The Rice Alliance-Austin Chapter has teamed up with the Bioscience program at the Austin Technology Incubator to launch symBIOsis.
The term “symbiosis” is commonly used to describe close and often long-term interactions between different biological species.
The vision for this new event – symBIOsis – will similarly provide a forum for Austin-area life sciences entrepreneurs to interact with each other, to network with each other, and to learn together about the challenges of starting and growing life sciences companies, here in Austin. symBIOsis is open to the broad life sciences community in Austin, with hopes that technology entrepreneurs; UT-Austin graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty; company executives; and others will participate and benefit.
The kick-off symBIOsis event was held on Tuesday, September 22, from 5:30-7:30PM at the AT&T Executive Conference Center near UT-Austin’s main campus. The first hour was full of great conversation, networking, and delicious snacks. Members of the University of Texas community enjoyed the opportunity to meet members of Austin’s life sciences sector, and vice versa.
The second hour of the evening featured a panel discussion entitled “From Bench to Boardroom: Commercializing Life Sciences Technology,” with three individuals with very interesting and inspirational career pathways. All three are wonderful examples of how a PhD in science or engineering can prepare one for all kinds of experiences not only in academia, but also within the life sciences industry.
The panelists included:
Thomas Milner, PhD
Marion E. Forsman Centennial Professor in Engineering
Department of Biomedical Engineering, UT-Austin
Bill Williams, PhD
Johnson & Johnson Centennial Professor of Pharmaceutics
Division Head, Pharmaceutics, UT-Austin
Editor-in-chief, Drug Development and Industrial Pharmacy
Matt Winkler, PhD
Chief Executive Officer
Chief Scientific Officer
Jessica Hanover, PhD, Director, ATI-Bioscience, moderated the panel discussion. The conversation was particularly interesting to the graduate students and academicians in the room, with great insights into different roles for scientists and engineers within life sciences companies, and how academicians like the panelists had been successful transitioning to, or overlapping with, the life sciences industry.
Stay tuned for upcoming plans for symBIOsis in the future – you can check for updates at our website www.symbiosisaustin.org.