Today, women make up less than one quarter of all those employed in STEM occupations in the United States. These numbers are much worse for women of color: Asian, black women and Latinas made up slightly less than 10% of working scientists and engineers in the United States in 2015. Science is supposed to be built on objectivity, and yet, most researchers agree that these bleak numbers are evidence of deep bias. Over the course of careers, small slights add up to prevent many women from achieving leadership positions in STEM fields. And sometimes, tragically, brilliant women drop out altogether. But now, the terrain is shifting. This film chronicles the groundswell of women scientists who are changing the face of science in the United States and around the world. Using dogged research techniques and careful data collection, these women are not only contributing to our understanding of what keeps women scientists down, but advocating for a more diverse and inclusive future for all. The film will take a novel, collaborative approach to its storytelling, allowing the scientists themselves to guide the narrative of the film. Science is therefore both the subject of the film, and also — through our three main characters — its guiding sensibility, providing viewers a deeper understanding of what it takes to be a scientist. Equal parts insightful and inspiring, this film will illuminate both the hard data and the very human stories of women in science.

Panelist Speakers

Dr. Céline Schiff-Deb

For over fifteen years, Dr. Céline Schiff-Deb has been working at the interface of science and business, turning biotechnological innovations into relevant commercial products and services, both in Europe and the USA.

A France native, she completed a Master’s degree in agronomy delivered by Agro Paris Tech. She received her Ph.D. in plant genetics and molecular biology at Agro Paris Tech and Stanford University.

Having acquired a strong sense of the potential of biological systems to produce compounds of interest, she decided to leverage her scientific background to help companies translate these innovations into commercial products. For seven years, she worked in consulting and strategy in the biotechnology space, both with a specialized consulting firm – Alcimed – and as an independent consultant.

Since 2011, she has been leveraging her expertise by joining biotechnology companies built around microbial platforms: Intrexon, Solazyme, TerraViam, Corbion, and Calysta. She has a solid track record of securing strategic partners, developing new products, and successfully launching them in the marketplace in nutrition, cosmetics, chemicals, oil, and gas. She is currently the head of Biotechnology at MISTA.

Nina Reyes

Nina is driven by the global positive impact that biomanufacturing can have on the planet and humanity.  She is a founding member of the Checkerspot team where her technical expertise and passion for talking about science have led her down two very different but interconnected paths – one as a fermentation scientist and the other as the director of communications.  Nina loves translating hard scientific data into something that everyone can understand and get excited about. She believes that we’re all scientists at heart – curious about the world around us and how it works.

Outside of Checkerspot, Nina works towards her personal vision of an inclusive global community where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. Since 2011, Nina has been a volunteer of Make A Difference Now, a global nonprofit whose mission is to provide quality education to disadvantaged children and youth so they have the tools to become self-sufficient, contributing citizens of the world, working with students from Tanzania and India. In 2013, she climbed Kilimanjaro as a fundraiser. Locally, Nina volunteers with Satellite Affordable Housing Associates, at an after-school program in West Oakland, and as an elder friend with Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly.

Dr. Vikki Sluzky

Victoria Sluzky, Ph.D. is a Principal at Lucid Biotechnology Advisors LLC, a strategic consultancy for emerging biotechnology companies.  For the past 19 years, Victoria was at BioMarin Pharmaceutical, serving in roles of increasing responsibility and most recently as Senior Vice President of Technical Development.

Dr. Sluzky has a broad range of experience in pharmaceutical development including design and optimization of analytical methods; formulation of parenteral and solid dosage forms; process development and technology transfer; quality assurance and compliance programs; and regulatory strategy. Over the past 30 years, she has contributed to the development of 9 commercial products and was directly involved in pre-clinical and clinical development programs for multiple small molecules, biologics and gene therapy drug candidates.

Prior to joining BioMarin in 2003, Dr. Sluzky worked at three other biotechnology companies (Scios, COR Therapeutics, and Onyx Pharmaceuticals).  She holds a BS in Chemical Engineering from Stanford University, a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from MIT, and is a Fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers.

Sharon Shattuck, Ian Cheney