I recently attended BIO’s International Convention in Washington, DC and it was quite an exciting week. Over 15,000 people attended from 48 states and 65 countries. I’ve written about maximizing your networking at scientific conferences, and I took a colleague’s advice by volunteering at the convention (to get a break on the registration cost). That turned out to be a good suggestion because I ended up meeting a lot of other volunteers, and that helped me quickly feel a part of such a large conference.
There were tremendous speakers, panels and presentations, including a translational research panel with an opening keynote given by Dr. Francis Collins and a lunch interview with Tony Blair. I highly recommend this conference to anyone interested in getting an excellent perspective on the biotech industry and research. Next year, it will be held in Boston in June 2012.
The Director of the Institute where I work, Dr. Claire Fraser-Liggett, was part of a Women in Bio panel of five women leaders who discussed the opportunities and challenges for women in this industry. Maryland’s Governor Martin O’Malley, moderated the panel. Here’s a summary:
Gov. O’Malley Moderates Pioneering WIB Panel at BIO
The Maryland Pavilion was the center of activity on Tuesday, June 28 at the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO)’s international convention where Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley moderated a special forum of pioneering women in the biotechnology industry. WIB was well represented with Debra Bowes, CEO of TDP Biotherapeutics and WIB President and Maura Kahn, Vice President of Business Development & Marketing for Noxilizer and WIB’s Communications Committee Vice Chair as two leading women on the panel. Other participants included Dr. Judith Britz, Executive Director of the Maryland Biotechnology Center, Dr. Bahija Jallal, Executive Vice President, Research and Development, MedImmune, and Dr. Claire Fraser-Liggett, Director of the Institute for Genome Sciences at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
The women spoke about their early interests in science and mentors and educators who had encouraged them. At one point, Gov. O’Malley asked,
“What’s left to do?”
Dr. Fraser-Liggett spoke enthusiastically about the support that Maryland has given the biotech industry, and that “we are now on the cusp of personalized medicine.” Debra Bowes also spoke about the role of genomic research allowing for the development of rare diseases. Many of the women talked about the need to encourage the next generation of female scientists and their personal commitment to this charge.
Many WIB members supported the panelists as audience members in the Maryland Pavilion and from the WIB booth, which was just across one of the exhibit floor hallways. All in all, it was an impressive panel for both the State of Maryland and Women In Bio.