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LSINW 2015 Women to Watch in Life Science
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Congratulations to the Life Science Innovation Northwest Women to Watch in Life Science Award 2015 Honorees:

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Susmita Bose, PhD | Professor, School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering | Washington State University, Pullman


Susmita Bose is a Herman and Brita Lindholm Endowed Chair Professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Washington State University (WSU). Dr. Bose received her PhD from Rutgers University, New Jersey in 1998 and joined WSU in the same year. She received the prestigious Presidential Early Career Award for Scientist and Engineers (PECASE, the highest honor given to a young scientist by the US President at the White House) award from the National Science Foundation. Dr. Bose was named a “Kavli fellow” by the US National Academy of the Sciences. In 2009, she received the prestigious Schwartzwalder-Professional Achievement in Ceramic Engineering Award (PACE) and Richard M. Fulrath award in 2014 from the American Ceramic Society. Dr. Bose is an editorial board member for several international journals including Acta Biomaterialia, Journal of the American Ceramic Society (AE), Additive Manufacturing, International Journal of Nanomedicine, Journal of Materials Chemistry B. Dr. Bose has published over 220 technical papers, 7 book chapters, 6 edited books, with over 6000 citations, “h” index 45. She holds 3 patents and 4 are currently pending at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).  Dr. Bose is a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) and the American Ceramic Society (ACerS).  Dr. Bose’s group research on 3D printed ceramic bone tissue engineering scaffolds with controlled chemistry has been featured by the AP, BBC, NPR, CBS News, MSNBC, ABC News, and many other TV, radio stations, magazines and news sites all over the world.


Carla Grandori, MD, PhD | Scientific Director | Cure First and SEgine Medicine


Dr. Grandori is a cancer researcher with a life mission to improve survival and the quality of life of cancer patients. Dr. Grandori obtained an MD from La Sapienza University in Rome, Italy, and a PhD in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry from The Rockefeller University in NY. In 1991, following her post-doctoral training at MIT Cancer Center, Dr. Grandori joined the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center where she took on the challenge to tackle a powerful and “undruggable” oncogene of many human cancers, named MYC. In 2012, she was among the first to employ genome-wide RNAi interference screens to identify cancer specific Achille’s heels. The result of her work indicated new therapeutic targets for MYC-driven cancers, such as neuroblastoma, ovarian, breast and potentially many other cancers.

In summary, Dr. Grandori’s has pioneered the combination of breakthroughs technologies in functional genomics, high throughput screening and bioinformatics, to pinpoint the unique vulnerabilities of different cancer cells to enable selecting the most specific and effective treatments for each patient.

In 2009, Dr. Grandori was appointed by the University of Washington to establish and direct the first high-throughput screening laboratory in the Northwest (Quellos) and one of the first in the country, for which she was awarded a Presidential Entrepreneurial Faculty Fellow Award from the University of Washington in 2011.

Recognizing the potential of high-throughput screening, Dr. Grandori labored to have several institutions to adopt this approach, including Columbia University, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and also pharmaceuticals. In light of the crisis in federal grants Dr. Grandori founded a non-profit research organization, Cure First, to support the comprehensive identification of cancer target genes by functional testing, instead of the descriptive DNA sequencing.

Dr. Grandori’s contribution to the field has been recognized nationally and internationally by scientific peers, and her recent discoveries were instrumental to obtain a > $4 million dollar grant from the National Cancer Institute Cancer Target Discovery and Development Network. More recently Dr. Grandori and colleagues from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, have founded SEngine Precision Medicine, a company whose mission is to develop novel targeted and personalized cancer therapies.


Desert Horse-Grant | Director, Strategic Planning and Operations, Solid Tumor Translational Research (STTR) | Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center


Desert Horse-Grant is the Director of Strategy and Operations for Solid Tumor Translational Research (STTR) at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC). Encompassing over 450 faculty members spanning oncology research efforts at FHCRC, UW Medicine, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and Seattle Children’s Hospital, STTR couples scientific fields ranging from basic science, cancer biology and informatics to translational research, bench-to-bedside medicine, epidemiology and clinical trials research. She facilitates this multi-institute, multi-discipline initiative to enhance collaborative scientific efforts, eliminate barriers in cancer research, secure funding for innovative studies, facilitate the banking of biospecimens for precision medicine efforts, and identify and facilitate new research that is translatable to patients within five years. Desert is also a leader in the STTR Innovation Laboratory focused on new biotool development. She is an accomplished professional, with proven innovation, strategy and social engineering capabilities with extensive experience in molecular profiling pipeline development and plays a key role in pursuing Dr. Eric Holland’s vision of incorporating clinical and genomic data to better stratify patients and create a global reference database for cancer researchers and clinicians to collaborate in an open-source, de-identified manner. Ms. Horse-Grant’s significant and positive impact has led to multiple recognitions, including the National Communicators Award for her team's written material for patients (2009-2010), the first senior-most MSKCC Presidential Research Administrator Award (2012), and is named one of 15 Women to Watch in 2015 by Disruptive Women in Health Care, an award-winning digital platform spotlighting women that introduce novel and innovative initiatives to improve health care.


Leen Kawas, PhD | President & Chief Executive Officer | M3 Biotechnology, Inc.

M3 Biotechnology, Inc. is a Seattle-based emerging company that is targeting growth-factor systems with a drug that could reverse the course of neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson and Alzheimer’s. Dr. Kawas who was born in Amman, Jordan, was originally trained as a molecular pharmacologist. Dr. Kawas started her career as a clinical and retail pharmacist in Amman, Jordan. Dr. Kawas came to the US to pursue her PhD in Cancer research at Washington State University. There she was exposed to the research work on growth factors and the drug named MM-201. Now, as the CEO having completed an oversubscribed seed round, she is working on moving the drug into its first human trials. Dr. Kawas was trained in the Neuroventure Executive Training program at the Foster Business School, University of Washington, which gave her a broad perspective on the drug-development and business development process. While growing the company’s science and licensing the technology out of Washington State University, Kawas was also able to raise more than $2 million from both dilutive and non-dilutive sources, including grants from the National Institute of Health (NIH), Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery and Michael J Fox Foundations, to support development of the therapeutics being advanced in M3, especially MM-201. Dr. Kawas’ goal and passion is entrepreneurship that leads to disease modifying pharmaceuticals which address critical unmet medical needs. And as a female entrepreneur with a scientific background, Kawas is committed to mentoring women in science and business and has been selected for programs to inspire women to go into those fields.


The awardees will be invited to attend LSINW to be recognized during the conference’s second day luncheon on July 1 at 11:30 AM at the Washington State Convention Center.  The master of ceremony for the awards program will be Karimah Es Sabar, CEO, Centre for Drug Research and Development, and recipient of the Women’s Executive Network’s (WXN) “2013 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award.” 



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