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Celebrating Women in Life Sciences

    Women have been involved in scientific research throughout history: from Marie Curie’s pioneering research into radioactivity, to Rosalind Franklin’s central role in the discovery of DNA’s structure. But what about the women who are changing the world of life sciences today? To mark International Women’s Day 2021, we’re celebrating some of the inspiring, influential, and prominent, women in London’s life sciences sector.

    Dr Fiona Pathiraja, Managing Partner, Crista Galli Ventures

    A London-trained doctor, in 2020 Fiona launched healthtech fund – Crista Galli Ventures – investing in European companies at Seed and Series A. Through Christa Galli LABS, she also aims to address the lack of diversity in healthtech by coaching founders from underrepresented backgrounds at pre-seed stage. And she hosts the fantastic The HealthTech VC podcast.


    Dr Claire Novorol, Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer, Ada

    Previously a Paediatrician and clinical geneticist, she went on to found Doctorpreneurs, a global community for doctors, medical students and individuals interested in healthcare innovation and entrepreneurship. In 2011, she co-founded leading AI-powered symptom assessment app Ada (named after Ada Lovelace, of course), now with over 10 million users.


    Prof Cathy Price, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, UCL, and Director of the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging

    Cathy’s early work in human neuroimaging helped to produce new approaches for investigating the brain bases of cognitive functions. Her research has helped to transform our understanding of how the brain supports language processing – including speech perception, speech production, semantic memory and reading. The multi-award winning neuroscientist is Director of the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging won the 5th Suffrage award for Life Sciences in 2018 and became a Fellow of The Royal Society in 2020.

    Dr Mridula Pore, CEO and Co-Founder of Peppy and Mars Lord, Birth Rights Activist and Doula

    The global pandemic hit our most vulnerable particularly hard. Mridula’s digital health app, Peppy, provides health support through life’s big transitions. It has served thousands of users so far, including more than 1,000 new and expectant parents during the COVID-19 crisis. This year, Mridula and Mars have joined together to launch Black Mums Matter Too to take action against maternal mortality rates for Black mums and their babies.

    @blackmumsmattertoo @_MarsLord

    Dr Fiona Marshall, Senior Vice President Head of Discovery Sciences and Translational Medicine, Merck

    Renowned scientist Fiona is a world-leading expert and innovator in drug discovery and leads the MSD UK Discovery Centre. Her discovery research teams focus on the study of changes in the fundamental mechanisms of cell homeostasis and resilience in the context of ageing that led to disease, particularly the processes which result in neurodegeneration. She is in charge of 950 staff at the complex in Central London.


    Dr Francesca Gliubich, Director, London Advanced Therapies

    In 2018, a group of academics from Imperial, UCL and King’s College London came together to set up LAT, to connect the London academic community working in the field of cell and gene therapy. Francesca heads up the initiative including programmes and support aimed at promoting collaboration, including The Advanced Therapies Network, the Confidence in Collaboration programme, and expertise mapping in the area.

    Dr Maxine Mackintosh, Founder, One HealthTech

    Alongside her work as a researcher at The Health Foundation and the Alan Turing Institute, Maxine leads a passionate community on a mission to make health tech more diverse, inclusive and kind, for the better of innovation. One HealthTech host events, opportunities, a podcast (and so much more!) aimed at supporting and championing the under-represented in health innovation.


    Prof Sara Rankin, Professor of Leukocyte and Stem Cell Biology, Imperial College London

    Sara’s research focuses on understanding the impact of the bone marrow in inflammatory diseases. She is also known for her outreach and engagement work as co-founder of The Curious Act, a science public engagement initiative which runs science-themed activities and pop-up shops. A champion for Neurodiversity in STEM, Sara also launched 2eMpowerUK, a project running STEM workshops for neurodiverse teenagers, to give them the confidence to embrace and capitalise on their learning differences.


    Dr Ishani Patel, Co-founder, Lantum

    Lantum is an NHS-approved workforce platform that uses technology to simplify all aspects of healthcare staffing. Lantum’s easy-to-use tools reduce time spent on rostering admin, compliance, and invoice chasing. Co-founder Ishani has been supporting COVID-19 vaccination efforts by both providing connected e-rostering for PCN vaccination hubs and administering vaccines as a GP in NW London.


    Dr Anna Perdrix Rossel, Co-Founder, Sixfold Bioscience

    Anna is on MedCity’s Collaborate to Innovate Advanced Therapies programme, with Sixfold Bioscience, which she co-founded during the second year of her PhD at The Francis Crick Institute. The venture-backed company aims to improve the way gene therapies are delivered to cancer cells, using RNA nanotechnology. She was on the Forbes 30 under 30 list as one of Europe’s top young innovators in science and healthcare.


    And finally, we couldn’t create a list of inspiring women in life sciences without including our very own Neelam Patel, CEO, MedCity. Neelam was instrumental in bringing together life sciences and academic institutions to respond to the Coronavirus pandemic by ramping up diagnostic testing capacity for the UK. Her leadership of the London Testing Alliance delivered 20,000 additional tests a day at the worst point in the pandemic.


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