Who we are


 Cynthia N. Fuhrmann, Ph.D.

Cynthia Fuhrmann 

Assistant Dean, Career & Professional Development

Associate Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology

(508) 856.1935


Dr. Fuhrmann directs the GSBS Center for Biomedical Career Development, which she founded in 2014 to serve the UMMS community while acting as an incubator for innovating educational approaches to prepare PhD scientists for the biomedical workforce. As Assistant Dean, Dr. Fuhrmann oversees educational programs focused on the career and professional development of graduate students and postdocs in UMMS’s Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. As PI of UMMS’s NIH BEST award (2013-2018), she led integration of career development into the core PhD curriculum. Previously, Fuhrmann founded University of California San Francisco’s (UCSF) Preparing Future Faculty program and oversaw professional skills programs for biomedical scientists as part of UCSF’s Office of Career & Professional Development. She co-authored myIDP on AAAS/Science Careers, an interactive career-planning tool used by more than 150,000 early-career scientists worldwide. She has been active in national advocacy for PhD career development. Her 2011 study of the career interests of biomedical PhD students contributed to the growing national dialog related to the workforce and training needs of PhD scientists.  Her work has been cited in reports by the National Institutes of Health, Council of Graduate Schools, Science, Nature Careers, Inside Higher Ed, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. She is active in the Graduate Career Consortium, the NIH BEST Consortium, and AAMC Graduate Research Education and Training Group.  She serves on the Advisory Board for the Association of American Universities’ PhD Education Initiative. Most recently, she is principal investigator of a national initiative to advance the career development of PhD scientists, initiated by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and further supported by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. Fuhrmann holds a B.S. in chemistry from University of California Davis and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from UCSF.



Spencer L. Fenn, Ph.D.


Spencer Fenn

Assistant Director

(508) 856.3638 


As Assistant Director, Dr. Fenn oversees our Career Pathways initiatives at the cBCD. Prior to joining UMMS, Dr. Fenn performed biomedical research at Tufts University and was a scholar of the NIH IRACDA-funded Training in Education and Critical Research Skills (TEACRS) Program. He received his Ph.D. in Bioengineering from the University of Vermont (UVM), where he was appointed as an NIH T32 Predoctoral Fellow of the Vermont Lung Center. During his time at UVM, Dr. Fenn was a beneficiary of their Graduate Teaching Program and taught several lab courses in the Dept. of Mechanical Engineering. He is passionate about innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship, with several patent submissions and awards based on his research in the field of biomaterials. Dr. Fenn has held  leadership roles both in academia and at other non-profit organizations, having served as President of the UVM Chapter of the Materials Research Society and Vice Chairman of the Board at the Vermont People with AIDS Coalition. He holds a bachelors degree in Biomedical Materials Science from the University of Manchester, UK.



Irina Parker


 Irina Parker

Administrative Assistant II, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

(508) 856.4145


Ms. Parker coordinates scheduling, program logistics and newsletter updates for cBCD.  She also supports the Office for Postdoctoral Scholars.  Prior to coming to UMMS, Irina worked with doctors and patients in a psychiatric setting.


Mindy Donovan


Mindy Donovan

Project Coordinator, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

(508) 856.5938


Ms. Donovan coordinates data analysis and tracking for cBCD's NIH BEST initiatives. In 2014-2018, she served as project coordinator for cBCD, coordinating all aspects of program logistics. She brings years of experience in project administration, including five years at UMMS prior to joining the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in 2014. Through her recently-expanded role in GSBS Academic Affairs, she will continue to support some curricular aspects of cBCD programs.


Team alumni:


 Sonia Hall, Ph.D.





Dr. Hall joined cBCD for a one-year postdoctoral fellowship in 2016-17. In this role, Dr. Hall developed curricula for Career Pathways Communities (a new program launched in Spring 2017), curated content for cBCD's weekly newsletter, and assisted in data analysis for UMMS’s NIH BEST-funded programs. This work complemented her years of promoting the career development of early career scientists through volunteer leadership roles at Genetics Society of America, as co-director of Kansas DNA Day and Massachusetts DNA Day, and as a NSF-GK12 Fellow at University of Kansas during her PhD training. She holds a B.S. in Biology and Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology from the University of Kansas, where she studied under the mentorship of Dr. Robert Ward. 

In Summer 2017 Dr. Hall transitioned into a newly-created position at GSA, Director of Engagement and Development. She continues to collaborate with cBCD.


Heather Yonutas, Ph.D.

Heather Yonutas


Dr. Yonutas served as a part-time Career Pathways Curriculum Intern in cBCD during Fall 2017. In this role, Dr. Yonutas worked closely with the Assistant Dean to develop and coordinate Career Pathways Communities, a core component of UMassMed’s NIH BEST-funded curriculum for fourth-year students. This included introducing job simulations and the Career Pathways Celebration networking event. She attained her Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky in the Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center, where her training was supported by the NIH via a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA F31). She had a teaching certificate in Medical Neuroanatomy and sought this part-time internship position with the cBCD to further develop her curriculum development and leadership experience. The internship drew on her former experience as the President of the Graduate Student Congress at the University of Kentucky for 2 years, where she sought to connect the voice of the graduate students with the academic administration. She is a postdoctoral scholar in the lab of Daryl Bosco in the Department of Neurology at UMass Medical School. 


Morgan N. Thompson, Ph.D.

Morgan Thompson 




Dr. Morgan Thompson was Assistant Director in 2014-2017, playing an instrumental role in founding cBCD and launching our initial NIH BEST-funded curriculum, programs, and services. She received her Bachelors degree in Biological Sciences from Wayne State University and her Ph.D. in genetics at Harvard Medical School (HMS). At Harvard, she led the expansion and national dissemination of the graduate student organization, Science in the News (SITN). Dr. Thompson also served on the Public Outreach Committee of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) and was a member of the Coalition on the Public Understanding of Science (COPUS) and Voice of Young Science USA networks. Prior to joining cBCD, Dr. Thompson was Project Manager for the Science and Social Justice Project – a collaboration between Kalamazoo College and HMS that champions integration of social justice and responsibility into science education and research. She returned to the Project in Summer 2017.  Dr. Thompson continues to engage with the cBCD as a guest instructor.   



Thi Nguyen, Ph.D.




As a project consultant for cBCD in 2014-2015, Dr. Thi Nguyen contributed to website content for cBCD and curated career-related events and resources for the cBCD weekly newsletter. She has been featured on NatureJobs blog for “Ask the Expert”, and served as a Guest Advisor for ScienceCareers online Career Forum. She holds a Doctorate of Neuroscience from UT Southwestern Medical Center and did postdoctoral work at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease in San Francisco. She is now Associate Dean for Graduate Career and Professional Development at Washington University in St. Louis, and principal investigator for innovation grants in Ph.D. career development focused on business skills and career exploration.