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Women leading change in Life Sciences and Healthcare

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Join us for an engaging panel with women trailblazing in the infectious disease field, from research to patient care!

The Healthcare and Life Sciences (HCLS) and the Women Leadership (WLC) Committees of the French American Chamber of Commerce San Francisco (FACCSF) are pleased to invite you to our latest panel of brilliant and influential women making a difference in the infectious diseases field.

This event will showcase the career paths of these exceptional women in the scientific, academic, entrepreneurial fields, often times intertwined, as they pave the way for other women in STEM. They will discuss their journey, ventures, ongoing projects, challenges, and missions in academia, pharmaceutical, and biotech industries to address major public health situations and emerging threats.

In a rapidly changing context of medical practice, new environmental challenges, and public awareness, understanding infectious diseases is critical for protecting the general public. Theses speakers, each of them leader in their field, are involved in developing strategies for prevention, early detection, and effective treatments to reduce the impact of these diseases on our local communities and at a global scale.

The panel will include Ritu Lal, Ph.D., Yvonne Maldonado, M.D., Melanie Ott, M.D., Ph.D. and will be moderated by Cassy Christianson, MA, OTR.

Ritu Lal, Ph.D.

Dr Ritu Lal is CEO and Co-Founder of GEn1E Lifesciences Inc. The goal for GEn1E is to transform promising research into therapies for unmet medical needs.  She has over 20 years of experience in Biotech/Pharma companies. In her role as a Senior Executive, she has led Preclinical and Clinical Development teams. She has taken compounds from Discovery to Regulatory Approval and has filed more than 15 Investigational New Drug Applications (IND) in disease areas of neurology, inflammation, virology, pain, and oncology. Two compounds have received New Drug Application (NDA) approvals from the US FDA and Ministry of Health and Welfare, Japan (Kaletra for the treatment of HIV and Horizant (Regnite in Japan) for Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) and Post Herpetic Neuralgia (PHN).

Yvonne Maldonado, M.D.

Yvonne Maldonado is the Taube Professor of Global Health and Infectious Diseases and Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Development and Diversity at Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Maldonado received her MD and completed a pediatric internship at Stanford, before conducting her pediatric residency and fellowship in pediatric infectious diseases at Johns Hopkins University. She then served as a lieutenant commander in the United States Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and as an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 1988, she joined the Stanford faculty and is now a professor in the Department of Pediatrics (Infectious Diseases) and the Department of Epidemiology and Population Health.  As senior associate dean, Dr. Maldonado has built programs to address academic workforce development, diversity and health disparities and has published research in these areas.

Melanie Ott, M.D., Ph.D.

Melanie Ott is the director and a senior investigator at the Gladstone Institute of Virology, a senior vice president of Gladstone and a professor of medicine at the University of California San Francisco. She studied under Nobel laureate Harald zur Hausen in Heidelberg/Germany and has been recognized for her contributions to HIV Cure research and the pathogenesis of hepatitis C and Zika virus infections. Since January 2020, she has pivoted part of her efforts to SARS-CoV-2 research. This work is focused on studying SARS-CoV-2 variants and harnessing the host response for new therapeutics using organoid technology. Her lab also develops new rapid diagnostics based on CRISPR and mobile phone technologies. She is the Program Director for the HOPE Collaboratory, a multi-disciplinary group of researchers from around the world and is an elected member of the Association of American Physicians (AAP) and a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology (AAM). 

Cassy Christianson, MA, OTR

Cassy Christianson, MA, OTR is a therapist in pediatrics and maternal health. She is the Vice-Chair and incoming Chair of Stanford Medicine Community Council and serves on the Board of Directors of Ability path. Cassy’s interests include the history of medicine and she is currently at Stanford University pursuing research in early modern women’s’ health.  

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