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WIB-San Francisco Bay Area: Holiday Party at Alchemist Bar & Lounge, December 9, 2019

Posted By Karen Ring, Monday, December 23, 2019

On December 9, 2019, over seventy life science professionals celebrated the holidays and the year's accomplishments at the annual WIB-San Francisco Bay Area's 2019 holiday party at the Alchemist in San Francisco! Our Chapter Leadership, Karen Ring, MeeJ Kim, and Melina Mathur, recounted WIB-San Francisco Bay Area's achievements this year and reviewed our program highlights. While mingling over delicious cocktails and reminiscing over the past year, members and newcomers snacked on a delicious spread and greeted friends both old and new.


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Thank you to our wonderful sponsors and members who have been with us through the years and those who have joined us recently in making 2019 a memorable year! A big shout out to our volunteers for making this year a grand success and without whom the panel discussions, seminars, and networking events would not have been possible. Happy Holidays!


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WIB-San Francisco Bay Area: MAPS Fall Launch Networking Event, November 20, 2019

Posted By Devinder Ubhi, Monday, December 23, 2019

On November 20, 2019, over 35 life science professional women joined us at the WIB-San Francisco Bay Area: MAPS Fall Launch Networking Event at Brew382 in South San Francisco. The event was to kick-off the Fall 2019 MAPS cycling for peer groups and mentoring pairs. The venue was ideally situated with its close proximity to the BioHub capital. Throughout the evening, new peer groups and 1:1 mentoring pairs met face-to-face. Current and prospective members were able to learn more about the MAPS community and the greater WIB network and how both are helping to launch and further propel the careers of our local Bay Area professionals. Everyone felt a strong momentum for 2020, and we can’t wait to host our next event in the Spring! If interested in participating in MAPS, please visit the WIB Mentoring page to fill out the San Francisco application found at: https://www.womeninbio.org/page/MAPSPeers

 

 

 

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WIB-San Francisco Bay Area: Pharmaceutical Pricing: What Does The Future Hold?, September 19, 2019

Posted By Devinder Ubhi , Thursday, October 24, 2019

On September 19, 2019 the WIB San-Francisco Bay Area Chapter and Foley & Lardner LLP hosted a panel discussion on the future of pharmaceutical pricing and its impact on public health. The roundtable was moderated by Sara Singer (Professor of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine and Professor, by courtesy, at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies). Panelists included Katie Gudiksen (Senior Health Policy Researcher for The Source on Healthcare Price and Competition), Robin Howard (V.P. of Commercial Planning at Global Blood Therapeutics), and Allison Dupuy (Managing Partner and U.S. Head of Life Sciences at Simon-Kucher & Partners).

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The illustrious panel provided nuanced and detailed perspectives on proposed payer solutions and their potential implications on drug pricing, access, and the overall healthcare landscape. The event was attended by 28 industry professionals, and attendees walked away with an in-depth understanding of the complexities and stakeholders embedded within the US healthcare challenges. Some attendees reported that the panel was “super informative” and will help them serve their clients better with exclusive insights. 

 

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WIB-San Francisco Bay Area: Young Women In Bio - Curious about how embryos (babies) develop?, September 25, 2019

Posted By Tanvi Sinha , Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Young Women In Bio (YWIB)-San Francisco Bay Area is continuing to partner with College Track to bring hands-on STEM experiences to young women. Last year, YWIB volunteers led by Dr. Tanvi Sinha, a cell and developmental biologist from UCSF, hosted a successful event at College Track, Oakland that used chick embryos to teach about developmental biology. On September 25, 2019, YWIB brought a similar event to the College Track San Francisco branch, again led by Dr. Sinha. Sarah Odeh helped organize and Dr. Anne de Bruyn Kops assisted at the event. 

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Five 11th-grade girls participated in the event which Dr. Sinha began by briefly introducing the girls to YWIB.  Dr. Sinha then explained the stages of embryonic development using a short slide presentation.  She described the process in humans vs. animals, showing what the stages look like and emphasizing that many genes involved in development are shared among species. The girls quickly became engaged, asking questions, and sharing relevant information they had learned in school. The students were so quick to recognize the similarities between equivalent developmental stages in different species that a matching game that had been planned to prompt this was bypassed, allowing for more time to dissect the embryos. 

Dr. Sinha provided fertilized chicken eggs at different stages and demonstrated how to crack the eggs into weigh boats to examine the embryos. The girls enthusiastically cracked numerous eggs each and compared the developmental stages of the embryos with those on the introductory slide show.  They shared their impressions and examined each other’s embryos. Not knowing what stage they would find in each egg added to the fun and promoted interaction among the students. Questions from the girls led to an interesting discussion of how the study of developmental biology applies to disease and we briefly mentioned the availability of summer research internships and the fact that a STEM background can lead to many different careers.

The five students who participated in the event provided enthusiastic feedback.  Most felt that the level of the activity and presentation was just right and were eager to participate in other events. The students reported that they enjoyed the hands-on aspect of the event. They liked being able to crack the eggs themselves and observe development first hand as well as learning about different stages of development and the similarities between species. Suggestions for ways to improve the event included a field trip and more time for questions and discussion. 

YWIB‐San Francisco Bay Area is grateful to College Track ‐ San Francisco for highlighting the importance of STEM for young girls and providing an opportunity for us to share our experience and love of science. We thank Michael Bluing for helping us arrange the event and look forward to future programs with College Track. 

Tags:  2019  YWIB 

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WIB-San Francisco Bay Area: Aging - New Perspectives, August 29, 2019

Posted By Madhuja Samaddar and Barbara Celona, Monday, September 16, 2019

On August 29, Calico Life Sciences hosted an event featuring a panel discussion on the latest directions in aging research. The panelists included Cynthia Kenyon (Calico Life Sciences), Judith Campisi (Buck Institute on Aging Research) and Danica Chen (UC Berkeley); all leading aging experts from the San Francisco Bay Area research ecosystem. The vibrant discussion was moderated by Elcin Unal from UC Berkeley.

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There were over 75 guests in attendance at this much-anticipated event. Calico generously provided WIB with the use of the event space alongside an array of food and drinks. The program started with an initial networking mixer, followed by the panel discussion which engaged with the very enthusiastic audience. Aging is an inevitable and multifaceted process that affects every individual. Research in this field has gained momentum and relevance in recent years, given that populations around the globe are aging at unprecedented rates. The panelists discussed some of the key discoveries and ideas that shape modern aging research and interventions that have shown promise in delaying the onset of age-associated disease. An important feature of the aging process is its plasticity, and this was discussed in detail. For example, single genes can modulate lifespan, and calorie restriction (CR) extends lifespan and delays age-related diseases in a variety of experimental species. Relatively recent insights from studies involving parabiosis were also discussed. In these studies, the circulatory systems of a young and an old mouse are joined together, and they reveal that circulating factors in young blood are able to ‘rejuvenate’ the older individual, particularly its brain. The panelists also talked about various challenges in aging research including the heterogeneity of aging (between individuals and between organs of the same individual), the need for detailed population-level datasets, and the complexities of following aging longitudinally throughout individual lifetimes. Finally, the ethics of aging research was questioned by the audience: do we really need to extend lifespan and is it ultimately good for human society? The panelists elaborated on the fact that aging research is fundamentally about increasing healthspan (the number of healthy and disease-free years) rather than absolute lifespan. The goal is to add life to years, not years to life!

The discussion continued into the second round of informal networking where attendees could interact with the panelists and mingle with other guests. Overall, it appeared that the guests enjoyed attending the event, making new connections, and engaging in stimulating conversations. A special shout out to Calico for being a wonderful host and to all volunteers at WIB who contributed to making the event so successful!

Tags:  2019 

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WIB-San Francisco Bay Area: Paradigm Shifts in Infectious Diseases, January 10, 2019

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Thursday, August 1, 2019

On January 10, 2019, approximately 70 attendees gathered at the new VIR headquarters and networked for about an hour,  while enjoying a colorful and delicious buffet and drinks generously provided by VIR. After, everyone was seated at small group tables to welcome an impressive panel of experts.

Wonderful moderator, Ann Arvin of VIR and Stanford, introduced the three participating experts from the infectious disease field – Amy Espeseth, who is an Executive Director, ID/Vaccines development at Merck, Myriam Theeuwes, recently at DURECT, with extensive experience in infectious disease compound development, and Sangeeta Bhatia of MIT, where she is leveraging micro and nanotechnologies, to improve medical diagnostics, drug delivery, tissue regeneration, and disease
modeling.

Attendees were engaged in the discussion. They asked questions about the use of AI and machine learnings in the development of new technologies targeted to tackle the infectious disease outbreaks and mutational potential. Other topics that the audience brought up for discussion were the use of advertising to increase awareness, community engagement in vaccination, and the speed of development and interventions during outbreaks that receive a lot of news attention such as the last Ebola outbreak.

The event focused on the challenges that are converging around the health impact of infectious diseases as it relates to the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. The discussion commenced by each panelist describing the main challenges they see having the largest impact on the current state of infectious diseases in the world. Topics ranged from novel vaccination technologies involving an innovative delivery of antibodies to the role of public-private partnerships in making infectious disease
interventions available to communities in low resource countries.

The evening continued into a lively, informal networking session where the attendees could personally interact with the panelists and moderator, while mingling with each other. Overall, the evening was very engaging and memorable, thanks to the efforts of our event host and sponsor VIR,  and a wonderful moderator and expert panelists. A special shout out to Eric Schlezinger, Bolyn Hubby, and Ann Arvin for helping organize the event! Many thanks to all volunteers of Women In Bio who worked in the background and to all our attendees for a successful event!

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EWIB-San Francisco Bay Area - Women on Boards: Tips and Strategies for Being on a Board and Being Effective, May 23, 2019

Posted By Yasmin Chandrashekhar, Kristine Mechem, and Martina Doleshal, Thursday, June 20, 2019

On Thursday May 23, approximately 45 executive women came together to discuss the role of women on corporate boards. The event was hosted by Vir Biotechnology. With the recent passage of legislature in California requiring more female board participation for public companies headquartered in California, this topic was timely and well-received. The evening was focused around a panel discussion. The panel was moderated by Gail Maderis, President and CEO of Antiva Biosciences, Inc and Board Member at NovaBay Pharmaceuticals.   

  • The panel was comprised of women with extensive boardroom experience and included:Grace Colon (President, CEO and Director InCarda Therapeutics, Executive Chairman, ProterixBio, Board Member for Paradigm Diagnostics; Cocoon Biotech; and PerceptiMed, Inc.)
  • Mary Haak-Frendscho (CEO Spotlight Therapeutics, Board member Sirenas; Compugen USA and formerly Northern Biologics_
  • Shehnaaz Suliman (Board member Ultragneyx Pharmaceutical, Inc and Parvus Therapeutics, Inc)

 

The panelists addressed strategies on how to get on a board and how to be more effective on a board. Feedback that was given included:

  • Reminders that you often need to ask for a seat at the table, don’t assume that they know you are interested in board positions.
  • Suggestions that first time directors should not have expectations around the existing board accommodating you – if it has been all male board in the past, you may need to “go with the flow.”
  • Comments that working on a non-profit board doesn’t always prepare you for a corporate board. Many non-profit board positions are focused around fund raising not the core business of running the company.
  • Importance of networking and remembering other qualified women when an opportunity doesn’t fit your skill set or timeframe.
  • Discussion around boardroom preparation programs with comments that they run the whole gamut and some are more valuable than others. EWIB’s own Boardroom Ready program not only prepares qualified women for board service, it connects you to a cohort of women committed to supporting each other.

EWIB of the San Francisco Bay Area is planning more programs like this as well as networking events for senior leaders. If you are a senior leader and would like to be on the contact list for these invitation only events, please email sanfranciscoewib@womeninbio.org

Tags:  2019  EWIB 

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WIB-San Francisco Bay Area: New Innovations and Applications for Microbiomes, May 21, 2019

Posted By Marsha Morgenstern, Wednesday, June 12, 2019

On May 21, 2019, WIB-San Francisco Bay Area hosted a much-anticipated panel discussion about the current state of microbiome research and recent innovations and applications at Nektar Therapeutics. This event was attended by more than 40 guests who enjoyed an opportunity to network and listen to a moderator-led discussion with panelists who shared the exciting and challenging aspects of working with the microbiome.  Our distinguished moderator and panelists included Sheila Adams-Sapper from Resilient Biotics, Elisabeth Bik from Habers-Bik LLC, Luisa Chan from Thermo Fisher, Roxana Hickey from Phylagen and Vanessa Ridaura from Verily.  The panel discussion was followed by a stimulating Q & A on the microbiome and its applications.  


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Here is what some of the attendees had to say:

“I liked their enthusiasm!”
“Nice that they were all personable and enthusiastic!  Great role models.”
“Should have had more time for Q & A!”


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WIB-San Francisco Bay Area: Young Women In Bio at the WiSE Fair at the Athenian School in Danville, CA, May 24, 2019

Posted By Leah Makley, Sarah Odeh, and Barbara Troupin, Wednesday, June 5, 2019

On May 24th, YWIB-San Francisco Bay Area volunteers participated in the Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) Fair at the Athenian School in Danville, CA. This annual, student-organized event encourages students’ interest in STEM fields through a series of booths with hands-on science and engineering activities, a keynote speaker, and a panel discussion from women working in STEM fields.

 

YWIB had a hands-on activity booth with three different activities. Attendees worked with volunteers to build edible models of DNA, using different colors of candies to represent different nucleotide bases and licorice ropes to represent a double helical backbone. This activity was meant to illustrate base pairing and the structure of DNA, and it was a big hit with the younger attendees. A second activity illustrated chemical polymerization, using Borax and glue to create bouncy balls, which was fun for both the students and their parents. Lastly, students watched the change in color of solutions containing a pH-sensitive universal indicator as a response to their exhaled breaths. The exhaled carbon dioxide slightly lowers the pH of the solution, causing the color change. 

 

While making bouncy balls or models of DNA, several students also took the opportunity to interact with the YWIB volunteers and get to know them. The students asked thoughtful questions about careers in science, practiced their networking skills, and asked for advice on choosing college majors and even graduate degrees.

 

The hands-on activities were followed by a keynote address given by Bindu Garapaty of Gilead Sciences, and a panel discussion in which five Bay Area women, including Barbara Troupin, MD, MBA, CMO at ERX Pharmaceuticals and YWIB-SF co-chair, shared insights on their career trajectory and experiences. Both the keynote speaker and the panel members spoke to the importance of mentorship, challenges and disparities women may face in the workplace, and advice on how to navigate difficult situations.

 

YWIB looks forward to participating in the WiSE Fair again in future years!

Tags:  2019  YWIB 

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WIB-San Francisco: Young Women In Bio - "How to Get into the Brain” - The Science behind Antibody Engineering and Design, April 18, 2019

Posted By Karen Ring and Jennifer Kim , Thursday, May 30, 2019

On April 18, 2019, the San Francisco Bay Area YWIB chapter (led by Jennifer Kim and Yasmin Chandrasekher) hosted an event at Genentech in South San Francisco titled “How to Get into the Brain - The Science Behind Antibody Engineering.” About 40 high school students from all over the Bay Area were in attendance. The event kicked off with an icebreaker where YWIB volunteers walked students through an exercise where they learned about bispecific antibodies and how scientists are using them to develop medicines that can cross the blood brain barrier and be delivered to the brain. The exercise was followed by two brief presentations by Genentech scientists on their protein purification protocols and the applications of these proteins in targeting neurodegenerative diseases. The students also got a tour of the pilot purification plant and the Genentech campus. The event concluded with a panel discussion featuring 10 Genentech employees. They discussed their career paths and gave students advice on how to pursue careers in STEM through internship opportunities, being persistent and staying curious.

“I really enjoyed the Q&A panel and hearing the panelists’ stories helped me realize that there’s not just one set path. I want to start exploring more while I’m still in high school.” - Tina

Tara, a high school senior interested and curious about different areas of science, especially enjoyed the lab tours and getting to learn about the different things that go on in a research lab.

Tags:  2019  YWIB 

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