I joined Genentech in August 2020 as Head and Executive Vice President, Genentech Research and Early Development. In this role, I am responsible for the management of all aspects of gRED’s drug discovery and drug development activities. In addition, I am a member of the Genentech Executive Committee and Board of Directors, and a member of the expanded Corporate Executive Committee for Roche. I also run an active research lab focused on developing and applying experimental methods and computational algorithms to decipher intra- and intercellular circuits in cells in tissues.
Prior to Genentech, I served as Chair of the Faculty, Core Institute Member (currently on leave), Founding Director of the Klarman Cell Observatory, and member of the Executive Leadership Team of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, as well as Professor of Biology at MIT (currently on leave) and Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. I am a founding co-chair of the Human Cell Atlas.
Mentorship is a special part of every scientific endeavor: a mentor does not simply teach existing knowledge, because science is about discovering and understand what is not yet known; and they surely do not simply manage, because to become a research scientist one must learn how to self-start from lack of knowledge to navigate into new knowledge. Rather, a mentor plays a critical role in chaperoning and guiding an individual, through vision, advice, support, modeling, and listening.
Mentorship is important for every scientist. When scientists are in the beginning of their career path, they may have had little-to-no experience being mentored -- they were likely mostly taught, and a mentor accompanies them through the very early and crucial steps. Diversity goes to the essence of the creativity and open-minded exploration at the heart of scientific research, and thus it is crucial we provide diverse mentorship to all in our communities. Those scientists that have come from groups that were historically under-represented in scientific research, including women and members of under-represented minorities, may not encounter mentors who have shared similar life experiences with them.
My group deciphers the molecular circuits that govern cells, tissues and organs in health and their malfunction in disease. Our lab has pioneered foundational experimental and computational methods in single-cell and spatial genomics, working toward greater understanding of the circuits in and function of cells and tissues in health and disease, including autoimmune disease, inflammation, COVID-19 cancer.