Flinn Foundation Names Leadership of Arizona’s Statewide Bioscience Committee


Heather Carter

Jennifer Barton

Heather Carter and Jennifer Barton, accomplished Arizona leaders in the biosciences, higher education, and public policy, have been named chair and vice chair of the Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap Steering Committee.

The committee, administered by the Flinn Foundation, is the statewide leadership group responsible for overseeing Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap, the long-term strategic plan to guide the growth and development of the state’s bioscience sector.

Carter, who has served as the committee’s vice chair the past three years, joined the committee in 2015 while serving in the Arizona Legislature. Carter is currently the senior vice chancellor of external affairs for Maricopa Community Colleges, which includes 10 colleges throughout the Phoenix area.

Barton, who became a committee member in 2013, will be in a committee leadership position for the first time. Barton, a biomedical engineer, researcher, and inventor, is the director of the University of Arizona’s BIO5 Institute in Tucson.

The committee includes about 135 Arizonans from the public and private sector in science, health care, business, academia, and policy, as well as annual awardees of the Flinn Foundation’s translational research and entrepreneurship programs. The group is charged with creating a business environment and encouraging innovative partnerships that will lead to growth in the bioscience ecosystem.

“I am honored to lead this instrumental committee for our state,” Carter said. “I look forward to working with the members over the next two years and tapping their expertise in areas that are key to the success of the biosciences, from entrepreneurship to risk capital to STEM education.”

Carter previously served as executive vice president of Greater Phoenix Leadership. As an Arizona state senator and representative from north Phoenix, she held legislative leadership roles on health and human services, higher education, and workforce development committees.

Carter has worked for two of Arizona’s public universities. She is a past associate director of the Arizona Center for Rural Health and assistant professor of practice in the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health at UArizona, and is a past assistant dean of health and education policy at Arizona State University’s Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation. She was also a longtime clinical associate professor with Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at ASU.

Barton has held many positions at UArizona over the last 26 years—several simultaneously. In addition to BIO5 Institute director, she is the Thomas R. Brown Distinguished Chair in Biomedical Engineering, professor of electrical and computer engineering, optical sciences, and biosystems engineering, and a member of the University of Arizona Cancer Center.

Barton is also working toward commercialization of a patented falloposcope, a miniature endoscopic device she invented that can capture high-resolution images of the fallopian tubes to detect early signs of ovarian cancer.

In 2024, Barton is serving as president of SPIE, the 22,000-member international society for optics and photonics. She also served for four years on the National Advisory Council for the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering.

Over the next 18 months, the committee’s guidance will be critical in the Flinn Foundation’s planned update to Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap—the first since 2014. The next version of the Roadmap is expected to be launched in 2025.

“We are entering a very exciting time for Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap and the Steering Committee, and both Heather and Jennifer will be exceptional leaders for Arizona as we set our future goals and aspirations,” said Tammy McLeod, Ph.D., Flinn Foundation president and CEO. “Their well-rounded expertise and experience in so many domains of the Roadmap’s work will benefit the committee and our state.”

For the past three years, the committee was led by Eve Ross, a retired W.L. Gore & Associates executive. Ross, who joined the Steering Committee in 2003, will remain a member.

Carter joins a distinguished group of community and bioscience leaders who have led the committee since its inception in 2002.

The first committee chair was former Phoenix Mayor Skip Rimsza, who was followed by Martin Shultz—the longest tenured chair—Ron Shoopman, Mark Slater, and Ross.

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