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WIB-Pittsburgh: Spotlight on Andrea Dobbs

Posted By Sarah Najjar, Tuesday, October 15, 2019

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!

 


Andrea Dobbs
                     Chair, Membership, WIB-Pittsburgh
                      


- Career position: 

Lab Manager, University of Pittsburgh

 

- Education: 

  • BS Biology (small liberal arts school)
  • MS, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health - Infectious Diseases and Microbiology

 

- Research interests: 

During my MS thesis work I studied severe secondary infections related to reinfection with a second Dengue virus serotype. Currently, my lab studies alloreactive T-cell metabolism in the context of Graft-versus-Host Disease. 

 

- Hobbies: 

Aviculture. I lived in Australia for part of my childhood and there I was introduced to the practice of taming and raising birds. At 11 I brought home a lutino Indian Ringneck and a Hybrid cockatoo (Galah & Corella cross) who travelled successfully with us from Australia back to the States. I love birds and learning more about their behaviors and all the challenges involved in this complex companion pet. 

 

Experience in WIB


- What drew you into the life sciences field and WIB?   

 Science was always my favorite subject in school, so it only seemed natural to pursue it as a career. The technical and intellectual challenges of this field keep me on my toes and always present an opportunity for continued learning. I joined WIB after a close friend recommended I become part of this group of women to further immerse myself in the Life Sciences field.

 

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

This group has exposed me to many successful senior women with diverse science backgrounds. They are very inspirational in their business and career savviness.

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

Get involved and invest in yourself and your future. It is essential to seek out great mentors and positive professional friendships, but at the end of the day no one is as invested as you are in your career development. 


Career Trajectory

 

- What are your career goals? 

I’m preparing to go back to school with the goal of entering the healthcare field. 

 

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

Currently, it is balancing full time employment and other personal obligations while studying to return to school. Nothing replaces supportive family and friends. 


Tags:  2019  Member Spotlight 

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WIB-Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh's Outstanding Women Entrepreneur Rally (P.O.W.E.R.), September 18, 2019

Posted By Sarah Najjar, Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Women In Bio-Pittsburgh hosted their highly anticipated P.O.W.E.R. (Pittsburgh’s Outstanding Women Entrepreneur Rally) event on September 18. This year’s theme was “Big Data Powers Innovation”, which provided a timely focus on how women of the Pittsburgh life science community use health-related data to create new technologies and treatments. The event was an excellent networking opportunity, as it was well-attended by both women and men from many life science sectors. Special guests included WIB National Executive Director Lisa Iadicicco, WIB National President and Board Chair Rachel Kopper, and several other representatives from WIB National. Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald also made an appearance and declared September 18, 2019 Women In Bio P.O.W.E.R. Day!


Zariel Johnson answers a question from the audience during the speaker panel.

 Click here for more photos

P.O.W.E.R. featured three keynote speakers, who gave impressive talks about how their local companies are harnessing big data. The first speaker, Zariel Johnson, Ph.D., Program Manager at UPMC Enterprises, demonstrated how data can be used to improve healthcare, for example in intervention predictions and hospital efficiency. She explained the challenges of health data analysis, such as maintaining patient privacy and data security and using machine learning algorithms to produce clear results. In order to address these challenges, Dr. Johnson stressed that interdisciplinary teams are needed.

 The second speaker, Anne Germain, Ph.D., is a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh who is currently focusing on her position as CEO of a sleep health start up called Noctem, LLC. In response to a high clinical demand for sleep specialists, Dr. Germain co-founded the company with a mission to create software that connects providers to patients living with sleep disorders. She discussed the challenges of using artificial intelligence (AI) and her hopes that, when enough sleep behavior data has been gathered, AI will be able to make recommendations that result in clinical improvements that are equal to standard therapy.

The third keynote speaker was Kathryn Fantauzzi, co-founder and CEO at Apollo Neuroscience, Inc. Apollo’s main product is a wearable wristband that tracks metrics such as heart rate variability and delivers feedback to the user in the form of vibrations, which have been shown to calm the body and improve cognitive performance. Ms. Fantauzzi explained Apollo’s innovative subscription service model designed to collect user data over long periods of time, which can then be used to create and optimize vibration parameters for cases of more severe anxiety. After the keynote talks, a speaker panel was moderated by Lynn Banaszak, executive director of Carnegie Mellon’s Disruptive Health Technology Institute, who led a lively discussion about how health data can be used effectively and how security and privacy can be preserved in data collection.

The evening came to an inspiring ending, with members from Young Women In Bio (YWIB) sharing their recent experiences. YWIB in Pittsburgh has garnered a lot of interest among high-school age young women and is providing opportunities for them to explore life sciences careers. WIB-Pittsburgh is fortunate to have a strong membership, with women representing a diverse array of careers who can act as mentors for YWIB!



Tags:  2019 

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WIB-Pittsburgh: Spotlight on Tullia C. Bruno

Posted By Sarah Najjar, Thursday, September 12, 2019

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!

 


Tullia C. Bruno
                             Secretary, WIB-Pittsburgh     
                        


- Career position: 

Assistant Professor, Dept of Immunology, UPMC Hillman Cancer Center

 

- Education: 

  • BS in Chemistry, Vanderbilt University; PhD in Immunology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
  • Postdoc in Immunology, University of Colorado/National Jewish Health

 

- Life science interests: 

Tumor Immunology; My research program specifically focuses on the interaction of B cells and T cells within tertiary lymphoid structures in patient solid tumors. 

 

- Fun facts: 

 I love to swim! I was a tap dancer for 18 years. 

 

Experience in WIB


- What drew you into the life sciences field and WIB?   

I have loved science ever since I was in elementary school. It started there. I had the right teachers and mentors that encouraged my scientific creativity. The rest is history! I wanted to be in WIB so I could be surrounded by other women in the biological sciences that were not necessarily in academia. I feel it will help my leadership skills and my growth as a professional. 

 

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

WIB has helped me become a better advocate for women in science, particularly through my participation as a mentor in the MAPS program. 

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

Make sure to volunteer for things you want to do! You will enjoy it more.

Career Trajectory

 

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

I realized as an undergrad that my brain worked differently and that I had a knack for doing scientific experiments. From there, I pursued a career in research and never gave up on what I wanted to achieve. I have now achieved that goal of being an academic scientist and I hope to grow further in the field of tumor immunology!

 

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

My biggest challenge was learning how to manage trainees vs. mentors. They are two very different things. I looked to senior colleagues for advice and took leadership courses to learn new techniques to better train individuals with different motivations, goals and personalities!

 

Is there anything else you would like to share about your journey as a woman in science?

Being a woman in science is never easy, but if you have confidence in your skill and talent and are willing to push back on things you believe in, you will succeed! 



Tags:  2019  member spotlight 

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WIB-Pittsburgh: Spotlight on Deb Burks

Posted By Sarah Najjar, Tuesday, September 3, 2019

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!

 


Deb Burks

Co-Chair, MAPS, WIB-Pittsburgh


- Career position: 

VP, Head of Implementation & Strategy, Bayer Healthcare, Radiology R&D

 

- Education background: 

  • BS Chemical Engineering, University of Pittsburgh
  • MBA, Columbia University

 

- Life science interests: 

I am passionate for bringing new products to market that can improve the lives of patients. A key aspect of this is building and leading teams that make this happen, and developing talent that can make a sustainable difference.  

- Fun facts: 

One of my interests is travel. So far, I have been to all 50 states and to over 40 countries. My current travel goal is to visit more countries than my age.  This summer, I took up golf and can proudly say that I am now officially a hacker.  

 

Experience in WIB


- What drew you into the life sciences field and WIB?   

My entry into life sciences was at mid-career. At that time, I was offered bigger roles in other industries, but I was interested in making a contribution to improve people’s lives in more meaningful ways.  I was offered a wonderful opportunity at Bayer Healthcare, and I have never looked back.

 
I sought out WIB because I was looking to make a broader impact in the life sciences, and specifically, to contribute to the development of women leaders.  Given WIB’s dedication to career development and mentorship, it was a natural fit. Additionally, through WIB, I am now better connected to the broader Life Science industry and learning venues. The Pittsburgh chapter members are high energy and collaborative—and have been very welcoming. 

 

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

Through WIB, I have met many capable and interesting women from a wide range of organizations. Their passion is infectious and inspires me to strive for more. Through WIB, I am exposed to Life Science areas outside of my current field which helps me to stay current. 

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

Get involved! Attend events and join a committee that is of interest to you. This will enable you to build both your network and your leadership skills in new ways. And, you will have fun.


Career Trajectory

 

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

My view is that my career is a journey of constant striving and growing—it is not a destination to be reached.   Through-out my career, I have made the most progress when I have taken on risks and new opportunities that offered challenge and learning. Over time, I have come to know what I am passionate about—and listening to myself has helped me to make better career choices.   

What are your career goals?

My career has been evenly split between R&D and commercial roles, and for my next role, I am seeking a position with more business responsibilities. I am also interested in achieving a board membership, and have initiated a few steps on this journey.


- Who has been a good mentor to you and why? 

I have been very fortunate to have a number of mentors throughout my career who have challenged my thinking while giving me confidence that I can succeed at the next level.  Increasingly I have been in the role of mentor, and I find that it inspires self-reflection and rekindles the spirit for self-growth within me. I highly encourage everyone to seek out mentors and to mentor others—both roles are very rewarding.  

 

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

There have been so many, that it is hard to select one! During an overseas assignment in Hong Kong, the business decided to close down the Asia division.   I came back to the US without a position, apartment or even a telephone number. It turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me as I was able to find a position in a high-tech area in which I had the opportunity to build-out a marketing function from scratch. I never would have looked for such a role if I had stayed in my previous company. There were many tough days, but I found support from my friends, mentors and family who gave me confidence that it would turn out okay if I mapped out a strategy and took it one day at a time.  



Tags:  2019  Member Spotlight 

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WIB-Pittsburgh: Spotlight on Edwina Kinchington

Posted By Sarah Najjar, Monday, August 19, 2019

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!

 


Edwina Kinchington

Chair, Young Women In Bio, WIB-Pittsburgh


- Career position: 

Teacher and Educator, High School Science

 

- Education Background: 

  • University of California, Berkeley, BA in Molecular and cellular biology 1991
  • University of Pittsburgh, Ph.D. in Pharmacology 1997
Other training:
  • Post doc with Thomas Smithgall, University of Pittsburgh
  • Research assistant with Jill Siegfried, University of Pittsburgh


- Research interests: 

During training, my main research focus was cellular signaling and experimental therapeutics targeting cancer. Now, I am interested in developing engaging hands-on lab-based curriculum to engage the next generation of students.

- Fun facts: 

I was an avid competitive swimmer in my youth and competed in the 1984 and 1988 US Olympic Trials for butterfly and backstroke. My swimming helped make me who I am today. I love the water especially windsurfing, paddleboarding and white water rafting.

 

Experience in WIB


- What drew you into the life sciences field and WIB?   

My mother was a physician and she influenced my interest in science.  I heard about WIB when I began teaching in 2010 and felt that this would be a great networking opportunity to connect my students to professionals in the life sciences.

 

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

My goals focus on developing opportunities for our next generation of female leaders in science.  Helping to develop the Young Women In Bio is a natural fit for me and my goals as a professional educator.

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

Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and follow your passion!

Career Trajectory

 

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

I never had mentors when I was growing up in my education until I hit graduate school.  By this time, it was late. I think if I had better mentors earlier on then I would have had more choices.  I became a teacher because I wanted to expose the next generation to all the fields of science and try to help them “find their passion”.  I have found my calling in becoming a teacher.

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

I hit a point in my research career where I really wasn’t enjoying it as much.  I asked myself what I wanted out of the remainder of my working career and it was be a high school teacher and coach swimming. I followed my passion and reached those goals.


- Who has been a good mentor to you and why? 

My first real mentor was my Ph.D. advisor Dr. Said Sebti. He always was able to bring out the best in his staff without making them feel inadequate. He was still my best teacher and I try to emulate his mentorship with my students.


- Is there anything else you would like to share about your journey as a woman in science? 

Most people think becoming a high school teacher was a backwards step, but it is a wonderful career and I use my training as a scientist every day.


Tags:  2019  Member Spotlight 

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WIB-Pittsburgh: Spotlight on Sharon K. Standish

Posted By Sarah Najjar, Monday, August 5, 2019

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!

 



Sharon K. Standish
Vice-Chair Sponsorship, WIB-Pittsburgh


- Career position: 

Global Program Leader, Bayer Healthcare, Indianola, PA


- Life science interests: 

In my role as a Global Program Leader, I have the opportunity to work on many of the Bayer Life science efforts across the modalities from CT, MR, and Digital solutions in a medical perspective. I’m continually learning new technologies, developing medical devices and expanding our current Bayer offerings.

- Fun facts: 

I love to read and entertain in our home. We have downsized and are now living in an apartment in the city – we like to refer to it as “resort-style living.”  As a fun fact, I’ve actually parachuted out of a perfectly working aircraft – crazy, fun, scary, and a true risk-taker.

Experience in WIB


- What drew you into the life sciences field and WIB?   

 I have the opportunity to work in an environment that allows me to understand the disease processes and lead the development and deployment of novel therapeutics and innovative medical devices, where the outcome can directly improve human health.  I became involved with WIB as I have rolled off a number of other boards that I have been actively engaged within Pittsburgh/Butler area and was looking for something new, a new network, and new opportunities to learn and grow as a leader.

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

 As a new member to WIB and in a board position, I anticipate WIB will contribute to growing my leadership skills based on the local event offerings and national WIB webinars. I definitely plan to grow my network in new areas and create new friends and potentially new opportunities.

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

Take advantage of the many events and webinars that the organization offers.  Reach out of your comfort zone and meet two to three new people at these events.  Practice what you learn from the events in your career either academically or professionally.  Find an advocate and a coach – these are individuals that will help you to succeed. 

Career Trajectory


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

Fortunately for me, I’ve always been asked to take on new responsibilities by being in the right place at the right time and saying yes – no matter if I knew I could do it or not.  Where I struggle today is establishing the next opportunity, since it was always provided in the past.  Now I’m in a position where I must define it. One piece of advice that was provided to me during one of my networking meetings with my senior leaders: “don’t come to my door the day I post a position, I want to know you, know who you are, your strengths, etc. Meet with me often so that when I have a position, you come to mind first.” Network!

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

Every day there are challenges: some smaller and easily managed, and others a tad more daunting. As a leader my role is to keep the calm in the storm and maneuver the team forward, being empowered to take action whether right or wrong, course corrections are acceptable.  


- Who has been a good mentor to you and why? 

I have had many mentors throughout my career and each has contributed to my core strengths they encouraged, built my confidence, challenged me, and most importantly were critical when needed. They were people I completed trusted. 


- Is there anything else you would like to share about your journey as a woman in science? 

I have had the opportunity to travel globally with my jobs. I have worked in a variety of fields from satellites, trains, .com/networks, a startup, and currently in the medical life science arena. In addition to my day job, I’ve given back to the community both at work and where I live, I’ve been board president, member of boards, part of the Women Leadership initiatives creating new initiatives within these boards and at work. Each of these roles and opportunities was a step up and forward. Always take that step.

Tags:  2019  Member Spotlight 

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WIB-Pittsburgh: "Speed Dating, Interview Edition: Practicing Interview Skills", January 29, 2019

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Wednesday, July 31, 2019

On January 29, 2019, WIB-Pittsburgh, in coordination with the Mentorship, Advisors, Peers, Sponsorship (MAPS) Committee, presented “Speed Dating, Interview Edition: Practice Interview Skills for a Successful Job Search”.  Executive Recruiter and Career Coach, Kerry Boehner of KOB Solutions, Inc. was the evening’s featured speaker. 

In her talk, “How Serving Others Leads to Success – in Interviews, Careers, and Life”, Kerry shared her experience working with a candidate who successfully made the transition from academia to industry. She also discussed steps toward success in an interview. 

Event participants were then invited to put their interviewing skills to the test in a “speed dating” session. All in attendance were fortunate to have experienced and contributed mutual support and encouragement. Many new contacts were made and attendees left armed with fresh skills and an empowering sense of inspiration and connection.

 

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WIB-Pittsburgh: Improve your Improv by WIB-Pittsburgh and &Beyond, July 11, 2019

Posted By Stephanie Puig, Monday, July 22, 2019

WIB-Pittsburgh had a fun event on July 11th hosting Andrea Flack-Wetherald at a local whiskey distillery, Wigle Whiskey Garden and Barrelhouse. Andrea Flack-Wetherald is originally trained in improv and she started her own company &Beyond in 2016 to provide leadership and management skills through applying her knowledge in improv. WIB members from both industry and academia had a great time learning about how to better communicate during networking events or how to manage difficult conversations and conflict at the workplace using improv. Andrea Flack-Wetherald also gave tips about team building, positive workplace culture, and applied-improv for marketing. After a brief presentation, the attendees were involved in different interactive activities and had the opportunity to use the skills they just learned while they enjoyed their craft cocktails. 

Click here for more photos


According to WIB-Pittsburgh Programming Chair Karen Carney, who organized the event: 


"This awesome workshop was all about aligning yourself to get into the right headspace to make those valuable connections. My key takeaway is that I am enough, exactly the way I am. No matter what high-level executive or a wildly successful entrepreneur or world-renowned researcher I might meet at a networking event, if I just bring my own single 'brick' of information and listen intently to what my 'scene partner' has to say, together we can build a whole cathedral."


Thank you &Beyond and Andrea Flack-Wetherald for sharing your wisdom with us!

 

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WIB-Pittsburgh: Exploring a Local Startup: Cook MyoSite, June 27, 2019

Posted By Sarah Najjar , Monday, July 1, 2019

Women In Bio's Pittsburgh chapter was excited to visit a local start-up, Cook MyoSite, on June 19th. Stephen Westover CMQ/OE, Director of Regulatory Affairs, presented at the event where he talked about recent developments at Cook MyoSite, including their upcoming expansion. Cook MyoSite develops personalized cell therapies using Autologous Muscle Derived Cells (AMDCs) to help treat female urinary incontinence. Their technology has advanced to Phase 3 clinical trials and other indications (male urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence, among others) are not far behind. As the company anticipates FDA approval, they are gearing up for production on a commercial scale. Due to increased demand, they are settling into a brand-new facility with bigger lab space and more room for storage and shipping. This means many job openings and opportunities in Pittsburgh in the coming months! As advocates of women in STEM, leaders at Cook MyoSite were excited to talk about these opportunities with WIB-Pittsburgh. The event also involved a company tour hosted by current employees. After the tour, a networking session followed where WIB-Pittsburgh members had the opportunity to speak with representatives from various departments including Production, Product Development, Quality Control, and Regulatory Affairs. Current directors and employees in these departments were very enthusiastic and helpful in discussing current job openings and many useful connections were made. 

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WIB-Pittsburgh: “Together We Build: Community Garden Planting with the Western PA Conservancy”, May 25, 2019

Posted By Stephanie Puig , Tuesday, June 4, 2019

On Memorial Day weekend, WIB-Pittsburgh joined the Western PA Conservancy (WPC), a non-profit, dedicated in protecting and restoring the region’s exceptional natural places since 1932. WPC works every day on protecting PA’s water, land and wildlife. They create green spaces and gardens that contribute to the vitality of the cities and towns in PA. As an opportunity to give back to the community, WIB Pittsburgh members spent their Saturday morning of May 25th, in downtown Pittsburgh planting flowers with WPC. It was a glorious day with plenty of sun and no rain. Six WIB members and one guest enjoyed planting zinnias and salivas. They dug the holes, planted the flowers, and then covered them with mulch. Lots of people who walked and drove by gave the WIB volunteers thumbs up and compliments on their work as they were planting, and thanked them for their service in beautifying the city of Pittsburgh. We can’t wait to see these flowers bloom!

(left to right): Catalina Pineda Molina, Tija Jacob, Katie Lagree, Megan Kiedrowski, Amy O'Sullivan, and Karen Carney

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Tags:  2019 

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