April 16, 2021
WIB SmartBrief
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Top Story
Acting FDA Commissioner and longtime Center for Drug Evaluation and Research Director Janet Woodcock is no longer seen as a frontrunner for permanent FDA commissioner. Others who may be under consideration include Katherine Luzuriaga, director of the University of Massachusetts Center for Clinical and Translational Science; Florence Houn, vice president for global regulatory science at Celgene; Michelle McMurry-Heath, president and CEO of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization; Gayatri Rao, an executive at Rocket Pharmaceuticals; and former FDA officials Joshua Sharfstein and Luciana Borio.
Full Story: FiercePharma (4/14),  The Wall Street Journal (4/14) 
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Women Movers and Shakers
Karen Knudsen will be the first basic scientist and the first female to serve as CEO of the 107-year-old American Cancer Society when she takes the role on June 1, but she has a clear vision of the future for the organization. "I think ACS is ready for that next phase, to truly complete the journey of a single organization with new leadership to make strategic choices that are based with the patient at the center, and to use unique partnerships to really accelerate that mission," said Knudsen, president of the Association of American Cancer Institutes, executive vice president of oncology services at Jefferson Health, and enterprise director at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Centers.
Full Story: The Cancer Letter (4/12),  The Business Journals (tiered subscription model)/Bizwomen (4/13) 
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Fifteen years ago, virologist Ilaria Capua committed an act of scientific rebellion and refused to send the genomic sequence of the H5N1 influenza virus to a password-protected database and made it publicly available instead to accelerate research. Although genetic sequences of SARS-CoV-2 have been widely shared, it's not enough, Capua writes, and she's pushing for all countries to have virus surveillance and sequencing capabilities, fix strategic failures exposed by the pandemic, and explore novel solutions.
Full Story: STAT (tiered subscription model) (4/14) 
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Alina Chan, a genetic engineer and postdoctoral fellow at the Broad Institute, says her research on SARS-CoV-1 led her to speculate that SARS-CoV-2 may have accidentally leaked from a lab, but the lab leak theory took on a political life of its own that made Chan's paper radioactive. SARS-CoV-1 picked up functional mutations from patient to patient, but SARS-CoV-2 has stayed relatively stable, little evidence supports the wildlife wet market theory, bats carrying SARS-CoV-2's closest relative live hundreds of miles from Wuhan, and Chan says it's essential that an investigation free from political influence be conducted.
Full Story: Slate (4/13) 
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Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock announced that Patrizia Cavazzoni has been appointed permanent director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Cavazzoni has been serving as CDER's acting director since spring 2020.
Full Story: Becker's Hospital Review (4/13),  Regulatory Focus (4/12) 
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Women's Health
Anecdotal evidence suggests menstrual cycle changes may be an unexpected and little-discussed side effect of COVID-19 vaccines. "The menstrual cycle is a really flexible and dynamic process and it responds to a lot of different things in life like stress, physical or mental or immune changes," says postdoctoral researcher Katherine Lee, who is investigating the phenomenon with Kathryn Clancy, head of a women's health lab at the University of Illinois.
Full Story: WBBH-TV (Fort Myers, Fla.) (4/12) 
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Viewpoints and Data Points
Actor and director Justine Bateman's book "Face: One Square Foot of Skin" includes interviews with women about their aging faces. "I hated the idea that half the population was perhaps spending the entire second half of their lives ashamed and apologetic that their faces had aged naturally," Bateman wrote.
Full Story: TIME (tiered subscription model) (4/11) 
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Tomorrow's Leaders
Beata Mierzwa, a postdoctoral researcher in molecular biology at the University of California-San Diego, has always loved both science and art, but thought she had to choose one or the other. She realized it was a false dilemma when she created a drawing for her fellowship organizers, and now she prints images of cells on fabric for clothing, masks and bags. That ability to make science approachable led her to an American Association for the Advancement of Science If/Then ambassadorship and a segment on the STEM series "Mission Unstoppable."
Full Story: La Jolla Light (Calif.) (4/13) 
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Women In Bio News
Bayer's acquisition of gene therapy company, AskBio, is viewed as one of the top 10 deals in the biotech industry in 2020 and provided a cornerstone to Bayer's newly formed Cell & Gene Therapy Platform. Three visionary women leaders are changing the face of gene therapy in this partnership, and we're honored to have Sheila Mikhail (CEO and Co-Founder, AskBio), Kathy High (President, AskBio, and Co-Founder, Spark Therapeutics), and Marianne De Backer (Executive VP, Head of Strategy, Business Development & Licensing, Bayer) speaking at our Keynote Event. Learn more and register.
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Women In Bio will host four virtual events as part of BIO Digital, the world's largest virtual biotech partnering and education event, convening thousands of global biotech leaders and innovators.

EWIB-National: Executive Women In Bio Lunch at BIO Digital 2021
June 14, 2021, 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. EDT
Click here for more information or to register.

WIB-National: Plenary Event at BIO Digital 2021: Women’s Health Equity -- Why It Matters & What Can Be Done Now
June 14, 2021, 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. EDT
Click here for more information or to register.

WIB-Greater Boston: Panel at BIO Digital 2021: The Bioeconomy and the Future of Pandemic Response
June 15, 2021, 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. EDT
Click here for more information or to register.

WIB-National: Speed Networking Event at BIO Digital 2021
June 16, 2021, 5:00 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. EDT
Click here for more information or to register.

NOTE: These events are open to the general public. A BIO pass is not required to attend. (WIB members-only discount: Email info@womeninbio.org for $200 off a BIO Digital All-Access pass.)
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You have to create little pockets of joy in your life to take care of yourself.
Jonathan Van Ness,
hairdresser, actor, writer, TV personality, podcast host
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