Meet the Team

St. Jude Progress team
The Progress team represents a mixture of training and expertise that marries doctorate-level scientific understanding with extensive communications experience. Editorial decisions are made through discussion and input from key stakeholders both on the Progress team and throughout the institution. All Progress stories go through a process of scientific vetting with subject matter experts and are edited for writing style and accuracy. 

Erin Podolak (she/her)

Erin Podolak, MA

Managing Editor 

Erin is a scientific writer and editor with 15 years of experience covering a wide range of research, from dinosaurs to drug discovery. She holds a master’s degree in journalism and mass communication with a specialty concentration in science writing from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and completed her undergraduate degree in science writing at Lehigh University. Prior to joining St. Jude, Erin spent six years as a science writer at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. She has held several internships in science writing, including stints at the journal BioTechniques and the DaVinci Science Center in Allentown, PA, in addition to working as a freelance copywriter and editor. In the Strategic Communication Education and Outreach Department at St. Jude, she currently oversees a team of scientific writers in the publication of press releases and Progress articles. Her team is charged with covering research publications spanning everything from fundamental science to clinical trial results — in addition to telling compelling stories from every corner of the St. Jude research enterprise. Since taking the helm of Progress in 2023, Erin has read every article published on the site (and thinks you should, too).

Ben Hampton (he/him)

Ben Hampton

Manager Visual Arts 

Ben is a graphic designer and creative director with 15 years of experience designing and cultivating creative content for brands and organizations around the world. He holds a bachelor’s degree in graphic design from the University of Memphis. Before joining St. Jude, Ben spent over a decade honing his craft by working as an art director at advertising agencies and national corporate in-house marketing teams. These experiences taught him that branding and visuals are crucial in any communication, and they must be thoughtful, compelling and consistent. His work spans various industries, from major academic institutions to logistics and agriculture. In the Strategic Communication Education and Outreach Department at St. Jude, Ben currently oversees a team of graphic designers, photographers and videographers. His team is charged with showcasing the life-saving work being done at St. Jude through compelling and awe-inspiring visuals.

Taylor Wewel (she/her)

Taylor Wewel

Scientific Writer

Taylor is a scientific writer with a decade of experience and a passion for equity, literacy, and the serial comma (please note the use of said comma in this sentence). She holds a bachelor's degree in writing from Drake University with minors in vocal music and musical theater. Before joining St. Jude, she worked as a freelance copywriter and editor, covering various topics from product descriptions to drug discovery white papers. She also spent two years in AmeriCorps as part of the Minnesota Reading Corps program, tutoring preschool-aged children in literacy skills such as alliteration, letter recognition, rhyming, sight words, and more. In the Strategic Communication Education and Outreach Department at St. Jude, she develops lab and clinical research pages for the researchers at the institution, writes articles for Progress, and copyedits to her heart's content. (Some people have Sudoku; Taylor has copyediting.)

Brian O’Flynn, PhD (he/him)

Brian O’Flynn, PhD

Scientific Writer 

Brian joined the Strategic Communication, Education and Outreach team in 2023 after three years as a postdoctoral researcher in the lab of Tanja Mittag, Department of Structural Biology at St. Jude. Brian specialized in cryo-electron microscopy, using the technique to investigate protein assembly. He obtained his doctoral degree in chemistry from the University of South Florida and his Bachelor of Science in biopharmaceutical chemistry from the University of Galway in Ireland. Throughout his science career, he has been a strong advocate for accuracy and ease of understanding in how science is narrated to the public. He aims to translate the wonderful advances in research at St. Jude and beyond into stories that engage people at all levels. Through teaching, fronting various outreach programs and volunteer writing at ASBMB Today, he found a passion for finding the “AHA!” moments of clarity in people where complex issues click. Through writing for Progress, he hopes to provide you with your next “AHA!” moment.

Kathryn J. McCullough, MA (she/her)

Kathryn J. McCullough, MA

Scientific Writer

Kathryn is a scientific writer who has spent over a decade traversing the fields of technical, science and scientific writing. Healthcare has been her focus since the start of her career, which began with writing about the inner workings of PET/CT scanners for the Molecular Imaging division of Siemens Healthineers. The breadth of knowledge she gained from working with physicists, engineers and product specialists in the molecular imaging industry opened the door for her to become editor of nuclear medicine publications for Siemens Healthineers - Molecular Imaging, where she led content development for the online and print publications, Nuclear Medicine News & Stories and Imaging Life. She holds undergraduate degrees in English and Psychology from the University of Tennessee - Knoxville and a master’s degree in science writing from Johns Hopkins University. Her graduate thesis concentrated on experiences of medical trauma and disability, which continues to be where her passions and personal writing projects lie. Kathryn describes her approach to writing as one grounded in words and inspired by science. At St. Jude, she writes for both the research website and Progress (be sure to check out Investigator Insights), where she strives to humanize the institution’s extraordinary research and connect it to patient experiences through the art of storytelling. If you enjoy Kathryn’s writing, be sure to thank her editor (who also happens to be her cat), Gus.

Alex Generous, PhD (he/him)

Alex Generous, PhD

Scientific Writer

Alex is a scientific writer with over a decade of experience in scientific research and science writing. He holds his Bachelor of Arts in Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology from Drake University. He subsequently earned his PhD in Biomedical Sciences from Mayo Clinic, specializing in the Virology and Gene Therapy track with a focus on the measles virus. He first began science writing for Mayo Clinic’s Research Communications while in graduate school, starting with a yearlong internship and continuing in a freelance capacity for the following years. He then took on the position of Associate Director of Science Communications at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in Denver, Colorado. Alex would transition from agriculture back to biological sciences as a Scientific Writer at SCORR Marketing, a life sciences industry marketing firm for drug discovery services companies, honing his writing skills. Now in the Strategic Communication, Education and Outreach Department at St. Jude, he works as a Scientific Writer translating novel research publications into press releases and Progress articles. His focus includes topics such as infectious disease, immunology, epidemiology and cancer control, survivorship and computational biology, as well as narratives of scientists and their journeys to discovery. You can find Alex’s writing throughout Progress, though he recommends his St. Jude On stories as a particularly great place to start.

Jessica Gullett-Rubino, PhD (she/her)

Jessica Gullett-Rubino, PhD

Scientific Writer

Jessica is a scientific writer with a strong background in science and medicine. She received her doctorate in Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and completed her undergraduate degree in biology at The University of Texas at Tyler. Jessica came to St. Jude in 2018 as a postdoctoral fellow, studying lipid metabolism and host-microbe interactions in the laboratory of Charles Rock, PhD. Prior to joining the Strategic Communication Education and Outreach Department at St. Jude, she was a science research writer in the Department of Immunology. She is an award-winning scientific communicator who has published several manuscripts and reviews in peer-reviewed journals and authored a book chapter on fatty acid and phospholipid biosynthesis in prokaryotes. She also has ample experience as a freelance medical writer. Before joining St. Jude, Jessica held state and national certifications as an EMT and worked in emergency medicine. She is also a skilled instructor, having taught a variety of undergraduate science courses.

Jennifer Stripay, PhD (she/her)

Jennifer Stripay, PhD

Director of Scientific Communication

Jennifer Stripay, PhD, is the Director of Scientific Communication at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and leads an interdisciplinary team charged with sharing institutional stories of research and discovery. Jennifer is committed to crafting narratives and developing resources that elevate the scientific reputation of St. Jude, support strategic recruitment efforts, and foster collaboration and innovation across the research enterprise. A trained scientist, Jennifer spent a decade studying the molecular mechanisms that drive tumors of the central nervous system and exploring novel therapeutic approaches to impact patient populations. She parlayed her professional training into a career as a scientific storyteller in the Department of Strategic Communication, Education and Outreach at St. Jude. Jennifer is a proud alumna of The Pennsylvania State University (BS ‘09) and the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry (MS ‘14, PhD ’16). She holds a PhD in Neuroscience and completed her postdoctoral fellowship training at St. Jude under the mentorship of Dr. Martine F. Roussel. Jennifer also serves as the Director of Strategic Communications for the Junior League of Memphis, an organization committed to advancing women’s leadership and serving the Memphis community.