Required Seminars and Events

In addition to coursework and requirements from their home departments/programs, SB2 trainees will be expected to attend: (i) at least three Bagels and Bios events per year; (ii) all BDC Monthly Seminars; (iii) the BDC Annual Symposium; (iv) the QBP/TRB/SB2 Joint Symposium; (v) the SB2 Annual Retreat; (vi) and at least four seminars per year from outside their home department/program. They will also be expected to attend at least one conference, where they will either strengthen their knowledge of the Biotechnology and Business or present their academic research accomplishments. Other training activities include:

Bagels & Bios, a student-organized seminar series that invites Ph.D. scientists from non-academic career paths to meet with a small group of BDC researchers for informal career path discussions. Previous speakers have ranged from industry scientists to venture capitalists to entrepreneurs that launched local startups. The series is currently run by BDC students, including one of our T32 trainees.

BDC Monthly Seminars, where BDC graduate students and post-doctoral fellows present their research in formal talks to the BU community. Attendance will be required for SB2 trainees until graduation.

The BDC Annual Symposium, which brings together leading researchers in both academia and industry to highlight groundbreaking research in synthetic biology and biological design alongside BDC students and faculty. In 2021, Professor David Liu (Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard) was the Keynote Speaker. At least two SB2 trainees are selected to present their research at this event.

The QBP/TRB/SB2 Joint Symposium, an annual meeting that is co-sponsored with two other BU training grants. The symposium is organized by trainees from these three T32 programs (with support from the three T32 Steering/Executive Committees and staff) and consists of presentations by student members of these three T32 programs and by other student researchers not explicitly in the program but involved in research consistent with the T32 themes. The Symposium also invites one keynote speaker from outside BU. Every SB2 trainee must give a talk at a symposium before graduating. In 2023, Professor Paula Hammond (MIT/Koch Institute) was the Keynote Speaker.

The SB2 Annual Retreat, which is an off-site event that includes scientific and team building/social activities for all SB2 trainees.

All SB2 trainees – including ones that are no longer receiving funding from this training program – attend SB2 Monthly Meetings, where trainees give 30-minute presentations about their summer internship experiences or research discoveries, or a guest speaker (usually from outside of BU) is invited to give a 30-minute talk about their current role and career path, and then answer questions from the trainees. Since many of these guest speakers are from local biotechnology/pharmaceutical companies, these meetings provide opportunities for our trainees to grow their professional networks in a very ‘low stakes’ environment and learn about the broad range of scientific positions that are available at these companies.

Date Speaker Name Job Title at Time of Meeting Company at Time of Meeting
October 2022 Rana Gupta Director of Faculty Entrepreneurship Boston University
November 2022 Jeantine Lunshof Ethicist, Philosopher, Head of Collaborative Ethics Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University
February 2023 Lily Fitzgerald Associate Director, Policy and Partnership Ginkgo Bioworks
March 2023 Kerry Love Founder and CEO/President Sunflower Therapeutics
May 2023 Grant Murphy Executive Director of Discovery Biologics Merck Research Laboratories
June 2023 Weslee Glenn Head of Platform Development Ayana Bio
June 2023 Diana Pankevich Director of Global Innovation Policy & Geopolitical Risk Pfizer
July 2023 Nili Ostrov Co-founder and CSO Cultivarium
October 2023 Issi Rozen General Partner GV (Google Ventures)
November 2023 Laura Sepp-Lorenzino Chief Scientific Officer Intellia Therapeutics
February 2024 Vincent Ling Senior Director, Center for External Innovation Takeda Pharmaceuticals
March 2024 Catherine Pujol-Baxley Senior Director, Microbial Engineering Gingko Bioworks (Joyn Bio)
April 2024 Steven Goodman Vice President, Process Development, Cell and Genetic Therapies Vertex
May 2024 Armon Sharei Founder and CEO Portal (ex-SQZ Biotech)