WIB-San Francisco Bay Area

Name:  Michelle Zeman
WIB Position:  Chapter Chair
Company: Invitae
Title: Clinical Genomics Scientist
Bio Data:  

Michelle received a BS in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a PhD in Cancer Biology from Stanford University. After a short stint as a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford, she joined Invitae, a genetic testing company, where she works on variant interpretation and content development.

Name:  Karen Ring
WIB Position:  Chapter Vice Chair
Company: California Institute for Regenerative Medicine
Title: Website and Social Media Manager
Bio Data:  

Karen works in science communications as the Website and Social Media Manager at the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). Before moving into this role, Karen received her PhD in biomedical science from UCSF and did a postdoctoral fellowship at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging. When she's not thinking or writing about science, Karen loves to run, climb, and go backpacking.

Name:  Kristine Mechem
WIB Position:  Chapter Vice Chair
Company: OncoCyte Corporation
Title: Vice President of Marketing
Bio Data:  

Kristine C. Mechem is the Vice President of Marketing and Planning at OncoCyte Corporation, a molecular diagnostic company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of oncology diagnostics in areas of high unmet need. Dr. Mechem’s leadership experience includes marketing, strategic planning, commercial opportunity assessments and business analytics spanning the range from early stage diagnostics such as Corra Life Science to larger biopharma companies including Abbot and Genentech. At Corra Life Sciences she was a co-founder and VP of Marketing and Business Development where she worked to secure co-development partners and to license IP. Her roles at Genentech and Abbott included market planning and business analytics. Dr. Mechem has a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and has completed Stanford Business School’s Executive Program in Strategy and Organization.

Name:  Melina Mathur
WIB Position:  Communications Chair
Company: Stanford University
Title: Graduate Student
Bio Data:  

Melina is a PhD candidate in Bioengineering at Stanford University and an Associate at Asset Management Ventures. She is passionate about bridging biotechnology and business, and has previously worked at Merck & Co. and consulted for local biotech companies. Melina holds a MS in Bioengineering from Stanford University and a BA in Molecular and Cell Biology from UC-Berkeley.

Name:  Robyn Rosenfeld
WIB Position:  Communications Chair
Company: UC Berkeley
Title: Staff Research Associate III
Bio Data:  

Robyn received her PhD from the University of Toronto in Molecular Genetics, where she studied the genes involved in tissue growth and development. Since moving to the Bay Area, Robyn works at UC Berkeley as a teaching research associate, where she prepares and coordinates various undergraduate lab courses in the department of Molecular and Cell Biology. 

Name:  Neha Dobhal
WIB Position:  Social Media Manager
Company: Theranos Inc.
Title: Sr. Systems Engineer
Bio Data:  

Neha is a Sr. Systems Engineer at Theranos Inc. She is passionate about healthcare product development and has experience developing technological solutions across multiple healthcare industries (minimally invasive medical robotics, cardiac and neuro implantable devices, healthcare diagnostic systems) with significant contributions in the area of design, process development, operations support, systems engineering, and product launches. She holds a certificate in Management Science from Stanford University, an MS in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia University and a BS in Mechanical Engineering from JNTU, India.

Name:  Kaitlyn Blake
WIB Position:  Communications Quarterly Bulletin Editor
Company: Biosurplus, Inc.
Title: Marketing Associate
Bio Data:  

Kaitlyn is a technical writer with a degree in Human Physiology. Ultimately, she aims to bridge the divide between scientists who don't want to write and writers who don't want to science. Although she specializes in training materials and internal documentation, she is migrating into content marketing and social media management. When she's not huddled behind two computer monitors, you can find her singing to everything (inanimate objects are great listeners) or prying her cat's claws out of furniture.

Name:  Emilie Besnard
WIB Position:  Program Committee Chair
Company: Buck Institute for Research on Aging
Title: Postdoctoral Fellow
Bio Data:  

Emilie is a postdoctoral fellow at Buck Institute for Research on Aging and is currently studying the regulation of HIV transcription and latency. She received her PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Montpellier I, France working on DNA replication and cellular aging. In her spare time, she loves trying new restaurants in the city with her husband and friends, traveling, hiking and dancing at the gym or at events!

Name:  Nicki Schirle Oakdale
WIB Position:  Program Chair
Company: UCSF
Title: Postdoctoral Fellow
Bio Data:  

Nicki is a postdoctoral fellow at UCSF and is currently studying protein folding in the  Endoplasmic Reticulum using cryo-electron microscopy and genomic approaches. She received her PhD in Structural Biology at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, CA and earned a B.S. in Organic Chemistry from the University of California, Davis. Her favorite past times are spending time with her family, running, and gardening in her backyard.

Name:  Jamie Kitano
WIB Position:  Funding Chair
Company: Stanford University
Title: Industrial Contracts Officer
Bio Data:  

Jamie is an attorney who's practice focuses on patent litigation and intellectual property, primarily in the life sciences, biotech, pharmaceutical, and technology industries.  Jamie received her J.D./MBA from the University of California, Davis, where she focused on technology management.

Name:  Leah Makley
WIB Position:  Young Women In Bio Co-Chair
Company: Viewpoint Therapeutics
Title: President & Chief Scientific Officer
Bio Data:  

Leah obtained her PhD in medicinal chemistry from the University of Michigan, where she studied molecular chaperones and protein misfolding diseases. After graduating, she founded ViewPoint Therapeutics, and is currently serving as President and Chief Scientific Officer. ViewPoint's focus is developing small molecule therapeutics for protein misfolding diseases, including cataracts.

Name:  Yalia "Jaya" Jayalakshmi
WIB Position:  Young Women In Bio Co-Chair
Company: C2CBio Consulting
Title: Principal
Bio Data:  

Jaya is a biopharmaceutical R&D leader and entrepreneur with over 20 years of product development experience involving therapeutic drugs, nanotechnology/drug delivery systems and medical device products. At C2CBio, Jaya provides drug development consulting to early stage companies and asset scouting and due diligence for venture investments. She was the head of drug delivery/nanotechnology unit at Onyx Pharmaceutical (acquired by Amgen Inc.). Prior to this, she cofounded and led product development at StemPar Sciences, a cancer therapeutics start-up. Previously, she was at Johnson and Johnson Pharmaceutical, Alza Corporation, Genentech Inc. and Cygnus Inc., where she has contributed to the advancement of multiple early and late stage product candidates in oncology, ophthalmology and other therapeutic areas. Jaya volunteers regularly at several of bay area non-profit educational forums. Bringing exciting programs to school children via YWIB is one of her strong passions.  

Name:  Bhavaani Jayaram
WIB Position:  Membership Chair
Company: Stanford University School of Medicine
Title: Postdoctoral Fellow
Bio Data:  

Bhavaani loves all things science with a PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences. As a a member of drug discovery, she enjoys the challenges that comes with research and excited to be a part of changing patient's lives. Through WIB, she has met many enthusiastic women and hopes to share the same enthusiasm with incoming members.

Name:  Jihyun Kim
WIB Position:  Membership Chair
Company: Buck Institute for Research on Aging
Title: Postdoctoral Fellow
Bio Data:  

Jihyun is a cellular and molecular biologist. She received her Ph.D in cellular biology from University of Georgia. Her experience and expertise are in aging, stem cell biology, and genetics.

Name:  Subia Muhammdi
WIB Position:  Membership Chair
Bio Data:  

Subia is a Biotech professional equipped with a Master’s degree in Biotechnology with a focus in molecular biology and biochemistry.  She is currently exploring the Life Science industry for opportunities.  She has a passion for science and an enthusiast with a desire to make a difference in the lives of people.   In her free time she likes to go hiking, also during the winter she spends her time snowboarding.

Name:  Rong Wang
WIB Position:  Treasurer
Company: MID Labs Inc.
Title: VP of Finance
Bio Data:  

Rong has engineering and science training and has been serving finance and accounting capacities for companies. Because of this background, she has worked for various size biotech/life science companies, and loves the industry. She feels fortunate to be part of WIB organization, and enjoys serving the members by utilizing her numbers' skills.

Name:  Praneeti Pathipati
WIB Position:  Mentors, Advisors, Peers (MAP) Chair
Bio Data:  

Praneeti is a neuroscience researcher with a passion for productive, practical research. Outside research, she has been involved in promoting bioentrepreneurship and other science-supportive initiatives, interests which led her to working with WIB. Spending time with her toddler & dancing like no one is watching are her favorite pastimes.

Name:  Desyree Jesus
WIB Position:  Mentors, Advisors, Peers (MAP) Vice Chair
Company: Audentes Therapeutics
Title: Scientist
Bio Data:  

Desyree received a BS in biology and a MSc and a PhD in virology in Brazil. After a few years of postdoctoral training, she joined a company that has the goal to cure rare genetic diseases using gene therapy. She enjoys solving problems and is happy that her work is helping advance the gene therapy field, which has the possibility to change the lives of millions of children worldwide. She joined WIB because she wants to help women connect to each other in order to increase their confidence and to secure more senior positions.

Name:  Sarah Foss
WIB Position:  Volunteer Engagement Coordinator
Company: Zitter Health
Title: Research Manager
Bio Data:  

Sarah is a manager at Zitter Health Insights where she conducts research on the interactions between payers (health plans, PBMs, hospital systems, etc.) and biopharmaceutical manufacturers.  She completed her PhD in cell biology at UCSF and received a BA in biology from the University of Chicago.

Also meet our Committee Associates, who assist the efforts of Chapter Chairs and support the successful implementation of their initiatives!