SGS North America Staff

Principal Investigators

Thomas J. Stephens, PhD | Principal Investigator - Dallas

Founder and Vice President of SGS Clinical Studies, Inc. Dr. Stephens has a Ph.D. in immunobiology from Iowa State University and an M.S. in Bioscience from Southern Illinois University. Dr. Stephens has been a study investigator for more than 25 years. Prior to starting Stephens & Associates, Inc., he was Director of Product Safety and Claims Substantiation Worldwide for Mary Kay Cosmetics and a Divisional Toxicologist at The Procter & Gamble Company. He has published more than 80 scientific articles, technical posters, and book chapters in medicine and science. Dr. Stephens served on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Toxicology – Cutaneous and Ocular Toxicology, and is an active member of the American Academy of Dermatology and the Society of Cosmetic Chemists. In 2000, he was elected to the “Leaders Society” of the Dermatology Foundation. Dr. Stephens’ office is located at the Texas Research Center.

Shoná Burkes-Henderson , PhD | Scientific Director
Dr. Shoná Burkes-Henderson received her undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Texas A&M University, and she attained her Doctor of Philosophy in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Cincinnati. Dr. Burkes-Henderson is an experienced Clinical Scientist with a demonstrated history of working in the Personal Care and Cosmetics Industry. She is skilled in Research and Development (R&D), Skin Biology, Public Speaking, and Biotechnology.
Summer Acevedo, PhD | Lead Principal Investigator - Dallas

Lead Principal Investigator at the Dallas Research Facility with extensive experience and publications in clinical trial and translational genetic research.  Expertise in skin care clinical study design, managing clinical operations both domestic and international facilities, developing methodology, bioinstrumentation, and efficacy/tolerability assessments for skin care products and devices.

Cheryl Vaughn, PhD | Principal Investigator - Dallas

Dr. Cheryl Vaughan joined SGS in November of 2020. Her previous work as a Clinical Research Associate (CRA) prepared Dr. Vaughan for a lead role in clinical operations. Dr. Vaughan’s clinical experience prior to SGS spans 4 years, where she monitored Phase I-III clinical trials in Neurology, Infectious Disease, Oncology, Renal Disease and Nephrology. As a CRA she monitored trial progress and site management in accordance with currently approved protocol/amendment(s), GCP, and applicable regulatory requirements. She served as a liaison between site investigators, CRO and pharmaceutical sponsors. Additionally, she trained site staff on all aspects of the protocol. Before moving to clinical research, Dr. Vaughan was an academic scientist for 10 years. During that time, she taught courses as adjunct faculty, served as the lead scientist of a lab focused on testing therapies for narcolepsy using deep brain stimulation and won an NIH postdoctoral grant for her obesity research. At SGS, Dr. Vaughan has combined her scientific training with experience in clinical monitoring to serve as one of the Principal Investigators (PI). As a PI, she has enjoyed project management of multiple clinical trials from the planning phase to the execution phase for delivery to clients while ensuring scientific integrity.

Trang Nguyen | Sub-Investigator - Dallas

Trang has been with SGS since 2000. She started her career in the clinical research industry in statistics, transitioned into a clinical research coordinator position where she specialized in running sunscreen testing and unique and complex studies. During her time at SGS she has trained many investigators and clinical research coordinators on clinical grading and study execution. In 2019, she became a Sub- Investigator and has expertise in complex clinical grading.

Chris De Oliveira, PhD | Principal Investigator - Phoenix

Dr. De Oliveira has a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences and Ph.D. in Nutrition and Endocrinology Physiology from Federal University of São Paulo, Brazil and has performed research in pancreatitis, inflammation, nutrition, and obesity biology over 15 years of career. Brought a strong scientific approach to her role as Principal Investigator in clinical trials for cosmetic and personal care products.

Nana Safoah Thompson, PhD | Principal Investigator - Phoenix
Dr. Nana Safoah Thompson is the Junior Investigator at SGS in Phoenix.
Dr. Nana Safoah Thompson is a healthcare professional with over 12-years of experience in direct care, research and healthcare quality management. She received her bachelor’s degree in Physiotherapy and master’s in Public Health at the University of Ghana. As the Senior Physical Therapist/Department Manager at FOCOS Orthopedic Hospital in Ghana, Dr. Thompson set up and managed the outpatient and inpatient units of the Rehabilitation department and was instrumental in research development, particularly study protocol development, data collection and data management for various hospital-based research projects. As her interest in multidisciplinary and translational research continued to pique, she went back to school in 2015-2019 to obtain a PhD in Allied Health Sciences at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences, during which she won several awards for Research Innovation and Scientific Achievement. Dr. Thompson had the opportunity to work collaboratively with professionals in various disciplines on both state/institutional and federally funded research projects in physical rehabilitation in the school system and pediatric neurorehabilitation. As a Research and Performance Measurement consultant for the Arizona State, Division of Developmental Disabilities she provided expertise in developing measurement models for tracking and trending incidents, defining project indicators and process measures and performing statistical analysis for their Quality Improvement projects targeted at resolving issued notices to cure.
Dr. Thompson’s approach to work as a Clinician and Researcher is shaped by four core tenets: Person-Centered services; Interdisciplinary Teaming; Cultural Competency and Inclusive Community-based Practices. Working with different people from diverse backgrounds has taught her the value of amicability, open-mindedness and effective communication.
Dr. Thompson enjoys volunteering as a tutor for elementary school students at her local church community. She loves traveling and experiencing new places and cultures and playing card games with family and friends.
Saeid Amini Nik, PhD l Principal Investigator - Union
Dr. Nik joined the SGS site in Union, NJ site in 2020 as Principal Investigator where he oversees cosmetic trials and heads the Sunscreen Department. He earned his MD at Isfahan University of Medical Science, Iran and earned a degree in clinical genetics at the University of Leuven, in Belgium, which led to a Ph.D. in molecular cancer genetics and fibrotic responses. Dr. Nik completed two fellowships for 5 years at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada, focusing on skin research.

As an assistant professor in the Division of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the University of Toronto and the Burn center in Toronto, Dr. Nik’s research focused on the on inflammatory skin diseases, burns and skin erythema. His numerous publications include book chapters and research articles in top peer-reviewed journals. He has presented his work as invited speakers in several international medical meetings. Dr. Nik served in several committees of medical societies, including American Burn Association, was the chair and the organizer of the 24th Connective Tissue Conference 2018 in Toronto, served as a voting member in the Institutional review board (IRB) and served in the editorial board of several peer-reviewed medical journals.

Operations

Thomas J. Stephens, PhD | Vice President - Dallas

Founder and Vice President of SGS Clinical Studies, Inc. Dr. Stephens has a Ph.D. in immunobiology from Iowa State University and an M.S. in Bioscience from Southern Illinois University. Dr. Stephens has been a study investigator for more than 25 years. Prior to starting Stephens & Associates, Inc., he was Director of Product Safety and Claims Substantiation Worldwide for Mary Kay Cosmetics and a Divisional Toxicologist at The Procter & Gamble Company. He has published more than 80 scientific articles, technical posters, and book chapters in medicine and science. Dr. Stephens served on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Toxicology – Cutaneous and Ocular Toxicology, and is an active member of the American Academy of Dermatology and the Society of Cosmetic Chemists. In 2000, he was elected to the “Leaders Society” of the Dermatology Foundation. Dr. Stephens’ office is located at the Texas Research Center.

Lawrence Lubrano | Vice President - Dallas
Lawrence Lubrano serves as Vice President for SGS. His responsibilities include oversight of global operations, quality assurance, sales and marketing, information technology and corporate administration.
Prior to joining SGS, Lawrence worked for 25 years in client services, most recently as an executive within PFSweb, a global commerce services company.  Prior to that Lawrence worked with Accenture Consulting, providing consulting for clients in the consumer products sector. Lawrence earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree and a Master’s of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from Texas A&M University.
Nancy Rodgers, PhD | Operations Director - Dallas

Nancy D. Rodgers, PhD, serves as the Operations Director of SGS Clinical Studies, Inc. Prior to joining SGS Clinical Studies, Inc., Dr. Rodgers spent 15 years at Henkel Consumer Goods, where most recently, she led product development and claim substantiation for multiple global brands.  She also developed novel methods for testing germ kill of antimicrobial hand products and served as sub-investigator on Phase I studies for an Investigational New Drug (IND).  Dr. Rodgers holds a BS in biochemistry from Bucknell University and a PhD in biochemistry from Rutgers University, where her research focused on gene expression, specifically mRNA stability.

Joyce Siamon l Branch Manager - Union

Joyce Siamon Branch Manager Bio

Joyce Siamon earned a Masters in Health Services Administration from The George Washington University, and also enjoyed a short stint in information systems engineering.

Joyce joined SGS Health and Nutrition in February 2021.  Previously guiding operations for diagnostic testing facilities, Ms. Siamon now oversees general operations of consumer testing at our site in Union, New Jersey.  She and her husband live in Union and enjoy travel and international foods.

Medical Directors

Mark Stephens, MD | Investigator and Study Physician - Dallas

Mark Stephens, M.D specializes in cataract and refractive surgery using the most advanced techniques and technologies available to give patients a surgical alternative to glasses and contacts. He also specializes in glaucoma treatment using laser and microinvasive procedures. In addition, Dr. Stephens has experience with early detection and intervention of diabetic retinopathy and other diabetic eye diseases.

Dr. Stephens received his medical training at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. He completed his ophthalmology residency at the Medical College of Georgia, where he was named Chief Resident his final year. He’s a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the American Society of Cataract & Refractive Surgeons, the Texas Medical Association and the Georgia Society of Ophthalmology.

Dr. Stephens practices at KE Dallas Eye Care.  He has served as Principal Investigator and Study Physician on numerous trials.

Shoichiro Yano, PhD, MD | Investigator and Medical Director - Japan
Dr. Yano received his MD and PhD in Dermatology from Tokyo University. Prior to joining 701 Research, he practiced Dermatology at the Department of Dermatology, Faculty of Medicine at the University of Tokyo. Dr. Yano serves as an Investigator and the Medical Director for 701 Research located in Japan. View list of publications prior to joining Stephens.

Client Services

Barbara Hammond | Senior Global Key Accounts Manager - Dallas

Barb has been with SGS Stephens since 2001. She has held many positions during the past 20 years within the company, including QA Coordinator, Reports Manager, Recruiting Manager, Clinic Manager, and Client Liaison. Her current position as Senior Global Key Accounts Manager involves oversight of client projects, sales, and the quoting process.

Janet Johnston | Business Development Manager - Dallas

Janet brings to SGS Stephens a unique background of cosmetic product development and marketing along with new business development and account management in the medical device and healthcare fields.  Janet has a passion for ensuring excellent client service and developing long-term client relationships.