Career Possibilities: Discovery and Research 

In the world of business, careers are no longer linear or predictable. What was once a clearly sign-posted path as you progressed through milestones, a career road map is now circuitous presenting new challenges and opportunities at every bend. Life-long careers in one sector or one company are becoming a rarity as new technologies and shifting social norms disrupt traditional careers. Both employers and employees are seeking more diversity of experience, lifestyle flexibility and alternative paths.

This panel is designed to help you think about your career path and the different options that are open to you. The panel will have an informational interview type feel with panelists sharing their career paths, a look at what their job entails, transferrable skills for those looking to make a change, tips for uncovering opportunities, advice for others, and how to make brave leaps. This panel discussion will be moderated by Elissa Hobert, Senior Scientist at Flagship Pioneering.

Panelists include
- Andy Hurwitz, SVP Head of R&D, Mana Therapeutics
- Tim Kiprono, Senior Associate, Pandion Therapeutics
- Kristine McKinney, Director, Target Biology and Translational Medicine, 
Arrakis Therapeutics
- Karel Otero-Gutierrez, PhD, Principal Scientist, Eisai US 
- Kathy Seidl, 
Head of Immuno-Oncology Biology and Translation, Takeda
- Lani San Mateo, Head of Product Development for Microbiome Solutions, Johnson & Johnson

Panelists' Bios are Below


Date and Time:  
February 10, 2021
4:00-5:30 PM EST

4:00-4:05pm: Welcome
4:05-5:10pm: Panel discussion
5:10-5:30pm: Small group speed networking (2 rounds)




Members, Students, Postdocs: $5; Non-Members: $15

Given our mission is to promote women's development in STEM we would like to offer a free spot in our workshops to those in transition between jobs or who cannot afford the ticket price. Please contact [email protected] if you qualify.

Download Event Flyer




Check out the other events in this series
1/20: Career Possibilities Panel: New Commercial Strategy, Product Planning, Marketing
3/03: Career Possibilities Panel: Clinical, Regulatory, Development
3/24: Career Possibilities Panel: Portfolio Strategy, Project Management, Scientific Operations
4/14: Career Possibilities Panel: Medical Affairs-Comms, Publications, Medical Science Liaison
5/05: Career Possibilities Panel: Business Development and Intellectual Property


Andy Hurwitz, Senior Vice President and Head of Research at MANA Therapeutics

Dr. Andy Hurwitz is currently Senior Vice President and Head of Research at MANA Therapeutics, where he brings deep expertise in immunology, cell therapy, and immunotherapy. Prior to joining MANA, Andy was Vice President, Head of Preclinical Research at AgenTus Therapeutics, where he led the preclinical research team in its discovery and validation of novel TCR and CAR molecules for use in cell therapy resulting in the delivery of two novel development candidates. Andy was also Senior Director of TCR Biology at Agenus where he held responsibilities for both vaccine and cell therapy activities. From 2003-2015, Andy was a Principal Investigator at the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), where his lab used preclinical models of cancer to study the impact of tumors on T-cell biology. He held a joint faculty position at The George Washington University School of Medicine.

Timothy Kiprono, Senior Associate Scientist at Pandion Therapeutics

Before joining Pandion, Tim worked as Senior Associate Scientist at Pfizer. He received his BA in Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology from Connecticut College and master’s degree in Biomedical Science from University of Connecticut.

Elissa Hobert, Senior Scientist at LARONDE

Previously, Elissa worked at Moderna, where she focused on improving mRNA therapeutics. Prior to joining Moderna, Elissa was an NIH postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School. Elissa received her BS in chemistry from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and her PhD in chemistry from Yale University. She has volunteered at WEST events since 2015 and was the recipient of the WEST Giving Back Award in 2016.

Kristine McKinney, Director, Target Biology and Translational Medicine at Arrakis Therapeutics

Kristine trained in tumor intrinsic pathways during her academic career.  Attracted by the goal of developing novel cancer therapeutics and working in teams, she transitioned to industry. As part of Moderna’s New Venture Labs, she helped build a matrixed, cross-functional team to explore novel applications of mRNA as a therapeutic.  Through this role she garnered experience in fundamental industrial skills, supported intellectual property filings, led programs and a small team in diverse therapeutic areas, and co-led a cancer vaccine program (mRNA-5671) through successful IND.  Shortly after she was lured by the team and mission of Arrakis Therapeutics.  Arrakis is a platform company with the bold vision to drug RNA structure using small molecules, including difficult-to-drug cancer targets.  At Arrakis, Kristine is building/leading the Target Biology and Translational Medicine team, contributes to target ID and validation, co-develops portfolio strategy, and regularly updates stakeholders (Series B investors, BOD, SAB, KOL and pharma partners).

Kathy Seidl, VP Immunology at SQZ BioTech

Kathy received her Ph.D. in Genetics from Stanford University where she trained in the laboratory of Leonard and Leonore Herzenberg studying B cell development and antibody formation with a focus on autoreactive antibody responses. She then did her postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School, The Children’s Hospital in the laboratory of Dr. Frederick Alt with a focus on DNA rearrangement events that occur during normal B cell development resulting in antibody formation. Since 2000, Kathy has worked in the biotechnology/pharmaceutical industry in preclinical drug discovery and development in both autoimmunity and oncology.  Recently at the end of 2020, Kathy joined Takeda as Head Immuno-Oncology Biology and Translation. Prior, Kathy served as VP Immunology, Research and Development and Strategy, at SQZ Biotech, Watertown, MA where she oversaw multiple cell therapy research programs in the areas of oncology and autoimmunity applying the novel cell squeeze® technology.   Prior positions include bluebird bio in Cambridge, MA and Novartis Institute of Biomedical Research in Basel, Switzerland and Cambridge, MA where she held several positions with increasing responsibility developing therapeutics for oncology and autoimmune disease through small molecule, cell therapy and biologics modalities.  Additional roles in pre-clinical and translational research include Daiamed, Wyeth, and Pfizer where Kathy worked on small molecule and biologic modalities for immune regulation, including selective Jak inhibitors such as tofacitinib.

Dr. Lani San Mateo, Head of Product Development for Microbiome Solutions at Johnson & Johnson

Dr. Lani San Mateo is Head of Product Development for Microbiome Solutions within the World Without Disease Accelerator (WWDA) at Johnson & Johnson. In her current role, she is partnering with Janssen R&D and external collaborators to build a pipeline of clinical assets aimed at disease prevention via modulation of the microbiome. Prior to her role in the WWDA, Lani led a Discovery group within Janssen Immunology that delivered numerous New Molecular Entities for clinical development in autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. Lani completed post-doctoral training at the University of Pennsylvania, received her Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, her M.S. in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Michigan, and her B.S. in Biology from the University of the Philippines Diliman.