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Recapping Women Building Bio

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Dear members and friends,


The secret”, quipped the sage, ”is to gang up on the problem.  Not each other.”  


That’s a good working definition of collaboration.  It also captures a core value of Virginia Bio’s Women Building Bio initiative and the theme of the 3rd Annual Women Building Bio conference we held at Inova Center for Personalized Health two weeks ago.


We brought together leaders of state and regional collaborations to share their missions and operations, highlight issues and opportunities, and offer ways for others to get involved and succeed at the tough job of working together.  Let me share the four panels and five individual presenters (for brevity sake  the names and titles of these distinguished women and men are at the end of this letter). 

-        Leaders from the region’s clinical and translational research centers, including two NCATS CTSA hubs, shared their work. These centers, by definition, act as hubs for a wide array of stakeholders(clinicians, researchers, academic health centers, industry, patient groups and community groups) to get more cures to more patients faster.  And they look to collaborate with one another across the state and region as well.  


-        The second panel was women leading commercialization and tech transfer efforts at major research institutions.  They discussed new approaches to improve the impact of their research on society, ways that outside partners can effectively engage, and even visionary ways they are looking to work together with one another.


-        One of the most prominent public-private biomedical collaborations in the state is the Global Genomics and Bioinformatics Research Institute, featured on the third panel.  Leaders from three founding institutions – Inova, UVA and GMU, illuminated its mission, provided examples of early work and success, and shared their aspiration to invite and engage other Virginia research universities, health care systems and industry into shared work. 


-        The final panel brought together national thought leaders living and working in Virginia and the region to focus on Innovating in Disruption and Disruptive Innovation.  They shared insights and approaches to help individuals, firms and collaborations identify and navigate the enormous changes we all face.  


-        In addition to panels the program featured lightning presentations by four women in the middle of breakthroughs in biomedical research and commercialization, offering attendees a close look and instant introduction to fresh opportunities for connections and collaborations. 


-        Finally, our keynote hailed from a global leading healthcare company and shared the professional development message he shares with women and men throughout that company – the importance of building a personal brand based on a foundation of soft skills to power a career, raise up the next generation, and help your team achieve its goals.  


Over its first 3 years the Women Building Bio conference has presented nearly 75 outstanding women leading the field and the industry in Virginia, DC and MD, and it brought many hundreds of attendees in touch with these leaders and one another.  We do this to help introduce, inspire and weave new networks of connectedness, because we believe these will provide the foundation for novel solutions to intractable problems and identification of previously unimaginable opportunities. 

Let’s go find some important problems to gang up on!


Watch in the weeks ahead for new ways the Women Building Bio initiative will continue year-round.  




Jeff Gallagher



Presenters at the 3rd Annual Women Building Bio conference:

Clinical and Translational Research Centers

Kristen Williams, Scientific Director, Participant & Clinical Interactions, Clinical and Translational Science Institute at Children’s National Health System

F. Gerard Moeller, Director, Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research at VCU and Associate Vice President for Clinical Research at VCU

Karen Johnston, Professor and Chair of Neurology and Public Health Sciences, Associate VP for Clinical & Translational Research and Director of Translational Health Research Institute (THRIV), UVA.


Tech transfer and commercialization from research institutions

Sharon Kreuger, Director, Innovation, Grants and Relationships, University of Virginia School of Medicine

Kolaleh Eskandanian, Vice President & Chief Innovation Officer, Children’s National Health System

Ivelina Metcheva, Executive Director, VCU Innovation Gateway

Brandy Salmon, Associate Vice President for Innovation and Partnerships, Virginia Tech.



Deborah Crawford, Vice President Research, George Mason University

Laurence Bray, Associate Professor, Bioengineering, George Mason University

John Moynihan, Chief Medical Officer and Chair of the Department of Surgery, Inova Fairfax Hospital

Richard Shannon, Executive Vice President for Health Affairs, University of Virginia.


Innovating in Disruption and Disruptive Innovation

Margaret Anderson, Managing Director, Deloitte Consulting

Tanisha Carino, Ph.D., Executive Director, FasterCures, Washington, DC

Meghana Chalasani, Operations Research Analyst, Decision Support and Analysis Team (DSAT), Office of Strategic Programs/Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER)

Cynthia Rice, Senior Vice President for Advocacy and Policy, JDRF



Sharon Ramey, Research Professor and Distinguished Research Scholar, Virginia Tech Carillion Research Institute

Jessica Foley, Chief Science Officer, Focused Ultrasound Foundation

Tracey Vetterick, Head of Oncology Early Portfolio Strategy, AstraZeneca

Alessandra Luchini, Associate Professor, College of Science, George Mason University.



Gerry Gribbon, Field Director, Healthcare Policy and Advocacy for East Coast, Johnson & Johnson and Regional Business Director, Janssen Inc.  

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