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WIB-Pittsburgh: Member Spotlight on Stephanie Puig

Posted By Vinitha Ganesan, Monday, July 20, 2020

Each month, we are featuring profiles of WIB-Pittsburgh members. We asked about their career path and experience in WIB. Read on for some interesting stories and insights!



Stephanie Puig

Co-Chair, Communications Committee, WIB-Pittsburgh



Career position: Research Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh


Education: Ph.D. Neuroscience University of Paris Descartes, France


Other training: Two years Post-doc the University of Texas MDACC, Three years Post-doc at the University of Pittsburgh.

Fun facts: I speak three languages; I have two citizenships (maybe three soon?). My multicultural background helps me to easily blend with other cultures/environments, which I love to learn from! Otherwise, I love to dance, bike, hike, ride horses, and read!


Experience in WIB


What drew you into the life sciences field and WIB?


Everything in nature and biology is so perfect and so perfectly adapted, which fascinates me and makes me want to understand it. Like many, I was interested in joining WIB for two reasons: To learn about other career opportunities outside of Academia in the Life Sciences and to network with other women with similar career paths.



How has WIB played a role in promoting your personal or professional growth?


WIB is composed of many inspiring women at all career stages. Everyone is very supportive. Joining WIB has been so beneficial to help me focus, prioritize, and self-care!



If you had one piece of advice to give a new WIB member, what would it be?


Network! My experience is that everyone who I have asked advice has always been very willing to take the time to talk (over a coffee, or even through Zoom). I would also recommend attending as many events as possible. They great to provide a new perspective on yourself and on your career by learning about others! Finally, I also recommend getting involved in WIB leadership. It has been very beneficial to me as it provides the opportunity to work with amazing women (network) on a topic that is important to all of us: promoting women in science.

Career Trajectory


How did you come to find a career that is a good fit for you?


Finding a good fit is very hard as there are so many things out there that I wish I could do! My career goal is to be in science and to participate in/lead discoveries that could improve people’s quality of life. I am currently pursuing a career path in academia. I hope to be able to collaborate/ work with people in the industry to make things move at a faster pace! I keep my eyes open to opportunities, but try to stay focus setting up short-, mid- and long-term goals (very easy to get distracted as everything is interesting!)


What has been the biggest challenge in your career and how did you overcome it?


My biggest challenge is to let go and to learn how to say no. I know it will be a life-long struggle, but I am learning to do it one step at a time. It is important to work hard but what matters the most is self-care! Life balance makes you more focused and efficient and can lead to better success!


Who has been a good mentor to you and why?

WIB! All WIB people who I have met (all at different stages of their career) have inspired me! The MAPS program is great to mentor and get mentored! My Ph.D. advisor has also been a great mentor. I make sure I stay connected with her although I have not seen her since I graduated seven years ago.

Tags:  2020  Member Spotlight 

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WIB-Pittsburgh: Virtual MAPS (Mentorship, Advisors, Peers, and Sponsorship), May 14, 2020

Posted By Ceren Tuzmen, Monday, July 20, 2020

Women In Bio – Pittsburgh (WIB-Pittsburgh) kicked off its first virtual MAPS (Mentorship, Advisors, Peers, and Sponsorship) -vMAPS- sessions on May 14, 2020. These sessions involved one introduction meeting where the 15 WIB-Pittsburgh members, who signed up for the program, met virtually, formed subgroups, and selected a topic for their vMAPS discussions. Three discussion groups were formed with five members who represent different career groups and stages of career.


“Looking for a new position has become even more of a challenge with our current COVID situation. We shared numerous tips, struggles, references, sharing network opportunities, and shared real-time experiences in our discussions. It was a pleasure to meet and work in the subgroup, and I found it extremely insightful. I actually used some of these techniques on a recent internal job interview.” Sharon Standish, who is the Global Program Director at Bayer Pharmaceuticals Radiology, said. She joined the subgroup that had discussions on virtual job searching and interviewing. Nairita Roy, from the same subgroup shared her experience as “a fantastic platform to develop relationships with mentors and peers.” Nairita is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pittsburgh, interested in transitioning to careers outside of research.

During the 8-week long vMAPS program, each subgroup met for at least three times. The program was finalized by a virtual wrap-up session where the members talked about their individual experiences and what they learned from these discussions. Other subgroup discussions were focused on career reflections and networking and connecting virtually.

Ceren Tuzmen from the career reflections team said, “I really enjoyed our virtual discussions and meeting everyone on the team. It is important to take the time to reflect on our career in these challenging times, and it really aligns with WIB’s overarching goal to engage, educate, and empower!”.

Tags:  2020  MAPS 

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WIB-Pittsburgh: Get to Know Krystal Biotech – A Pittsburgh Based Gene Therapy Company, June 24, 2020

Posted By Vinitha Ganesan, Thursday, July 16, 2020

During the virtual webinar on June 24, Dr. Pooja Agarwal, the SVP of product development at Krystal Biotech, Inc shared about her career path with WIB members. The event was well attended by WIB members from Pittsburgh and all over the country. Pooja spoke about how she started in Biotech, built relationships, and moved to Pittsburgh along with the founding team of Krystal Biotech. Her enthusiasm and entrepreneurial spirit were a window into Krystal’s culture. Pooja explained Krystal’s key decision to start their own manufacturing plant at Pittsburgh and how that has added to their competitive advantage. Krystal Biotech is a fast-growing clinical-stage gene therapy company in Pittsburgh and a company to watch out for. 


Screenshot of Dr. Pooja Agarwal during the webinar organized by WIB-Pittsburgh

 

For more details on Krystal Biotech, read our spotlight article on the WIB blog here.


Tags:  2020 

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WIB-Pittsburgh Startups Spotlight: Krystal Biotech with Dr. Pooja Agarwal

Posted By Nairita Roy, Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Dr. Agarwal serves as Krystal Biotech’s Senior Vice President, Product Development, and has been with the company since its inception in 2016. She has become an active member of Women In Bio – Pittsburgh and recently shared her perspective on what it takes to be a leader in biotech, as well as insights into Krystal’s emergence as a cutting edge gene therapy company. Prior to joining Krystal, she was Senior Director, Human Therapeutics, at Intrexon Corporation from 2010 to 2016. Dr. Agarwal holds a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from the University of California San Francisco, a Master of Science in Molecular and Medical Genetics from the University of Toronto, and a Bachelor of Science (Summa Cum Laude) in Biochemistry from McMaster University.

 A clinical-stage gene therapy company 

Click here for more photos 

Krystal Biotech (Nasdaq KRYS) is a clinical-stage gene therapy company focused on developing and commercializing novel treatments for patients suffering from rare diseases. The company’s lead product candidate, B-VEC, for the treatment of dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (DEB), a rare and severe monogenic skin disease for which there is currently no approved treatment, is scheduled to enter its Phase 3 pivotal trial this year. The Company has an extensive pipeline of products, including KB105 for the treatment of TGM1-related Autosomal Recessive Congenital Ichthyosis (ACRI), which announced positive interim results in May 2020. Krystal also announced recently it was exploring the use of its HSV-1 based gene therapy vector for the treatment of pulmonary diseases, including cystic fibrosis. Krystal’s R&D headquarters and manufacturing facilities are located in the Southside Flats area of Pittsburgh, and the company is building a second commercial manufacturing facility in Findlay Township, Pennsylvania. For more information about Krystal Biotech, including career opportunities, please visit www.krystalbio.com

Tags:  2020  Startups Spotlight 

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WIB-Pittsburgh Sponsor Spotlight - Meet Babs Carryer: Big Idea Center Director, Pitt Innovation Institute

Posted By Stephanie Puig, Monday, July 6, 2020

Babs Carryer
Career position: Director, Big Idea Center, University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute

 

1. In two to three sentences, can you summarize your career path and tell us about your role in your company/organization? 
I am the director of the Big Idea Center for student entrepreneurship at Pitt. My entrepreneurial journey has been long, starting from running my own theatrical enterprises – theaters, companies, productions, etc. – to consulting for startups to founding my own startup – LaunchCyte – to then turning to teaching, coaching, and running programs to inspire, initiate and support student and academic entrepreneurs, first at CMU and now at Pitt.


2. What would you like the WIB members to know about your company/organization?

The Big Idea Center has changed the culture at Pitt. Starting from zero cross-campus programs around innovation and entrepreneurship six years ago, we now work with over 2000 students annually and have seen 10-20 student-based startups emerge every year.


3. How have you personally benefited from being a WIB member?

I love the mission of WIB and fully support what it does, where it is heading, and the value that it creates for young women!


4. How has your company/organization benefited from the events offered by WIB-Pittsburgh? Has WIB-Pittsburgh helped with career growth/transition of employees in your organization?
Many WIB-Pittsburgh members are at Pitt and the events and programs benefit our University and community.


Tags:  2020 Sponsor Spotlight 

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WIB-Pittsburgh: Young Women In Bio Virtual Webinar for High School Students on Establishing Your Personal Brand, May 27, 2020

Posted By Joie Marhefka, Friday, June 26, 2020

On May 27, 2020, YWIB-Pittsburgh held its first virtual webinar event during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Crystal Morrison from EverRise, LLC, shared with students her journey in her career starting from Arkansas and how she ended up in Pittsburgh. She discussed and shared with students what is “branding” and why in the Professional World it is important to develop your own brand and develop what you stand for. Dr. Morrison also shared the goals of networking and establishing a professional networking account using LinkedIn.

While high school students may not yet have an extensive resume, it is still important to begin with what you have. Students from at least four states attended including New York, New Jersey, Arkansas, and both on the Eastern and Western side of Pennsylvania. Students were able to ask questions in the zoom chat and share their thoughts to poll questions that Dr. Morrison asked during her talk.

Tags:  2020  YWIB 

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WIB-Pittsburgh - Spotlight on Meghan McCord

Posted By Sarah Najjar, Friday, June 26, 2020

Each month, we are featuring profiles of WIB-Pittsburgh members. We asked about their career path and experience in WIB. Read on for some interesting stories and insights!


Meghan McCord
Co-Chair, MAPS Committee, WIB-Pittsburgh 

 
Career position: My background is in neuroscience research, but I recently changed careers and am now focusing on counseling (currently career counseling, but eventually mental health counseling as well). My current job is Career Exploration Specialist at University of Pittsburgh, where I work with Ph.D. students within the School of Medicine who want to explore careers outside of academia.

Education: B.S., Vanderbilt University; Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Research interests: Ph.D.: identified a new treatment for stroke, postdoc: studied genetics of ALS. Current/future: interested in mental health counseling 

Fun facts: I really enjoy drawing and have been trying to make that more of a priority in my life. I also like running, hiking, and other outdoor activities.

Experience in WIB

What drew you into the life sciences field and WIB?

I joined WIB for several reasons. First, I wanted to expand my professional network, both for myself and for the benefit of the students I work with. I am also trying to step out of my comfort zone more often, and thought that a leadership position in WIB would be a good way to do that. I joined the MAPS Committee specifically because I was interested in helping early and mid-career life science professionals find mentors.

 
How has WIB played a role in promoting your personal or professional growth?

I have met a lot of great people during my time with WIB. I have also gained skills in planning and running events, and working as part of a team. The majority of my career has been in academia, so it’s also interesting to hear more about what it’s like to work in the biotech/for-profit industry in Pittsburgh.

 
If you had one piece of advice to give a new WIB member, what would it be?

There are some great opportunities for networking as a WIB member, so don’t be shy about talking to new people - everyone is really nice!

 

Career Trajectory

What are your career goals?

Since I am a recent career changer, I feel as though I’m still in the process of finding a career that’s a good fit for me. I like of the idea of having relationship building be a central part of my job, which is why I was drawn to counseling. My long-term goal is to be a therapist, so I will be going back to school part-time this fall to pursue a master’s degree in mental health counseling. 

 

What has been the biggest challenge in your career and how did you overcome it?

The biggest challenge for me was figuring out what to do after I left my postdoc, since I had never really considered what I would do if I weren’t doing research. I overcame this challenge by doing a lot of self-reflection, and thinking about what activities were most rewarding to me in my everyday life. Once I realized how much I enjoyed helping people work through their problems, pursuing work in career and mental health counseling seemed like an exciting next step to take. 

 

Who has been a good mentor to you and why?

Honestly, I’ve never had a good mentor. Now that I’m starting on a new career path, I am definitely going to be proactive when it comes to finding someone who can mentor me, because I think having that type of support can be invaluable, especially in the early stages of one’s career. 

Tags:  2020  Member Spotlight 

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WIB-Pittsburgh: Member Spotlight with Zoe LaPalombara

Posted By Sarah Najjar, Friday, June 5, 2020

Each month, we are featuring profiles of WIB-Pittsburgh members. We asked about their career path and experience in WIB. Read on for some interesting stories and insights!


Zoe LaPalombara
Co-Vice Chair, Membership Committee

Career position: Ph.D. Candidate, Center for Neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh

Education: B.S., Yale University

Research interests: Translational neuroscience, psychiatric disorders

Fun facts: I enjoy playing music (guitar, piano, drums saxophone)

Experience in WIB

What drew you into the life sciences field and WIB?

I was drawn to the life sciences, and specifically neuroscience, because there is much we still don't know about the biology of neuropsychiatric disorders. Advances in this realm will be critical in the both the development of new treatments and the destigmatization of mental illness. I joined WIB because I was inspired by how invested the community and organization are in supporting women in science, both professionally and personally.

 
How has WIB played a role in promoting your personal or professional growth?

WIB has been instrumental in expanding my professional network and capabilities. By participating in events and workshops, I have become more comfortable with networking and learned more about the biotechnology industry in Pittsburgh, in which I hope to pursue a career.

 
If you had one piece of advice to give a new WIB member, what would it be?

Don't be afraid to reach out to other WIB members if you have questions about specific career paths, areas of interest, etc. Everyone in the community is incredibly generous with their time and expertise and will help you in what way they can.

Career Trajectory

What are your career goals?

After I defend my Ph.D. in July, I plan on transitioning into a career in the biotech industry. The prospect of working on technologies or treatments that could have an immediate impact on patient outcomes is invigorating.

 
What has been the biggest challenge in your career and how did you overcome it?

 Due to unforeseen circumstances, I had to start a completely new thesis project at the beginning of my fourth year of graduate school. I was able to overcome this significant challenge by reminding myself why I chose to pursue a Ph.D. in the first place – I am passionate about my research and believe that investigating neuropsychiatric disorders is a worthwhile endeavor. In doing so, I was able to develop and complete a rigorous project without significant delays to my graduation timeline.

Who has been a good mentor to you and why?

 My graduate school mentor, Susanne Ahmari, has been a fantastic mentor. She strikes the perfect balance between letting you work independently, providing you with input when needed, and challenging you to be the best scientist possible. I would like to emulate her leadership and mentorship styles throughout my career.

Tags:  2020  Member Spotlight 

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Spotlight on WIB-Pittsburgh Sponsor: Ria David, Ph.D., President, Cybergenetics

Posted By Vinitha Ganesan, Tuesday, June 2, 2020

 

Ria David, Ph.D., President, Cybergenetics

Cybergenetics is a twenty-year Pittsburgh based biotech company that focuses on solving complex DNA evidence. WIB-Pittsburgh thanks Cybergenetics for sponsoring their programming. Here is what Ria David, President of Cybergenetics had to say about her experience engaging with Women In Bio.

- Can you summarize your career path and tell us about your role in Cybergenetics?
My background is in humanities and business culture: I traveled around the world living and working on multiple continents and have a Ph.D. and MBA. My husband and I started a biotech company based on his technology automating DNA analysis. We work in the forensic DNA space helping to interpret complex crime scene DNA evidence and identify victims of mass disasters. 

- What would you like the WIB members to know about Cybergenetics? 
We helped identify victims from the World Trade Center terrorist attack. We have been involved in helping to solve cases and provide expert witness services in court. We have helped exonerate numerous people who were wrongfully convicted and spent time in prison, helping to free them and clear their names.

- How have you personally benefited from being a WIB member? 

Amazing network!! Great programming. Meet and learn from all the other members who have such a wide range of experiences. Helping mentor young women in business and science fields.

-How has your company/organization benefited from the events offered by WIB-Pittsburgh? Has WIB-Pittsburgh helped with the career growth/transition of employees in your organization?

WIB does a great job of supporting their sponsors with visibility. So far I haven't been able to get our young female staff interested in WIB events but I have gotten friends and colleagues interested. 

-What would you want other potential sponsors to know about WIB?

A great organization that plays an important role in helping women raise their profiles (and network) in the biotech industry in Pittsburgh.


Tags:  2020  Sponsor Spotlight 

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WIB-Pittsburgh: Fine Tuning Your Resume & Professional Network, May 20, 2020

Posted By Vinitha Ganesan, Thursday, May 28, 2020

On May 20, 2020, WIB-Pittsburgh hosted its first virtual webinar with a guest speaker Melanie Robb from Melanie Robb Consulting. Amidst the Covid-19 pandemic and changes to the global economy, this was a timely event to learn strategies on how we can present our career achievements to future employers. With over 20 years of recruiting and career coaching experience, Melanie provided perspectives and real-world examples of what we should be focusing on, in our resumes and LinkedIn profiles. While there is a lot of uncertainty in the job market right now, we hope this event provided the attendees a positive reinforcement on things we could be doing to position ourselves better for the changes ahead. 

Caption: Melanie Robb (Guest speaker) and Lori Dollard (Chair of Programming, WIB-Pittsburgh) during the Q&A session

Tags:  2020 

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