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WIB-Metro New York: Poker Divas Event, November 14, 2018

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Monday, May 20, 2019

Nearly 30 women – and a few men – attended the WIB-Metro New York Poker Divas Event on November 14, 2018. Participants gathered around several poker tables as Ellen Leikind, CEO and Founder, Poker Divas, taught the group the basics of poker, and how the lessons learned at the poker table can give women a significant edge in business and in life by teaching assertiveness, leadership, and negotiating skills. A dedicated coach also sat at each table to provide more personalized coaching on both game strategy and negotiation tactics. The event concluded with an exciting tournament, and all attendees received a copy of Ms. Leikind’s book, "POKERWOMAN: How to Win at Love, Life, and Business Using the Principles of Poker."

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YWIB-Metro New York: New Jersey Students Turn Out for STEM Career Day at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, October 12, 2018

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Monday, May 20, 2019

Kudos to Janet Alder, Ph.D., associate professor of neuroscience and cell biology and assistant dean for graduate academic and student affairs, for organizing one of Young Women In Bio-Metro New York’s most impactful, successful large-scale events on STEM careers for young women. Some 261 high school students from 17 schools throughout New Jersey packed The Great Hall at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School on October 12, 2018, to learn about career options for people interested in professions in healthcare and life sciences. A team of RWJ staff and YWIB member volunteers from the vibrant New Jersey Task Force supported Alder and helped to organize and manage the program. 

The day was divided into two umbrella activities, which ran parallel to each other and then were repeated. The students split up to attend one, then the other. First was an overview of medical and health careers, including a talk by Alder and panel discussion. In a spirited, detailed and charismatic talk Alder went through the daunting, but exciting educational steps and decision points required for entry into various kinds of healthcare and life sciences research careers, and the outcome--of fulfilling careers.

Then an equally lively panel spoke about real world experiences. Tanaya Bhowmick, M.D., assistant professor of medicine and Estela Jacinto, Ph.D. , associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, both members of the Rutgers medical school faculty, shared their stories of building their careers and families and working as scientist/physicians. Tanaya is an expert in infectious diseases and director of antimicrobial stewardship at the Robert Wood Johnson Hospital and Estela is a cancer researcher, working on some of the most cutting-edge science in the field. Panelists Valerie Fitzhugh, M.D., an associate professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at New Jersey Medical School; Karen MacNaul, an executive director and head of discovery transactions, business development and licensing at Merck Research Labs; Kathleen Zavotsky, Ph.D., who is a clinical nurse and professor also told their very diverse experiences. Ina Nikolaeva, Ph.D., a former student of Alder’s, gave an entirely different perspective, as her interests led to a career in medical writing. 

Meanwhile, the rest of the students participated in hands-on experiences, including learning how to test blood pressure with medical students. During lunch, the high-schoolers were joined by medical and Ph.D. students, who shared what it is like to be a student in STEM at Rutgers. The program succeeded in exposing young women to science careers and the steps to take to pursue those careers, as well as opportunities to meet women in different areas of science. Young Women In Bio was proud to support this program, both financially and with a team of dedicated New Jersey volunteers, who took time from their own busy professional lives to help out over the past few months.

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YWIB-Metro New York and Weill-Cornell: Mentorship Students 'Speed Date' with Physicians, October 25, 2018

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Monday, May 20, 2019

On Thursday, October 25, 2018 the Young Women In Bio-Metro New York Chapter and Weill Cornell Women in Medicine hosted 15 high school girls for the event, “Speed-dating with Physicians.” The event took place as part of the 2018-2019 Women in Medicine Mentorship Program, which is currently in its 4th year. Students city-wide participating in the program have indicated a strong interest in a career in medicine, and represent schools such as Stuyvesant High School, Columbia Secondary School, and Uncommon Charter High School.

Women in Medicine is a student-run group focused on science outreach to girls, mentorship for early scientists, and career advancement. The organization invited female Weill Cornell physicians to speak with Women in Medicine Mentees about their lives as physicians and their individual paths to medicine.  The evening began with a mixer at Archibold Commons, where the high school students interacted with their mentors, followed by introductions by Arpita Bose, and Tatiana Requijo, MD Candidates, Weill Cornell Medicine Class of 2021 and Jana Oberman, YWIB Vice Chair and Neda Aghajani Memar, YWIB volunteer.

The attendees then rotated between classrooms to listen to each of the three female physicians discuss their varied career paths and answer questions from both high school and medical school students. Dr. Daphne Scott is a Primary Care Sports Medicine attending at Hospital for Special surgery, Dr. Rehka Kahn is an endocrinologist specializing in Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism at the WCM Weight Control Center, and Dr. Lee Shearer is an academic general internist specializing in Adolescent and Young Adult Health.  The event was a big success and considered a rewarding experience for the attendees, organizers, and physicians alike.

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WIB-Metro New York: Summer Networking Event, July 18, 2018

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Monday, May 20, 2019

Nearly 60 women attended the WIB-Metro New York summer networking event on July 18, 2018. It was held on a beautiful rooftop terrace overlooking St. Patrick's Cathedral. This fun, annual casual event was a chance to spend time mingling with existing and new WIB-Metro New York members. We welcomed several new individuals to our New York chapter as a result of membership drive efforts that evening!

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WIB-Metro New York Presents: “Orphan Drug Boot Camp,” April 5, 2018

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Monday, May 20, 2019

The Orphan Drug Act of 1983 is considered a resounding success, as last month’s WIB-Metro New York event on Orphan Drugs proved. Orphan Drugs are used to treat disease that affect fewer than 200,000 individuals. These therapeutics are special: their benefits are transformative in nature, and often they represent the 1st therapies for disease. The impact of rare diseases is nothing short of staggering, when you look at the statistics: before the Orphan Drug Act of 1983, there were twelve therapies approved for orphan diseases; as of April 2018, there were 677 approved therapies for orphan drugs that treat 250 diseases. There are more than 7,000 rare diseases, 805 of which are genetic in origin.  While one in 10 people are affected by rare diseases, 50% of them are children.

Orphan drug designation (ODD) provides certain benefits, including exclusivity, a prescription drug user fee act (PDUFA) fee exemption, and approximately 50% tax credits. ODD also enables a faster review process, with fewer, smaller trials and a lower evidentiary bar required by regulators. The discussion also touched upon the Rare Pediatric Disease Priority Review Voucher Program, where the FDA will award priority review vouchers to sponsors of rare pediatric disease product applications that meet certain criteria. Under this program, a sponsor who receives an approval for a drug or biologic for a "rare pediatric disease" may qualify for a voucher that can be redeemed to receive a priority review of a subsequent marketing application for a different product.

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WIB-Metro New York YWIB: Curious About Careers in Biomedical STEM?, March 23, 2018

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Saturday, May 18, 2019

On March 23, 2018, the WIB-Metro New York Young Women In Bio Chapter hosted, "Curious About Careers in Biomedical STEM?" at Celgene Corporation in Summit, New Jersey. The event started with a lively introduction and a DJ playing music while each of the schools stood up to cheer when announced. 168 students attended from 9 New Jersey schools. 

Four student groups toured:
1) Oral dosage form facility
2) Analytical lab
3) Biologics development & manufacturing. 

Nine speakers from various backgrounds (BS, MS, PhD, MD/ Sciences, Engineering, Law) presented their educational background, their career development, and gave advice to the students. All students were given a Celgene t-shirt and a YWIB career overview handout.

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WIB-Metro NY: Making New York State a Biotech Hub, January 30, 2018

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Saturday, May 18, 2019

WIB-Metro NY kicked off 2018 with a panel discussion entitled, Making New York State a Biotech Hub. Speaking to an audience of 100 people at the WilmerHale offices, the panel was led by Maria Gotsch, President and CEO, Partnership Fund of NYC. Gotsch was joined by Maria Mitchell, PhD, Senior Vice President, New York State Empire Development Corporation; Doug Thiede, Senior Vice President of Life Sciences & Healthcare, New York City Economic Development Corporation and Jane Wasman, President, International & General Counsel of Acorda Therapeutics and Chair, Board of Directors, Sellas Life Sciences.

With NY duly represented from a city, state and life sciences company perspective, the discussion was varied. The unifying themes focused around how the Empire state is perfectly positioned to support life science companies of every size, with a special focus on companies in early stage development. Fostering a strong biotech hub in New York City only helps life sciences development statewide, where there are four life sciences clusters. The conversation included developing an overarching strategy to “connect” these four clusters. New York has a competitive edge when it comes to wet lab space, and with a path chartered for “step out” space.

The takeaway message of the evening is that we all have to be ambassadors for our city and for our state, and embrace collaboration and communication around this very important topic. With the backdrop of the $100 million grant NY recently received for the life sciences we need to all engage and tell everyone “why” New York is the place for the life sciences industry to succeed.

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