Breaking Boundaries: Stories from Asian and Pacific Islander Trailblazers in Science and Tech

Join WEST to promote and engage talent diversity in the biotech industry. This event is focused on enhancing the representation of Asian & Pacific Islander groups in science and technology, breaking barriers, navigating challenges, and building relationships with the community and peers. There will be a panel discussion and networking. This panel will be moderated by Lesley Chan, Senior Director, CMC lead of Sickle Cell Disease Program, bluebird bio.

Panelists include:

  • Ann Lee, CTO, Prime Medicine
  • Nivedita Panch, Manager of Site Operations, Blavatnik Harvard Life Lab Longwood
  • Crystal Shih Byers
  • Ponsi Trivisvavet, CEO, Inari




Date and Time:  
May 23, 2024
5:30-7:30 PM ET


Bayer Co.Lab Cambridge, 238 Main St., 2nd Floor, Cambridge, MA 02142

Members: $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.


Register Here


Support Beantown Diaper Bank

You can help keep local babies clean, healthy, and dry! WEST will be collecting diaper donations at all of our in-person May events (5/2, 5/8, 5/23).

▪ You can purchase a box or bag of disposable diapers to donate - no quantity is too big or small - every diaper matters!
▪ You may purchase diapers via Beantown Baby Diaper Bank’s Amazon Wishlist.

▪ You can bring in FRESH disposable diapers that your children have outgrown. Open packages or loose unused FRESH diapers are accepted! (Please make sure diapers are not dried out - they DO expire!)
▪ Donate online at

Note: Larger disposable diapers (sizes 4, 5, 6, and 7) are of greatest need, though diapers of all sizes are accepted. Swim diapers are accepted.

Download Diaper Drive Flyer
Diaper Drive Amazon Wishlist


Special thanks for the venue and food to

About the Speakers

Lesley Chan is Senior Director, CMC lead of Sickle Cell Disease Program at bluebird bio. She received degrees focusing on bioengineering from the University of Toronto and National University of Singapore, and most recently, a degree focusing on Engineering Management from Tufts University. In her career, she’s been focused on developing commercially viable and efficient manufacturing processes in the field of regenerative medicine and gene therapy. Beginning with hands-on lab work, and more recently, in team and project leadership positions to deliver next-generation processes and to bring potentially transformative therapies to patients in the clinic.

Ann Lee, PhD, is the Chief Technical Officer of Prime Medicine. Ann is an accomplished biotech executive with 35 years of biopharma and biotech experiences across multiple modalities of vaccines, biologics, small molecules cell therapy development and gene editing CMC development and manufacturing. She has a passion for helping patients, innovating new technologies, and developing employees. Over the course of her career, she has contributed to the licensure and commercialization of 25 new vaccines and medicines, with the most recent being two CAR T cell therapies. Ann previously worked at BMS, which acquired Celgene and Juno Therapeutics. Ann joined Juno Therapeutics in 2017 as Executive VP of Technical Operations to work in the new field of cell and gene therapy. She built the global Cell Therapy Development and Operations organization to more than 2000 employees responsible for developing new manufacturing processes and technologies, manufacturing, quality assurance, designing new facilities, and creating the global supply chain network and digital systems to deliver these autologous products. Read more here.

Nivedita Panch, an Indian-born scientist, holds a background in engineering in biotechnology and a master's degree in Neuroscience. Her research career began with a focus on metabolism and behavior, transitioning into oncology with a specialization in Cowden syndrome. Now, as the Site Manager of the Blavatnik Harvard Life Lab at Harvard Medical School, she oversees operations, leveraging her expertise to foster innovation and collaboration.

Crystal Shih Byers is a second-generation Taiwanese American, born in Wisconsin, and raised in Michigan.  Crystal was raised by somewhat open-minded parents who started more Taiwanese and ended up more Taiwanese-American. This was challenging, as she was constantly revising what it meant to be Taiwanese American, pitting her family’s shifting feedback against her daily experience. Crystal started out shy. In math and science, Crystal found the vocabulary and prowess to gain confidence. In the learning process, she found a constant source of dopamine.  Her drive to keep learning guides her decision-making today. It gives her unlimited chances to learn and to connect with others. Crystal brings an amiable, scientifically-informed beginner’s mindset to every new pivot she navigates and she constantly seeks change and new environments to keep growing. Read more here

Ponsi Trivisvavet is CEO & Director of Inari, the SEEDesignTM company using predictive design and advanced multiplex gene editing to unlock the full potential of seed. Her broad management expertise in global agriculture helps Ponsi to lead Inari closer to achieving its mission of helping to build a more sustainable global food system in the face of climate change. Prior to joining Inari, she held several leadership roles including president of North America Seeds with Syngenta after earning her MBA from Cornell University and working with McKinsey & Company.