About Us

Our People

Our “people first” culture ensures we are responsive and attentive to needs – yours and ours. Click on our team to read more.

Melissa Church • Senior Vice President, Strategy & Solutions

Melissa ChurchMelissa has over 25 years of sales, operations, and strategy development experience across multiple industries including clinical research, health care consulting and technology, and health insurance. Melissa started her professional career with ClinTrials Research before moving to SAS Institute where she worked for six years leading business development and proposal functions. Her most recent clinical research experience includes nearly three years leading the contracts and proposal development function at PPD. Here she created the first strategic finance team focused on developing innovative pricing models to support client partnerships. After PPD Melissa moved to UnitedHealth Group where she first worked for Optum leading the sales operations function. She also sat on the acquisition integration team supporting the integration of multiple small- to medium-sized businesses. In her last four years at UnitedHealth Group Melissa led sales operations for the Medicaid business unit and held operational leadership roles. Melissa is passionate about spending time traveling with her husband Patrick and hanging out with her three children Savanna, Grace, and Ian when they make time for her in their busy schedules. In her downtime, Melissa enjoys reading, boating, and spending time in the mountains.

Tessa Clarke • Vice President, Quality

Tessa comes to Catalyst Clinical Research with 30 years of experience across multiple therapeutic areas and all phases of trials. She brings an excellent technical background and wide-ranging familiarity with numerous therapeutic areas and all phases of global clinical research to the forefront of her work. She began her professional journey as a CRA for a phase I CRO before moving on to AstraZeneca, where she spent six years managing early phase trials and developing processes of FTiM programs.

Tessa has additional experience with numerous patient support groups and medical research charities to facilitate the development of clinical trials in rare diseases and areas of unmet clinical need. Her most recent experience with Aptus Clinical includes leading the development of a risk management and quality function. In addition, she has consulted several biotech companies on setting up quality management systems and other process optimization projects here. In her free time, Tessa enjoys spending time with her large family and their menagerie of pets, alongside supporting several cancer charities. 


Allison Crumpler • Vice President, People & Culture

Allison Crumpler, PCC, is Vice President of People & Culture at Catalyst Clinical Research. She has worked in the clinical research industry for 15 years, with stops at Novella (now IQVIA Biotech) and Premier Research. Allison is a Professional Certified Coach credential through the International Coaching Federation.

During her tenure at all three CROs (Clinical Research Organizations), Allison has served as an internal coach providing executive, leadership, and team coaching to senior executives. Her additional responsibilities include designing and delivering leadership training programs, onboarding programs, and overseeing the clinical technology training teams.

At Catalyst, Allison is focused on designing and building an organizational culture with a competitive recruitment and retention advantage.

“The quickest way to become an old dog is to stop learning new tricks” is one of her favorite mantras that speak to her desire for continuous learning and desire to become a better coach.

When Allison is not leading, coaching, and training colleagues, she enjoys spending time with her home team: 5 children, ages 21-29, and two grandchildren. Allison lives in Wilmington, NC.

Nick Dyer • Chief Executive Officer

Nick DyerNick has spent his entire career in Healthcare and Life Sciences and joined Catalyst as CEO in October 2018. After earning a bachelor’s degree in London, UK in 1992, he completed a three-year postgraduate program with the National Health Service (NHS) working in various healthcare and healthcare management settings. From there, Nick went on to lead the Support Services Finance Group for a large hospital in the southern part of England. For the past 21 years, he has worked in the clinical research space with Quintiles (IQVIA) and PPD Development leading Clinical Operations, Finance, IT and Sales/Marketing functions. In 2011, he joined Novella Clinical as Chief Commercial Officer, and in 2016, he was appointed President. While there, he fervently embraced the need for therapeutically-focused CRO solutions interlaced with a flexible small biotech customer service model. Nick is passionate about soccer (aka football in his native England) and played for club, regional, school and university teams. He has passed down that love of football to his two sons, Eric and Harrison, and spends significant time coaching and watching them play. Nick also loves to cook, watch movies and read.

Tim Garrelts • Senior Vice President, Business Operations

Tim GarreltsTim has over 30 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry holding domestic and international positions of increasing responsibility throughout.  He started in the pharmaceutical industry as a Clinical Research Associate with Bayer and gained vast experience over the years by moving into various roles which included managing Clinical Operations, Budget and Resource Planning, Outsource Management, and Finance.  He holds a Master of Science Degree in Physiology and a Master of Business Administration.

In 2005, he co-founded Ce3 Inc., a niche CRO specializing in providing oncology-focused clinical development services to the biotechnology industry. He led business operations activities and growth of the company which ultimately culminated in the successful sale/merger with Catalyst in 2020.  His current responsibilities at Catalyst include Project Finance, Proposals, Contracts, Information Technology, and Corporate Integration and Analytics.

Tim loves spending time with his wife Mary and three children – Cameron, Cassie, and Christo, and his two dogs, Coco and Pepper! He is an outdoor enthusiast and plans his vacations accordingly as well as spending the summer months in the Lakes Region of Maine.

John Herrmann • Senior Director, Quality and Vendor Management

John HerrmannJohn is responsible for vendor oversight and the Catalyst quality management system. John has previously worked in a variety of clinical research organizations, from small start-ups to a large global firm, and has experience in both corporate roles and operational functions ranging from study startup to medical writing. As the quality champion for Catalyst, John has embraced the company’s people-first approach, believing quality begins with well trained, motivated and ethical employees who approach every client project with urgency and care.

John and his wife Allison try to live by three simple rules – work hard, play hard and Die Hard (the Christmas movie).  John strives to keep pace with his ambitious young adult daughters, Maggie and Rosie, while also meeting the exercise and affection demands of his Poodle-Aussie mixes, Otis and Oscar. Now living amongst the fan bases of the Tar Heels, Blue Devils and Wolfpack, John remains an ardent supporter of his alma mater, the Virginia Cavaliers. Go Wahoos!

Lisa Hornick, MD • Chief Medical Officer, Senior Vice President, Medical & Safety

Lisa HornickLisa is our CMO and leads Medical and Safety at Catalyst Clinical Research. Board-certified in internal medicine, Lisa was in private medical practice for seven years before joining the industry as a medical director at a major CRO. She advanced to managing the global medical monitoring group and subsequently led multiple business units including Pharmacovigilance and Medical, Medical Communications and Early Development. Lisa earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Texas A&M at Kingsville and a Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Nebraska College of Medicine. She completed an internal medicine residency at the University of Arizona. Lisa enjoys paddle boarding, snowboarding, playing guitar and working in the garden as she believes there is a farmer in each and every one of us.

Deb Jones-Hertzog • Chief Information Officer

As Chief Information & Privacy Officer, Deb leads all of Catalyst’s information technology (IT) and technology-adjacent functions. She began her career working in informatics for a biotech company; soon after, a move to North Carolina allowed Deb to join the pharmaceutical industry with roles at GSK (and Glaxo Wellcome) in R&D and IT leadership over a 17-year tenure. Deb would go on to switch from the client side to the provider side, working with several large public and small privately-owned CROs (clinical research organizations), including Rho most recently before joining Catalyst in the fall of 2022. Deb holds a Bachelor of Science (Hons) degree in Chemistry from the University of Bath, U.K., and a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Emory University. In addition, she completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Yale University. In her free time, Deb enjoys playing tennis and running marathons. She lives in Durham, N.C.

Svetlana Kolchinsky • VP, Clinical Development Operations

Svetlana brings to Catalyst FLEX over 15 years of experience in clinical project management and leadership covering all facets of clinical development. Her professional journey began in 2000 at an NIH/NINDS research group. After several years of scientific research, in 2003, Svetlana transitioned into clinical research at Immune Tolerance Network. in 2008, with a newly acquired passion for clinical research, she joined BioTelemetry (formerly Cardiocore), a cardiac safety core lab.  While at BioTelemetry, Svetlana was leading Project Management, Biometrics, and Customer Support functions.  Using her leadership experience and strong project management skills, Svetlana joined Nanobiotix with a single goal of ground-up creation of an in-house Project Management operation for an ongoing portfolio of projects in EU and USA.

In 2020, she joined Catalyst Clinical Research and has been successfully building effective clinical research teams and leading Catalyst FLEX clinical development operations. For the last ten years, Svetlana has been a part of the clinical research industry. She has been privileged to work with some of the brightest minds in the biotech and pharma industries, helping them bring life-changing treatments and products to patients. Svetlana currently resides in Florida with her husband, daughter, and two cats.

Patti McNamara • Chief Financial Officer

Patti McNamaraPatti brings more than 24 years of finance experience, 20 of those in the clinical research industry. She has a diverse background in financial leadership and a passion for team engagement and talent management. Patti started her professional career as a tax consultant at Deloitte & Touche LLP, then moved into the healthcare field with a senior finance role at NES, an emergency room staffing and management company. She got her start in the clinical research industry in 2000 at PPD. During her tenure there she held a variety of roles, including tax, operations finance leadership and more recently ownership of the government business unit. While at PPD Patti played an important part in the significant growth of the company, both related to adding service offering and expanding internationally. She led the globalization of finances for the clinical development business unit and partnered with business unit leadership to optimize revenue and profitability. When Patti isn’t crunching numbers at Catalyst, she enjoys being outside with family and friends – first choice is beach and traveling, followed closely by anything active – volleyball, walking, pool and playing with her two yellow lab mutts. Go fetch.

Nik Morton • Chief Operating Officer

Patti McNamaraNik started his career as a biostatistician with Smithkline Beecham (now GSK) where he worked for ~7 years before moving to join PPD.  While at PPD, Nik spent four years in Project Management, leading the Hematology and Oncology portfolio for two. In 2010 he took on the global leadership role for Biostatistics and Programming (and ironically was a client/partner of Triangle Biostatistics). In 2016 Nik became Senior VP Site and Patient Access, leading the newly formed function accountable globally for selecting and activating sites and accelerating clinical trial access for patients across all therapeutic areas.  In January 2020, Nik launched a new business unit focused on the design and implementation of digitally enabled and decentralized trials.  The timing coincided with the Covid-19 pandemic introducing extreme demand for the solutions from this new “startup” Nik was leading and he oversaw the significant growth of that group and the establishment of those solutions.  Nik joined Catalyst in April 2022 as Chief Operating Officer.

Amy Nguyen • Vice President, Business Development & Relationship Management

Amy has over 20 years of experience in the biopharma industry, spanning sales, relationship management, investments, and corporate development. Her focus for the last decade has been on clinical research. Amy began her professional career with a boutique investment firm where she performed due diligence and recruitment for portfolio managers while building assets under management for each investment strategy. Her investment background brought her to BIO, a biotech trade organization, where she led investment and business development initiatives in support of connecting biopharma executives with potential investors and licensing partners. This engagement initiated her curiosity in clinical research. She would soon land at a European CRO (clinical research organization) as the head of business development, where she built clinical research operating models using niche CROs for global studies. She would then serve as the head of business development for a CRO in the APAC region before joining the Catalyst family in 2020. In her spare time, Amy enjoys spending time with her family, volunteering at food banks, or mentoring at-risk college students. She also proudly serves as a member of Catalyst’s diversity, equity & inclusion committee.

Keya Watkins, PMP • Senior Vice President, Clinical Development Operations

Keya WatkinsKeya is responsible for the quality and delivery of the clinical trial portfolio within the Catalyst CRO services business unit. Throughout her 22-year career in clinical research with both biopharma and clinical service providers, Keya has provided oversight of multidisciplinary teams in project management, clinical monitoring and site support services. She also served as an executive in both operational and commercial roles and has been involved in several complex, global trials in various therapeutic areas and phases with a concentration on hematology and oncology programs. Keya prides herself on building and managing high-functioning teams that deliver excellence while ultimately bringing meaningful therapies to patients in need. Previously, she served as vice president of clinical operations at Clinipace, senior vice president of clinical services at WIRB-Copernicus Group, senior vice president at ePharmaSolutions  and executive vice president of clinical development at Omnicare Clinical Research. When she isn’t supporting customers fighting cancer, Keya enjoys spending time with her husband and two teenage sons and taking long rides with her husband on their Harley motorcycles. Vroom, vroom.

Andrew Zupnick, PhD • Vice President, Oncology Drug Development

Andrew ZupnickAndrew has focused exclusively in oncology for over 20 years and serves as the VP of Oncology Drug Development for Catalyst.  He is a cell & molecular biologist with a Ph.D. from Columbia University and a B.S. from MIT, and leads Catalyst’s full-service oncology solution, supporting study optimization, delivery oversight, training and new initiatives across the commercial and operational teams to keep Catalyst at the forefront of industry trends and cutting-edge oncology therapies.  Bringing a broad base of oncology experience to Catalyst, Andrew began his professional career at a niche oncology CRO, Prologue Research, which was founded out of what became the James Cancer Center at The Ohio State University and acquired in 2010 by Novella Clinical.  At Novella, Andrew led the growth of the organization’s oncology division into a market-leading oncology specialty CRO. After the acquisition of Novella by Quintiles, Andrew spent nearly seven years working within the standalone CRO which was subsequently rebranded to IQVIA Biotech in 2019.  Andrew enjoys a wide range of extracurricular activities from coaching a local travel baseball team (he played in college), cheering his son on who is a goalie for the AAA Blue Jackets (Andrew can’t skate), sneaking away for the occasional video game (he’s terrible at Fortnite), and being impressed by his daughter’s musical, dance and engineering talents (he can neither confirm nor deny the existence of some video of his a cappella group from college).  Andrew lives in Columbus, Ohio with his amazing wife Brooke and their 2 kids, where they enjoy family time, travel, and any game they can get their hands on.