Alumni panel to discuss careers in biotechnology

Marketing and Communications staff
Biochemistry graphic

With Commencement rapidly approaching, the departments of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Biology, at SUNY Fredonia will present “Careers in Biotechnology and Drug Discovery,” a panel discussion with Drs. Jason Gestwicki, Jeffery Kelly and H. Michael Petrassi, at the Kelly Family Auditorium, Science Center Room 105, on Friday, May 12.

Careers in the biotechnology and drug discovery areas can be incredibly rewarding for those who desire to create new therapeutics and improve human health. Scientists entering these fields can benefit from being involved in collaborative teams that are made up of individuals with diverse training and backgrounds.

The three panelists – all SUNY Fredonia alumni – have gone on to achieve productive careers in biotechnology and drug discovery. They will present an overview of the field and respond to student questions about careers in these areas.

Dr. Gestwicki, Chemistry and Recombinant Gene Technology, ’97, is a professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of California at San Francisco, a recipient of the 2023 Emil T. Kaiser award from the Protein Society and an elected Fellow of the Cell Stress Society International and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has founded multiple biotechnologies companies that include Amplyx Pharm, which was acquired by Pfizer in 2021.

Dr. Kelly, Chemistry, ’82, is the Lita Annenberg Hazen Professor of Chemistry at Scripps Research. Awards he has won include the Wolf Prize in Chemistry, the Jeremy Knowles Award, the Murray Goodman Memorial Award and the Emil T. Kaiser Award, among others. Kelly is a 2023 inductee of the National Academy of Sciences and an elected member of the National Academy of Inventors, the Royal Society of Chemistry and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Pioneering work by Kelly led to the approval of Tafamadis, a novel treatment for transthyretin amyloidosis. He has founded multiple biotechnology companies.

Dr. Petrassi, Chemistry, ’97, vice president of chemistry of Protego Biopharma, has more than 20 years of experience in chemistry and drug discovery. He previously held executive positions at Treeline Biosciences and Calibr. He launched his drug discovery career at the Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation.

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