Member Stories

Jennifer Wilson

Jennifer joined LGBRC in 2019 and participated with the team in Redlands.

We asked Jennifer how she got started in cycling. She replied, "It was an accident! I really wanted to do something active in graduate school and so I went on a few "no drop" rides with the MIT cycling team. They were incredibly good at recruiting even the most beginner riders and eventually they tricked me into racing. I stayed involved because the racing team was a lot of really fun and well-organized people and in no time, I was pretty hooked on cycling."

On her professional website, she writes, "I'm currently a fellow with the SPARK center in the Chemical & Systems Biology Department at Stanford. The SPARK center was kind enough to offer me a position when I proposed ideas for developing novel pathways algorithms for better identifying druggable and specific therapeutic targets. Look back for more soon on these projects!

I completed three years (2016-2019) as a postdoctoral scholar with the UCSF-Stanford Center for Excellence in Regulatory Science and Innovation (CERSI). I rotated between Stanford, the US FDA, and Genentech. At Stanford, I developed the PathFX algorithm in collaboration with the Genomics and Targeted Therapy Group (GTTG) at the US FDA with Russ Altman and Micheal Pacanowski. PathFX identifies disease and adverse event phenotypes proximal to drug targets in development. To allow FDA reviewers to use PathFX in regulatory review we created PathFX-web (in collaboration with SFSU). It's humbling to find research problems where you can have an impact, and PathFX was and still is exciting because a simple algorithm could add a great amount of value to the FDA review process. At Genentech, I supported the Tecentriq gastrointestinal-genitourinary programs (Sept 2018-Feb 2019) and developed quantitative systems pharmacology models for translating in vitro hematotoxicity data to predict clinical rates of cytopenias (March 2019-August 2019). The process of shepherding a therapeutic discovery through development and to the market is no easy feat; by spending time at Genentech I witnessed the depths and complexities of this process and now better understand the linchpins in clinical development.

I completed my Ph.D. in Biological Engineering at MIT with Doug Lauffenburger as an NSF Graduate Research and Koch Cancer Graduate Fellow . As a graduate student, I was a founding fellow in the department's Communication Lab and a graduate resident tutor (GRT) in McCormick Hall, MIT's undergraduate, all-women dormitory. The Communication Lab affirmed my excitement for communicating science and taught me valuable coaching skills for mentoring students in research and communication. McCormick was home for almost 4 years, and despite being the "adult" in the room, the dorm was an amazing place to call home.

As a Virginia native, I completed my bachelors of science in Biomedical Engineering and Science and Technology Policy minor at the University of Virginia. At UVA, I explored systems biology techniques for novel pro-angiogenic therapeutics with Edward Botchwey, and completed an internship with the Amazon Conservation Team (ACT). At ACT, I researched best practices for studying and preserving indigenous medicine, but left with a fascination for the breadth of natural products and their roles in indigenous medicine. My science policy minor and internship taught me the value of having scientists at the table during policy discussions and piqued my interest in the policy and regulatory worlds.

It's also no secret that I love bikes. I race road, mountain, and track cycling competitively, and spend most weekends outside on my bike barring any natural disasters. I received a Stenner scholarship from USACycling in 2015, and won the NCNCA's womens cat 3 spring road series."