Effective Transition from Academia to Industry

Join us for this annual event to hear lessons learned from a variety of individual experiences and to learn the critical skills necessary for a smooth and effective transition. Panelists include individuals that have successfully made the transition from academia as well as an experienced recruiter who has managed these kinds of transitions.

The panel discussion will be moderated by Tara Reagan, Human Resources Business Partner at Editas Medicine Inc.


Panelist Include:

Rana Awwad, Ph.D., Production and QC Manager, Stemgent

Rana has been the Production and QC manager at Stemgent, Inc. for the last 3 years, a company focused on the manufacture of high quality reagents to researchers in the stem cell field. She is also a board member and committee chair for the Massachusetts Chapter of the Association for Women in Science. Rana completed her bachelor's degrees in Biology at the University of Toledo in Ohio. She then attended The Medical College of Ohio, completing her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Prior to Stemgent, Rana was a postdoctoral research fellow at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Brigham and Women’s Hospital where her research was focused on understanding the mechanism of cancer promotion and progression.

Kevin Coughlin, Vice President, Gatti & Associates

Kevin joined Gatti & Associates, a national human resources executive search firm, as Vice President in October, 2015, bringing with him almost 20 years of experience as an HR practitioner. Kevin began his HR career working as a scientific recruiter with Yoh Company, and during his tenure gained experience working in HR systems, training and business transformation. Kevin then went on to work for both Kenexa and Amgen, where he established and honed his corporate talent acquisition skills. Prior to joining Gatti, Kevin worked at Vertex Pharmaceuticals, where he played key roles in the talent acquisition function during a pivotal time in the company’s history. Most recently, Kevin directed the HRIS team at Vertex Pharmaceuticals and led the successful global implementation of a company-wide HCM solution. Kevin holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Boston University.

Cecilia Fernández, Ph.D., Director of Platform Development, Editas Medicine

Cecilia obtained her PhD in Applied Science at MIT working with Prof. Robert Langer and Prof. Marsha Moses at Harvard Medical School. She has led research, clinical, manufacturing engineering and operations teams and routinely coordinates activities among various groups. Cecilia started her career as a research scientist working on therapeutic targets of fibrotic diseases at the Novartis Institutes of Biomedical Research. Joining an early-stage startup, Predictive Biosciences, Cecilia then led the development, clinical validation and commercial launch of several biomarker-based assays used as non-invasive cancer diagnostics. As Director of Operations at T2Biosystems, Cecilia led teams in technology transfer and manufacturing engineering, overseeing the completion of the company’s verification studies in support of their first FDA submission and their manufacturing reliability efforts. Cecilia has recently joined Editas Medicine as Director of Platform Development and is completing her MBA studies at the MIT Sloan School of Management in June.

Christopher E. Henderson, Ph.D., Biogen

After training in Cambridge (UK) and spending much of his career in France, Chris Henderson moved in 2005 to Columbia University in New York, where he co-founded the Center for Motor Neuron Biology and Disease, a new initiative in translational neuroscience that created a continuum from research on motor neurons through to clinical research on the motor neuron diseases ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) and SMA (spinal muscular atrophy). He was also director of the Columbia Stem Cell Initiative, a group of 120 laboratories across the university using stem cells to better understand or treat human disease. While still at Columbia he became director of Target ALS, a privately-funded consortium that has stimulated industry investment in ALS research by supporting cutting-edge translational research and nationwide core facilities in academia. In 2014, Trophos - a French biotech of which he was an academic founder - announced positive clinical trial data in patients with SMA.  This provided major motivation to become more actively engaged in the biotech world and in October 2014, Henderson moved to Biogen (Cambridge, MA) to lead the neuroscience research program focused on Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ALS and multiple sclerosis.  

Stephen Krenitsky, Director Talent Acquisition, Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Stephen Krenitsky has been an HR professional for the past 30 years with Novartis, Biogen, Oracle, Cadence Design Systems and in the agency business.  He is presently Director of Talent Acquisition at Vertex Pharmaceuticals in Boston, MA, heading up recruitment for Research, Global Patient Safety, Preclinical & CMC and Biomarker Discovery.  Stephen received an MBA from Babson College and he’s a member of the New England Human Resource Association – NEHRA.

Georgia Mitsi, PhD, MBA, MSc, Apptomics

Georgia received her PhD in Health Sciences and MSc in Applied Medical Sciences from University of Patras, Greece and her MBA with focus on International Business from University of Miami. For the past 12 years, she lives and works in US. She has extensive experience in Pharmaceutical Industry (Boehringer Ingelheim, Noven) and Healthcare Consulting (Humana, United Biosource) where she has been involved in positions of increased responsibility in areas such as Clinical Research (Health Outcomes and Health Economics), Marketing and Business Development. She has completed successfully many research projects of high complexity and has collaborated with all the major pharmaceutical companies as well as academic institutions. She has co-authored several scientific publications and presented in conferences such as ISPOR, DIA and MDS. Three years ago, Georgia Mitsi started her own company, Apptomics (www.apptomics.com). A digital health company that provides mobile applications, analytics and services for optimal management of chronic neurological conditions. Georgia is also a published novelist. She maintains a blog, where she writes about life, work and everything in between. https://mitsigeorgia1.wordpress.com

Tara Reagan, MBA, Sr. HR Business Partner, Editas Medicine

Prior to joining Editas Medicine in 2015, Tara worked at Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, Inc. for seven years in Human Resources, where she was involved in positions of increasing responsibility across the HR function, most recently in the role of Global Business Partner for the research support functions under the CFO.  Tara received her MBA from Suffolk University Sawyer Business School, and her B.A. in Business Management and Legal Studies from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.


Date and Time:  
January 28, 2016
6:00 - 8:30 PM


5:50-6:10pm: Registration, mingling, and light dinner
6:10-6:30pm: Facilitated networking
6:30-7:30pm: Panel Discussion
7:30-8:00pm: Audience Q&A
8:00-8:30pm: Optional networking



Microsoft, One Cambridge Center, 4th Floor, Hawthorne Room, Cambridge, MA 02142

Map and Parking Information

We appreciate Microsoft donating the use of their event space.  Microsoft requires all attendees to check in on the first floor with a government issued photo id card.



Members: $35; Non-Members: $55, Workshop and Annual Membership: $120

A light dinner will be served. 





If you are a student looking for financial assistance to attend this event, please visit www.stayinma.com.