the dopamine transporter system. In addition, she developed a unique bar-code tracking system to track the movement and downstream applications of all human specimens. She also acquired additional experience as an HTL through her work at the University of Pathology Research Services, at Karmanos Cancer Institute/Wayne State University during January, 2003 and May, 2008. She managed the coordination of the human pathology tissue core; she specialized in researching Immunohistochemistry, In-situ Hybridization, Laser Capture Microdissection, Tissue Micro Array construction and general histological techniques. She joined the Beaumont BioBank as the Laboratory Manager and was recently promoted as the Scientific Manager.  She led the team by coordinating and preparing the department for the College of American Pathologist, (CAP) accreditation inspection process.  With her guidance and leadership, the Beaumont Biobank is accredited as the 24th BioBank in the USA by the prestigious Biorepository Accreditation Program (BAP) through CAP.

Timothy J. Geddes, B.S.
Research Assistant Manager

Tim attained a BS in Biochemistry from Michigan State University in 1983, focusing on Molecular Biology, microbiology, and laboratory instrumentation. Throughout his career he has been productive at a variety of institutions. These include molecular biology Studies at the University of Michigan, cancer research at both Henry Ford Hospital of Detroit and the Department of Radiation Oncology at Wayne State University. After heading up a state of the art Biotechnology Research and Industrial Applications Laboratory at Gage Products Company, Tim managed the Laboratory of Molecular Neurochemistry at the John Dingell VA Medical Center and Wayne State University in Detroit from 1997 through 2008.  Here projects included proteomic and genomic studies of traumatic brain injury, along with studying the effects of drugs abuse on brain function at the molecular level. His versatility, extensive research experience, and considerable skill set of analysis techniques are a valuable addition to the BioBank team. He is involved in numerous biospecimen integrity studies and the development of novel metrics for biobanked specimens. These include the SPIN project designed to be a novel assessment of biorepository tissue quality which was introduced in 2011, winning the Asterand-ISBER Biospecimen Science Award.  

Dianna Larson, R.N., (CCRP)
Research Nurse Clinician

Dianna obtained her BSN at University of Detroit Mercy.  She has been an employee of William Beaumont Hospital since 1984. Her vast professional experience began with Post-partum 1984-1985 as a nursing assistant, General Med 1985-1987, then she transitioned to Critical Care 1987-1989 as Nursing Tech. After obtaining her RN degree she joined Cardiac Interventional 1989-1998 as an RN and was promoted to charge nurse, she then joined Emergency Medicine 1998-2000 followed by Pre-op Anesthesia 2000-2003.  After acquiring many years of experience working within the Hospital setting she transferred to the Research Institute in 2003 where she took on the role as a Research Study Coordinator with the Surgical Clinical Trials Research group. She specialized in evaluation of cardiac drug and surgical device studies.  In June 2009 she joined the Biobank as a Research Nurse Clinician and was at the forefront of the clinical research process and strategic planning of the department. In 2012 she expanded her role as Research Nurse Clinician and is engaged in successively organizing the Sister Satellite located at Troy Beaumont Hospital where she is the sole research coordinator. She focuses on Multidisciplinary surgical procedure collections and utilizes processes improvement initiatives developed at Royal Oak as well as advancing new collections which have proven difficult to implement at the larger Royal Oak facility. She works attentively with investigators to establish and achieve research goals, recruitment of new PI’s, educating and consenting patients, lab and surgical sample collection and processing, data entry, implementation of policies, participates in research development projects and Research committees for nurses. 

Samreen Ahmed, B.S., M.P.H.
Research Coordinator I

Samreen Ahmed received her BS in Molecular and Cellular Biology from University of Washington. In 2006, she received her MPH in Hospital and Molecular Epidemiology from the University of Michigan. There she joined the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology where she completed her thesis project investigating molecular and physiological mechanisms involved in Wilson Disease. In 2009, she joined the BioBank as a research study coordinator where she is involved in projects that include molecular biomarker detection in thyroid cancer, Alzheimer’s, and carotid artery atherosclerosis as well as developing protocols for tissue molecular quality assurance and has contributed to numerous publications in the field of biomedical research and also biorepository science. She utilizes techniques in the area of gene expression profiling, detecting copy number changes, and SNP genotyping. Samreen also works closely with other research personnel, residents, and medical students for training of core molecular equipment usage for research projects.

Bryan Thibodeau, Ph.D.
Research Associate I

Bryan received his Ph.D. from Wayne State University in 2009 from the Department of Molecular and Cellular Toxicology where his research focused on changes in gene expression that occur during breast cancer progression. Since joining the Beaumont BioBank team in 2010, Dr. Thibodeau has co-authored a book chapter on rectal cancer as well as published articles on various topics including prostate cancer, pancreatic intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm, cancer stem cells, and thyroid cancer. Dr. Thibodeau utilizes gene expression microarray technology and next generation DNA sequencing to identify biomarkers and/or molecular pathways that are important to disease development and response to treatment. Through the use of specialized software and pathway analysis tools, Dr. Thibodeau uses patterns in global gene expression and DNA alterations to reveal biological mechanisms that have potential to aid clinicians in understanding disease biology as well as predicting prognosis.

Billie Ketelsen, M.T. (ASCP)
Research Assistant II

Billie Ketelsen graduated with a B.S. in Biology from Alma College in 2005 and a second B.S. in Medical Laboratory Science from Oakland University in 2007. She finished her Medical Technologist internship at Beaumont Hospital in 2008 and joined Beaumont’s Blood Bank where she received her MLS (ASCP) CM certification. She is currently pursuing her M.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology from Oakland University. She joined the Biobank in 2010 and utilizes her expertise in blood processing and handling, histology, immunohistochemistry, Laser Capture Microdissection, Microscopy, and Tissue Micro Array construction while expanding her knowledge in blood-tissue DNA and RNA extraction, and, most recently, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). She is actively involved in the training of staff and students in laboratory techniques.

Zakiya Kelley
Research Assistant

Zakiya Kelley graduated with a degree in Molecular Genetics and Genomics from Michigan State University. Since joining the BioBank in 2012, she has taken a focus in the fields of genomics, microscopy, immunohistochemistry, as well as tissue and blood processing. She is currently working on Dr. Robert Jury's Pancreatic IPMN study which involves techniques including laser microdissection and DNA and RNA isolation. She also does protein isolation for downstream analysis on the Mass Spectrometer.

Stacy Wolforth, B.S HTL, (ASCP)
Research Assistant

Stacy received her Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences from Grand Valley University in 2011. In 2012 she obtained her ASCP certification in Histotechnology from Beaumont Hospital. She went on to work for Beaumont as both a clinical Histotechnologist and a research assistant focusing on renal histopathology. She joined the biobank in 2013 to focus on histology, immunohistochemistry, microscopy, and blood and tissue processing.

Laura Fortier, M.S.
Research Assistant II

Laura received her B.S. in Human Biology from Michigan State University in 2009 and M.S. in Basic Medical Sciences from Wayne State University in 2013. Since joining the BioBank in 2009, Laura has taken a focus in the fields of genomics, microscopy, immunohistochemistry, tissue microarray construction and histology. She specializes in microarray technology to identify biomarkers for the detection and progression of disease processes. Past and current studies involving these techniques include Merkell cell carcinoma, renal cell carcinoma, head and neck cancers, as well as pancreatic IPMN, adenocarcinoma, and neuroendocrine tumors. She is currently studying at Oakland University in collaboration with the BioBank as a Ph.D. student in the Biomedical and Biological Sciences program. Her doctoral research project focuses on the study of the regulatory processes involved in pancreatic cancer.

Krisanne Saleh, R.N., B.S.N., (CCRP)
Research Nurse Clinician

Krisanne received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from the University of Michigan. As an Associate Nurse Manager she evaluated potential research projects from multiple medical disciplines, established a program for a restricted asthma research grant, and managed three full time employees. As a Research Nurse Clinician, Krianne then continued the development of the asthma research grant by co-authoring and facilitating two clinical trials along with assisting with special projects in Research Administration such as policy writing and internal auditing. Krisanne then joined the Surgical Clinical Trials department where she facilitated two large commercial and NIH vascular studies. In March of 2010, Krisanne joined the BioBank as a Research Nurse Clinician. Her responsibilities encompass recruiting patients, facilitating the informed consent process, collecting and processing lab and surgical specimens and data entry.


Mary Farwell, B.S.
Office Coordinator

Mary Farwell holds a B.S. from Wayne State University. Mary has been part of the BioBank since its inception in 2008. She oversees the daily operations of the office and secretarial staff and provides administrative support to the BioBank Scientific and Clinical Directors (George Wilson, Ph.D. and Jan Akervall, M.D., Ph.D., respectively). Mary has been with the Beaumont Research Institute since 1995 and also oversees the daily office operations of Radiation Oncology Research. She serves as Recording Secretary for the Institutional Biosafety Committee. Mary’s extensive research experience and institutional knowledge has been a valuable asset to the BioBank team.  

Tiffany Manier, HIT
Administrative Secretary

Tiffany obtained her Associates degree in Health Information Technology at DeVry University; she is currently working on her Bachelors in Health Information Management. She joined Beaumont Health System in 2000 as a Unit Secretary until August 2005 when she was promoted as an Administrative Secretary to Director of Regulatory and Compliance in Research Administration. She joined the BioBank team in 2009 and provides administrative support for Jan Akervall, M.D., Ph.D., Clinical Director and George D. Wilson Ph.D, Scientific Director. She also provides administrative support to the Clinical, Genomic and Scientific lab managers. Recently, she has taken on the task of collaborating with Cancer Clinical Trials Office to inform the community of biobanking research which she enjoys doing, and she also seeks to assist with public relation initiatives whenever possible to promote the biobank within Beaumont. She enjoys having the opportunity to provide administrative support to the Biobank leaders and being part of the BioBank team where she has the opportunity to use her creative skills and talents to assist with driving the vision and goals of the Biobank forward into future.