Laboratory Investigations Department Staff

Kathy Guillermo

As senior vice president of Laboratory Investigations, Kathy Guillermo heads up the organization’s work to end the use of animals in nonrequired experiments. Some of her major victories include pressuring NASA to scrap plans to irradiate monkeys, persuading the U.S. military to end all chemical-casualty training on monkeys, ending the Coast Guard’s shooting and stabbing of goats and pigs in medical trauma training drills, shutting down the construction of a massive monkey-breeding facility in Puerto Rico, and exposing the abuse of animals at a North Carolina product-testing laboratory—Professional Laboratory and Research Services, Inc.—which led to the closure of the facility and the release of hundreds of dogs and cats, who were put up for adoption.

Guillermo’s 1993 book, Monkey Business: The Disturbing Case That Launched the Animal Rights Movement, with a foreword by Oliver Stone, details the cruelty case that launched the then-fledgling PETA into national prominence. The landmark Silver Spring monkeys case also led to the first-ever conviction of an animal experimenter on cruelty-to-animals charges. Guillermo has been with PETA since 1989.

Alka Chandna, Ph.D.

Dr. Alka Chandna has submitted dozens of complaints, spotlighting violations of U.S. federal animal welfare laws and noncompliance with federal guidelines and policies. In 2010, after she wrote PETA’s complaint against Professional Laboratory and Research Services, the North Carolina–based contract animal testing facility surrendered nearly 200 dogs and more than 50 cats and shut its doors. More recently, she worked on PETA’s successful campaign to end a series of maternal-deprivation experiments on monkeys at the U.S. National Institutes of Health. She has also had original research published in peer-reviewed journals on policies pertaining to problems with oversight of animal experimentation and has presented some of this work at scientific conferences. Before coming to PETA, Dr. Chandna served as a tenured professor of mathematics at Memorial University of Newfoundland. She has a doctorate in computational fluid dynamics.

Shalin G. Gala

Shalin Gala is the vice president of international laboratory methods in PETA’s Laboratory Investigations Department. He has an undergraduate degree in anthropology from Washington University in St. Louis. Hired in 2004, he coleads a dedicated team of scientists, researchers, campaigners, and support staff to modernize laboratory experimentation and training methods around the world by replacing the use of animals.

Stephanie Ruple

Stephanie Ruple is the executive assistant to the senior vice president in PETA’s Laboratory Investigations Department. She has an undergraduate degree in anthropology from the College of William & Mary. She co-manages PETA’s Global Beauty Without Bunnies program and has spent the last decade helping thousands of cosmetics, personal care, and household care companies commit to never testing on animals.

Tasgola Bruner

Tasgola Bruner is the media manager for PETA’s Laboratory Investigations and Regulatory Testing departments. She’s a proud graduate of the University of Missouri–Columbia’s School of Journalism. She covered the environment, the economy, and social issues in Brazil, Laos, Mexico, and Thailand as well as war, politics, and human rights in Afghanistan and Pakistan. She helps journalists understand that PETA is about not just “Lettuce Ladies” but also accomplished scientists who oppose the failure of animal experiments and work to help human health.

Brittny Hopwood

Brittny Hopwood, an assistant manager in PETA’s Laboratory Investigations Department, has an undergraduate degree from Texas A&M University in biology. At Texas A&M, she worked in the Department of Oceanography’s laboratory and the office of the vice president for facilities, gaining administrative and research experience that she would then bring to PETA. In her current position, she has worked extensively on legislative issues and PETA’s campaigns, including efforts to end Texas A&M’s muscular dystrophy experiments on dogs.

Emily Trunnell, Ph.D.

Dr. Emily Trunnell earned a B.S. in nutrition science and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of Georgia. During her graduate research, she studied the effects of diet on learning, memory, and gene expression in the brains of mice and rats. She is currently a research associate and an Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee liaison for PETA. She works with government agencies and other scientists to replace the use of animals with superior research methods. Her letters and opinion pieces have appeared in numerous publications, including Scientific American.

Evelyn Wagaman

Evelyn Wagaman graduated Phi Beta Kappa with highest honors in philosophy from Oberlin College in Ohio in 2017. Her thesis explored the nature of consent and its ethical implications for humans’ treatment of other animals. After graduation, she became a lead organizer of a memorial symposium in honor of her late professor, Tim Hall, who first sparked her passion for animal rights. She joined PETA in 2018 and is a campaign coordinator in the Laboratory Investigations Department.

Keith Brown

Before joining PETA, Keith Brown spent more than 20 years in journalism, writing for daily print and online publications from San Francisco to Trenton, New Jersey. His investigative stories have prompted state and federal legislation, led to two federal investigations, and created positive change in the communities that he has served.

Magnolia Martínez, Ph.D.

Dr. Magnolia Martínez has a Ph.D. in environmental science from the Institute for Scientific and Technological Research of San Luis Potosí in Mexico. Her research focused on the impact of government subsidies to farming activities on ecosystem services. She started her career in Colombia as a social researcher with the United Nations Development Programme and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation. After obtaining a master’s degree in family therapy, she worked at a state family attorney’s office with survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse in underserved and indigenous communities in southeast Mexico. She also holds graduate degrees in human ecology from the Center for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute in Mexico and in social work and public administration from the University of Texas–Arlington and has been an adjunct professor in undergraduate and graduate programs in Colombia and Mexico. Before joining PETA as a special projects manager, she was the managing director for Latin America at a farmed animal advocacy organization.

Katherine Roe, Ph.D.

Dr. Katherine Roe is the chief of the Science Advancement and Outreach Division within the Laboratory Investigations Department. She earned her bachelor’s degrees in biology and psychology from Syracuse University and her Ph.D. in psychology and cognitive science from the University of California–San Diego. After completing a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University, she went on to become a research fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health for eight years. Over the course of her research career, she studied the neural correlates of language, spatial, and memory processes, working with children with early focal brain injury, adults and children with schizophrenia, and individuals with Williams syndrome and related genetic disorders. Dr. Roe has more than 20 years of experience conducting brain and neuroimaging research with humans and is an expert at experimental design and data analysis. She has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals and presented her findings at numerous national and international industry conferences.

Frances Cheng, Ph.D.

Dr. Frances Cheng is the chief scientist of international laboratory methods in PETA’s Laboratory Investigations Department. She has a Ph.D. in physiology and biophysics from Case Western Reserve University. She advises companies, research entities, and regulatory agencies on policies and animal-free approaches for food testing and numerous other biomedical research issues in Asia and around the world.

Amanda Hays, M.S.

Amanda Hays is a science writer for PETA’s Laboratory Investigations Department. She earned her undergraduate degree in environmental studies and anthropology at the University of California–Santa Barbara and a master’s with distinction in animal welfare science, ethics, and law at the University of Winchester in the U.K. She is a certified interpretive guide, and prior to joining PETA, she developed animal-friendly educational programs and school curricula, including writing and launching wildlife docent programs that encourage empathy and protection for animals and care for plants in her home state of Nevada.

Lisa Jones-Engel, Ph.D.

Dr. Lisa Jones-Engel has studied the human-primate interface in Asia and Africa and the primate biomedical facilities of the U.S. She has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles spanning the fields of primatology, virology, epidemiology, microbiology, and conservation. She is the associate editor for diseases in The International Encyclopedia of Primatology. In December 2020, Springer Nature published her latest edited volume, Neglected Diseases in Monkeys: From the Monkey-Human Interface to One Health. In 2014, she was awarded a Fulbright scholarship and served as a faculty member and senior research scientist at the University of Washington until 2019. She is PETA’s senior science adviser for primate experimentation.

Diane Toomey, M.A.

Diane Toomey, the manager of content for PETA’s Laboratory Investigations Department, is a former public radio journalist who specialized in science and environmental reporting. She studied journalism at the University of California–Los Angeles and received a master’s degree in communication management from the University of Southern California. In addition to her radio work, she was a producer on a Discovery Health Channel series on alternative medicine and was a researcher for the PBS science show NOVA. Her radio stories have won numerous awards, including the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi Award for Public Service and the Media Award given by the American Institute of Biological Sciences.

Kati Bertrand, M.S.

Kati Bertrand received a master’s degree in agricultural animal breeding and genetics and an engineering degree in animal science from the Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences in Poland, with a focus in animal behavior and welfare. As a campaign coordinator at PETA, she develops and implements advocacy campaigns in order to further the group’s work to end cruel experiments on animals and replace them with modern, human-relevant methods.

Kaylie Flaugher

Kaylie Flaugher is the executive assistant to the vice presidents of the Laboratory Investigations Department, in which she works behind the scenes to maintain order and organization. She is currently studying conservation biology and ecology through Arizona State University.

Shriya Swaminathan, M.S.

Shriya Swaminathan received her undergraduate degree in human biology at the University of California–San Diego and a master’s in developmental, regenerative, and stem cell biology from Washington University’s School of Medicine in St. Louis. She is a research associate and works on several projects dedicated to ending animal testing and replacing it with advanced, human-relevant models.

Sydney Rader

Sydney Rader is a Marine Corps veteran with a degree in criminal justice. Her most recent professional roles were in federal safety and compliance. She has investigated workplaces, maintained Department of Transportation–regulated safety programs for motor carriers with a national presence, and monitored mileage and fuel costs for transportation companies’ tax purposes. Her skill at navigating the text of laws and regulations, research, and data tracking augments her role as an administrative assistant for PETA’s Laboratory Investigations Department, supporting its work to end institutionalized animal experiments.

Kristy Leinweber

Kristy Leinweber is the administrative assistant for PETA’s Global Beauty Without Bunnies program. She offers a wide variety of support to the companies inquiring about joining the program as well as to PETA’s team to help end animal testing worldwide. Kristy approaches all aspects of the job with a positive, hard-working mindset and is passionate about helping to grow the list of cruelty-free companies and brands. She attended the University of Saint Francis in Indiana, where she played on the women’s soccer team while earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration and marketing.

Amy Meyer

Amy Meyer is longtime grassroots organizer for animal rights, committed to building people power and taking strategic action to end animal suffering. She started campaigning against animal experimentation while she was a student at the University of Utah when a PETA investigation found that the university was purchasing dogs and cats from a local animal shelter. The hard-hitting campaign ended “pound seizure” in the state and reduced the number of dogs and cats subjected to painful experiments at the university. She is the manager of primate experimentation campaigns at PETA.

Chandra Fuller

Chandra Fuller, a dedicated animal liberationist, is committed to addressing the issues surrounding speciesism. She graduated summa cum laude from Arizona State University with a degree in nonprofit leadership and management. As a campaign coordinator in PETA’s Laboratory Investigations Department, she focuses on effective strategies, tactics, and actions to end animal testing.

Beth Carper, M.A.

Beth Carper received a bachelor’s degree in animal science with a focus on behavior and well-being from Purdue University and a master’s degree in humane education from Valparaiso University. As a campaigns associate for PETA’s Laboratory Investigations Department, Carper works to develop advocacy campaigns to end experiments on animals and replace them with human-relevant models.

Maggie Wiśniewska, Ph.D.

Dr. Maggie Wiśniewska is a science policy advisor. She’s responsible for providing research assistance supporting the replacement of animal testing with more efficient, ethical, and modern non-animal alternatives. Long before joining PETA, Maggie worked as a registered veterinary nurse in an emergency practice and later as a community college science educator. More recently, during her M.S. research at Western Kentucky University, she studied the socioreproductive behavior of African savanna elephants in Namibia and South Africa. While in the field, she witnessed the consequences of resource competition between elephants and humans and realized that most mitigation strategies were based on the exclusion of elephants from traditional wilderness zones. This observation motivated her Ph.D. work at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. In her dissertation, Maggie used statistical modeling and simulation techniques in order to characterize spatial and social predictors of movement by groups of African savanna elephants in human-dominated areas. She hopes her research will help inform human-wildlife conflict mitigation efforts that prioritize safeguarding wild animals for their own sake.

Jen Draiss

Jen Draiss worked with primates at sanctuaries in Africa, Asia, and the U.S. for over a decade before joining PETA’s Laboratory Investigations Department as a research and campaign coordinator. After working with primates rescued from the illegal wildlife trade and retiring from laboratory experiments, she turned her attention to addressing the root causes of these issues. Jen has an undergraduate degree in primate studies and is currently pursuing an Animal Law Master of Studies in Law degree through Lewis & Clark Law School.

Samuel Pons

Samuel Pons is a special projects associate developing recommendations to replace animal testing with animal-free alternatives. He received a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Princeton University and a master’s in philosophy from Florida State University, where he focused on animal ethics and speciesism.

Amanda Elyse, J.D., M.S.

Amanda Elyse is a laboratory oversight specialist in PETA’s Laboratory Investigations Department. She has a J.D., an M.S. in writing, and a bachelor’s degree in English with honors. In addition to being a lawyer, she has worked as a law professor and has taught persuasive writing and speaking. She has been involved in advocating for animals for almost two decades. Her anti-vivisection work has included cofounding and organizing the international No New Animal Lab campaign against the University of Washington as well as The Bunny Alliance, which led work on the U.S. portion of the international Gateway to Hell campaign to stop the transport of animals to laboratories.

Sneha Swaroop, M.S.

Sneha Swaroop is a science policy advisor in PETA’s Laboratory Investigations Department. She holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Purdue University and a master’s degree in environmental science from the University of Toronto. She previously worked as a research assistant at Environment and Climate Change Canada and joined PETA because of her strong desire to push for a world in which scientific progress is achieved without exploiting millions of animals. In 2022, she began engaging in animal rights activism in Toronto, surrounded by a vibrant, dedicated community of activists. Since then, she has remained passionate and committed to advocating for all animals.

Donya Mand, M.D.

Dr. Donya Mand is a science policy advisor for international investigations in PETA’s Laboratory Investigations Department. She has a B.S. in human nutrition from the University of Houston and a doctorate in medicine from Texas A&M School of Medicine. She served the Texas Medical Association in multiple roles while she was in medical school. She has also held positions with the American Medical Association and TEXPAC. Her undergraduate research included studying the effects of adaptation training using virtual reality, and in medical school, she studied the use of end-of-life documentation. Dr. Mand was introduced to PETA’s work through our campaign against the canine muscular dystrophy laboratory at Texas A&M. That’s when she decided to learn more about advocating for animals used by experimenters.

Brandi Pharris

Brandi Pharris is a media manager assistant for PETA’s Laboratory Investigations Department and holds an undergraduate degree in film and media management from California State University–Northridge. She has a multifaceted career background that includes social work, worldwide event production, and marketing in the death-care industry. Her varied experiences have given her a well-rounded skill set and worldview, which she uses to support PETA’s mission to end animal experimentation.

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