As they say, many great scientists happen to be women. Still, female scientists are underrepresented at senior levels of most research institutes. Who can women researchers seek out for support and opportunities in their careers?
We believe in the value of mentorship to advance women in science. And we’re not alone.
At NIBR, if we mentor well, we develop new leaders, improve the quality of our work, make clearer decisions, build stronger teams, and improve individual job satisfaction, professionalism, and career development.
Lisa Jarvis Headshot
Lisa Jarvis, Moderator
Lisa Jarvis is a senior editor at C&EN, the magazine of the American Chemical Society. She’s covered the science and business of the drug industry for more than 15 years. Lisa lives in Chicago with her family and canine coworker, Oscar. You can follow her on Twitter @lisamjarvis or find her writing at cen.acs.org.
Irene Ghobrial, MD
Irene Ghobrial Headshot
Irene Ghobrial, MD
Irene Ghobrial is an Associate Professor at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI), Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA and an Associate member of the Broad Institute, Cambridge, MA. She is the director of the Michele & Stephen Kirsch Laboratory and co-director of the Center for Prevention of Progression (CPOP) at DFCI. In addition, she is the co-leader of the Blood Cancer Research Partnership (BCRP), a consortium for innovative clinical trials of community oncology sites coordinated by DFCI.
She received her medical degree from Cairo University School of Medicine, Egypt. She completed her internal medicine training at Wayne State University, MI, and her hematology/oncology subspecialty training at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, MN.
Her research focuses on understanding mechanisms of tumor progression from early precursor conditions such as monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) and Smoldering disease to symptomatic Multiple Myeloma (MM) and Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia (WM). She specifically focuses on the role of the malignant bone marrow niche in regulating disease progression. She is interested in the development of new molecular/genomic markers that predict progression in precursor conditions which can identify patients who should be eligible for therapeutic interventions to prevent progression or potentially cure the disease at the early stages of the disease before clonal evolution occurs.
She authored or co-authored over 250 publications and book chapters and has received funding support from the National Cancer Institute as well as multiple foundations including Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and International Myeloma Foundation. She has received multiple awards including membership in the American Society of Clinical Investigation (ASCI), Robert A. Kyle Award for Research in Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia, and Mentor of the Year Award at DFCI in 2014.
“I have been fortunate to have great mentors throughout my career and at each step of my academic life. They are the beacon of light that guides us through the stormy life of our academic careers. I would advise every person (man or woman) to seek good mentors even if they are not within their field or in their own Institute.”
Emily Leproust, PhD, serves as CEO, co-founder and director of Twist Bioscience. As an early pioneer in the high throughput synthesis and sequencing of DNA, Dr. Leproust is disrupting the process of gene synthesis to enable the exponential growth of synthetic biology applications in multiple fields including medicine, DNA data storage, agricultural biology and industrial chemicals. In 2015, she was named one of Foreign Policy’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2015 for fast-tracking the building blocks of life, and Fast Company named her one of the most creative people in business for synthesizing DNA faster than ever. Prior to Twist Bioscience, she held escalating positions at Agilent Technologies where she architected the successful SureSelect product line that lowered the cost of sequencing and elucidated dozens of Mendelian diseases. She also developed the Oligo Library Synthesis technology, where she initiated and led product and business development activities for the team. Dr. Leproust designed and developed multiple commercial synthesis platforms to streamline microarray manufacturing and fabrication. Prior to Agilent, she worked with Dr. X. Gao at the University of Houston developing DNA and RNA parallel synthesis processes on solid support, a project developed commercially by Xeotron Corporation. Dr. Leproust has published more than 34 peer-reviewed papers—many on applications of synthetic DNA, and is the author of numerous patents. She earned her Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Houston and her M.Sc. in industrial chemistry from the Lyon School of Industrial Chemistry in France.
"It's important to provide strong role models of leaders, especially in science, since there are leadership qualities that can't be taught from a book. With both time and encouragement, mentoring can be adapted to each individual’s way of learning. Just as important is knowing that there is someone out there rooting for you to succeed and who will answer questions that foster future success."
Audrey J. Murrell is the Associate Dean of the College of Business Administration and Director of the David Berg Center for Ethics and Leadership at the University of Pittsburgh. In addition, she is the Kenneth R. Woodcock Faculty Fellow and an Associate Professor of Business Administration who holds secondary appointments from Pitt’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and Department of Psychology. Dr. Murrell is the author of several books and research articles on mentoring, and is a leading expert in helping organizations to develop strategies that build the capacity of their workforce. Her research and consulting activities have addressed issues related to mentoring and career development, gender and diversity in organizations, social issues in management, and social identity theory and applications. The recipient of numerous awards and recognitions, Dr. Murrell has received the Mayor’s Citizen Service Award from the City of Pittsburgh, the SBA Minority Business Champion of the Year Award, the Community Champion Award from the United Way of Allegheny County, and the Chancellor’s Distinguished Public and Community Service Award. Dr. Murrell is the author of recurring higher education column in The Huffington Post.
“Mentoring can provide critical support for building individual and organizational competencies and can help organizations fill their leadership gaps by developing the next generation of individuals who will lead and manage the work of innovation.”
Ann Taylor, MD is the Global Head of the Program Office at the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR). In this role, Dr. Taylor is responsible for portfolio analysis, competitive intelligence, research education, and postdoctoral programs. Dr. Taylor is also ad interim Head of Cardiovascular & Metabolism (CVM) research responsible for the direction of the CVM portfolio.
An endocrinologist by training, Dr. Taylor has more than 10 years of experience in pharmaceutical R&D. She joined Novartis in 2008 from Pfizer, where she provided leadership on many programs, including Lasofoxifene®. At NIBR, she initially served as Global Head of Translational Medicine for Metabolism, a role that involved developing and implementing the strategy for compounds from the preclinical phase through Proof of Concept trials in humans.
Dr. Taylor graduated magna cum laude from the University of California, San Diego and received her M.D. from Harvard Medical School. She completed her residency and fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, where she also served as an assistant professor.
As a leader, Dr. Taylor is passionate about mentorship and paying it forward. “At NIBR, if we mentor well, we develop new leaders, improve the quality of our work, make clearer decisions, build stronger teams, and improve individual job satisfaction, professionalism, and career development.”