An Evening with Philly Biotech

Thursday, April 30, 2015 - 6:00pm to 8:30pm
5th Floor, Jordan Medical Education Center, 3400 Civic Center Boulevard

Join PennHealthX, the Graduate Association of Bioengineers, and the Biotech Students Association for our inaugural collaboration! A unique opportunity for students interested in careers in biotechnology and healthcare innovation to meet likeminded peers and local leaders in the field.

6:00 – 6:15      Registration

6:15 – 6:40      Keynote address: Carl June, MD on the development of CAR therapy and the Penn-Novartis partnership

6:40 – 7:30      Panel discussion: Kristen Albright, PharmD, MBA, Associate at Osage Partners; Maria Chacon-Heszele, PhD, Life Scientist at Biomeme; Mahesh Narayanan, MS, CEO at Pepvax; Victoria Tsai, Senior Vice President, Business Developmen and Tech R&D at Graphene Frontiers

7:30 – 8:30      Networking over drinks and hors d'oeuvres

Registration is now closed. Thank you!


Carl June, MD

Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Dr. Carl June maintains a research laboratory that studies various mechanisms of lymphocyte activation that relate to immune tolerance and adoptive immunotherapy for cancer and chronic infection. In 2011, his research team published findings which represented the first successful and sustained demonstration of the use of gene transfer therapy to treat cancer. Clinical trials utilizing this approach, in which patients are treated with genetically engineered versions of their own T cells, are now underway for adults with chronic lymphocytic leukemia and adults and children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Early results in that group show that 90 percent of patients respond to the therapy, and more recently, trials of this approach have begun for patients with several other cancers.

Kristen Albright, PharmD, MBA

Associate at Osage Partners
Kristen joined Osage University Partners in 2015 with a focus on life science therapeutics, medical devices, and diagnostics. Prior to Osage, Kristen was a Business Development Manager at Cangene Corporation and, post-acquisition, continued her role at Emergent BioSolutions specializing in regulatory, clinical development, and commercial diligence for asset licensing and M&A. Kristen earned her Doctorate of Pharmacy from the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia and is a licensed pharmacist in Pennsylvania and California. She also holds an MBA from Saint Joseph’s University.

Mahesh Narayanan, MS

CEO of Pepvax
Biotechnology entrepreneur with extensive experience in the healthcare and life sciences industry. He has a Master's in Biotechnology from University of Pennsylvania with experience in business development, consulting for start-ups, as well as research in academia and pharmaceutical industry focusing on antibiotics and vaccines.

Maria Chacon-Heszele, PhD

Life Scientist
Dr. Maria Chacon-Heszele is a life scientist at Biomeme, a venture-supported startup that is working to create smartphone-based lab diagnostics. The signature Biomeme product is a real-time PCR thermocycler that attaches to an iPhone and conducts gold-standard DNA analysis in under an hour. Dr. Chacon-Heszele received her PhD from Emory University and worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania.

Victoria Tsai, PhD

Senior Vice President, Business Development and Tech R&D, Graphene Frontiers
Dr. Victoria Tsai is leading the biosensor technology initiatives at Graphene Frontiers, an advanced materials and nanotechnology company that grew out of the University of Pennsylvania in 2011. Used to diagnose a variety of diseases from Lyme to cancer, Graphene’s cutting-edge sensors are more sensitive, faster, and cheaper than current alternative lab diagnostics. Dr. Tsai also consults on projects for medical device companies. She obtained her doctorate from the Perelman School of Medicine where she studied the molecular pathophysiology underlying developmental brain disorders.