Spring 2016 Newsletter Volume 24 Issue 2

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To download PDF version of this newsletter, click here.



Dear AWIS-SD Members and Friends,

Spring is an exciting time for us as we award scholarships to deserving young women to advance their careers in STEM. On May 21st we will be honoring our scholarship recipients at the Scholars Celebration with a High Tea at the UCSD Faculty Club.

If this is not your cup of tea, there are many other events of interest organized by AWIS-SD and other local organizations. All AWIS-SD members are encourage to attend the members-only events put on by our chapter volunteers. Check out the event calendar on our website for the latest information: www.awissd.org.

To add value to your AWIS-SD membership and build new skills, get involved with a committee. For example, consider the Events Committee that organizes events throughout the year, such as the summer Family Event, the Holiday Party, and Happy Hours. Skills developed by joining this committee are:

  • Coordinate with event venues for prices or tours
  • Publicizing the events
  • Develop new ideas for events and venues
  • Budget expenses to maximize benefits
  • Promote communication with AWIS-SD
  • Provide networking opportunities to members
  • Recruit speakers for events

If you really want to maximize benefits of joining the Events Committee, then consider becoming a Co-Chair. Benefits you will receive include:

  • Organize and lead committee meetings
  • Train new members to assist with events

To find out more about the events committee—maybe attend their next meeting—email them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Finally, I want to thank you all for your contribution to the chapter. I am amazed at how much all our volunteers accomplish. When I attend events, I am constantly complimented by the quality of our meeting. My typical response is “Thank you. The [fill-in-the-Committee-Name] has done all the hard work. I am just here enjoying the event.”

All the best to everyone,


DeeAnn Visk, President AWIS-SD

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Highlights from the 2016 Greater San Diego Science & Engineering Fair

By Geetha Subramanian and Kristin Bompiani-Myers

We had the great honor of representing AWIS-SD while judging the annual the Greater San Diego Science & Engineering Fair held on March 26th. An awesome experience, the AWIS-SD booth was organized by our wonderful Outreach Committee. This year there were over 400 science projects by female students from all over San Diego. A total of 27 judges from local research institutes such as UCSD and TSRI, as well as a mixture of AWIS members and non-AWIS volunteered to judge on behalf of AWIS-SD. Huge efforts were undertaken to fill the Balboa Park Activity Center with students representing many schools and professional organizations who volunteered their lunch hour to talk with the young scientists.

As we entered the Balboa Park Activity Center, we realized how gigantic the event was; there were rows and rows of student’s projects. We were fascinated by the diverse range of topics the students chose, including:

  • using entropy to decipher secure passwords online,
  • determining if people can remember grouped numbers rather than number sequences,
  • studying how responses to gender based ads are used in marketing products, and
  • asking how children and adults get fooled by medicines which are look like candies.

After two hours, we along with the other AWIS judges identified 14 winning projects. The winners, their families, advisers, and AWIS volunteers gathered to view the winning projects and present the awards at a banquet celebration held on Sunday, April 17th at the UCSD Moores Cancer Center. AWIS-SD President DeeAnn Visk with Outreach Co-Chairs Anne Kornahrens and Robyn Wygal, presented the certificates and prize money to the young women as their families and advisers beamed from a packed auditorium. Our celebration on a warm Sunday evening, where each winner was recognized for their efforts and success, culminated in a grand dinner that was enjoyed by all.

In all, AWIS-SD Outreach gave 14 awards to six high school projects and eight middle school projects. Directly supporting the Outreach Committee’s mission of nurturing and educating young women’s interest in science, AWIS-SD gave the most awards of any professional society that judged that day. Congratulations to our 2016 Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair AWIS-SD Award Winners.

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Caption: 2016 Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair AWIS-SD Award Winners


Senior Category

  • Karissa Jackson: “The Predatory and Risk Behaviors of Anolis carolinensis
  • Esther Peluoso: “Chymosin Deglycosylation Affects its Substrate Specificity, Kinetics, and Cheese-Making Efficiency”
  • Noa Dahan: “Identification of MDM2 as a novel antiapoptotic factor in Grade IV Astrocytoma”
  • Araceli Santana: “The Depths of Helping Behavior”
  • Alexandra Kuo: “High Entropy Password Encryption Device”
  • Emerson Alatorre and Emma Rand (joint project): “Bioremediation of Salt Pollution Through Co-Culture of Radishes and Barley”

Junior Category

  • Natalie Ramirez: “The Effect of Filtered Water on Plants”
  • Ashley Kleszewski: “The Effects of Eutrophication on Pond Water”
  • Reem Awad: “Miswak vs Toothpaste”
  • Sydney Gerlach: “The Effects of Positive Vs. Negative Advertising on Generosity”
  • Lauren McKittrick: “Candy or Medicine: Can You Tell the Difference?”
  • Alex Boren: “Fantastic Plastic”
  • Rachana Madhukara: “Devising a Secure and Efficient Hybrid Cryptosystem”
  • Shravya Sanigepalli: “Ocean Acidification vs. Halimeda incrassata


Projecting a Positive Career Transition

by Ksenya Cohen Katsenelson

The first AWIS-SD strategy session of 2016 was dedicated to the topic of career transition for all experience levels. AWIS-SD members gathered to hear about the different possibilities to acquire new skill-sets for a successful career transition. Opportunities are available to international professionals regarding immigration status and work visas.

Lin-Chien Huang, a neuroscientist at The Scripps Research Institute, presented Hugo Villar, the director of Science and education program at UCSD extension. Villar then presented an overview of the current skills that are in demand in life science industries. He presented three different sectors in life sciences: industrial, agricultural and biomedical biotechnology, and the skills that are needed in each of the fields.

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Villar presents at Strategy Session meeting.

It was interesting to learn that when looking for a job, one should not focus on only one specific sector of life sciences; otherwise, many other job opportunities might be missed. By learning the skills needed in each sector and locating the areas of rapid change in industry, one can increase her chances of finding the right job opportunity. Current areas of rapid change are automated medical equipment, genomics and biotechnologies, as well as information and communication.

Hiring managers are seeking individuals with cross-functional skills. Therefore, one should always look for opportunities to upgrade her skills. Quality matters, and learning new techniques is important no matter which career level you are. Many companies are merging, and when that happens, individuals with similar skills tend to lose their jobs. By having a unique set of skills, one increases her chances of keeping her job.

“You don’t have a job for life. The life science industry is like Hollywood – you need to have skills that are in demand, otherwise you will be replaced with better actors,” states Villar. It is good to keep in mind that UCSD Extension offers a great variety of classes with certificates in many new trending areas for professional development.

Later in the session, Lin-Chien presented attorney Diana Vellos Coker, from Larrabee Albi Coker LLP, who specializes in immigration. Vellos explained the key points of immigration law and provided insights on the various options available to foreign candidates seeking job opportunities in the U.S. Normally an individual will start with a temporary visa and then transition to a green card. However, the number of green cards issued every year is limited, and depends on your nationality. There are different ways to get a green card, some based on employment requirements; some are not.

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Vellos presenting at the AWIS-SD Strategy Session

Vellos advised job seekers to be honest with prospective employers and notify them whether visa sponsorship is needed. However, by coming prepared and knowing the right options available, you can help your employer find an effective solution. The most common work visa is H1B. Due to the high demand for this visa, there is a lottery each year, and only about 35% of the applicants will actually receive it. Other popular visas include the O1, for individuals of extraordinary abilities; and the J1 for research purposes. This one is limited to 5 years. There are also special visas for Canadians, Mexicans and Australians.

This strategy session emphasized the importance of continuously learning new skills. The session also provided insights into the different immigration options available to international persons seeking job opportunities in the U.S.


Expand Your Horizons 2016: Return of the Crime Solvers

by Diane Retallack

Solving crime using science was the focus of AWIS-SD “Crime Scene Sleuths” workshop at the 14th annual San Diego Expanding Your Horizons (EYH) conference. EYH was held at the University of San Diego on March 5th, 2016. Since 2002, EYH San Diego conference organizers have hosted this event for young women to explore numerous hands‐on workshops and learn about career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. Scientists from organizations such as the University of California San Diego, Scripps Institute, General Atomics, and others, including members of AWIS-SD and AWIS LA/Ventura, hosted EYH workshops to encourage and empower young women from more than 90 San Diego county schools to explore careers in the STEM fields.

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Caption: Diane Retallack instructs the students in Crime Scene Sleuths at EYH, 2016.

This year’s crime scene, The Case of the Stolen Transgenic Rat, was successfully solved by twelve teams of 6th through 10th grade scientists, representing about 60 of the 317 attendees. Led by AWIS-SD Outreach Committee members and volunteers Jinsha Liu, Anne Kornahrens, Sasha Moola, Kelly Kemp, Miriam O’Duill, Samantha Gonzalez, Jenny Fu and Diane Retallack, the girls worked in teams to analyze a variety of evidence to determine which of the five suspects committed the crime.

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Caption: AWIS-SD member instructs students in the Crime Scene Sleuths at EYH 2016.

The girls analyzed five pieces of evidence: DNA, ink from a ransom note, shoe prints, an unknown liquid and fingerprints. Excited by the hands-on opportunity to perform laboratory experiments, the girls rotated through the five stations, learning about techniques such as electrophoresis and chromatography, the difference between acids and bases, and how to analyze shoe prints and fingerprints.

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Caption: Students at EYH 2016 work on the Crime Scene Sleuths lab.

The students discussed the evidence and their experimental results, eliminating suspects based on those results to come to a conclusion about which of the suspects committed the crime. It was great to see the teamwork, which is an important aspect of solving scientific questions emphasized by our outreach volunteers. We invite you to join us next year for EYH 2017. New workshops are welcome, particularly those focused on STEM subjects highly popular with the students, such as coding and computer science.


Thinking About Transitioning From Academia to Industry?

By Juliati Rahajeng

What are you going to do next after getting your Ph.D.? Become a tenure-track professor in academia? That is the traditional goal for many graduate students and postdocs. However, with limited available faculty positions and funding resources, it has become increasingly difficult to obtain such academic positions. Therefore, the UCSD Postdoctoral Association (PDA), the Salk Society of Research Fellows, the Sanford Burnham Prebys Science Network, and the Scripps Society of Fellows teamed up to organize an event, “What Can You Be With a PhD?” STEM Career Symposium. This year was the PDA’s third year creating such an event helping graduate students and postdocs learn about non-traditional careers outside academia.

The event started with a Keynote Speech by Wolfgang Glaesner, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) of Applied Molecular Evolution Division of Eli Lilly and Company Dr. Glaesner described his long journey from the time he got his Ph.D. until his current position, and gave great advice for grad students and postdocs who are looking for a career in industry. During an interview, for example, an interviewee needs to show high level of energy and enthusiasm, demonstrate passion for the position, have a good knowledge about the company, show ambition or initiative, and exhibit listening and people skills. Asking lots of questions about the position and the company shows strong interest in the company and a great way to see whether you will make a good fit in the company. Additionally, when responding to behavioral-based interview questions, he suggested using the Situation Task Action and Result (STAR) method. In this method, you need to describe a situation that you were in or a task that needed to be completed (situation), the objective (task), the action you took (action) and the outcome of your action (result).

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Caption: Panel discussion during UCSD Postdoctoral Association event

The keynote speech was followed by eight different panel sessions: Research and Development in biology and non-biology fields, Clinical and Regulatory Affairs, Scientific Writing and Communication, Consulting and Management, Teaching, Business/Entrepreneurship and Intellectual Property Law and Science Policy. During each session, there were five to six speakers/panelists who shared their experiences for transitioning into industry. Each session ran for 65 minutes, followed by a 15- minute post-session networking opportunity. During the R&D (Biology field) panel discussion, for example, everyone in the panel emphasized the importance of networking, collaboration and sharpening communication and people skills. Karsten Sauer, the Director of Cancer Immunology at Pfizer, specifically suggested taking some classes to improve skills or gain more knowledge, reading several books and practicing presentations or answering interview questions. He recommended a book “The First 90 Days” by Michael D. Watkins, as a guide for strategies after transitioning into a new role or landing a new position in industry.

If you are interested in pursuing a career in clinical and regulatory affairs, a panel of six clinical and regulatory affairs professionals gave very helpful tips on how to transition to private industry. Taking online classes in regulatory affairs from Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society (RAPS), UCSD extension or SDSU will increase your knowledge in the field. They also recommend joining San Diego Regulatory Affairs Network (SDRAN) since this group offers many great programs including Regulatory Affairs Certification (RAC) a study group, internship and mentoring programs.

The bottom line: regardless of whatever career goal you have in mind after earning your Ph.D, it does not hurt to be familiar with non-traditional career options available. If you are interested in attending such events, you should check out the UCSD PDA events calendar at http://pda.ucsd.edu/events/index.html.


San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering EXPO Day

by Antonia Darragh and Miriam Cohen

EXPO Day is the opening event of the San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering. This free city-wide event at PETCO Park brings together students, teachers, industry leaders, parents, and members of the community to explore science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). This year the event took place on Saturday March 5, 2016 and attracted around 25,000 people. EXPO day is full of STEM exploration through demonstrations and hands-on activities including DNA extraction, sticking a stick through a balloon without popping it, and manipulating robots. The festival’s mission is to “engage and encourage kids in science and engineering, and work with parents and teachers to inspire today's students to become tomorrow's STEM innovators.”

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Caption: Participants at the AWIS-SD booth at the EXPO day.


AWIS-SD Outreach hosts a booth at EXPO day annually. This year Outreach Committee members Miriam Cohen, Antonia Darragh, and Outreach Co-Chair Robyn Wygal organized the booth featuring the non-Newtonian fluid Oobleck (cornstarch and water). Visitors played with Oobleck with their hands and animal toys and experienced how it switches between a solid-like state and a liquid-like state.


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Caption: What participants like most about STEM.


AWIS-SD Outreach volunteers explained to visitors how the interactions between cornstarch molecules and water molecules give Oobleck its non-Newtonian fluid properties. At our booth we also included a blank poster board for people to write and/or draw what they like most about STEM. Many wrote “Science is fun!”

Some kids wanted to take Oobleck home with them, many parents requested the recipe, and some educators were interested in incorporating the activity into their classrooms. Other examples of non-Newtonian fluids including body armor and gel shoe soles interested attendees of all ages.


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Caption: Oobleck at the San Diego EXPO Day

The Outreach Committee would like to extend a special thanks to the volunteers and organizers who made this event a truly successful and rewarding experience. Interested in participating next year? Stay posted on AWIS-SD events: http://www.awissd.org/index.php/all-events/events- calendar.
Interested in running this workshop for a different event? Check out http://www.awissd.org/index.php/page/outreach- resources.


And the Winner of the Science-Technology Category of LA Times Book Prize is…

By Lynne Friedmann

Science writer Lynne Friedmann, AWIS Fellow, was a judge in the science-technology category of the LA Times Book Prize. 

On April 9, she moderated a panel on Science, Technology and the Human Condition at the LA Times Festival of Books. Panelists included authors Beth Sharpiro, Ph.D. (How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction), David Morris (The Evil Hours: A Biography of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), John Markoff (Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots), and Michael Hiltzik (Big Science: Ernest Lawrence and the Invention that Launched the Military-Industrial Complex).  

The one-hour panel session is available on C-SPAN.

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Caption: Lynne Friedmann sits on the panel at the far left.

Friedmann and fellow category judges considered nearly 100 books in order to arrive at five finalists. The winning science/technology book for 2015 is The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World by Andrea Wulf.  

The Invention of Nature reveals the extraordinary life and myriad scientific discoveries of the visionary naturalist Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859), and how he single-handedly created the way we understand nature today. During his lifetime, he was the most famous man in the world after Napoleon. There are more plants, animals, minerals, and places named after Humboldt than any other scientist. In California alone, a county, a bay, a college, and a state park all bear his name. He is a founding father of environmentalism, who predicted man-made climate change as early as 1800.

Born into an aristocratic Prussian family, Humboldt discarded a life of privilege and spent his substantial inheritance on a dangerous five-year exploration of Latin America. He ventured deep into the mysterious rain forests in Venezuela and paddled along crocodile-infested tropical rivers. He walked thousands of miles through the Andes, from Bogota, Colombia, to Lima, Peru — climbing active volcanos along the way.

When he returned to Europe, his trunks were filled with dozens of notebooks, hundreds of sketches and tens of thousands of astronomical, geological and meteorological observations, and some 60,000 plant specimens. Over the next 50 years, Humboldt published so many books that even he lost track.

He turned scientific observation into poetic narrative, and his writings inspired naturalist Charles Darwin, poets William Wordsworth and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and also President Thomas Jefferson. The book presents evidence that it was Humboldt’s influence that led John Muir to his ideas of preservation and shaped Henry David Thoreau’s Walden.

Author Andrea Wulf has done a masterful job in bringing back to life this lost hero to science and the forgotten father of environmentalism.

Take it from Lynne Friedmann: This is a “must read” book.

The LA Times Festival of Books, held annually on the campus of the University of Southern California, is the largest book festival in the United States. This year's two-day event drew more than 150,000 attendees. Read about all of the winners of the 2015 competition.


News Ticker


  • The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) has named Representative Scott Peters of San Diego, along with two senators, as biotech legislators of the year. Peters, who represents district 52, was given the award for his support of biotech research funding, patent protection, and economic growth in the biotech industry.
  • Salk Institute researchers from the labs of Michael Downes and Ron Evans have discovered a role for estrogen-related receptor gamma in the post-natal metabolic maturation of pancreatic beta cells. This receptor drives a transcriptional network that stimulates efficient glucose-responsive insulin secretion. This knowledge will assist in the production of beta cells for implantation into diabetic patients.
  • La Jolla and South San Francisco-based startup Ideaya Biosciences has raised $46 million to develop cancer therapeutics. The company focuses on synthetic lethality to treat cancer. This approach uses the genome sequence of tumor cells to find single mutations that would kill cancer cells but not healthy cells.
  • Researchers led by Tariq Rana of the UCSD School of Medicine found that Zika virus targets TLR3 in cerebral organoids grown from stem cells to model the developing brain. This immune response impairs the development of the organoids and causes some cells to die. This indicates that inhibition of TLR3 could prevent microcephaly in fetuses whose mothers have been infected with Zika.
  • UCSD’s Adam Burgasser and coworkers have discovered three planets orbiting a small and faint star about 40 light years away from our sun. Two of these planets orbit within the star’s habitable zone, meaning they receive just enough radiation to allow liquid water to exist on their surfaces. While these planets are not likely to support life, these findings motivate the search for planets orbiting similar stars, which are very common in our galaxy.
  • Five teens from San Diego earned a place in the sixth White House science fair in April. They designed an Android app called Spectrum, which aims to provide a social media support network for the LGBTQ community.
  • Ali Torkamani and colleagues of the Scripps Translational Science Institute published the results of their “Wellderly” study, which sequenced the genomes of hundreds of people who have lived into their 80s and beyond without significant medical problems. These individuals were found to have genetic protections against some conditions, such as Alzheimer’s and heart disease, but were otherwise not significantly different from the average US population.
  • According to statistics from the US Patent and Trademark Office, San Diego area inventors were granted a total of 34,000 patents between 2000 and 2013. San Diego ranks ninth in the nation for number of inventions, a trend driven by the area’s biotech industry, telecommunication industry, and research universities.


Member News

Claire Weston, CEO of Reveal Biosciences, signed a new five year contract with Explora BioLabs and the National Institute on Aging to provide a bank of aged rodent tissue samples for researchers. Read more about it at this link.

Corine Lau, Newsletter committee member, is now a cancer genomics scientist at Human Longevity Inc.

Donna O. Perdue, Ph.D., J.D. gave a talk entitled “Biobased products and potential impacts of the Nagoya Protocol" at 2016 BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology in a session entitled “What is required to protect research and innovation in industrial biotechnology” on  April 18, 2016. 

Donna O. Perdue recently published a paper in the Biotechnology Law Report entitled “Whither Innovation: The R&D Sector and the Nagoya Protocol at One Year After Entry into Force”. [Ed.Note: This was to appear in the AWIS-SD Winter Newsletter, but was accidently overlooked.]

DeeAnn Visk, published an article on GPCR’s in Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News in April.

Dorothy (Dody) Sears, former AWIS-SD President, was awarded a grant to study heart health among Latinas. Sears’ role in the study will be looking for biomarkers of sedentary behavior-associated cardiovascular disease risk in women of Hispanic origin. More details on the multi-year, multi-million dollar study can be found here.


Upcoming Events

Mid-Career Coffee Club

Thursday May 19, 2016

7:45-8:30 am

Corner Bakery, UTC

4575 La Jolla Village Dr, San Diego, CA 92122

A small informal group of AWIS-SD members in managerial or equivalent positions that meet monthly. Everything said at the Club is kept confidential.

Please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for this members only event.


Scholars Celebration 2016

Saturday, May 21, 2016


UCSD Faculty Club

9500 Gilman Dr, La Jolla, CA 92093

A high tea-style luncheon to celebrate our 2016 AWIS Scholarship winners.

Member, student/unemployed - $25

Member, non-student - $35,

Non-member, student/unemployed - $35

Non-member, non-student - $45,

Children (8-17) - $10

Register here.


Back to Work Coffee Club

Wednesday May 25, 2016


UCSD Extension  

6256 Greenwich Dr, San Diego, CA 92122

Soft skills and inter-personal relationships in our 21st century workplaces—presented by David Frost. Our interactive dialog should reinforce both awareness and importance of "soft skills" to help corporations gain and sustain competitive advantage.

Dave serves as an adjunct faculty member in the University of Redland's School of Business. Additionally, he works with adult learners in the San Diego region to help them develop soft skills as part of their competitive portfolios. He is also recruits and mentors STEM fellows and educators to succeed in high-need middle and high schools.

Once you register you will be provided with a 70 question assessment of personality profiling that will help David "start at the personal level of emotional intelligence for self-realization."

Please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for this members only event.


Academia 2 Industry Coffee Club

Friday June 3, 2016


Bella Vista Social Club

2880 Torrey Pines Scenic Dr, La Jolla, CA 92037

Informal meet-up for women interested in transitioning to Industry from academia. All are welcome to participate. Please RSVP.


Projecting Your Inner Businesswoman

Strategy Session

Monday June 6, 2016


Hera Hub Sorrento Valley

Business 101 for STEM – introduction to business topics that can help people both in industry and academia develop their skills for business. Ideas: This introductory seminar will address questions about business concepts such as business practices, leadership, preparing a business plan, and applying marketing techniques to business and research in STEM.

As part of this AWIS SD Strategy Session, we are pleased to welcome special guest speaker Gioia Messinger from UCSD's Jacobs School of Engineering. She will be speaking on current topics in business and sharing her wisdom and experience as a business entrepreneur.

Light refreshments will be served. Remember to bring your business cards

Pre-registration is essential for this members only event.

If you are not currently an AWIS San Diego member please join or renew your membership online (www.awis.org).   Remember to select San Diego as your chapter. We would love to have you join us!

If you register and later discover that you are unable to attend, please notify us by sending an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Mid-Career Coffee Club

Thursday June 16, 2016

7:45-8:300 am

Corner Bakery, UTC

4575 La Jolla Village Dr, San Diego, CA 92122

A small informal group of AWIS-SD members in managerial or equivalent positions that meet monthly. Everything said at the Club is kept confidential.

Please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for this members only event.


Project Planning and Management for Academic and Industry Applications

Strategy Session

Monday August 4, 2016


Hera Hub Sorrento Valley

Light refreshments will be served. Remember to bring your business cards.

Preregistration is essential is essential for this members only event.

If you are not currently an AWIS San Diego member and would like to attend this event, please join or renew your membership online (www.awis.org). Remember to select San Diego as your chapter. We would love to have you join us!


Mid-Career Coffee Club

Thursday, August 18, 2016

7:45-9:00 am

Corner Bakery, UTC

4575 La Jolla Village Dr, San Diego, CA 92122

A small informal group of AWIS-SD members in managerial or equivalent positions that meet monthly. Everything said at the Club is kept confidential.

Please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for this members only event.


Other Local Events of Interest


Postdoc Individual Development Plan Workshop

Thursday May 26, 2016


Skaggs Pharmaceutical Sciences Building

The Office of Postdoctoral and Visiting Scholar Affairs has partnered with the Career Services Center to design an Individual Development Plan (IDP) workshop. This interactive workshop will provide assistance on creating your IDP, assessing your skills, working with mentors and setting realistic and achievable goals. Each postdoctoral scholar will have the opportunity to develop and present his/her IDP to faculty participants for feedback and by the end of the session have a completed IDP to guide his/her career objectives. This month's faculty member participants are Dorothy Sears, Professor of Endocrinology and Varykina Thackray, Professor of Reproductive Medicine.

This program is free for post-doctoral fellows at UCSD only.

To register, visit: https://postdocidp.eventbrite.com


15th San Diego Bio-Pharma and Bio-Partnering Conference 2016

Saturday June 11th, 2016


San Diego/ Del Mar Hilton

15575 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar, CA 92014

As one of the nation’s premier innovation centers, San Diego biotech beach in recent years has witnessed mega-deals of mergers and acquisitions, highly successful IPOs, the groundbreakings of multiple state-of-the-art research institutes, and many recent launches of new drugs into the market. All these achievements are driven by many of the forward thinking leaders of our scientific community with great visions and strong determinations to help tackle the most daunting challenges of our time, and to translate scientific discoveries to clinical utilities to benefit mankind. Come to meet some of these visionary leaders at our upcoming Sino American biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Professionals Association (SABPA) Bio-Pharma conference to learn more about the latest breakthroughs in science and new trends in our industry, and to network with your peers. It is one of the biggest San Diego biotech events that you don’t want to miss.

Cost and registration information can be found here.


About the Authors

mariam cohen

Miriam Cohen received a PhD from The Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel, and is currently an Assistant Project Scientist at UCSD. She specializes in glycobiology with applications in cell biology, host pathogen interactions, and innate immunity. Miriam is an AWIS-SD Outreach Committee board member, where she employs her organizational and leadership skills to coordinate and execute fun science activities for the public. She enjoys interacting with the public and teaching.


 Antonia Darragh

Antonia Darragh is a student of molecular biology in the Graduate PhD Program of Biological Sciences at the University of California, San Diego. She works in Scott Rifkins lab using molecular biology tools to study the evolution of the genus of roundworms, Caenorhabditis. Antonia has been on the AWIS-SD Outreach committee since 2014. She enjoys community service and playing sports. For more information on Antonia please visit https://portfolium.com/AntoniaDarragh.


 Lynne Friedmann

Lynne Friedmann, AWIS Fellow, is a freelance writer, science communications expert, and mentor extraordinaire. An AWIS member for 30+ years, she has held leadership positions within AWIS-SD and was elected three times to the AWIS national board. In 1993, she conceived and chaired the inaugural Women in Bioscience conference (which continues today as the WIST conference series). She offers custom writing workshops and teaches science writing through UCSD Extension. Contact her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


 Ksenya C K

Ksenya Cohen Katsenelson received her Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. To further enhance her research career, she relocated to San Diego for a postdoc at UCSD. She has a strong background in signal transduction pathways, and a broad range of experience in biochemistry and molecular and cell biology techniques. Outside the lab she loves hiking and boogie boarding with her husband and daughter, and enjoys social events with friends.


 Juliati R

Juliati Rahajeng received her PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Nebraska, Medical Center in 2011. She joined UCSD School of Medicine as a postdoctoral researcher one month after her graduation. Juliati has been a member of AWIS-SD for the past 3 years. She is currently an active member of the Scholarship and the Newsletter committees. She was also a member of the AWIS-SD Open House 2015 committee.


Diane Retallack

Diane Retallack is Sr. Director of Upstream Processing at Pfenex Inc., a clinical stage biotech company focused on biosimilars. She earned a PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Michigan. Diane has been an AWISSD outreach committee member since 2003, and has in the past served both as outreach committee co-chair and as a board member.

Other author biographies were not available at press time.

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