january, 2021

19jan4:30 PM6:00 PMBioPathways Featuring Women In Bio: Incubating & Early Investing in Biotech

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About this Event

Introducing the new Chapter Chair of Women in Bio Chicago, Alicja “Ala” Santos.

Ala is an interdisciplinary scientist with 15 years of experience in research and early development of therapeutics and diagnostics, specifically in areas of cancer metastasis and cardiovascular diseases. She holds a B.Sc. in Biomedical Science from Robert Gordon University in Scotland, M.Sc. and Eng. in Biotechnology from the Lodz University of Technology in Poland, and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Chicago. Ala is currently a Technical Lead at Abbott Laboratories, where she develops cutting-edge technology for the new generation of molecular diagnostics in infectious diseases. In addition, she consults as a healthcare analyst for VCs and startups and serves as a pro-bono review committee member at the George Shultz Innovation Fund at Polsky Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center.

Featuring Karen Heidelberger, Partner, Chief Partnership, and Communications Officer, Deerfield.

Karen is a Partner and Chief Partnership and Communications Officer at Deerfield and joined the Firm in 2002. She is responsible for relationships with investors, partner companies, academic institutions, and other interested parties. Prior to this role, Ms. Heidelberger was a Trader at Deerfield for over a decade. Before Deerfield, Ms. Heidelberger was a Vice President in the Sales and Trading division of Merrill Lynch and served as a Conflicts Coordinator in the Mergers and Acquisitions department. As Conflicts Coordinator, she was responsible for ensuring that Merrill Lynch was clear of legal and business conflicts of interest before the firm was able to accept an assignment. Ms. Heidelberger has approximately 17 years of experience in healthcare and 24 years of experience in finance. She is involved in Deerfield’s Break into the Boardroom and Women in Science programs and currently serves on the Board of NewYorkBIO and the Cornell Institute for Healthy Futures. Ms. Heidelberger graduated from Cornell University, School of Hotel Administration, and earned her M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.

Hosted by Neelum Aggarwal, Senior Cognitive Neurologist for the federally funded Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center Clinical Core in Chicago.

Neelum is a practicing cognitive neurologist, clinical trialist, and researcher in the field of population health and aging. She is the Senior Cognitive Neurologist for the federally funded Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center Clinical Core in Chicago; Research Director for the Rush Heart Center for Women, and an Associate Professor in the Departments of Neurological Sciences and Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center at Rush University Medical Center.

In addition to seeing patients both in the RHCW – Cardio Cognitive Clinic and the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center – Memory Clinic, she is the Site Principal Investigator for multiple NIH/NIA funded clinical trials that are accelerating research in Alzheimer’s disease prevention, and sex and gender differences in ethnically diverse patient populations. She is particularly interested in identifying how social determinants of health, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and other novel risk factors for cognitive impairment including sex and gender differences, may lead to strategies to prevent cognitive decline and dementia.

Neelum is the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA), Immediate Past Chair of the AMA Women’s Physician Section Governing Council, National Chair of Women in Bio: Mentoring, Advisors, Peers and Sponsorship Committee, and a Fellow of the Institute of Medicine (Chicago). As a Chicago Innovation Mentor (CIM) since 2016, she has worked with multiple science and healthcare- based mentees to encourage innovation, catalyze tech commercialization, and support university-based and local new technology innovation ventures through MATTER, Chicago’s health tech incubator.

Neelum completed her medical degree from the Rosalind Franklin University – Chicago Medical School, completed her neurology residency at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan, and completed an aging and neurodegenerative disorders fellowship at the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center.


(Tuesday) 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM Central Time




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