BME Alumnae Receive SoE Medal of Excellence Awards

Vita Lanoce, left, and Melissa Conner, right, are shown here with SoE Dean Thomas Farris, dinner chair and alumnus David Wade, and fellow MoE honorees.

Alumnae Melissa Conner and Vita Lanoce Receive SoE Medal of Excellence Awards

At the School of Engineering’s annual Medal of Excellence Dinner that was held on October 28, two BME alumnae were presented with the school’s prestigious awards. Melissa Conner who earned a bachelor’s degree in 2013 received the Distinguished Young Alumnus award, while master’s degree recipient Vita Lanoce was honored with the Distinguished Alumnus in Research award.

Lanoce is the CEO of Linical Americas, a global contract research organization that’s focused on innovative drug discovery, clinical operations, and research partnerships in oncology, immunology and neurology. In presenting his former student with her award, John Li, a distinguished professor in the BME department remarked that, “If there were such a thing as ‘save the world’ as the career goal for young graduates, I think Vita has been doing just that – especially during this pandemic era.”

As a vice president at JP Morgan Chase & Co., Conner leads banking efforts managing relationships across life sciences companies and develops models to assess corporate performance. “While I wouldn’t recommend that students interested in careers in banking major in biomedical engineering, Melissa demonstrates how they can and should choose their own paths,“ BME chair and professor David Shreiber said at the dinner. “Her career exemplifies the impact of interdisciplinary engineering training at Rutgers and the breadth of professional and leadership advances it can lead to.

Read more about BME's honorees below:

Distinguished Achievement in Research

Vita M. Lanoce
Chief Executive Officer
Linical Americas

Vita Lanoce is chief executive officer of Linical Americas with responsibility for the growth and oversight of the Americas affiliate of the Linical Group, a Japanese-headquartered global clinical research organization. She has more than 30 years of clinical research experience that includes being part of a University of Pennsylvania team that defined the congestive heart failure model that provided a pre-clinical pathway for cardiovascular drug testing. In the clinical division at Bristol-Myers Squibb, Lanoce's work as the senior clinical scientist responsible for the drug development program in cardiovascular research led to FDA approval of Monopril for the treatment of hypertension and heart failure. She earned her bachelor's degree in biology from Manhattanville College, and master's degree in biomedical engineering from Rutgers. She is also a member of the School of Engineering's Industry Advisory Board.

Distinguished Young Alumna

Melissa Conner 
Vice President of Life Sciences Banking
JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Melissa Conner is a vice president on JPMorgan's life sciences commercial banking team, based in New York. She works with companies across the sector, including biotechnology, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and medical technology, providing corporate banking services, strategic advice, and a breadth of resources of the firm to her clients. She received her bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering from Rutgers and an MBA from Columbia University. Conner serves on the board of Young Women in Bio—NY Metro, and volunteers with Springboard Advisors, an accelerator program for female-led life sciences companies. In 2018, she was named a JPMorgan Under 30 Rising Star.