Networking Reception

Structured and targeted opportunity to network with professionals outside academia in a range of life-science industries

2022 Networking Reception Event

Wednesday, February 23 at 6 PM – 8:30 PM on Gather.Town (link will be sent following registration)

Our largest networking event, featuring 26 professional guests, gives trainees and postdoctoral fellows the opportunity to meet professionals in a variety of industries. To provide an intimate setting for meaningful networking, space is limited to maintain a guest-to-student ratio of 1:5-8.

A registration fee of $6.32 ($5.00 [Gather.Town fee] + $1.32 [Eventbrite fee]) will be applied.

Featured Industries:

  • Consulting
  • Medical Affairs
  • Communications
  • Pharma/Biotech
  • Venture Capital, Investment banking, and Government

Program Schedule:

  • 5:50 PM – 6:00 PM – Guests/Attendees join Gather
  • 6:00 PM – 6:10 PM – Welcome Remarks
  • 6:10 PM – 6:35 PM – Structured Networking 1
  • 6:35 PM – 6:40 PM – Break
  • 6:40 PM – 7:05 PM – Structured Networking 2
  • 7:05 PM – 7:10 PM – Break
  • 7:10 PM – 7:35 PM – Structured Networking 3
  • 7:35 PM – 7:40 PM – Break
  • 7:40 PM – 8:05 PM – Open Networking
  • 8:05 PM – 8:10 PM – Closing Remarks
  • 8:10 PM – 8:30 PM – Open Networking

Why participate?

For 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.

For 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.

Professional Guest List


Dr. Conrad Hall is Consultant in the Toronto office of BCG. He is a graduate of McGill University with a PhD in Molecular Biology. He then joined the consultancy Oliver Wyman in their Montreal office for 2 years before joining BCG.

Dr. Alexandra Hauser-Kawaguchi has a PhD in chemistry from the University of Western Ontario and an MBA from the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University. She is a healthcare consultant with deep understanding of uncovering insights and evidence-based strategies to support patient outcomes and drive value. She has expertise in translational scientific research with a focus on the development of new drugs and diagnostics in cancers, inflammation, and chronic kidney disease. In addition, Alexandra is an inventor, published author, and motivational speaker. In her spare time, she is an avid skier, hiker, climber, traveler, and drinker of wine.

Vernon Li is a graduate from University of Toronto, holding degrees in both immunology and business strategy. He has a passion for research, strategic consulting, and multimedia storytelling in driving the improvement of health outcomes. Vernon has a multitude of experiences across many therapeutic areas including immunology (gastroenterology, dermatology, rheumatology), oncology, ophthalmology. His work includes patient experience mapping, marketing strategy, brand positioning, advisory board engagements, go-to-market strategic workshopping. Vernon specializes in helping pharmaceutical companies prepare new biologics for market.

With a background in neuroscience, behavioural economics, and management consulting, Dr. David Milstein takes a multi-disciplinary approach to understanding and solving tough business and marketing challenges. For the past three years, Dave has been working with Klick Health, helping clients plan, develop, and launch strategic initiatives and marketing tactics in the Pharma space. Prior to his time at Klick, David held multiple roles at Deloitte over three years, including program manager for the Analytics and AI Centre of Excellence and senior associate in the Performance Enhancement practice. David also holds a PhD in neuroscience from Queen’s University.

Dr. Stephanie Yee is a Senior Consultant at Oliver Wyman’s Montreal office. In the past two years, she completed strategy, sourcing and due diligence projects spanning a breadth of industry sectors, including aviation, rail, energy, technology, and health insurance. Stephanie completed her studies at McGill University where she obtained a BSc and PhD in Biology. During her doctoral years, she was the Director of External Relations of McGill’s Graduate Management Consulting Association.

Medical Affairs

Dr. Kaitlin Anstett is a Medical Affairs Medical Advisor at Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada in the Immunology, Hepatology, Dermatology, and Respiratory Franchise. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a double major in MGY and BCH in 2013. Kaitlin then moved to Montreal to pursue her PhD in Microbiology and Immunology at McGill University, before joining Novartis as a MSL in April 2017. As a Medical Advisor, her responsibilities include supporting clinical trial sites in Canada, engaging with key experts to build advocacy and gain insights, working on strategy with Canadian and International colleagues, and preparing for the successful launch of new therapies in Immunodermatology. She is currently based in Toronto.

After obtaining his PhD from the University of Toronto, Dr. Marco Cardelli worked as a technical sales specialist for a Canadian life sciences distribution company. After a year, Marco moved on to an account management role with Spartan Bioscience, a biotech start-up based in Ottawa. Over the 5 years Marco spent there, his role at Spartan evolved from a commercially focused, to a science focused liaison position. His experience as a scientific liaison prepared him for his current role as a Medical Science Liaison at Bausch Health.

After completing PhD in Physiology at University of Toronto in 2020, Dr. Ankur Bodalia was a Lecturer in the same department and leveraged the teaching and scientific communication skills he developed to smoothen his transition into industry. For the past 8 months, Ankur has been a Medical Science Liaison on the Breast Cancer team at Novartis covering the Toronto (GTA) region. While still new to the Medical Affairs industry, he is quickly learning how to interpret and critique clinical trial data and have insightful discussions with influential oncologists about the relevance of new data and new initiatives emerging from pharmaceuticals towards their practice. This has been an exciting adjustment for him after spending many years in academia focusing on molecular pathways in a sub-cellular context as opposed to now focusing on clinical outcomes for patients. Ankur is happy to discuss this transition process with any soon-to-be  graduates who are curious about Medical Affairs.

Dr. Nathan Schachter completed his PhD at the University of Toronto where he studied mouse models of breast cancer. As a post-doctoral fellow, he continued investigating the role of cancer mutations using chromosome engineering. During his spare time, he volunteered for the Canadian Cancer Society, where he informed students and cancer survivors about cutting-edge research developments. After becoming a Research Associate at the University Health Network, he helped run a pan-Canadian liquid biopsy study and coordinated other translational research projects. Nathan joined Merck as an Oncology MSL in 2019 and was later promoted to Medical Advisor in 2021.

Dr. Heather VanSeggelen is a Medical Affairs professional and career immunologist with expertise in leveraging the immune system to both combat and prevent disease. She has broad product lifecycle expertise, and demonstrated leadership in both matrix and direct reporting teams. She has had the fantastic opportunity to work both within Canada and on global cross-functional teams. Furthermore, Heather has had the opportunity to develop and support the growth of others in their careers both as a manager and as a mentor. She has successfully navigated both the transition from academia to industry, as well as coached others who wish to follow the same path.


Jasmine Chong is a Senior Medical Writer with experience in promotional, educational, and medical affairs materials. After graduating from U of T in 2019 with her MASc in Biomedical Engineering, she started her career in medical communications as an entry-level medical copywriter. She has since progressed to her current agency role and has worked on a variety of projects for Canadian and American pharmaceutical brands.

Dr. Anand Devasthanam works as a medical strategist at an advertising agency. His overall objective is to bring to life compelling scientific stories intended to help pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to successfully launch products that positively impact peoples lives. Outside of his professional role, his passion for career coaching, his strong drive to help writers discover the world of medical writing, and his ongoing efforts toward educating writers on overcoming imposter syndrome offers much to the evolving medical writing world.

Dr. Tanya Guha is a Medical Writer at CMC Connect, a McCann Health company, primarily focusing on publication development working with pharmaceutical companies. Prior to joining McCann, Tanya worked on developing digital tools within the medical affairs space. She also worked as a scientist at a medical device company, focusing on the detection of circulating tumor cells. Tanya received her PhD at the University of Toronto in cancer genetics in 2018, with a research focus in early cancer detection in patients with cancer pre-disposition syndromes.

Dr. Katherine Halievski founded Coherent Science, a company through which she works as a contract Medical Writer / Scientific Editor with clients including university professors, medcomms and CME agencies, pharmaceutical companies, and nonprofit companies to create materials in the healthcare space. After graduating with an HBSc from U of T in 2012, she went on to complete a PhD in Neuroscience at Michigan State University (2016). She then returned to Toronto to pursue her postdoctoral studies at the Hospital for Sick Children. After 3 years and some deep career exploration, she decided to pursue a career in medical writing and editing, and has been enjoying this path so far. In her free time, she likes to cook, vegetable garden, and take improv classes.

Dr. Lois Lin is a food and nutrition enthusiast. She started her journey with a bachelor degree in food science, and decided to learn more about the impacts of foods on health. After obtaining a MSc and PhD degree in nutritional sciences from University of Guelph, Lois became a medical writer in the nutraceutical industry. She loves this job as it gives her new topics to explore everyday.


Dr. Amine Driouchi is currently a Scientist at Eikon Therapeutics where he is developing single-particle-tracking and advanced microscopy assays for drug discovery. Prior to this, Amine was a Postdoctoral Fellow at UChicago and obtained his PhD at UofT working with Dr. Christopher Yip where he worked on super-resolution microscopy of membrane protein biology. In his spare time, Amine likes to play tennis and soccer.

Dr. Anna Georges obtained her PhD in 2018 at U of T in the Department of Molecular Genetics in the lab of Dr. Frappier. Shortly after graduating, Anna began her career in the pharma industry as a Research Scientist at Corbin Therapeutics, a pre-clinical company working on the development of small molecule inhibitors against Neuroinflammatory Diseases. While at Corbin, Anna obtained her clinical research professional certification (CCRP) and transitioned into the clinical research field at a global clinical CRO, Innovaderm Research. Anna currently holds the title of Vendor Coordinator and works as part of the project management department to set up clinical trials around the world, specializing in dermatology therapeutics.

Dr. Anthony Magliocco is a specialist pathologist with many years experience in cancer diagnostics and research. He has held numerous academic positions and has recently founded Protean BioDiagnostics, a company expanding access to precision oncology treatments.

Dr. Laura Prochazka is a Scientist in the Gene Editing Group at Notch Therapeutics, a company that develops renewable, stem cell-derived immunotherapies, with an initial focus on cancer. Prior this role, she was a postdoctoral researcher at University of Toronto developing gene circuits in pluripotent stem cells. Laura holds a Bachelor and Master degree in Biochemistry from the University of Zurich and a PhD in Mammalian Synthetic Biology from ETH Zurich, Switzerland.

Dr. Maria Soloveychik is the co-founder and CEO of SyntheX, a therapeutics company focused on accelerating drug discovery using synthetic biology. SyntheX was founded in 2016 and is based in San Francisco. Maria has obtained her PhD from the department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto, where she discovered novel pathways linking metabolism and epigenetic signaling. Maria was previously a research scientist at a structural genomics consortium, where her work led to the determination of numerous structures and identification of several drug candidates.

Venture Capital, Investment banking, and Government

Dr. Adam Bujak graduated from McMaster with a PhD in Medical Sciences. After graduating, he spent several years working for a clinically-based, start-up supplement company. In this role, he managed intellectual property and helped to keep the company’s R&D program focused toward strong IP growth. Adam is now a Biotechnology Patent Examiner working for the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.

Dr. Alice Luo holds a Ph.D. in pulmonary regenerative medicine from the University of Toronto. She has also completed M.Sc. and B.Sc. in immunology and medical sciences from the University of Toronto. Prior to joining Lumira Ventures, Alice was a Fellow with HaloHealth, a Canadian physician angel group where she evaluated investment opportunities in Canadian and U.S. based health technology start-up companies. She also conducted scientific due diligence and managed relationships with angel investors, medical experts and companies. During her time at HaloHealth, Alice was also a scientific consultant with Bloom Burton, a healthcare investment firm where she conducted research and data analysis across a broad range of projects to help drive investment decisions.

As part of the Launch team within Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine, Dr. Mohad Mehrabian lead one of the incubation teams in the immunotherapy space. In her previous role, Mohad led the preclinical activities for the development of a gene regulation therapy for prion diseases at Sangamo therapeutics based in the Bay Area. Prior to that in her postdoctoral studies in Toronto (UofT) and in San Francisco (UCSF), she has explored and identified novel drug targets and developed the relevant in vitro and in vivo screening models for proof of concept studies in the space of neurodegenerative diseases.

Vinusha Gunaseelan holds a Honours Bachelor of Science in Human Biology from the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus, as well as a Master of Science in Health Services Research from the University of Toronto’s Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation. After completing her Master of Science, she worked at the Wellesley Institute, where she managed policy-relevant research projects involving community stakeholders and governments. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she worked with the Wellesley Institute to conduct research to increase awareness of inequities, and with the Regional Municipality of York to report on community needs. Vinusha is currently working for the Ontario Ministry of Health as a Senior Policy Advisor.

Ritchie Truong is a healthcare equity research analyst at Rosalind Advisors, a life-science focused fund based in Toronto. He is a CSC holder and currently working towards his CFA designation. With a keen eye for promising therapeutics, an understanding of scientific rigour, and an appreciation for the capital market, his goal is to help identify value and growth investment assets in the life science sector.

Dr. Uzma Urooj has a PhD in Cognitive Neuroimaging from University of York, UK and BSc Honors in Neuroscience and Linguistics from University of Toronto, Canada. An emerging science policy practitioner working in the Federal Government and experiences in research management, technology transfer and strategy development/implementation, Uzma is intimately involved at the interface of science and policy and is passionate about raising the bar for research excellence and improving the training and capacity development of Canadian highly qualified individuals. Uzma is an active member of Canadian Science Policy Community, currently co-chairing the Evaluation Committee of the Canadian Science Policy Center. Previously, she has co-chaired the Program Committee and coordinated symposiums on science diplomacy. Uzma believes that the effective management of science and innovation, built on the foundations of strong collaborations, both nationally and internationally is key to impactful translation of evidence-based knowledge into public and private sector and will be instrumental in driving successful economies of the future.

Deadline for registering for the 2022 Networking Reception: February 18th, 6 PM. Spots are limited and priority will be given to current graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and ​professional degree candidates from the University of Toronto.

Register for the 2022 Networking Reception