Effective Transition from Academia to Industry


Learn the critical skills necessary for a smooth and effective transition from academia to industry.

Lessons learned from a variety of individual experiences.  

Panel discussion moderated by Gwen Acton, former WEST President and President of Vivo Group.

Article: From Academic Solos to Industrial Symphonies

Panel Discussion and Networking with the following women:

Gwen Acton, former WEST President and President of Vivo Group

Gwen Acton, PhD, is an expert on strategic leadership at the intersection of science and business. She is CEO of Vivo Group, a firm that improves the business skills of scientists and engineers so that they can be more productive and innovative in the life science and technology industries. Prior to this, she served as Director of Scientific Development at the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, where she ran the operations of the Functional Genomics Program, a $40 million, 50-person academic-industry collaborative research program.  Dr. Acton has a doctorate in biology from M.I.T., and served as a faculty member at Harvard University in the department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. She is the author of the book "The Bluffer’s Guide to Genetics," a humorous guide to DNA published by Oval Books, and the former president of Women Entrepreneurs in Science & Technology (WEST). Dr. Acton is a popular speaker, workshop presenter, and moderator.

Hila Epstein, Associate Director at Entrega

Hila Epstein-Barash, Ph.D is currently Associate Director of Research and Development at Entrega, which she joined in March 2012. Entrega (meaning "delivery" in Spanish) is developing a proprietary formulation technology for oral delivery of peptides, proteins, and poorly bioavailable small molecules, it’s a early stage startup and Hila joined as first employee, leading the research and development from academia stage to company. Prior to joining Entrega, Hila spent 2 years at Alnylam Pharmaceutical as scientist were she led pre-clinical research team for nucleic acid formulation development from research to clinical batch and was key contributor to a multi-disciplinary team evaluating various drug delivery technologies for in-licensing from both academia and industry, working closely with business development team. Hila did her postdoc at Professor Robert Langer group at MIT and during her postdoc worked as consultant for technology evaluation for several companies. Hila is a pharmacist with a Ph.D from the Hebrew university of Jerusalem, Israel, at her second year of the Ph.D her thesis become a start up (BioRest Ltd.) and Hila worked there during her Ph.D moving the technology from academia to phase II clinical trial. 

Paula Feinberg-Zadek, Field Application Scientist at GE Healthcare

Paula Feinberg-Zadek joined GE Healthcare as a Field Application Scientist in Cellular Technologies in 2011. As an FAS, Paula provides user trainings, assay development and analysis to support users of the IN Cell Analyzer High-Content Analysis systems, Applied Precision Microscopes -Deltavision and OMX and the Cytell fluorescent image cytometer. High Content Analysis is powerful and relatively new technology for high throughput microscope cell analysis. It is the ability to extract and make sense of multiparameter data from high throughput  sub-cellular imaging. Prior to her work at GE Paula was a post-doc at MIT in the McGovern Institute and at Harvard Medical School in the Anesthesiology department where she investigated the mechanisms of action of mGluR receptor long term depression in Flailer mice and anesthetic action on the Serotonin receptors, respectively. She attained her PhD in neuroscience using skills as an  electrophysiologist to  investigate the action of ethanol on BK channels and the development of molecular tolerance at the single channel level. Paula holds a degree in Biology from Brandeis University, a MS in Molecular Biology from University of Massachusetts and a PhD in Neuroscience from University of Massachusetts Medical School where she graduated in 2005. Paula raised five children including a set of triplets while she was attending university. 

Paulina Hill, Senior Associate at Polaris Venture Partners

Paulina Hill is a Senior Associate at Polaris Venture Partners. Paulina joined Polaris in 2011 and focuses on investments in healthcare. Prior to joining Polaris, Paulina completed her postdoctoral fellowship in the Chemical Engineering department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In the laboratory of Bob Langer, Paulina worked on developing novel biomaterial scaffolds and drug delivery systems for neural applications. Paulina is the founding president of the MIT Postdoctoral Association, and served on the MIT Intellectual Property Presidential Committee. Paulina completed her PhD in Molecular Medicine with a Tissue Engineering focus at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Her graduate school work resulted in over 40 published abstracts, awards and peer reviewed manuscripts. Her research contributed to numerous patents and the formation of the startup KeraNetics to commercialize the platform technology. Paulina graduated magna cum laude from East Carolina University with a quadruple major in biochemistry, neuroscience, biology and chemistry. She attended East Carolina on an athletic scholarship where she was captain of the women’s tennis team.

Rachel Meyers, Vice President at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals

Rachel Meyers joined Alnylam in 2003 as Associate Director of Research, after having served as a Senior Scientist at Millennium Pharmaceuticals (1999-2003). At Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Rachel was involved in target advancement and the identification, bioinformatic analysis, cloning and functional analysis of novel targets for small molecule drug discovery, antibody development and diagnostic purposes. At Alnylam, she oversees the RNAi Lead Development (RLD) and immunology groups and plays a key role in the development of Alnylam's RNAi therapeutic programs. Rachel holds a degree in Biochemistry from Brandeis University and a Ph.D. in Biology from MIT, and she completed her post-doctoral training at Harvard Medical School. She is a member of the advisory board for the MS program in Biotechnology at Brandeis University.

Erika Reynoso, Senior Publications Specialist at Vertex Pharmaceuticals

Erika D. Reynoso, Ph.D., is currently a Senior Publications Specialist with the Medical Strategy, Education & Publications group at Vertex Pharmaceuticals in Cambridge, MA, where she works closely with Medical Affairs colleagues, internal and external researchers, and key opinion leaders to manage operations for the company’s hepatitis C virus publications program. Previously, she held the position of Senior Analyst at Health Advances, a strategy and research consulting firm in western MA, where she formed part of teams tasked with advising clients from pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device, and diagnostic companies on R&D and commercial strategy, identification and prioritization of applications and indications for new products and technologies, clinical trial design, new product launch, and other areas. She has conducted research in the areas of innate immunity, oncology, autoimmunity, and inflammation. Erika holds a Ph.D. in immunology from Harvard University and a B.S. in microbiology , summa cum laude, from California State University Los Angeles.

Yelena Wetherill, Clinical Research Scientist at ARIAD Pharmaceuticals, Inc

Yelena Wetherill is a Clinical Research Scientist at ARIAD, which she joined in January 2013. Prior to ARIAD, Yelena was with SANOFI ONCOLOGY in Cambridge, MA, where she held several key positions from regulatory medical writing to managing global scientific publications for a lead brand product.  Yelena completed her postdoctoral training at Harvard School of Public Health and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute with the support of National Research Service Award and Susan G Komen for the Cure fellowship.  During her postdoc, Yelena was actively involved in breast cancer patient outreach and she is a co-founder of a non-for-profit organization “Women’s Health Exchange.”  In addition, Yelena was a research fellow with Harvard Global Equity Initiative.  Yelena holds a Ph.D. in molecular cancer biology from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and a B.Phil. in biological sciences and women’s studies, Honors College of the University of Pittsburgh.

Date and Time:  
January 24, 2013
6:00 - 9:00 PM


Microsoft Technology Center
One Cambridge Center

4th Floor Multipurpose Rooms

Cambridge, MA 02142


Members: $35; Non-Members: $55

A light dinner will be served.

To Register

Thank you to Panera Bread who will be donating tasty pastries for this event.

If you are a student looking for financial assistance to attend this event, please visit www.stayinma.com.