On Monday, January 28, 2019 the Greater Boston YWIB Chapter co-organized with Sarepta Therapeutics an opportunity for young girls to peek inside the world of a biotechnology company focused on combating rare diseases, in particular Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Students from the Boston area convened at the Company headquarters in Cambridge and began the evening networking over light fare (pizza, salad and cookies). Following a brief introduction to Young Women in Bio led by Suzanne Grillo, Chair, Young Women in Bio Greater Boston, attendees heard from several female company leaders holding various positions, including:
- Louise Rodino-Klapac, Ph.D. (Vice President, Gene Therapy) shared her career journey contributing to the research and development of the Company’s lead drug candidate, the events that led her to choose a career in science, the inspiration she derived from female scientists before her like Rosalind Franklin and the importance of challenging yourself outside your comfort zone to achieve great things
- Francesca Nolan (Sr. Director, Investor Relations and Corporate Communications) provided an overview of the Company, the team effort required to bring a drug to market and the importance of finding helpful mentors along the way
- Tiffany Thompson (Medical Affairs Associate, Gene Therapy Operations) shared an overview of her career path starting from her major in kinesiology at college and the opportunities that unfold in nurturing companies such as Sarepta
The girls were then invited up to their onsite laboratory where they were able to participate in an interactive scientific experiment led by Danielle Griffin, Senior Manager of Gene Therapy. Danielle works closely with Dr. Rodino-Klapac as head of research operations. After donning lab coats and protective eye gear, girls moved to independent lab stations set up so that the girls could extract and purify DNA from their cheek cells. Then they were invited to view and discuss the differences they saw between normal and diseased muscle tissue.
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Following the lab experiment, the girls returned to the conference room and each participant received a book about Dr. Rodino-Klapac’s scientific inspiration, Rosalind Franklin.