International Women’s Day 2019 gives us the perfect opportunity to celebrate and find out a bit more about the expert women who have leading roles in life-sciences and innovation here at the Babraham Research Campus. This is by no means an exhaustive list but it does give a flavour of the experienced, knowledgeable and innovative women working within the commercial companies, the Babraham Institute and the Campus Management Team, all of which combine to create our unique community. Browse the list below to find some familiar faces and perhaps discover some new connections!
Annalisa Jenkins is CEO, PlaqueTec. She is a life sciences thought leader with over 25 years of biopharmaceutical industry experience. Prior to joining PlaqueTec, Annalisa served as president and CEO of Dimension Therapeutics, a leading gene therapy company that was acquired by Ultragenyx in November 2017. Earlier in her career, Annalisa was a medical officer in the British Royal Navy during the Gulf Conflict, achieving the rank of surgeon lieutenant commander. She graduated with a degree in medicine from St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in the University of London and subsequently trained in cardiovascular medicine in the U.K. National Health Service.
Anne is a senior Group Leader in the Lymphocyte Signalling and Development Programme at the Babraham Institute. Her research has thrived in the unique science environment on the Babraham Research Campus, which has fostered collaborations and consultancies with campus companies. Anne also led the team that achieved the Institute’s Athena SWAN Silver Award in 2015, in recognition of the many ways in which support for career progression for women is strongly embedded in Institute culture. The award was renewed in 2018 in recognition of the Institute’s ever-expanding focus on equality and diversity.
CFO & Company Secretary of Kymab Group, which is based at the Babraham Research Campus, Anne is also a non-executive director of AIM-listed Clinigen Group and FTSE listed Elementis plc. She has a fantastic range of senior finance experience gained in previous roles with Vectura, Celltech, Medeva and KPMG. Anne holds a degree in business studies from Trinity College, Dublin.
Anne is Vice President, Human Resources at Mission Therapeutics. With an HR background gained in various drug discovery organisations, Anne joined Mission Therapeutics in 2016. Operating as a strategic business partner Anne helps to create and deliver HR programmes and initiatives to assist in achieving and sustaining business results.
CFO for (BBT), which develops and manages the Babraham Research Campus, Becky is responsible for the finance, HR and health & safety functions of BBT. She first joined us in Feb 2002 as the 2nd full time employee! Becky has over 20 years of experience in finance and also sits on the BBT Board.
Catherine co-founded Qkine in 2016 to improve the quality of growth factors available to stem cell scientists and use innovative protein engineering techniques to address challenges in stem cell and organoid biology. In her role as CEO, Catherine has led the company to secure Innovate UK funding and investment from Cambridge Enterprise and five angel investors. Previously, she led the scale-up of the laboratories and in-house R&D and antibody manufacture at Abcam.
Director of Operations at PhoreMost, Charli is a highly valued mentor to our Accelerate@Babraham programme cohort. Her extensive operations experience, gained first at Horizon Discovery and now PhoreMost - particularly in the area of EU grant applications and administration - has proven invaluable in helping our young start-ups navigate the world of funding.
Claudia is a Group Leader at the Babraham Institute’s Lymphocyte Signalling and Development programme. She is interested in how RNA-unwinding proteins called helicases help B cells to combat infections by producing different types of antibodies. She studied Molecular Biology & Genetics at the University of Lisbon before moving to the Netherlands to obtain her PhD at Erasmus MC, Rotterdam. As a Postdoctoral Researcher, she initially worked at the MRC-Clinical Sciences Centre (now MRC-LIMS) before joining Professor Nicholas Proudfoot in Oxford as an EMBO fellow.
Emily is the Commercial Director of Talisman Therapeutics which she co-founded in 2014. Talisman is focused on developing therapeutics for dementia using human stem cell platforms. In addition, she is a Director and co-founder of Gen2 Neuroscience, established in 2016, a tau biology company funded by the Dementia Discovery Fund. Emily has over 20 years of management consulting and commercial experience in global research organisations and has held numerous leadership roles including at Keane Consulting Group, Viant Corp and RAND Corp. Emily has a PhD from the London School of Economics.
CEO of Campus based SomaNautix, Fran is a serial entrepreneur who has been closely involved in the growth of several life science businesses, including Altacor, Spirogen and Sirus Pharmaceuticals. She’s currently leading two new companies – SomaNautix and Somaserve – both of which are UCL spin-outs and making rapid progress. A PhD clinical pharmacologist, Fran began her career in clinical research before holding several senior posts in start-up ventures where she built IP portfolios to add value and protection to product pipelines.
Jackie is Chief Executive Clinical Programmes & Strategic Partnerships at Benevolent AI, a UK unicorn company that uses AI to disrupt the drug discovery and development process. She has held numerous senior leadership positions in the pharma, biotech and innovation industries, including GSK, Proximagen and OI Pharma Partners, which she founded in 2010. She was also CEO at the BBSRC between 2013 and 2016. For her services to the pharmaceutical industry, she was awarded a CBE in 2010 Birthday Honours and the 2010 Women of Achievement in Science, Engineering and Technology Award for Discovery, Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
We also spoke to Jackie about how she feels organisation culture has changed over the last decade, who inspires her and what she believes are the biggest challenges for the next generation of women scientists. Read her thoughts here.
CBO at F-Star, Jane has over 15 years’ experience in Business Development having also held positions at Cellzome and MedImmune (formerly Cambridge Antibody Technology (CAT)). Jane started her career in the agrochemical industry and holds an MBA from The Judge Institute of Management Studies and a PhD and first degree in Natural Science, all from the University of Cambridge. She is also on the board of the Biotechnology Industry Association (BIA).
VP Research & Development for MedImmune, Jane is an expert in antibody engineering and has made a significant contribution to the discovery and development of marketed drugs (inc Humira and Benlysta). She is passionate about the development of the UK biotech sector and we benefit hugely from her experience as she also sits on the BBT Board here at the Babraham Research Campus.
In 2013, Jill co-founded RxCelerate with David Grainger. As CEO, Jill’s leadership experience provides insightful strategic vision, in addition to which she also carries on the role of CSO, overseeing drug development programmes and clinical trials for external clients. And if that wasn’t enough Jill also lends her expertise to us as an expert supporter of our Accelerate@Babraham programme!
Joanne is a senior post-doc in the Signalling ISP at the Babraham Institute. Her work explores mechanisms of cell feeding in health and disease, from the uptake of nutrients to cannibalism between tumour cells.
Joanne is a By-Fellow at Churchill College and has held a Marie Curie Fellowship and a L’Oreal For Women in Science Award, to support her research while raising her children. Alongside her lab work, Joanne works with the Climate Reality Project to raise awareness of climate change and catalyse solutions, including the development of an environmental scheme here at Babraham.
Joanna is co-founder and CEO of VisusNano - the ophthalmology medical device company to improve patient outcomes after cataract surgery. Starting VisusNano outside of a university, Joanna and her co-founders worked to leverage accelerators and resources across clusters in the UK. VisusNano has won several start-up competitions, and in May 2018 Joanna led the investment of £450K from UK and US investors. VisusNano shows how young science entrepreneurs can found wet lab companies in collaboration with life science clusters.
After a Masters in Maternal and Foetal Health, Joanna worked in finance before completing a PhD in neuroscience from Southampton University.
Jane is Director of Biological Sciences at BenevolentAI. The Benevolent Platform is designed to power target identification so we can find new ways to treat a disease, molecular design so we can develop the most effective medicines, and clinical mechanistic stratification so we can understand how individual patients will respond to treatment. She leads a talented team of biology and drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics scientists who are involved from hypothesis validation, through early drug discovery to late-stage clinical development. She has extensive experience in developing and leading teams in biotech having worked at Parke-Davis, Pfizer, Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Cambridge Biotechnology and Proximagen.
Jo is a Non-Executive on a number of Boards, including Octopus AIM VCT plc and BBT. She has a background in finance, with over ten years’ experience as an investor in private equity. A qualified accountant by training, Jo read Chemistry at Oxford university. We are very proud to have Jo as a member of the BBT Board here at Babraham Research Campus.
Director of Medical Affairs & Marketing at PredictImmune, Karen’s focus is on the launch of new products and clinical studies. With a PhD from the University of Cambridge and an Executive MBA from London Business School, Karen has worked for both big pharma and start-up companies. PredictImmune, which is based at the Campus is developing pioneering prognostic tools for guiding treatment options and improving patient outcomes in immune-mediated diseases. PredictSURE IBD™, the company’s first product addressing IBD (both Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis) launches in the UK this month.
Karen is Executive Director, Capability and Innovation at BBSRC. She has been involved in developing the BBSRC research and innovation campus strategy, establishing knowledge exchange and commercialisation teams, and has worked on BBSRC’s bioeconomy strategy enabling bioscience research to deliver benefit and impact for the UK. We were also delighted to welcome Karen as a member of the BBT Board here at Babraham Research Campus this year.
Business Acceleration Manager for the Babraham Research Campus bioincubator and life science accelerator, Accelerate@Babraham, Karolina is a highly experienced and respected biotech business developer, biophysical science consultant and physical chemist. Karolina is passionate about working with biotech and healthcare start-ups, promoting innovation and helping entrepreneurs succeed – so she’s definitely in the right place!
Michelle is Group Leader at the Babraham Institute. Her laboratory’s research focus is on how different cell types collaborate in the germinal centre to generate a robust antibody response following vaccination. Michelle received her PhD in Immunology from the Australian National University and did a Post-doc at the University of Cambridge.
SVP Drug Discovery at F-star, Mihriban has over 15 years’ experience in antibody engineering and discovery and has successfully managed a number of internal and collaborative drug discovery projects to candidate selection. Prior to joining F-star, she worked in technology enhancement in Biopharm R&D at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and in the selection and optimisation of lead domain antibodies at Domantis. Mihriban holds a PhD in Biochemistry from University of Sussex, UK, and a BSc in Biology from Middle East Technical University, Turkey.
Director of Business Operations for BBT, which develops and manages the Babraham Research Campus, Nicki has overall responsibility for the smooth day-to-day running of the Campus bioincubator, which is now home to over 60 organisations employing over 1,400 staff. Nicki plays a vital part in building the Campus community – one of the most successful and active bioincubators in the UK and Europe.
Olivia studied in Chile before moving to the University of Chicago to complete a PhD in drosophila melanogaster. She undertook a short postdoc with Rick Morimoto (Northwestern University, USA) and then another with Ben Lehner (CRG, Barcelona). Olivia is Group Leader of the Epigenetics Programme, which studies ageing using C elegans as a model organism.
Rachael heads the Babraham Institute’s State-of-the-art Flow Cytometry Core Facility. With over a dozen years’ experience in running flow cytometry core facilities at both the Babraham Institute and the University of Cambridge, Rachael is an internationally recognised and experienced cytometrist. Rachael is heavily involved with the Cytometry community at a local, national and international level. Rachael was awarded an International Society for the Advancement of Cytometry (ISAC) Scholarship/Emerging Leader in 2012 and continues to be heavily involved with ISAC.
Ruchi is CEO and founder of Stemnovate. She obtained her PhD from the University of Edinburgh working on stem cell research and subsequently held post-doctoral positions at the Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh and the Wellcome Trust-MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute. She was nominated by BioBeat as one of the 50 leading female scientists and innovators in healthcare in 2017.
Sarah is a tenure-track group leader within the Lymphocyte Signalling Research Programme at the Babraham Institute. Her work is focused on understanding how tissue oxygen levels impact on the function of T cells during immune responses. Sarah gained her PhD at the University of Dundee, and during her postdoctoral research was awarded a FEBS long-term fellowship to fund her work at the UMC Utrecht, Netherlands, and a Tenovus Scotland grant to fund a pilot study at the University of Dundee. She has 11 publications with over 340 citations.
Sheila is Senior Group Leader: Discovery Bioscience at Cancer Research UK Therapeutic Discovery Labs (TDL). She says: “Having been the only woman on the Leadership team at TDL for some time, I am delighted to be joined by two others in the last year and excited by the message this sends to others in our organisation”
Tanya is co-founder at Kalium Diagnostics, which develops a fingerprick blood electrolyte self-test kit. The company's first product, currently under development, is able to measure blood potassium level at home or at point-of-care. Tanya is also a Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge and a co-founder and director at SensorHut. She has 12 years experience in research and development of chem- and bio-sensing technologies. Kalium Diagnostics took part in the inaugural Accelerate@Babraham programme in 2018.
Theodora is CFO & CBO at Crescendo Biologics. She is a chartered accountant with significant experience as a Chief Financial Officer with early stage and growing companies in the biotech sector. Theodora has a background in both industry and corporate finance with c.20 years of experience with private and listed biotech SMEs. She has held various roles including at Cytomyx Holdings plc, OrthoMimetics Ltd, MISSION Therapeutics Ltd and PsiOxus Therapeutics Ltd. Prior joining Crescendo, Theodora trained with PricewaterhouseCoopers having read Classics at Trinity College, Cambridge.
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