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WIB-Pittsburgh: Annual Program Planning Session, December 11, 2018

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Thursday, May 23, 2019

WIB-Pittsburgh members met on December 11 to gather ideas and plan for 2019. Everyone who attended shared thoughts and inspiration for social, professional development, and networking events for the upcoming year. The session resulted in great ideas for events, which will impact regional economic growth and empower women leaders while promoting WIB-Pittsburgh’s main mission: promoting careers, leadership, and entrepreneurship for women. We are looking forward too many exciting opportunities for WIB in 2019. Keep an eye out for information on upcoming events, and we hope to see you all in the new year!

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WIB Pittsburgh: Hats and Harvest Social, November 14, 2018

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Thursday, May 23, 2019

WIB-Pittsburgh members had the opportunity to show off autumn-inspired hats, celebrate the harvest season, and socialize with fellow WIB members at the Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery on November 14, 2018. Attendees mingled while enjoying delicious appetizers, beer, and seasonal cocktails throughout the evening. Many creative hats were on display, with Karen Carney and Andrea Dobbs winning the prizes for best hat and runner-up, respectively. A fun time was had by all!

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WIB-Pittsburgh & WIB-Philadelphia Joined Event: Speed Networking at Life Science Future, October 29, 2018

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Thursday, May 23, 2019

Coming together to connect with other professionals is a cornerstone of WIB. On October 29, 2018 WIB-Pittsburgh and WIB-Philadelphia co-organized a speed-networking event at the Life Sciences Future meeting hosted by Life Sciences Pennsylvania. Life Sciences Future attracts more than 550 companies across the life sciences, from pharma and biotech to health IT and academic research to investors. WIB’s speed networking event, scheduled immediately after the keynote address by Janssen’s Ben Wiegand, was a perfect platform to bring together men and women from across the life sciences to engage and connect with each other. During the Life Sciences Future meeting, WIB leaders from both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia exchanged their experience in programming, member recruitment, and sponsorship drives. Together, members from both chapters also promoted the organization during the exhibition. WIB-Pittsburgh brought six members of leadership to promote WIB and support Life Sciences Pennsylvania. Volunteers included Amy O’Sullivan, WIB-Pgh Vice Chair, Michelle Zorrilla, Programming Chair, Marissa Kuzirian, Programming Vice-Chair, Karen Carney, Programming Vice-Chair In-training, Kathrin Gassei, Finance, and Andrea Dobbs, Membership Vice Chair. A big thanks to our sponsors, volunteers, and participants that made this event a success!

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WIB-Pittsburgh Presents: The P.O.W.E.R. of Immunotherapy, October 11, 2018

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The fifth annual P.O.W.E.R. event, “P.O.W.E.R. of Immunotherapy”, showcased an emerging trend in healthcare – Immunotherapy. Immunotherapies aim to harness the power of our immune system to treat and cure disease via cellular therapies, vaccines, antibodies and much more. Five successful Pittsburgh scientists and sector leaders discussed the latest innovations and developments related to immunotherapy. 

Over 100 people with diverse interests gathered to learn and gain perspective on how immunotherapies are shaping the fields of cancer, transplantation, and others, right here in Pittsburgh. Universities across the country and the NIH have made immunotherapy an economic and scientific priority. After a lively reception, WIB-Pittsburgh Chair, Julie Cramer kicked things off with the help of District 46 State Representative Jason Orititay. Following panel introductions speakers individually addressed trends and groundbreaking research in the field.

Mariel Shlomchik, a Business Analyst at UPMC Enterprises, spoke about the key role UPMC Enterprises and the new UPMC Immune Transplant and Therapy Center (ITTC) will play on the exploration, design, and commercialization of immunotherapies developed by UPMC and University of Pittsburgh researchers. The overarching goal is to provide patients with life-saving immunotherapy treatment as quickly as possible. She provided valuable insight into the research, investment, and commercialization aspect of the field.

Nicole Butteri, Pharm.D., immunoscience medical science liaison, discussed advances that have been made in immunotherapy as disease pathology continues to become better appreciated. She discussed the potential of using identified biomarkers to approach treatment in a more personalized manner. She emphasized that there is some work to be done but that the field of immunotherapy is not resting upon strong foundations and the key will be to learn how to modulate the system to treat disease.

Anuradha Ray, Ph.D. Professor of Immunology and Endowed Chair in Lung Immunology at the University of Pittsburgh, provided a perspective from immunotherapy opportunities in asthma. She discussed exciting potential connections between her research discoveries in asthma and the discovery of immune mechanisms and targets in other diseases.

Diana M. Metes, M.D., is the director of the Human Immunology Core Laboratory and of the Abdominal Organ Transplant Biorepository at the Starzl Transplantation Institute. She pointed out the challenges that must be overcome after organ transplant or cellular therapy. She expressed that it is a fact that immunosuppressive treatment to control rejection can be toxic to patients so it is important to be focusing on how to control the immune response to improve transplant survival.

Yana G. Najjar, MD is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh, and is a medical oncologist specialized in the treatment of melanoma. Her area of interest is the potential of using adjuvant strategies to treat advanced melanoma. She mentioned that it is exciting to actually be able to give patients hope whereas not so long ago, treatment did not exist. She mentioned that a key to unlocking novel treatment strategies and patient profiling is to facilitate big data access and sharing.

The Q&A following the presentations focused on a discussion of ‘What is next - how do we overcome the hurdles holding back immunotherapy advancement and deliverable treatment?’. The panel was unanimous that standardized therapy may not be a practical goal because of inherent heterogeneity. Personalized, precision medicine will play a central role in effective immunotherapy. Continued identification of biomarkers will also be essential as the field advances. The panel also touched on the role of bioinformatics and systems analysis and the prioritization of research as well as accessibility and cost. All in attendance were left with a better understanding of the coming immunotherapy revolution and an appreciation of the P.O.W.E.R. of immunotherapy.

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WIB-Pittsburgh Welcomes Fall with a Meet and Greet with Leadership and Members, September 13, 2018

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Women In Bio-Pittsburgh members and guests welcomed fall on September 13, 2018 with an evening of networking, while enjoying some great food and drinks at the Wyndham hotel. We were happy to see so many new faces at the event! New members and guests took advantage of the opportunity to meet current WIB members and to discover the diverse backgrounds of women who are active in WIB. Attendees were also able to meet members of our leadership team and to learn about opportunities to get more involved with WIB Pittsburgh. It was great to meet everyone, and we hope to see you again at future events including P.O.W.E.R.!

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WIB-Pittsburgh: "Science in Industry: A Discussion on Industry Research and Tour of Cook MyoSite," June 12, 2018

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Wednesday, May 22, 2019

WIB-Pittsburgh members spent the evening of June 12, 2018 at Cook MyoSite, a leader in regenerative medicine through personalized cell therapy, touring the facility and learning about the company. WIB-Pittsburgh advisor Ria David and Managing Vice President of Cook Myosite Ryan Pruchnic got to know each other when they were in business school together. Ria made the connection, and Ryan quickly worked with the WIB-Pittsburgh Programming team to plan this great event. During the evening, Ryan reviewed the 15 year history of Cook Myosite and discussed what it is like working in industry versus academia. He described the company’s focus on treating Stress Urinary Incontinence (SUI) with an injection of the patient’s own cells as well as the company's current clinical trials. He also spoke highly of the way the company treats their employees (like family), and the employees that were there praised the morale in the company. A highlight of the evening was an extensive tour of their new facility, which is an expansion of the older facility across the street. 

Following the tour, attendees had the chance to meet with representatives from eight different departments with positions available to learn about the opportunities. This was well-attended event, with many new faces. Thanks to Cook MyoSite for the wonderful evening at your facility!

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WIB-Pittsburgh’s 3rd Annual Family Picnic Potluck, May 20, 2018

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Wednesday, May 22, 2019

On May 20, 2018, WIB-Pittsburgh members and their families gathered for the third annual “Welcome to summer” potluck picnic. It was a wonderful social event hosted at the Anderson shelter in the Shenley Park, one of people’s favorite parks in the city. The delicious catered barbecue meat was accompanied by amazing side dishes and desserts that everyone brought to share. Luckily, it was a beautiful day with nice sun which made this event even more enjoyable. It was the perfect occasion for members to get to know more about each other in a relaxed atmosphere, while their spouses connected and their children enjoyed the playground nearby. This is one of the most popular annual event of our chapter and will definitely be repeated next year!

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WIB-Pittsburgh: MAPs Pop-up Social Offers Networking Opportunity

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The Pittsburgh MAPs Committee was thrilled to welcome attendees to our Pop-up Social at The Porch at Schenley Plaza. Women from all career stages in academia and the life sciences attended the event and networked while enjoying delicious snacks and the beautiful weather on the patio. WIB members talked about the evolving role of social media in science and how networking through social media apps like LinkedIn or Twitter could affect your career. MAPs mentors also shared their experiences and advice on job searching with attendees preparing to go on the job market. The group was excited to learn more about the mentoring program and discussed future MAPs events.

To learn more about MAPs and how to participate as a mentor and/or mentee e-mail pittsburghmaps@womeninbio.org for more information.

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WIB-Pittsburgh: Remember Who You Are: Achieve success. Create balance. Experience fulfillment, May 1, 2018

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Wednesday, May 22, 2019

WIB-Pittsburgh hosted Paula Brown Stafford and Lisa T. Grimes, two successful life science professionals and authors, for an inspiring, candid and sincere discussion on May 1, 2018. The evening kicked off with an informal mingling and refreshment session. 

Afterwards, Paula and Lisa discussed personal experiences and insights shared in their new book, “Remember Who You Are: Achieve success. Create balance. Experience fulfillment.” Throughout their combined 60 plus years working at the highest levels in the CRO, pharma, and healthcare industries, both Paula and Lisa have faced the struggle to create balance and fulfillment in their lives while achieving success. Because these women are authentic, generous, and transparent, they quickly established a safe conversational environment opening up the floor to vulnerable questions dealing with guilt, failure, and self-doubt. 

Attendees also shared their favorite (highlighted and post-it noted) sections of the book, expressing gratitude for the guidance and honesty found in the book. Paula and Lisa remained available after the discussion to personally dedicate and autograph books. “Remember Who You Are: Achieve success. Create balance. Experience fulfillment.” is a quick read but one that the reader will likely go back to again and again. Get the highlighters and post-it notes ready! WIB-Pittsburgh is immensely grateful to Paula and Lisa for the discussion and for encouraging us all to remember who we are.

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WIB-Pittsburgh Young Women In Bio Hosts High School Girls at WIB Panel Discussion, March 22, 2018

Posted By Breezy Lachance, Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The Pittsburgh Chapter of Young Women In Bio hosted a group of high school girls to attend a WIB-Pittsburgh panel discussion entitled, “Take a Seat at the Table: Empowering Women and Promoting Inclusion in Boardrooms”. These young women were sophomores and juniors who attend the Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy (SciTech), which is part of the Pittsburgh Public School system.

Before the panel discussion, WIB member Jeanine McCreary, who has served on a number of boards herself, talked with these girls about what a company board is and what role they play in companies. She emphasized how important and beneficial it is for boards to be inclusive, including having women. Additionally, Jeanine asked the girls about school and extracurricular activities they play a leadership role in now. She explained how getting involved in leadership positions even at their ages can start them on the path to being leaders in their careers down the line. 

One of the topics the panel discussion focused on was the concept that in order to be an influential leader, it is important to surround yourself early with people who play this role and to network with and learn from them. One of the young women we invited was interested enough to raise her hand and ask the panel a question about how to begin that process. The advice she got was “Come to more events like these!” With this in mind, YWIB-Pittsburgh intends to continue helping young women learn more about possible careers by inviting them to events such as this.

High school attendees pose for a picture with panelists Yvonne Campos, Wilma McNeese, and Sarah Stewart and Chapter YWIB Chair Erika Fanselow.

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