TBC UNITED BOARD
Dr. Tina Merritt, TBC United Board Chairwoman
Dr. Merritt, MD is a practicing Allergist & Immunologist in Bentonville, AR. Dr. Merritt graduated from University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Medicine in 1996 and has been in practice for more than 20 years. She completed a residency at University of Arkansas College of Medicine. She currently practices at Allergy & Asthma Clinic of Northwest Arkansas and is affiliated with Northwest Medical Center Bentonville. Dr. Merritt is board certified in Allergy and Immunology; Pediatrics.
Dr. Merritt is known for her research on Alpha-gal, an allergy to beef, pork, and gelatin related to tick bites. Shortly after finishing her postgraduate training she learned of a patient who died in Bentonville, Arkansas, from an immediate reaction to a cancer medication, made from an antibody made from a mammal. Dr. Tina Hatley Merritt in Arkansas and Dr. Thomas Platts-Mills in Virginia developed a test to evaluate these allergic reactions. Researchers at Imclone determined the reaction to the cancer medication was from an allergy to a sugar-protein called galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose, abbreviated Alpha-gal. A landmark article was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, describing this new type of allergic reaction to a sugar plus protein. Dr. Merritt continues her passion to help those with Alpha-gal Syndrome, through many avenues, including her participation with the Arkansas Alpha-gal Task Force.
She is the director of White Cell Support Group, a nonprofit support group for patients with primary immune deficiency. Dr. Merritt is a noted speaker for asthma, allergy and immune deficiency. She participates in the Food Allergy Research and Education Walk every year and the National Asthma Screening for the past 16 years.
Harold Carrison, TBC United Board Treasurer
CEO, Founder, Fast Innovations Inc
In his 35 years in the biomedical field, Harold Carrison has worked in all phases of medical device development, from initial understanding of market needs and design through to product market release. He has led device development efforts in the areas of product development, project management, machine design, and process and manufacturing engineering to enable rapid delivery of quality products.
Harold Carrison’s particular focus in the biomedical field has been on Neurovascular, Surgical, Urologic, Coloproctology, Cardiac, and Spinal medical devices. He has demonstrated an ability to convert clinical needs into products, set up and execute business plans, operate within given budgets, and meet deadlines for successful product launches. His has strong skills in leadership and accountability, innovative design, and process requirements for manufacturing; and he has been effective with DOE, SPC, GMP, ISO, FDA, and CE submissions and clinical study protocols.
Harold Carrison started two new business areas for a division of Boston Scientific, and he has held positions at blue chip companies like CR Bard and Hansen Medical. Harold developed general conceptual ideas from inventors and small startup companies into clinically released products. He’s also founded a design consulting company located in Newark, CA focusing on fast innovative solutions to design issues. Harold is a holder of 53 issued patents, and he has more than 15 pending.
Heather Szerlong, Ph.D., TBC United Board Member
TBC United Board Member
Research Scientist, Cofounder and CEO of TICKNOLOGY
Dr. Heather Szerlong is a Colorado native and cofounder of Ticknology, LLC. “I’ve had a passion for science since I was a child. Back then, it was so exciting to discover a ‘new’ life-form under a rock or follow the life-cycle of a dragonfly living nearby.”
That curiosity energized a 20+ year career in scientific research which now includes tick-borne disease and pathogen detection.
Heather earned a B.A. at the University of Colorado and a Ph.D. from the Department of Oncological Sciences at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. She then moved back to Colorado where she was awarded an American Heart Association Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Colorado State University.
While researching metabolic disease at the Biochemical Genetics Laboratory at the Children’s Hospital in Denver, she became certified as a Technologist in Molecular Biology from the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP). She has described much of her research in both peer-reviewed scientific journals and other educational resources including book chapters and encyclopedia entries. She holds a Research Scientist position in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO, and she is an expert in the areas of biology, biochemistry, genetics, and molecular diagnostics.
Marlene Jones, TBC United Board Member
Marlene Jones lives with her husband near Chapel Hill, North Carolina. She was an avid gardener, hiker, camper, and nature lover until recent events made her rethink the way she interacted with nature. After suffering 3 serious illnesses in 4 years from tick-borne diseases, she became passionate about raising awareness of tick-borne illnesses including Alpha-gal Syndrome, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Ehrlichiosis.
Marlene Jones is a passionate advocate for research for the cure and accurate diagnosis of tick-borne conditions. She is also a former adjunct professor, leadership/life coach, speaker, and editor.