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Oregon Biotech Leaders Descend on Reed

By Katie Pelletier ’03 on October 27, 2016 10:43 AM

Looking to the Future: bioscience leaders seek to grow Oregon's bioscience landscape

Fall break is typically a quiet week at Reed: the rain has set in, many students have gone home, and others are holed up in the library and dorms getting caught up on coursework and sleep. But over break this year, more than 300 leaders in Oregon’s biotech industries convened at Reed to talk about topics ranging from lifesaving technologies to supporting diversity and inclusion, biomedical research, and investing in the Oregon bioscience field.

Campus became the hub of an annual effort to strategize and support the regional bioscience community, and many Reedies took part. The annual conference—Oregon Bio 2016—is not only a professional development and networking opportunity for the bioscience community, it's an important chance for industry professionals collectively to look to the future and set goals. Senator Ron Wyden addressed the conference, emphasizing the need for industry growth, enhancing Oregon's research climate, and attracting talent and companies to the state. 

Reed students, professors, alumni and staff also participated in the conference. Morgan Vague ’17, a biology major, was one of 10 researchers selected to participate in an opportunity called Research Fast Pitch. She competed against associate professors and PhD candidates with a timed, three-minute presentation about her research on plastic-eating bacteria. While she didn’t win, she was thrilled with the result of the experience: she drummed up interest and even potential funding offers for her work.

Prof. Kelly Chacón [chemistry 2015–] served on a diversity recruiting and retention panel at the conference, and the Center for Life Beyond Reed was an active participant in the conference—engaging with conference participants at the exhibitor fair and networking during conference sessions.

Other conference speakers and attendees included more than 40 highly influential leaders in biotech such as executives and researchers at Columbia, Intel, Oregon State University, Veana Therapeutics, Oregon Talent Council, and OHSU. Alums Brian Martin '81 M.D. (CEO/Founder, Recentia Health), Matt Hagen '11 (OHSU, PhD candidate in bioscience engineering dept), and Michael Tippie ’80 (CEO, TomegaVax) also returned to campus to participate in the event. Reed, now viewed as one of the top undergraduate institutions to influence the field of science, was pleased to host the bioscience research, investment, and policy community, and the opportunities they bring to students and alumni in Oregon and beyond.