Bioscience Enterprise Club

Open to employees and students, the BEC is dedicated to helping CSHL’s science research professionals and alumni cultivate and leverage their cross-disciplinary skill sets and expertise to transition into diverse science-related careers.  BEC focuses on enabling members to explore alternative science careers and develop entrepreneurial skills through interaction with peers and professionals representing industry, government and academic career paths.

  • photo of BEC group at Alexandria Launch Labs, NYC

Disha Aggarwal


I’m a graduate student in the Spector lab working on understanding the role of a long non-coding RNA MALAT1 in breast cancer using patient-derived breast tumor organoids. After my B.Tech majoring in Biotechnology from Mumbai, India, I moved to Boston to pursue a Master’s degree in Molecular and Cell Biology at Brandeis University. Post-graduation, I worked at Moderna Therapeutics in the Boston biotech hub as a Research Associate in the platform development group optimizing mRNA therapeutics. I then joined CRISPR Therapeutics as a Research associate in the Hematology team working on pre-clinical experiments for the first ex-vivo therapy for beta-thalassemia and sickle cell disease that is now in clinical trials. Apart from science, I really enjoy traveling, painting, gardening and co-founded a blog called Planet Ninjas focused on spreading awareness on climate change issues and solutions!

Emmanuella Nnuji-John

Vice President

I am a first-year Ph.D. student in the School of Biological Sciences at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Prior to starting at CSHL, I completed my undergraduate studies in Biochemistry at Alcorn State University in 2020. As an undergrad, I participated in internships at Duke University School of Medicine, and Schepens Eye Research Institute at Harvard Medical School where I worked on innate immune sensing of RNA viruses, and the role of inflammation in age-related macular degeneration. When I am not doing research, I love singing and trying new recipes. Beyond CSHL, I am also the Co-Director of Communications at Nucleate Bio, New York. My interest in BEC stems from my excitement about commercializing science and bringing new therapies to the market for the benefit of patients all over the world. I am very excited to be a part of CSHL BEC and I look forward to doing awesome things with this team.

Iacopo Gentile

Director of Communications

I am a graduate student in the Lippman lab at CSHL where I CRISPR to study paralog evolution in plants. In particular, I study the level of redundancy among the members of the CLE small signaling peptide in tomatoes. For my undergraduate degree, I graduated from the University of York, in the UK, with a B.S. in Genetics. I spent several years during my undergraduate working in different institutes, in Germany, Austria, the UK, and Italy, studying different aspects of plant biology, spanning from salt stress response to leaf development. In my spare time, I like running and rowing, enjoying the cost line of Long Island.

Photo of Jed de Ruiter-Swain

Jed de Ruiter-Swain

Director of Operations

I am a third-year graduate student in the Lukey lab, studying the metabolic interactions between brain metastatic breast cancer cells and astrocytes. Prior to joining Cold Spring Harbor, I studied Biochemistry at the University of Oxford. This included a Masters project undertaken at the Jenner Institute, characterizing antibodies isolated from volunteers exposed to a malaria vaccine. Outside of the lab, I enjoy hiking, camping, and fishing, preferably all together!

Photo of Yuriko Nishino

Yuriko Nishino

Editorial Content Director

I’m a graduate student at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. I’m fascinated by RNA biology and interested in studying its regulatory mechanism. Prior to studying at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, I completed my undergraduate studies in Bioscience at Keio University in Japan where I studied the behavior of regulatory networks using a mathematical model and a computational simulation. After graduation, I worked in consulting for a few years and supported clients in pharmaceutical companies and medtech companies. In my free time, I really enjoy yoga and hiking. Now I’m curious to try outdoor yoga.

Photo of Yihan (Leonie) Qin

Yihan (Leonie) Qin

Executive Member

I am a Ph.D. student in the School of Biological Sciences at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. I graduated from the College of William and Mary, double-majoring in biology and chemistry. For my undergraduate research, I studied the concise synthesis and biological testing of quinone-based natural products. As for my graduate study, my research interest is in cancer immunology. When I am not in the lab, I enjoy traveling, checking out restaurants, and playing badminton. I am excited to join BEC to bridge academia and industry and to help with exciting events!

Photo of Zakeria Aminzada

Zakeria Aminzada

Executive Member

I am a research technician in the Westcott Lab working on autochthonous mouse models for colon cancer. I graduated with a B.S. in Biology at Stony Brook University in 2022 and spent time working in a lab researching PDAC as an undergrad. I joined BEC to support its much-needed goal of exposing young scientists to diverse career options in industry. Aside from research, I enjoy skiing and singing karaoke (badly) with my friends.

The BEC Faculty Advisory Board consists of CSHL faculty who, through their research programs, have become leaders in translational science and academia-industry engagement. The primary commitment of the Faculty Board is to provide mentorship and guidance to our members in an endeavor to fulfill BEC’s mission statement. In addition, the Faculty Board also meets with BEC members to discuss past and future Club events and activities, act as chairs for keynote speaker sessions, provide industry networks for BEC events and workshops, and occasionally serve as a conduit between BEC and the CSHL administration.

photo of Chris Vakoc

Christopher Vakoc

Cancer Center Program Co-Leader

Chromatin, Transcriptional regulation, Acute Myeloid Leukemia, BET bromodomains, Lysine Methyltransferases

Vakoc Lab Website

photo of Zach Lippman

Zachary Lippman

Professor & HHMI Investigator
Jacob Goldfield Professor of Genetics

Plant developmental genetics, mechanisms of phase transitions for flowering time and inflorescence branching, heterosis

Lippman Lab Website

Nicholas Tonks

Nicholas Tonks

Professor & HHMI Investigator
Jacob Goldfield Professor of Genetics

posttranslational modification, phosphorylation, phosphatases, signal transduction, protein structure and function

10/26/21 – We were joined today by Dr. Fatih Mercan, former post-doc in the Vakoc lab at CSHL, who gave an excellent overview of patent law. We discussed key skills helpful for the transition from academia, as well as avenues for gaining experience. Thanks Fatih for a great talk!

Click on an image below from the meeting, to see a larger version
image of BEC zoom meeting participants image of powerpoint slideshow slide - a career in intellectual property image of powerpoint slideshow slide - what does a patent agent do?

10/12/21 – We were joined today by Dr. Emilis Bružas, Medical Director at FCB Health and CSHL alum. Emilis provided great insights into the various roles he plays on a daily basis, the opportunities available within the healthcare marketing sector, and the skills Ph.D.s can leverage for a transition into the field.

09/25/21 – We were delighted to be joined today by Manu Lakshmanan, Director of Strategy & Innovation at UnitedHealth Group and McKinsey alumnus. Manu provided insights into the parallels and distinctions between a scientific and consulting-based approach to a problem. He then coached participants through applying that method in a simulated case interview.

09/22/21 – We were delighted to be joined by Gregg Sando, founder of Cell Medica (later re-named to Kuur Therapeutics) and an investor, adviser and board director in several start-up life sciences companies. Gregg shared terrific insights into launching biotech companies, and how to mitigate the risks involved.

02/04/2021 – We were delighted to host Nancy Thornberry (CEO, Kallyope) and Kaja Wasik (Co-founder & CSO, Variant Bio) for a panel discussion on Women STEM Entrepreneurs in conjunction with WiSE. They provided terrific insights into the transition from academia to biotech.

11/2020 – 12/2020 – We collaborated with Scismic to host a four-part workshop series focused on transitioning from academia to industry. We networked with professionals in consulting, patent law, industry R&D, and clinical operations. We also had the opportunity to learn what makes a CV stand out from biotech HR and talent acquisition professionals.

06/26/2020 – We endorsed the Joint Statement from Diversify Biotech to continue working towards greater diversity and inclusivity in the biotech community.

06/26/2020 – Former CSHL Alum Luis J. Mejia shared his experience transitioning from the bench to Associate Editor at Nature Publishing. His insight into the company’s operations was very interesting. Thank you Luis!

11/07/2019 – The Alexandria Launch Labs provided a great tour of the NYC facility. Thank you for the visit and we hope to see you again.

10/24/19 – We welcomed Dr. Sue Klapholz, VP of Nutrition & Health at Impossible Foods Inc. to talk to our scientists regarding all things Impossible Foods & her career journey to her position today. Impossible Foods Inc. looks to limit the health and environmental impacts of a meat-based diet, through rigorous science and the production of tasty meat-free alternatives. Thank you for a very informative session, Sue!

07/12/19 – We had a great turnout for Beyond the Bench 2019! We thank all our fantastic keynote speakers and panelists for coming to CSHL to tell us more about the different career paths they have taken after doing a Ph.D. in science! (You can check out previous Beyond the Bench agendas under our “Past events” tab.)

03/22/19 – It was a pleasure to have Peter J. Weinberger (the ‘W’ in the AWK language) visit the lab and share his views on programming languages, working at the Bell Labs, Renaissance, and Google, and trying out management responsibilities. Students and postdocs also have the opportunity to visit Google in NYC on April 23, please get in touch if you want to go (limited spots)!

11/28/18 – Please join us for a tour of the Estée Lauder research labs in Melville on December 5th, Wednesday, 9am-noon. The trip will be an excellent and fun opportunity to learn the work environment in the personal care and cosmetics industry. If you are interested in joining the Estée Lauder tour, please reply to Yushu Chen (yuchen@cshl.edu) ASAP before noon of this Friday, November 30. See you there!

10/10/18 – Thank you Christine Ardito-Abraham from Amgen for discussing all facets of a Medical Science Liaison (MSL) with us. MSL positions are expected to grow in the coming years and these career paths are generally for advance degree holders. Could this be a career for you?

8/21/18 – We appreciate all the lawyers from Dilworth & Barrese who provided great insight about intellectual property law of science and engineering technologies.

7/12/18 – 2 teams of 9 CSHL scientists made it to the top 25 teams invited to the Tufts New England Case Competition (TUNECC) 2018. We wish them the best in the next round. Congrats Matt Lee, Sofya Polyanskaya, Sergey Shuvaev, David Johnson, Jue Xiang Wang, Sonali Bhattacharjee, Johanna Syrjanen, Katie Meze, and Deborah Rupert!

6/20/18 – We are hosting Mr. William Doyle, Chairman of the Board of Novocure, to discuss about venture capital, investment banking and the best way to transition from bench science to roles outside of academia. Join us on Thursday, June 21st @ 3pm in Samet.

6/5/18 – The advanced Illustrator workshops will take place on June 13 and June 28. Please get in touch if you haven’t signed up yet!

5/23/18 – Due to popular demand, the Adobe Illustrator Workshop will be hosted again. Join us on May 31st for the basic session and TBD for the advanced session.

4/26/18 – We are hosting our first Adobe Illustrator Workshops. Join us on May 8th for the basic session and May 11th for the advanced session.

4/12/18 – Thank you Lisa Napolione, Dr. Kurt Schilling and Dr. Klodjan Stafa from Estée Lauder for joining us in discussing about career paths in industry today!

3/15/18 – Thank you Dr. Bernadette So from New York University for giving us great advice on CV/ résumé today!

Below are the types of events BEC organized in the past. To suggest speakers for future events or to volunteer, please contact one of our executive committee members.

Beyond the Bench symposium

Beyond the Bench is a biennial one-day event attended by post-docs and graduate students, which features talks and panel discussions about careers in biotechnology, entrepreneurship, finance, data science and other science-related disciplines.
Previous symposiums agenda: 2019, 2017, 2015, 2013.

Career events

We invite speakers who transitioned from science to diverse careers to CSHL for a one-hour informal Q&A seminar. Occasionally, we also host a networking session to follow the seminar.

Skills workshop

We invite experts to give CSHL students and postdocs seminars on professional development skills. Previous workshops include: Illustrator tutorials, resume/CV workshop, and bioinformatics tutorials.

Campus tour

Seeing is believing—BEC hosts campus tours to companies in the New York area, such as Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. CSHL students and postdocs spend a day seeing the company, networking with current employees, and learning about the research in industry.

Interested in joining BEC? Get in touch!

2022-2023 Executive Committee Members

Disha Aggarwal

Emmanuella Nnuji-John
Vice President

Iacopo Gentile
Director of Communications

Jed de Ruiter-Swain
Director of Operations

Yuriko Nishino
Editorial Content Director

Former Executive Committee Members

Martyna Sroka, President
Asad Lakhani, Vice-President
Daniele Rosado, Co-Director of Operations
Alexa Pagliaro, Co-Director of Operations
Jonathan Werner, Newsletter Editor
Kuhulika Bhalla, President
Yushu Chen, Co-Vice President
Kelly Hills-Muckey, Co-Vice President
Luce St. Surin, Liaison Officer
Ilgin Ergin, Executive Member
Matt Jaremko, President
Matt Lee, Co-Vice President
Jue Xiang Wang, President
Ngoc Tran, President
Sarah Diermeier, President
Brad Gulko, Co-Vice President
David Nowak, President
Rober Aboukhalil, Co-Vice President
Maria Nattestad, Co-Vice President
Katie Liberatore, President
Jan Bergmann, Vice President
Patrick Finigan, Founding Member
Lolahon Kadiri, Founding Member

Dr. Fatih Mercan
Patent attorney

Dr. Emilis Bružas
Medical Director at FCB Health

Manu Lakshmanan
Director of Strategy & Innovation at UnitedHealth Group, McKinsey alumnus

Gregg Sando
Founder of Cell Medica (now Kuur Therapeutics), investor, adviser and board director in several start-up life sciences companies

Peter J. Weinberger
Computer Scientist, Google (formerly Bell Labs and Renaissance Technologies)

Lisa A. Napolione
Senior Vice President, Estee Lauder

Kurt Schilling, Ph.D.
Senior Vice President, Estee Lauder

Klodjan Stafa, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist, Estee Lauder

Genevieve Smith, Ph.D.
Insight Data Science Program

Yvette Seger, Ph.D.
Director of Science Policy at FASEB

Laure Haak, Ph.D.
Executive Director at ORCID

Rebecca Goldburg, Ph.D.
The Pew Charitable Trusts

Joanne Marquardt
Breast Cancer Research advocate

Ethan Perlstein, Ph.D.
CEO and Founder, Perlara

George Yancopoulos. M.D., Ph.D.
President and CSO, Regeneron

David Frendewey, Ph.D.
Sr. Director, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Gustavo Stolovitzky, Ph.D.
Group Manager, IBM Functional Genomics & Systems Biology

Melinda Thomas, MBA
Entrepreneur in Residence for NYC

Matthew Stadler, Ph.D.
Entrepreneur in Residence for Stony Brook’s Small Business Development Center

David Calone, JD
CEO, Jove Equity Partners LLC

Mark Lesko, JD
Executive Director, Accelerate Long Island

Kate Hutchinson
Manager, Programs & Events; Center for Biotechnology

Micheal Bielski, JD, MS
Assistant Director, Science & Technology Commercialization; Center for Biotechnology

Mark Fasciano, Ph.D.
Managing Director, Cranrock Ventures

Irvin Barash, MBA
President, Vencom Management, Inc.

Steven Isaacman, Ph.D.
Founder & CEO, Nanometics LLC

Barbara Gebhardt
President, Opus Staffing

Kakuri Omari, Ph.D.
Associate Scientific Director, Medicus International

Julianne Dunphy, Ph.D.
Vice President & Scientific Director, Medicus International

Bernadette So, Ph.D.
Director of Graduate Student Career Development at New York University

William (Bill) Doyle, M.B.A.
Chairman of the Board of Novocure

Christine (Tina) Ardito-Abraham, Ph.D.
Medical Science Liaison; Amgen Oncology Northeast

Speakers from Dilworth & Barrese, LLP (Rocco Barrese; Peter Dilworth; Michael Musella; Stephen Barrese; Michael Dilworth; Anthony Sabatelli, Ph.D.; Matthew Siegal – all JD)
Intellectual Property lawyers