Rhiannon achieved a BS in biochemistry and BFA in dance from the University of Oklahoma where she was also selected as a McNair Research Scholar. She attained her PhD in pharmacology and toxicology from the University of Arizona by investigating the impact of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease progression on ADME-related genes, drug disposition, and toxic response using a combination of human liver tissue data and rodent models of disease. In her postdoctoral studies at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and the Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences, Rhiannon shifted her focus to in vitro liver models to investigate the regulation of efflux drug transporter function and zonal differences in nuclear receptor activation and hepatocyte response. Rhiannon then leveraged her in vivo and in vitro liver knowledge to lead a team focused on improving functional features of a 3D bioprinted liver model and expanding disease modeling capabilities while at Organovo, San Diego. Rhiannon then joined the Translational Safety Sciences group at Theravance Biopharma, South San Francisco, where she served as a project toxicologist for discovery and development phase small molecule programs. There she was responsible for supporting discovery programs through candidate nomination, design and oversight of IND-enabling toxicology strategies, toxicology support for health authority interactions, and candidate molecule support throughout development. Collaborating with representatives from safety assessment, DMPK, and pharmacology, she implemented and served as lead for an internal working group aimed at expanding knowledge and integrating the use of complex in vitro models in the drug development process at Theravance Biopharma.
Currently, Rhiannon is a Scientific Associate Director in Discovery Toxicology at Bristol Myers Squibb, San Diego, where she oversees an in vitro toxicology laboratory and serves as a project toxicologist for discovery phase programs across therapeutic modalities. Her laboratory interests include the use of complex in vitro models and microphysiological systems in the identification and characterization of tox liabilities and mechanistic investigations. In her role as a project toxicologist, she is responsible for the proactive design and execution of nonclinical toxicology studies to support successful candidate nomination.
Rhiannon is a Diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology and an active member of the Society of Toxicology since 2009 as well as the American College of Toxicology. She is also a guest lecturer for the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy Systems Toxicology and Drug Metabolism and Disposition courses and serves on the Washington State University College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Industry Advisory Board. Rhiannon has been involved in the Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Toxicity Gordon Research Seminar and Conference since 2015 and is currently serving as the Chair of the 2023 conference. Rhiannon also serves as a BMS representative to and the current Chair of the IQ Consortium Microphysiological Systems Affiliate.