Networking Reception 2021


Date - 24/02/2021
6:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Register for the event

The Purpose

This event aims to provide students with a structured and targeted opportunity to network with professionals outside academia in a range of life-science industries.

Why Participate?

Graduate Students/Trainees

This is a great opportunity to network with and gain insight from professionals in the field. You will have the chance to ask questions directly to our guests about their jobs and career paths at the roundtables or during the open networking period.

Professional Guests

This reception provides maximum impact on our attendees as you will share your experiences thus far. You will also have the opportunity to network with a diverse group of professionals across a range of industries.


The event is formatted to include four unique structured networking sessions, which bring together 1 guest and 6-8 students in an intimate setting. This is followed by an optional open networking session between all students and guests.

Students may choose which guests to meet during the structured networking sessions in advance to help facilitate meaningful interactions. Guest selection will be optimized on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The event consists of:

  • 4 X 20-minute structured networking sessions between each guest and students (1:6-8 ratio),

  • 1 X 30-minute open networking sessions.

Some of the industries typically represented by our guests include:

  • R&D
  • Scientific consulting
  • Management consulting
  • Medical affairs
  • Scientific communication
  • Intellectual property
  • Biotechnology
Register for the event


Medical Affairs

Fabian received his PhD through the IMS at UofT. His research was focused on rare diseases and gene therapy. Fabian’s initial industry exposure was through volunteer internships and a part-time role with Roche Diagnostics. Later Fabian relocated to the Medical College of Wisconsin to finish his PhD and was exposed to technology transfer. After his PhD, Fabian was recruited to Bayer as a Specialty Medicine associate and later a Medical Science Liaison role covering Bayer’s prostate cancer portfolio, and most recently Fabian has moved over to AstraZeneca where he is currently a MSL in oncology covering the Lung cancer portfolio.

Manisha completed her PhD in Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto. Prior to starting her career in the pharmaceutical industry, Manisha had a diverse background that ranged from digital healthcare consultant, marketing and business development analyst for a healthcare startup, to market access analyst for a medical device company. Manisha began her career in medical affairs as a medical science liaison for AstraZeneca Canada. She is currently the national medical advisor managing the respiratory portfolio for AstraZeneca Canada.

Thomasina received her BSc from University of Guelph and MSc- Physiology from the University of Toronto. She has over 7 years of diverse Pharmaceutical/Biotech Industry experience in Clinical, Sales, and Medical.

She has successfully contributed to the launch of 3 medications and 4 new indications in respiratory, cardiovascular, diabetes, and neurological therapeutic areas while in roles spanning pre-launch as a solo National MSL for a product in clinical development, MSL for marketed and pre-approved products, and sales rep launching new products and indications.

Thomasina is currently a MSL for a portfolio of 5 neurology, Multiple Sclerosis, products. A passionate leader with specific interests in providing value to healthcare professionals and contributing to product launch strategy and execution.

I am currently working as an MSL with a demonstrated history of working in medical affairs team and experienced background in health technology assessment (HTA). I have recently earned a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Health Sciences focused in Epidemiological analyses and clinical/exercise physiological approaches based research.

I hold a strong passion for knowledge translation side of medical and health research and would continue to grow my skills in the medical field. In my spare time, I like to stay physically active and been lately inspired by cold water exposure. I am trying to reach a 30 day mark for my daily cold water dips in lake Ontario!

Monica is a pharmacist with over 25 years of experience in clinical practice, the pharmaceutical industry, academia and consulting. She spent over 15 years at Amgen Canada where she was a senior executive and led the Scientific Affairs and Patient Support functions. At Amgen, she built a successful medical team from 4 to 40 professionals and was actively involved in the launch of 10 innovative biologic therapies.

Monica founded COMPASS Medical Affairs Consulting in 2017 where she has successfully worked on ~50 projects with 20 biopharmaceutical companies to uncover and solve complex problems and develop highly valued Medical Affairs teams.


An entrepreneurial and strategic international business leader, Phil joined Gamma Biosciences in 2020 from GE Healthcare’s Cell and Gene Therapy business. At Gamma, Phil is responsible for technical diligence of potential investments, as well as guiding operational, R&D and strategic initiatives carried out at portfolio companies. Phil received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Georgetown University Medical Center.

Phil was an instructor at Johns Hopkins University’s Biotechnology Marketing in the Masters of Biotechnology / MBA program, and has held strategy and innovation leadership positions in a number of life sciences companies including Life Technologies, Becton Dickinson, and Lonza.

Born and raised in Montreal, I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Cell and Molecular Biology from Concordia University. After working for a year as a Research Assistant at Concordia University I went on to receive my PhD from the University of Toronto (2018) in the department of Molecular Genetics, where I studied the role of the ubiquitylation pathway in oncogenesis and cell division. 4 months after finishing my PhD I obtained my position as an R&D scientist at Corbin Therapeutics, a small pre-clinical biotech company based in Montreal that is focused on the development of small molecule inhibitors for the treatment of Neuroinflammatory diseases.

Liz is the Director of Manufacturing at Notch Therapeutics where she leads process development and external GMP manufacturing activities. Her experience is in the areas of pre-clinical and early clinical process development, optimization, and scale up/out of cell and gene therapies, technology transfer, and CMC support. Prior to Notch, Liz worked as a process development manager at CCRM, where she oversaw CCRM’s immunotherapy platform, and managed process development teams executing client-based development projects and internal process and product development. Liz has a PhD in Chemical and Biomedical Engineering from the University of Toronto, and holds an Professional Engineers Ontario (P.Eng) designation.

Elli attended Brock University for their Concurrent Education program (B.Sc. in Biological Sciences and Bachelor of Education) and is an accredited Ontario Certified Teacher. Following her undergraduate thesis studying spinal cord regeneration, Elli found her passion in CRISPR gene editing and regenerative medicine. She completed a 3-year Master’s in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Toronto, where she established the stem cell research portion of her lab (a cancer proteomics and CRISPR-focused lab). She now works as a Research Associate on the Assay Development team at BlueRock Therapeutics, a stem cell and gene therapy company recently acquired by Bayer, and is based in Toronto.

Stéphane Paquette directs evaluation and licensing activities for Appili, as well as key stakeholder and partner management. Dr. Paquette brings extensive infectious disease and R&D experience to his role at Appili, with over 10 years in industry and leading academic institutions. Prior to joining Appili, Dr. Paquette was a researcher at the University Health Network / University of Toronto studying emerging viral pathogens, immune responses to infection and vaccination, and novel antiviral compounds. Previously, Dr. Paquette was Associate Scientist at Abbott Point of Care where he conducted exploratory R&D on novel diagnostic assays. He is author on 14 peer-reviewed publications in the fields of infectious disease and biochemistry, and holds a PhD from the University of Toronto with a BSc in Microbiology & Immunology from McGill University.

I completed my BSc and PhD in Pharmacology at the University of Toronto. During my graduate studies, I realized that I wanted to pursue a career in the pharmaceutical industry where I could bridge my passion for science and communication. After my PhD, I gained some work experience in medical advertising and customer service, which eventually led to my first pharmaceutical job as an inside sales representative at Janssen Canada in 2014. My role at Janssen triggered the start of my career in pharmaceutical sales, both in inside sales and outside sales. I am currently a pharmaceutical sales representative with Syneos Health, where I promote products in the respiratory space for GSK. During the COVID pandemic, I’ve adapted my selling skills in the digital world and have been connecting with healthcare professionals in a virtual setting.

Judy has done her BSc and MSc at the University of Toronto. In her Masters, she did research on colon cancer stem cells and looked for epigenetic targets as a potential therapeutic avenue. In her current role at Acorn biolabs, she is studying the hair follicle as a potential cell source for regenerative medicine purposes. She cryopreserves hair follicles for clients, and her R&D work is focused on characterizing the protein markers present.

Rylend Mulder received his B.Sc in Honours Life Sciences from McMaster University. He then completed his Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology at Queen’s University where his work uncovered novel phenotypic and functional capabilities of splenic macrophages. During his time at Queen’s, Rylend held multiple volunteer roles including: the Graduate Student Ambassador for the Queen’s University Alumni Association, The President of the Biomedical and Molecular Sciences Student Society, and Founder of the Queen’s University Chapter of the Science to Business Network (S2BN). In 2019, Rylend transitioned into the pharmaceutical industry, now working as a sales representative at Novo Nordisk on the insulin team in Toronto. Outside of work, Rylend continues to volunteer extensively with the S2BN, serving as the Executive Director, overseeing national expansion.

Management Consulting

As a Senior Analyst at Preyra Solutions Group (PSG), Ashrut works to support Clinical Services Planning and Capital Planning projects for large healthcare providers and hospital networks across Canada. He is experienced in analyzing patient-level clinical datasets to better understand population healthcare needs, model best practices, and develop clinically adjusted forecasts for future planning. He is also involved in the research, development, and implementation of new tools that aim to continuously improve PSG’s methods and analyses.

Tonny is an Associate at Kearney. His work has focused on building large-scale strategic partnerships and value creation in M&A across health and consumer industries. He received his master’s degree in 2018 from the Department of Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto.

Medical/Science Communications

Andrea Savio is a medical writer at Intrinsik Corp., a scientific and regulatory consulting firm, where she has worked since 2019. In her role, Andrea is responsible for interpreting clinical data and delivering high-quality documents to clients in the pharmaceutical industry to support the development of human health products from the preclinical stage through to market and the post-approval phase. Prior to joining Intrinsik Corp., Andrea completed a postdoc as well as a PhD in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto, studying cancer epigenetics.

Janaki is a Senior Medical Writer working in publications with Caudex, a McCann Health company. Janaki’s industry experience also includes developing digital medical education tools at INVIVO Communications, and designing clinical trials and analyzing results at KGK Science. Prior to her roles in the industry, Janaki has completed her postdoctoral studies at McMaster University and PhD from National University of Singapore.

Jessica is currently a Managing Medical Editor at Klick Health, the largest digital healthcare marketing agency in North America. As part of the Science & Regulatory team, Jessica manages a team of medical editors who are responsible for ensuring FDA compliance and scientific accuracy in the promotional materials Klick produces for our pharmaceutical clients. Jessica received her PhD at U of T in the Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology department in 2017, and did a postdoctoral fellow at SickKids Hospital until 2019. Jessica is also a former LSCDS alumni and was part of the organization for several years throughout her PhD.

Jasmine is a Medical Writer at Caudex, a McCann Health medical communications agency. She completed her MASc in 2019 at UofT’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering under the supervision of Dr. Rita Kandel and Dr. Paul Santerre, with a research focus in spinal disc tissue engineering. Shortly after graduating, she gained experience as a Medical Copywriter in the Canadian healthcare space at a small marketing agency, where she worked on a range of digital and print promotional materials for various pharmaceutical brands. In her current role, she works primarily with US-based pharmaceutical clients to produce both medical and commercial materials that are geared towards healthcare professionals. She is particularly passionate about discussing the transition from academia into industry!

Kristin is an independent scientific consultant specializing in rare diseases. She completed her PhD in Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto where her research was focused on understanding the function of several rare disease-associated genes. During her PhD, Kristin also worked as a consultant at a boutique life sciences consulting firm where she provided strategic support to clinical-stage pharmaceutical companies. In her current role, Kristin supports clients in the life sciences industry and non-profit research organizations through strategic consulting and science communication.


Carlos earned his B.Sc. degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from La Salle University and his M.Sc. in Organic Chemistry from National Autonomous University of Mexico in 2003 and 2006 respectively. Subsequently, he worked as a process chemist at Signa, S.A de C.V. (Apotex Pharmachem INC). For his doctoral studies he moved to Canada in 2009 and joined the group of Dr. McNulty at McMaster University where he completed the total synthesis of the anticancer natural product (+)-trans-Dihydrolycoricidine. He then moved to the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research with Dr. Rima Al-awar, working on novel anti-tumor agents and in 2016 he was promoted to Research Scientist. His research focuses on chemical biology of chromatin regulation and drug discovery.

Deepika is the Chief of Staff to the Co-CEO of Grand Challenges Canada, Karlee Silver. Grand Challenges Canada is an innovation platform, chiefly supported by the Government of Canada, to support the health and development needs of vulnerable communities globally. In her role, Deepika provides strategic advice and support on organizational priorities across its Global Health, Humanitarian and Indigenous areas of focus, including funding programs, innovator support initiatives, a venture capital impact fund and partnerships to facilitate success of innovations.

In addition to portfolio management expertise, Deepika comes from 10+ years of scientific experience in infection biology, cancer and bioengineering. Deepika was a postdoctoral researcher at UofT (IBBME). She holds a PhD in Infection Biology from the Hannover Medical School, Germany. She is currently a candidate for the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst designation.


Area: Government/Policy

Dylan was once a PhD student in Warren Chan’s lab at CCBR. After [redacted] years, he realized that his passion was public policy, not science. He left with a Master’s degree and a lease on a house in Ottawa and never looked back. Since then, Dylan has worked on science policy at the Department of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. He has developed programs for academic entrepreneurs, worked on giant infrastructure funds that pay for your labs, briefed ministers, and so much more. He also loves taking advantage of the nature and culture found in the nation’s capital.

Area: Clinical research

Dr. Rosanne Aleong is the Director of Research, Innovation, and Translation at Baycrest. She received her MSc and PhD in Neurological Sciences with her research focusing on: 1) inflammatory models of neurodegenerative disease; and 2) body image and visual perception among young adults.

In her current role at Baycrest, she: 1) manages a research support and services hub, supporting clinicians, health care professionals, and industry in conducting applied and evaluative research; 2) co-leads the Baycrest Research Training Centre in developing and implementing skill and career development opportunities for research trainees; and 3) implements institution-wide, strategic initiatives including institution-wide funding opportunities, research commercialization projects, as well as national and international stakeholder relations.

Area: Medical/Scientific Education

Hamza holds a PhD in Molecular Genetics from the University of Toronto. Having worked with various science outreach organizations and writing for science outlets throughout graduate school, Hamza developed a passion for science communication and education. Hamza is currently working as a medical editor for Axiom where he provides editorial, medical, and scientific support for medical training materials created by Axiom for pharmaceutical clients.

Area: Intellectual Property Law

I am an associate lawyer at an IP law firm. Prior to studying law, I conducted graduate research in the field of Medicinal Organic Chemistry at McGill University.

Area: Scientific consulting

Michael is an Associate Science & Strategy Consultant at Sixsense Strategy Group, a boutique consulting company with a singular focus on insights, strategy, and communications for the life sciences industry. Graduating from the University of Toronto in 2018 with an MSc from the Department of Laboratory Medicine & Pathobiology, Michael has experience working with many clients in the pharmaceutical industry in Canada and the United States across several exciting therapeutic areas.

Area: Regulatory

Tracey Spack is the Director of the Products Division in the Environmental Protection Branch at Environment and Climate Change Canada since 2018. Previously she held positions as the Senior Advisor to the Director General of the Industrial Sectors and Waste Directorate at ECCC, Director of the Environmental Impact Initiative and Senior Policy Advisor in the Natural Health Products Directorate at Health Canada. She holds a PhD in Medical Anthropology from the University of Alberta, a Master’s Certificate in Public Management from the Sprott School of Business and completed the Strategic Management of Regulatory and Enforcement Agencies program at the Harvard Kennedy School.


Time and Date

Wednesday, February 24th, 2021 from 6:00 PM – 8:30 PM

Registration will close on February 17, 2021 at 11:59PM or once the capacity is reached.
Register for the event


Online platform, more details will be sent to those registered.

Immediately after registration, please be on a lookout for a confirmation email and for an email containing a link to the form where you can select your preferred guests. Please make sure to check your junk folder.


6:00 – 6:10 PM – Joining the online platform
6:10 – 6:20 PM – Welcome remarks
6:20 – 6:40 PM – First structured networking session
6:40 – 7:00 PM – Second structured networking session
7:00 – 7:10 PM – Short break
7:10 – 7:30 PM – Third structured networking session
7:30 – 7:50 PM – Fourth structured networking session
7:50 – 8:00 PM – Closing remarks
8:00 – 8:30 PM – The platform will stay live for optional open networking


$5 for all registrants