Zacks Analysts Biographies

Jason Napodano, CFA , , , Managing Director & Senior Biotech Analyst

Jason Napodano, CFA has been with Zacks Investment Research since 2003 working as the Senior Pharmaceutical & Biotechnology analyst. In July 2009, Jason became Managing Director for the U.S. Institutional Equity Research Division. Before joining Zacks, Jason Napodano served as Vice President and Senior Equity Analyst covering U.S. large-cap equities for Eastover Capital Management from 1999 to 2002. Prior to Eastover, Jason worked as a laboratory research scientist for TechLab Inc., a biotechnology company focused on the development of diagnostic kits and vaccines for infectious disease, from 1995 to 1998.

Jason Napodano holds a BS from Virginia Tech in Biochemistry and a MBA from Wake Forest University. Jason is a holder of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.

Grant Zeng, CFA , , , Senior Biotech Analyst

Grant Zeng, CFA has 8 plus years professional experience in equity research and analysis. He is currently a senior biotech analyst with Zacks Investment Research Inc. since March 2006.

Before joining Zacks, Grant worked for as a biotech analyst from 2005-2006. From September 2001 to December 2003, Grant worked for China Pacific Insurance Co. as an equity/fund analyst. Grant was a healthcare equity analyst with Young & Partners, LLC from August 2000 to September 2001. Grant also has teaching and researching experience in pharmaceutical science.

Grant Zeng obtained his MBA with a major in Finance in 2000 from McMaster University, Canada. He also holds a Master of Science in Biochemistry from the University of Western Ontario, Canada; Master of Pharmacology and Bachelor of Medicine from Second Military Medical University, China.

Grant Zeng is a holder of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation, and series 7, 86/87 licensed.

David Bautz, PhD , , , Associate Biotechnology Analyst

David Bautz joined Zacks as an Associate Biotechnology Analyst in February 2014. Prior to joining Zacks, David was an NRSA postdoctoral fellow investigating the genetics of colorectal cancer morphology. During his tenure as a postdoctoral fellow David also conducted research developing active immunotherapies and monoclonal antibodies as potential treatments for colorectal cancer.

David obtained his PhD in Biochemistry and Biophysics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2008. His dissertation research focused on the characterization of autoantibodies in patients suffering from an orphan autoimmune disease.

Prior to obtaining his PhD, David worked for two years as a research associate at Human Genome Sciences, Inc., a biotechnology company that was eventually acquired by GlaxoSmithKline.

David obtained his BS and MS degrees in Biochemistry from Virginia Tech.

Nisha Hirani, MD , , , Associate Biotechnology Analyst

Nisha Hirani joined Zacks SCR February 2015 as an Associate Biotechnology Analyst with Zacks. Prior to joining Zacks, Nisha worked as an independent medical and healthcare industry consultant primarily focused on preventive healthcare practices, promoting health education, and offering due diligence services for prospective investors.

Nisha completed her clinical clerkships primarily through the Barnabas Health System located in the New York Metropolitan area. Nisha holds a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree from St. George's University School of Medicine. She obtained a B.S. in Biology and a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Tufts University. While at Tufts, her independent research focused on the investigation of an optical mammography device through application of near-infrared spectroscopy as well as other imaging and engineering modalities for the non-invasive detection of breast cancer.

Brian Marckx, CFA , , , Senior Med-Tech Analyst

Brian Marckx, CFA is the Senior Medical Device Analyst with Zacks Investment Research.

Prior to joining Zacks, Brian worked as a high-yield bond analyst on Wachovia Securities' institutional trading desks where he specialized in the healthcare and industrials industries. Prior to that he was an analyst in corporate finance at First Union National Bank. Brian has covered the medical device, pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries since joining Zacks in 2007.

Brian Marckx has been quoted in numerous publications including The Wall Street Journal, Barron's, Bloomberg-Businessweek and Kilpinger. His work has also been cited in various market studies and working papers including those from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Deloitte & Touche, and Pharmaceutical Manufacturing. Brian graduated with a B.S. in Finance from St. John Fisher College and received his MBA from Wake Forest University. Brian Marckx is a holder of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation.

Anita Dushyanth, PhD , , , Associate Med-Tech Analyst

Anita Dushyanth, PhD is a Medical Technology and Devices Analyst with Zacks Investment Research.

Prior to joining Zacks, she has worked as a researcher in the field of Bioengineering at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) for over 10 years. Her expertise includes research that delves into design and development of medical compliant devices, biomechanics of the human body, degenerative disease progression, and quantitative image analysis and optimization. She has been a peer reviewer and an editor for a number of prestigious journals in the field of biomedical engineering. Prior to that, Anita worked as a researcher at the Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

Anita holds a PhD degree in Bioengineering from UCLA, M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from Wright State University, Dayton, OH and B.S. in Instrumentation Engineering from the University of Madras, India.

Lisa Thompson , , , Senior Technology Analyst

Lisa R Thompson, a senior equity analyst with over two decades of experience in the technology and TMT space, specializing in small cap technology research.

Lisa was the first internet analyst on wall street and has always sought the next big thing in the tech space with a specialty in consumers. Lisa has worked extensively on both the buy-side at The Evergreen Funds and sell-side at firms including Prudential Securities, Unterberg Harris and EF Hutton.

Her expertise includes report writing, performing due diligence and valuing public and private companies in the technology arena, with a strong focus recently on TMT telecom, media, handsets, Internet, consumer electronics, digital media and software.

Lisa holds an MBA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and a BSChE from Tufts University.

Marla Backer , , , Senior Technology Analyst

Marla Backer has over 15 years of sell-side research experience, having begun her financial research career at Oppenheimer and Morgan Stanley. She has been recognized by the Wall Street Journal's "Best on the Street" and Institutional Investor's analyst ranking survey. In partnership with Soleil Securities, Marla founded and ran her own independent research boutique where she focused on the digital media sector. Prior to that, she held senior research positions at Salomon Brothers, ING Barings and Bear Stearns. Marla holds a B.A. in economics from Swarthmore College and has completed the coursework for a Masters of Business Administration candidate at New York University.

Steven Ralston, CFA , , , Senior Energy & Metals Analyst

Steven Ralston, is a holder of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and has over thirty years experience in the securities and investment industry, including Director of Research at First National Bank of Maryland, portfolio manager of General Accident's domestic and Canadian equity pension portfolios, and co-manager of Blackrock's $2.3 billion Large Cap Growth Fund. He received his initial investment training at Merrill Lynch and Fidelity & Deposit Company of Maryland.

Ann Heffron, CFA, CPA , , , Senior Bank & Finance Analyst

Ann H. Heffron, CFA, CPA is the Senior Bank and Finance Analyst at Zacks Investment Research. Ann has over 25 years of investment research experience, primarily working as a securities analyst following banks and other financial institutions for a number of firms in the Chicago area.

Prior to joining Zacks, Ann was a Senior Vice President at Zurich Scudder Investments, First Vice President at ABN AMRO Asset Management, Vice President at First Chicago Investment Management Company, and also worked as an analyst at Stein Roe & Farnham and Duff & Phelps.

Ann graduated from Scripps College in Claremont, California in 1975 with a degree in economics and accounting and became a holder of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation in 1984 and Certified Public Accountant in 1981.

Ann Heffron is a member of the CFA Institute, The Investment Analysts Society of Chicago, and the Illinois CPA Society.

Ian Gilson, PhD, CFA , , , Special Situations Analyst

Ian Gilson joined Zacks in 2006 as a senior analyst covering the graphics display industry as well as some special situations. His current coverage includes several micro-cap companies in the clean-tech, energy and technology sectors. He has 20 years of experience as a sell side analyst covering small and micro-cap companies. His buy side experience includes 3 years as a money manager with Manning & Napier and 13 years with The Harris Trust and Savings Bank as an analyst and money manager. Ian Gilson is a holder of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation and has NASD series 7, 63 and 87 licenses.
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