Member Biographies

Andreea Argintaru

Andreea Argintaru earned her BS and MS in Chemistry from the University of Lyon. While at the University of Lyon, Andreea also worked as a Research Associate at Bayer CropScience. From here, Andreea performed her doctoral research work at the University of Pennsylvania under the supervision of Professor Virgil Percec. After completing her PhD, Andreea went to the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, where she rose through the ranks performing research in oncology, ophthalmology, and drug delivery. She then took a position at Axalta, where she is currently employed as Principal Scientist. Andreea is active locally on the ACS Philadelphia Section’s Program Planning Committee and has more recently become an ACS Career Consultant.

Catherine Bentzley

Catherine Bentzley earned her BS in Chemistry at St. Joseph’s University, and her PhD in Chemistry from the University of Delaware under the direction of Professor Murray V. Johnston. From here, Catherine began her independent career at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, where she is currently Associate Professor of Chemistry. Catherine has been working with Lori Spangler, Dennis Murphy and Jim Murray in coordinating efforts between Career Services and USciences.

Benjamin Blass

Benjamin Blass earned his BS in Chemistry from Emory University and his PhD in Organic Chemistry from the University of Rochester under the direction of Professor Andrew S. Kende. From here, Ben accepted a position at Proctor and Gamble Pharmaceuticals, where he worked on and led several programs focusing on different therapeutic areas as well as developed high-throughput methodology. From here, Ben went to Wyeth Research as Principal Research Scientist, leading scientific teams on several medicinal chemistry projects. After Wyeth was acquired by Pfizer, Ben worked at the Fox Chase Chemical Diversity Center. From here, Bem joined the faculty at the Temple University School of Pharmacy, where he is currently Assistant Professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the Moulder Center for Drug Discovery Research. Ben is also a registered US Patent Agent, owns his own patent firm and consults with a local patent law firm.

Amy Brown

I earned my B.S. in biochemistry at Lafayette College, where I also did extensive undergraduate research. My projects involved determining the genetic population of polymorphic enzymes in the digestive gland of a gastropod and exploring a fluorescent detection method for intracellular calcium. From there, I went to the University of Buffalo, the State University of New York, and earned my doctorate in organic chemistry. Fortunately, I was able to infuse my biological background and was not only responsible for the synthesis of compounds but was involved in the development of biological assays to test them as well. Since I am one who loves to learn, I continued my studies as an NSF postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania and worked on projects in cancer immunology under the tutelage of Dr. Mark Greene. While I love research, I really enjoy teaching and mentoring students. That said, I pursued academia and am currently employed as an associate professor in chemistry at Neumann University. I teach organic chemistry to biology majors and a fundamentals of chemistry lab to intended nursing majors. In addition, I conduct my own research in the area of chemical biology and work closely with undergraduates and graduates on various projects.

Kevin Cannon

Kevin Cannon is currently a professor at Penn State Abington College and an assistant adjunct professor at Temple University. His research interests include both heterocyclic organic chemistry and the history of science. Kevin started his chemical career at age 15, working as a part-time laboratory technician at Leatex Chemical Company in Philadelphia. He earned a B.A. and Ph.D. in chemistry from Temple University and Princeton University respectively; he was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to becoming a full-time faculty member at Penn State in 2003, Kevin worked nearly 15 years as an industrial chemist at the Dow Chemical Company (Freeport, TX) and at Elf Atochem/Atofina/Arkema (King of Prussia, PA). Throughout most of his industrial career, Kevin taught chemistry as an adjunct at local colleges and universities, including Temple University, Chestnut Hill College and Philadelphia University.

Michael J. Castaldi

Prof. Michael J. Castaldi graduated with a B.A. in Chemistry from St. Peter University, Jersey City, NJ, a M.S. in Science Education from Columbia University, and a D.Sc. in Chemistry from Hill University 2011. He retired from Pfizer Inc in 2009 as a Senior Research Process and Medicinal Chemist. He has taught at Immaculata University, Jefferson University General Chemistry, St. Peters University, and Widener University. Michael is a member of Philadelphia ACS Board of Directors, the Chair of Senior Chemist Committee, Alternate Councilor (2016-present), and member of Awards Committee Philadelphia ACS (2012-present) in addition to serving on the Career Services Committee. He was an Executive Committee member MARM ACS Regional Meeting in 2016. Michael’s hobbies include Opera, Piano Golf, and History—especially Scientific, European, and American History.
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Jason Cross

Jason Cross is an organic chemist with many years of teaching and research experience. He has taught at Drexel University, Arcadia University, Delaware Valley University, and Temple University and has been honored for his teaching by his students and colleagues. In addition, he conducted research at Vanderbilt University, Pitt, and Harefield Hospital, among others. He specializes in green chemistry and sustainability for chemistry and will be teaching organic and inorganic chemistry at Ursinus. He looks forward to conducting research with students. He has published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, Journal of Chemical Physics, and the Journal of Luminescence, among other publications and also conducted a number of presentations on the teaching and learning of chemistry. He also serves on the board of directors and is chair of the tellers committee for the Philadelphia section of the ACS.
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Ella Davis

ELLA L. DAVIS, Laboratory Director, STEMversity/Vice President CAPS-ATL, 2013-2017; Team Leader (Retired), Analytical Chemistry Laboratory, McNeil PPC – a Johnson & Johnson company (formerly Pfizer Inc.), Lititz, PA, July 2003 – November 2007; Research Chemist/Supervisor, The PQ Corporation R&D Center, 1976 – 2002

Education: Master of Business Administration, Alvernia University, May 2010; B.S. Chemistry, Drexel University, 1980.

ACS Membership: 1978; Phila. Section: 1978.

National Participation: Council Policy Committee, 2019-2021, 2018, 2017; Committee on Membership Affairs, 2014-16 Secretary 2016, Committee Associate, 2013.

Local Section Participation: Councilor 2012-2020, Alternate Councilor 2011, Chair 2008, Director, 1993-2007, 2010-2018. Initiated the establishment of a local section committee on diversity. Contribute to WCC and the PAGES program.

Honors and Professional Societies: National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers, National President, July 2001–June 2003; National Vice–President, 1999–2001; Executive Board Member-at-Large 2005-2010 term; National Meeting Planning Committee, Registration Chairperson, 1994–2001 & 2005 – 2009, Delaware Valley Chapter past President, Treasurer.
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Gangotri Dey

(PhD, Tyndall National Institute, Ireland) is an adjunct faculty member at NJIT and Rutgers University. We look forward to meeting you!
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Steve Fleming

Steve Fleming is a professor of instruction in the Department of Chemistry at Temple University (2008-present). He was a professor of chemistry at Brigham Young University (1986-2008) before coming to Philadelphia. He enjoyed serving as the Chair of the Philadelphia Local Section of the ACS in 2014 and learned much about the Philadelphia section as a Director prior to chairing the section. He believes it is a privilege to serve as a Director of the Philadelphia Section and enjoys working on the Career Services Committee. He has mentored more than 100 undergraduate students and 12 graduate students. These students have taken various professional directions. He keeps close contact with most of his former students. He has learned vicariously from the experiences of those who have taken a route into the chemical industry. This feedback has helped him provide assistance to those looking for information about careers in the chemical profession.
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Linda Gerz

Linda Gerz earned her BS in Chemistry from Holy Family University. During her undergraduate studies, Linda interned with Sunoco Chemical in Philadelphia. Following her undergraduate work, Linda accepted employment with Atofina in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania (now Arkema). While at Arkema, Linda pursued her graduate studies at Villanova University, where she earned her MS in Chemistry. From Atofina, Linda served as an Adjunct Professor of Chemistry at Penn State Abington, and is now Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the Community College of Philadelphia.

Sharon L. Haynie

For most of my 32-year tenure at DuPont, I was in the Central Research & Development Department and enjoyed overseeing a diversity of research projects. I contributed to medical biomaterials research projects such as an endothelialized artificial vascular graft, designer structural polypeptides, antimicrobial materials, wound sealants and new delivery systems for enzymes. In the area of “green chemistry” I enjoyed projects biocatalyzed synthesis of aromatic monomers and a project that optimized formulation of a perhydrolase enzyme for use in a now commercial personal care product. I am most proud of being a co-inventor on several key patents for the 1,3-propanediol bioprocess—most notably, discoveries that led to two significant breakthroughs in improving the 3G titers needed for the commercial catalyst. This the research team received the 2003 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Presidential Green Chemistry Award for New Innovation. Although I am currently retired from DuPont, I enjoyed research consulting opportunity on a SBIR project that involved overseeing lab research and engagement with staff at several universities.

Prior to joining DuPont, I was a Member of the Technical Staff at Bell Laboratories. I earned my B.A. and Ph.D. from the Chemistry Departments of University of Pennsylvania and M.I.T., respectively. While I served brief appointments as an adjunct professor of chemistry at Delaware State University and the University of Delaware, my real delight was to mentor students in a laboratory research setting and for nearly twenty years, I was a summer research mentor for high school interns through ACS Project SEED. Most recently, (2019) I served as a mentor to two cohorts of middle-school students at FirstHand Philly (University City Science Center).

I’ve been encouraged throughout my entire career to explore things far outside of my core technical training. Within the Philadelphia Section, I was mentored and encouraged to do fund-raising for a regional meeting and coordinate volunteer activities for National Chemistry Week. Those activities were stepping-stones to my service as a Councilor and successive appointments to various ACS National governance committees (e.g. Local Section Activities Committee; Committee on Economic and Professional Affairs; Budget & Finance Committee; and Board Committee on Audits) and service as General Co-Chair of ACS Middle Atlantic regional Meeting (MARM). I am a past-Chair ACS Philadelphia Section, past co-Chair of the Chemical Sciences Roundtable (National Academy of Sciences) and a past-Chair, the ACS Committee on Audits. Currently, I am serving on the Philadelphia ACS Board of Directors and on the ACS Committee on Nomenclature, Terminology & Symbols. I’ve been fortunate to have peer recognition through two professional organizations: the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers bestowed upon me their Henry A. Hill Award in 2006 and their Percy L. Julian Award in 2008. In 2016, I was elected as a Fellow of the American Chemical Society.

I am proud to say that I was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland and educated in the Baltimore City Public Schools. While my secondary education prepared me well for the academic challenges, I had a pretty myopic view of what my professional life would really look like. I hadn’t anticipated the rich social and intellectual engagement with so many wonderful and talented individuals and that has been the biggest surprise and greatest delight in my career. I even travel biannually with a crew of scientists and educators (through ChemSource). Don’t hesitate to contact me if you need a little encouragement to test the volunteer waters.

Matthew Irwin

Dr. Matthew Irwin is a Team Manager within the Axalta Research and Development group, located at the Global Innovation Center in Philadelphia, PA. He joined Axalta in August 2016 as a waterborne colorcoat formulator, and his work has focused on designing and characterizing high-performance coatings for automotive and industrial applications.
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Taylor Keller

A senior graduation student at Temple University finishing her PhD in BioInorganic Chemistry working in Mike Zdilla’s lab.
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Joe Martino

Joe Martino graduated from Villanova University with a Bachelor of Science in the Comprehensive Program, minoring in Chemistry. He continued his studies at Villanova University in the Chemistry Department under the direction of Dr. Robert Giuliano to earn a Master of Science in Chemistry.

Joe was then hired by Arkema in the Additives group. He was responsible for the optimization of organometallic synthetic processes for transfer to pilot plant, for the exploration of applications development for tin catalysts in polyester resins, and for the optimization of processes for the synthesis of tin catalysts. From Arkema, Joe accepted a position as Scientist at GlaxoSmithKline. In this role, he was responsible for the large-scale preparative synthesis of multi-step organic reactions to synthesize active pharmaceutical intermediates for internal medicinal chemistry customers. Joe then transitioned into a medicinal chemistry role at GlaxoSmithKline where he was responsible for the synthesis of pharmaceutical analogs for safety assessment studies.

Joe is currently an independent contractor for the American Chemical Society (ACS), where he serves as a Presenter for the ACS Career Pathways series of career programming for chemists at all levels. He is currently an ACS Career Consultant and has also served as a consultant to the ACS Council of Economic and Professional Affairs. Local to the Philadelphia Area, Joe served as Chair of the ACS Philadelphia Section’s Career Services Committee, where he was responsible for establishing a program of networking events for Philadelphia-area ACS members, a series of biannual career workshops and a Career Club moderated by local ACS Career Consultants. He has served as a Member of the Board of Directors of the ACS Philadelphia Section and currently serves as Immediate Past Chair of the ACS Philadelphia Section.

For more information about the ACS Career Consultant program and to schedule a time to speak with Joe, please visit

Marge Matthews

Marge Matthews graduated with a BS in Chemistry from Chestnut Hill College and received a MS in Chemistry from St. Joseph’s University. Upon graduation from college, she started working at ISI (which became Thomson and is now Clarivate) in the chemical information department. After 12 years in that department ISI started a programmer trainee program and Marge was accepted in the program. As a software engineer, she worked on most if not all of ISI’s products. She was project lead when SCI was developed on CDROM and then project lead when SCI was developed as Web of Knowledge for the web. She eventually returned to the chemical information department and was forced into retirement in 2014 when most of the jobs in the department were moved to a Thomson facility in India. Marge joined ACS in 1972 and has been doing volunteer work for the society on the local level for the Philadelphia Local Section and the national level for the Division of Chemical Information since that time.
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Christine McInnis

Christine McInnis is the current chair of the Philadelphia Local Section of the ACS. She is a Principal Investigator at DuPont focusing on the development of novel antimicrobials and odor control technologies. Past industrial positions have included roles in Metalworking, Water Treatment, Personal Care Applications, and New Technology Development. She has been an ACS volunteer since grad school where she started the Wisconsin Local Section’s Younger Chemist Committee (YCC). After moving to Philadelphia, she has chaired the Philly YCC. Christie has served on the Philly Board of Directors and as a Councilor for the Section. Nationally Christie has served on the Younger Chemist Committee and the Committee on Economic and Professional Affairs. Christie has also chaired the Multidisciplinary Program Planning Group, which picks the themes for the National Meetings. Christie is also a Career Consultant and is always happy to talk about career development. Please reach out if you are interested in volunteering for the Section!
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James (Jim) Murray

Jim earned his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. (Organic chemistry) from Drexel University in 1996, 1997, and 2003 respectively. He has been a member of the faculty at Immaculata University since August 2001. He has spent 13 years as Department Head at Immaculata, served as Chair of Local Section in 2019 and Chair of Career Services since 2020. Jim has been an ACS Career consultant for a little over 2 years.

Dennis Murphy

Dennis Murphy is currently a Principal Investigator at GlaxoSmithKline in
Mechanistic Biology. His work is focused on early drug discovery, primarily
against enzyme targets. He utilizes enzymology and biophysics to dissect the
mechanism of inhibition for lead-optimization. Dennis’s undergraduate degree
is from Bucknell University with a double major in Biology and Chemistry. He
earned his Ph.D. in organic chemistry at the University of Wisconsin and was
a post-doctoral fellow at the Penn State University. He began his industrial
career in 1988 and has spent the majority of time in pharmaceutical
research. He has also worked in biocatalysis and enzyme evolution,
bioinformatics, nanomaterials, and adjunct teaching, all in the Philadelphia
area – from Newark DE to Lansdale PA.

Candice Pelligra

(PhD Chemical & Environmental Engineering, Yale University) is a formulation scientist at Axalta Coatings Systems in Philadelphia, PA.
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David Salas-de la Cruz

Dr. David Salas-de la Cruz has a Ph.D. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from University of Pennsylvania. Previously, he acquired a B.Sc. degree in Chemical Engineering from University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez and a M.Sc. degree in Chemical Engineering from Villanova University. Salas-de la Cruz has more than 15 years of industrial and academic research experience. He has worked at Kimberly-Clark, LifeScan a Johnson and Johnson Company, Rohm and Haas (Dow Chemicals) and Holtec International. Currently, he is an Associate Professor for the Department of Chemistry and Director of Chemistry Graduate Program at Rutgers University-Camden. Also, he serves as the STEM consultant for the Leap Academy University Charter School Fabrication Laboratory. The research of Salas is aimed at understanding the relationship between structure and physicochemical properties of natural materials in order to design novel and tunable bio-based films for the medical, environmental and energy fields. He is author of over 20 publications, 1 equipment license and 1 patent. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, American Chemistry Society SEED program, ARMY REAP Program, NJSGC and Rutgers University. In the past, he served as Board of Directors Member for the American Institute of Chemical Engineers Delaware Valley Section and the Leap Academy University Charter School. David is the creator and host of “The Eureka Effect” podcast where he interviews students, faculty, and researchers about their “Aha” moments and how this experience changed the course of their life, research, or studies. Currently, he the position of Member of Board of Director and Alternate Councilor of the American Chemistry Society Philadelphia Local Section.
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Kathy Thrush Shaginaw

Kathy has been the WCC Chair for the Section since 1999. She has been on the Board for ~ 20 years and has been a Councilor for most of the last 10 years. Kathy currently serves on the national Communications and Public Relations Committee (CPRC), where she is the Chair of the Awards Working Group (we choose the Helen Free Awardee, choose the finalists and winners for the 2 CPRC ChemLuminaries, and suggest nominees for the Grady-Stack Award).
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Victor J. Tortorelli

Victor J. Tortorelli, Emeritus Professor of Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, Ursinus College. Vic currently serves the Philadelphia Section as a Director, alternate Councilor, chair of the Budget & Finance Committee, and member of the Communications Committee and acting advertising manager for the catalyst.
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