Benko, Anna

Milwaukee Institute for Drug Discovery (MIDD)


I received MS in Organic Chemistry from Jagiellonian University in Kraków followed by PhD in Organic Chemistry from University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.

Positions and Appointments

2007 - 2017     Scientist to Manger at Sterling Pharma (Former Cambridge Major                              Laboratories/Alcami), Germantown, WI
2017 - current  Manager of SAILARC Facility, UWM, WI

As a manager of Mass Spectrometry facility at UWM (SAILARC) I am responsible for all aspects of the day to the operation of the Laboratory including budget generation, instrument purchases, quote generation, analytical instrumentation operation and methodology training and research support.  I am also heavily involved in development of collaboration between our laboratory and variety of UWM departments such as engineering, biology and geology as well outside research organizations both industrial and educational.

Personal Statement

Upon graduation in 2007 I started my industrial career in the pharmaceutical field.  My pharma career began as an Analytical Scientist II in the Analytical Research and Development department of Sterling Pharma (Former Cambridge Major Laboratories/Alcami) a multinational CMO/CRO, working at the company's primary API manufacturing site in Germantown, WI.  I spend over 10 years’ managing an industrial, cGMP compliant, analytical chemistry laboratory (including new instrument acquisition and validation, method development, technology transfer, work-flow management, quote generation and budgeting). In my role as Senior Manager, in addition to management of the Analytical Sciences Department and technical oversight of Quality Control, I was responsible for development of manufacturing and release control strategy as well as authoring of CMC sections for regulatory filings. I was also responsible for technical aspects of analytical documentation ranging from test methods, product specifications, process validations to investigations and corrective actions. I have extensive experience in contract client management and in interactions with regulatory agencies.

In 2017, after ten years of industrial experience, I have transitioned to my current role at University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. In my current position I interact with students and faculty, as well as members of the local industrial community, on daily basis. My ability to share ideas, validate them with those of others, and work cooperatively on tasks as a team are very important. The training for a wide variety of users can be challenging at times because I have to adjust the presented material to individual needs — it is however what makes it most rewarding. Since 2017 I have built a structured training program and developed a variety of standard operating procedures for the facility allowing for robust operation.  Although my primary job responsibilities focus on my scientific, operational, and laboratory management expertise, I have significantly expanded my role to become a valued resource for students at all levels. I am always happy to aid in job searches, provide resume/interview tips and serve as a reference. By having industrial and faculty users’ presence in the laboratory, I provide the students with an opportunity to network with seasoned professionals.

The goal of our facility is to serve the members of the UWM community with state-of-the-art analytical equipment. The innovation that these instruments provide is a critical aspect of our academic research setting. That is why I am constantly working to improve the user’s experience at the Shimadzu Laboratory. I collaborate with equipment manufacturers to upgrade the current equipment and introduce new capabilities to provide students with hands-on experience that is invaluable for future scientists. Based on current industry trends and in collaboration with other experts in the area, I have arranged for a variety of analytical instrumentation to be hosted in the laboratory, at no cost to UWM, to be used for long term demonstration, thereby allowing students, faculty and the local community to become familiar with novel techniques. Securing these industrial relationships and user arrangements brings in technologies that are otherwise not possible to procure in the current UW System-wide fiscal environment. The integration of a new kilogram-lab facility in the New Chemistry building is also a part of this vision of growth, providing an alternate avenue for industrial-academic collaboration. This helps to further build UWM as a destination for drug discovery and analytical chemistry excellence.

Selected Publications

Heli Fan, Muhammad Asad Uz Zaman, Wenbing Chen, Taufeeque Ali, Anahit Campbell, Qi Zhang, Nurul Islam Setu, Eron Saxon, Nicolas M. Zahn, Anna M. Benko, Leggy A. Arnold, and Xiaohua Peng "Assessment of Phenylboronic Acid Nitrogen Mustards as Potent and Selective Drug Candidates for Triple-Negative Breast Cancer" ACS Pharmacol. Transl. Sci. 2021, 4, 2.

Anna Benko, Maureen Prince, Barry J. Price, Nadejda T. Kaltcheva, Peter Geissinger, and Alan W. Schwabacher "Chemically Stable Films for Combinatorial Fluorosensor Arrays" J. Comb. Chem. 2006, 8, 2, 221–227.

Paul E. Henning, Anna Benko, Alan W. Schwabacher, and Peter Geissinger "Apparatus and methods for optical time-of-flight discrimination in combinatorial library analysis" Review of Scientific Instruments 2005, 76 (6), 062220.