Steffanie A. Strathdee, PhD


Steffanie A. Strathdee is Associate Dean of Global Health Sciences and Harold Simon Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. She is also an Adjunct Professor at Johns Hopkins and Simon Fraser Universities. She co-directs UCSD’s new center for Innovative Phage Applications and Therapeutics (IPATH), Global Health Institute and the International Core of UCSD’s Center for AIDS Research. 

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Lola is a Senior Diversity and Inclusion Specialist within the Global Diversity & Inclusion Team at Thermo Fisher and holds a B. Tech in Biochemistry and MS in Biotechnology. Currently, Lola manages development and ...

Senior Diversity & Inclusion Specialist

Lola Adeyemo, MS

Noushin has over 25 years of experience in biotech companies in the areas of product development, management, and team development. As seasoned executive, she has built cohesive teams with various technical and ...

Founder, MaxSynergy Consulting

Noushin Dunkelman

Carrie is the CEO and founder of Diversity by Design, a San Diego based firm that uses design thinking to take on complex diversity, equity, and inclusion challenges impacting organizations and communities. Her innovative approach identifies the right...

CEO and Founder, Diversity by Design

Carrie Sawyer, MS

Madhu leads Global Strategic Partnerships within Thermo Fisher Scientific’s Clinical Sequencing Division, working on strategy and relationship management of pharma, global reference labs, clinical research organizations and hospitals.   

Senior Director

Madhushree Ghosh, PhD

April earned a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from UCSD, a M.S. in Biology from UCSD and a J.D. from U.C. Hastings College of the Law. She began her career working at two large international law firms, Paul Hastings and ...

Director of Intellectual Property

April Wurster, JD

Alex joined the Health Sciences Office of Faculty Affairs (OFA) at UC San Diego in 2018. She manages the Faculty Mentor Training Program for senior faculty and the Grant Writing Course (GWC) for junior faculty.

Data Analytics and Program Manager

Alexandra C. Bortnick, PhD

Laurie is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and serves as the Director of the Education and Dissemination Unit for the VA Center of Excellence for Stress and Mental Health (CESAMH) and ...

Clinical Professor of Psychiatry

Laurie A. Lindamer, PhD

Heather leads the STEM to Market and ADVANCE Resource and Coordination (ARC) Network Initiatives for the Association for Women in Science (AWIS). She has undergraduate degrees in applied mathematics and ...

Chief Research Officer

Heather Metcalf, PhD

Katherine Nguyen Williams, Ph.D., is a licensed supervising child and adolescent psychologist, published author, and public speaker. In addition to conducting psychological testing and individual/family therapy for ...

Director, Education and Dissemination

Katherine Nguyen Williams, Ph.D

Career Round Table Speakers
Morning Session: Academia to Industry Transitions

Marianne has a Ph.D. in Bioengineering from UCSD, where her research focused on deep learning algorithms for identification of allosteric sites in proteins. She also received an M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (UIUC) and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Missouri (UM). At UM, Marianne explored integrative research in biology and computational modeling. Marianne's diverse interests led her to Data Science, where her skills at the intersection of statistical modeling, deep learning frameworks, and biology can be best utilized.

Marianne is a Data Scientist with GenMark Diagnostics, where she is a part of the Product Technical Support team. Before arriving at GenMark Diagnostics, Marianne was a Product Data Scientist at Classy.org, a fundraising software company. Marianne is passionate about data literacy and empowering enterprises to leverage data to drive decision-making and solve complex problems.  As an advocate for women in STEM, Marianne was a founder of UCSD's Women in Bioengineering, a student-led organization, and a Fellow of the American Association of University Women (AAUW).

Data Scientist, GenMark Diagnostics

Marianne Halloran, PhD

Yashashree is a Product Manager for Bionano Genomics, a company in the genomics research space. She spent 4 years with Thermo Fisher Scientific., where she worked in various roles like product marketing, technical support as well as customer training. Prior to Thermo, she pursued her PhD in cellular and molecular neuroscience at University of Tuebingen, Germany and German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases. In 2014-15, she served In the public relations as well as the WIST organizing committee for AWIS, San Diego.

Product Manager, Bionano Genomics

Yashashree Joshi, PhD

Morning Session: Strategic Partnerships in Science

Dr. Casas-Silva received her Ph.D. in Biomedical Science from the University of California, San Diego where she studied how gene networks, normally involved in metabolism and embryonic development, influence and drive cancer biology. As a AAAS Science & Technology Policy fellow at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Washington D.C., Dr. Casas-Silva merged her interest of molecular cancer biology with her passion for innovation and public engagement to help advise policies and programs aimed at advancing precision medicine.  During her fellowship, she was Chair of the AAAS Entrepreneurship Affinity Group where she organized seminars and activities to help budding scientist-entrepreneurs connect and learn from influential entrepreneurs from DC and around the nation. Dr. Casas-Silva is currently a Scientific Program Manager at the NCI where she is involved in creating a repository for cancer blood and cancer tissue. She is also an active member of NCI’s Cancer Bioethics Working Group.

Scientific Program Manager, National Cancer Institute

Esmeralda Casas-Silva, PhD

Dr. Beck received her Ph.D. in Biomedical Science from the University of California San Diego, and her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. She also received her Master of Public Health (MPH) in Epidemiology from University of Maryland Baltimore. Dr. Beck worked at FDA for over ten years, spending time as a scientific and regulatory reviewer, a chief of the Diabetes Diagnostic Devices Branch, and Deputy Office Director of Personalized Medicine and Molecular Genetics. In her branch office, which is under the direction of the FDA´s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, Stayce oversaw scientific and medical matters involved in assuring that new and existing diabetes devices manufactured by companies are made available to the public meet the FDA´s strict standards for safety and quality. Following her departure from FDA, Dr. Beck became the Vice President of Clinical and Strategic Partnerships at Dexcom, where she still works presently.

Vice President, Clinical & Strategic Partnerships, Dexcom

Stayce Beck, PhD,

Morning Session: Bench to Bedside & Intellectual Property

The main focus of Dr. Cherqui’s lab is to develop stem cell and gene therapy strategies for degenerative multi-systemic genetic disorders, and to understand the mechanisms by which hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) can lead to tissue repair. Her research led to the first autologous HSPC gene therapy clinical trial for cystinosis, a lysosomal storage disorder. Dr. Cherqui received her PhD in 2002, and was appointed Assistant Professor in 2009 at the Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla. In 2012, she joined the University of California, San Diego in the Department of Pediatrics, and became Associate Professor in 2016. Dr. Cherqui is the chair of the Cystinosis Stem Cell and Gene Therapy Consortium, and former Chair of the Gene and Cell Therapy of Genetic and Metabolic Diseases at the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (ASCGT). She is a member of the Scientific Review Board of the Cystinosis Research Foundation and a Scientific Council member for the Cure Cystinosis International Registry (CCIR). Her research is funded by grants from the National Institute of Health (NIH), California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), and the Cystinosis Research Foundation.

Associate Professor in Pediatrics, UC, San Diego

Stephanie Cherqui, PhD

Karen focuses on patent preparation, prosecution, and strategic counseling for start-up, emerging, and established life sciences and biotechnology companies. She helps identify and evaluate patentability, determine and secure protections worldwide, ensure freedom to operate, and perform due diligence review. She has experience managing and developing patent portfolios in the areas of cellular immunotherapies and protein therapeutics, gene-based therapies, virus therapies, companion diagnostics, and diagnostic assays and bioassays.
Before joining Morrison & Foerster, she worked as an associate and patent agent in the life sciences patent groups of several prominent law firms. Karen was a postdoctoral fellow at the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology, Department of Molecular Immunology. The results of her doctorate research have been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, and presented at national scientific meetings. She received her J.D. from California Western School of Law, Ph.D. in cellular and molecular biology from Duke University, and B.S. in molecular biology from the UCSD. Karen was recognized by the San Diego Daily Transcript as an outstanding Young Attorney in 2013 and 2014.

Partner, Morrison & Foerster

Karen Potter, PhD

Mid-Day Session: Equity in the Workplace

Debra Kimberling is President of the San Diego County Engineering Council (SDCEC) and is a Mechanical Engineer. She has a M.S. in Aerospace Engineering with over 35 years of experience in industry, government and academia. Her work at Solar Turbines, Purdue University, General Dynamics and SPAWAR includes teaching engineering, building gas-turbine engines, placing satellites into orbit and conducting research on submersibles.

A turning point for Kimberling was the 2010 AAUW report ‘Why So Few Women in STEM’. The report contains gender social research that resonated deeply with her life experiences. She began advocating for parent and educator programs to disseminate the research on the unconscious biases young women face. Kimberling continues to give presentations on how to interrupt gender stereotypes to students, adults and employee groups.

A fellow of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), Kimberling advocates on behalf of SWE, the Women in STEM, San Diego STEM Ecosystem and the non-profit engineering and STEM societies that comprise the SDCEC. She is a SWENext counselor and advisor for several high school clubs within San Diego. She is an Engineering FabFems.org Role Model.

President, San Diego County Engineering Council

Debra Kimberling, MS

Monica Redmond has 13 years of experience in Human Resources, with a focus on Talent Acquisition. She is currently a Lead Talent Acquisition Specialist for UC San Diego Health, where she has worked for the last 12 years. In her role she oversees recruiting for Health Sciences which includes the School of Medicine and Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Monica and her team of Talent Acquisition Specialists are responsible for filling over 1,200 positions a year. These positions include Staff Research Associates, IT Professionals, Clinical Research Coordinators, and everything in between.  In addition to leading a team, Monica is also responsible for providing trainings and workshops for leaders and team members related to behavioral interviewing, resume and application tips, hiring for diversity, and more. Prior to recruiting for Health Sciences, Monica was a healthcare recruiter, hiring Nurses and other Allied Health Professionals. From a diversity perspective, women continue to be underrepresented in certain key roles in an organization and Monica wants to support women, especially those in STEM careers.

Lead Talent Acquisition Specialist, UC San Diego Health

Monica Redmond

Mid-Day Session: Engineering & Information Technology

Liz Wong has over twenty years of experience in engineering and technical management. Currently, she is a Principal Network Systems Engineer with The MITRE Corporation, an independent, not-for-profit Corporation providing technical support to the government. Working in the public interest, MITRE addresses critical issues of national importance, applying systems engineering and research and development to create innovative solutions. In addition to her technical work, Liz sits on the governance team for the Women’s Council at her company. She is also a Corporate member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and the FY20 Recording Secretary for SWE San Diego County.  She is an active STEM advocate and volunteers to plan and lead hands-on activities for K-12 student programs.  Liz received the 2017 Outstanding Engineer award from the San Diego County Engineering Council (SDCEC).  She has proven leadership and management experience as well as serving as a role model for women engineers.  Liz has a Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering and Electrical Engineering from Duke University.  She enjoys spending time with her family, friends, church, sports, and travel.

Principal Network Systems Engineer, The MITRE Corporation

Liz Wong

Manisha leads the Student Affairs Information Services team at UCSD, where she started her career at the Rady School of Management. In her 11 years of being associated with UCSD, she has held various leadership roles while working with the Offices of Executive Vice Chancellor, Office for Student with Disabilities and Institutional Research. She has served as a member of technology conferences and women’s conference committees. She has presented at the UC wide technology conference talking about how teams can make a meaningful difference through collaborative change. She is also an active member of the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on the Status of Women, Women in Advance Computing and helps in promoting women involvement, and addressing women's issues in Higher Education. In 2018, Manisha won the Internet2 Inclusivity Scholarship Award. Besides this, Manisha is also involved in working with non-profit organizations outside of UCSD. Manisha has a bachelor's degree in computer science, and has worked as a software engineer in different corporations prior to joining UCSD. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, and practicing Yoga.

IT Service Offering Manager, UC, San Diego

Manisha Kanodia

Mid-Day Session: Environmental Science & Ecology

Rebecca Lewison a professor of Biology and serves as the Chair for Research and Scholarly Excellence for the Division of Diversity and Innovation at San Diego State University. Her research is at the vanguard of innovating applied conservation science as it relates to resource and land use, developing actionable science in partnership with practitioners and policy makers. Dr. Lewison’s research focuses on the impact of resource and land use on vulnerable wildlife populations that face pressing conservation challenges, in both terrestrial and marine environments. Her projects also explore coupled human-natural populations and systems around the world. What unites the research is a common focus - understanding the complex relationships between human and ecological processes using innovative field, quantitative and lab-based approaches to advance applied conservation science. Dr. Lewison’s diverse research portfolio receives funding from NASA, the National Science Foundation, as well as Federal, State and local resource and land management agencies. In addition to her ecological research, Dr. Lewison has been leading efforts to support diversity, inclusion and excellence in the academy. She serves as a co-PI on a UC-CSU collaborative NSF ADVANCE award “Center for Research, Excellence, and Diversity in Team Science (CREDITS)” and leads several initiatives aimed at promoting diversity, innovation and excellence at SDSU.

Professor of Biology, San Diego State University

Rebecca Lewison, PhD

Romina is a Chemist who loves to be outside and not in a laboratory. This has led her to a career in Environmental Health. She currently works for the County of San Diego, Department of Environmental Health – Beach and Bay Monitoring Program. You can find her at the beach collecting samples to verify if water quality meets state health standards for recreational use.
She previously worked for 12 years as a Hazardous Materials Specialist for the County of San Diego. Romina was born and raised in Tijuana, Mexico and holds a bachelor’s degree from UCSD in Environmental Chemistry. She lives in San Diego with her husband and two kids.

Environmental Chemist, County of San Diego, Department of Environmental Health

Romina Schiess

Afternoon Session: Media Training & Self Promotion

Heather Buschman, PhD, earned her graduate degree at UC San Diego and completed a health communications internship at the National Cancer Institute. She has managed communications at Scripps Research, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, and NuVasive, Inc. She is currently assistant director of communications and media relations at UC San Diego Health, where she specializes in turning complex research findings into lay-friendly press releases, newsletter articles, magazine pieces, podcast episodes and more.
 Dr. Buschman co-teaches a Science Writing course at UC San Diego Extension, serves as a Voting Member of the UC San Diego Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on the Status of Women, and is a Board Member for the San Diego Science Writers Association. She has won awards from the Association of American Medical Colleges, Health Care Communicators and PR Daily. Dr. Buschman is passionate about helping scientists communicate their work with the general public, with the ultimate goal of improving the public understanding of — and appreciation for — science. She especially enjoys raising the profile of female scientists in the media.

Assistant Director, Communications & Media Relations, UC San Diego Health

Heather Buschman, PhD

Johanne (“Jo”) McGregor is a Director of Marketing at Thermo Fisher Scientific, Carlsbad, CA.  As a UK native, Jo gained her PhD in Molecular Biology from King’s College London and a Master’s in Biochemistry from University of Oxford.  After spending every undergrad vacation working in banks and management consultancies to pay her bills, Jo realized that while research fueled her thirst for learning, she enjoyed developing her business acumen, so started an industrial career in sales for Agilent.  She found a strength for combining scientific knowledge with commercial skills to help researchers achieve their goals.  Her real passion was for marketing, so she became a Regional Marketing Manager for Affymetrix before moving to the USA to lead a Strategic Marketing team for the company.  Jo has a passion for sharing knowledge and connecting people with information to help them develop personally and professionally. As a woman of mixed heritage with humble beginnings who has pursued a career in science-related fields, she loves to encourage young women, particularly those from diverse backgrounds, to explore this fascinating subject in a variety of ways available to them.

Director of Marketing, Thermo Fisher Scientific

Johanne McGregor, PhD

Afternoon Session: Systems Engineering

Lucy has over 18 years of system engineering experience in the wireless industry.  She worked on wireless start-ups, stealth F-35 Joint Strike Fighter communications at Northrup Grumman, top secret classified communication projects for the US government, R&D at Qualcomm, and modem algorithms deployed in iPhones and iWatches while working at Intel.  She will soon develop 5G modems at Apple via an acquisition.  She received her B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from UCSD, with a prestigious graduate research fellowship from National Science Foundation.  Lucy is passionate in mentoring, diversity, and inclusion.  She is the 2019 San Diego Chair of Women at Intel Network, and an Intel Career Connector.

Wireless System Engineer, Intel

Lucy Chong, PhD

Sneha Patni is a Systems Test and Integration Lead Engineer working in the Communications and Devices group at Intel. In the past she's worked with Mediatek, Blackberry, Spirent, AT&T and Verizon. Her diverse work experience on different technologies within the telecommunications industry (applications engineering, test and development, technical marketing) has helped her successfully deliver game-changing products while interfacing with global teams and bridging the gap with her diverse skill-set.

Sneha holds a Masters degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Florida. She is a diversity and inclusion champion at Intel and is a key member of the Women at Intel Network (WIN), San Diego chapter. She has led multiple technical and career development events for the WIN community and is working on creating a safe space for Women at Work to have open dialogue for their career growth. In her spare time, she enjoys volunteering, globetrotting and curating world music.

Systems Test & Integration Lead Engineer, Intel

Sneha Patni, MS

Afternoon Session: Biopharmaceuticals

Laura has worked in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry for over 28 years and is currently at Heron Therapeutics as the Vice President, Quality Assurance.  She started her career after receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from St. John’s University.  With support from various role models and coaching along the way she has advanced her career from a technical role supporting product development to manufacturing plant operational roles and presently to a leadership role in Quality and Compliance.  Laura began with Du Pont Pharmaceuticals and has worked with various companies over her career including Bristol Myers Squibb, Meda Pharma and Amicus Therapeutics.  She has supported multiple early development programs through approval and launch.  Her career covers OTC, generic and proprietary drug development including rare diseases and ultra-orphan indications.  Her passion is for Quality Management Systems with emphasis on continuous improvement.  She has built additional proficiencies in the areas of organizational development and re-design, pre-approval and post market inspection readiness and inspection management.

Vice President, Quality Assurance, Heron Therapeutics

Laura Singer

Laura Lerner is Executive Director of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Heron Therapeutics, where she supports new formulations, and development of manufacturing processes and analytical methods. Prior to joining Heron in 2012, she helped discover, develop, and characterize novel biologics at small biotechs, including Versartis, MacroGenics, Raven, and Athersys.  She started her industrial career at Genentech, leading a group for analysis of glycosylation. After her postdoctoral training in the Laboratory of Chemical Physics at the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Lerner became the first woman to achieve tenure in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She holds a Ph.D in Biomedical Engineering (Johns Hopkins), an M.S. in Chemical Engineering (U. Wisconsin-Madison), and a B.A. in Chemistry (Reed College).

Executive Director, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Heron Therapeutics

Laura Lerner, PhD