SAN DIEGO – On Wednesday, November 13, the Salk Institute for Biological Studies will host 300 female students from eight different San Diego high schools as part of the 5th Annual Women in Biotech event, “The Places Your Imagination Takes You,” an initiative led by the STEAM Leadership Series. Dr. Karen E. Nelson, president of the J. Craig Venter Institute will serve as the keynote speaker, followed by an all-female panel made of up scientists and leaders from Illumina, Match Your Need and the Salk Institute.

Dr. Nelson, a 2017 inductee to the National Academy of Sciences and an expert in the gut microbiome, will explain her own path from Jamaica to La Jolla. She has managed several genomic and metagenomic efforts, and led the first human metagenomics study that was published in 2006.

Where: Salk Institute for Biological Studies
Conrad T. Prebys Auditorium
10010 N Torrey Pines Rd
La Jolla, CA 92037

When: Wednesday, November 13, 2019, 9:00am – 11:00am

Attendees will be welcomed by District Superintendent Cindy Marten prior to the keynote speech. Dr. Nelson’s remarks will be followed by a panel of female science and business leaders who will answer questions from the audience and share their experiences as women in STEAM careers.

The panelists include:

  • Ida Khodami – Associate Director of Global Business Operations, Illumina
  • Pantea Khodami – Associate Director of Global Marketing, Illumina
  • Fernanda (Gandara) Coelho – Biotech Consultant, Match Your Need
  • Elena Blanco-Suarez – Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory of Nicola Allen, Salk
  • Yuan Xue – Gene Expression Laboratory of Juan-Carlos Ipzua Belmonte, Salk
  • Charlotte Miller – Plant Biology Laboratory of Wolfgang Busch, Salk

The event is the 18th in the successful 5-year STEAM Leadership Series, an initiative of Intellectual Capital and KidsEcoClub, which aims to provide youth with more opportunities and access to STEAM education and careers.


About The STEAM Leadership Series

The STEAM Leadership Series mission is to bridge the science, education and high-tech business communities along career pathways that inspire young people to live their dreams and explore great careers and jobs in Smart City San Diego, adding value and impact to educational experiences. The STEAM Leadership Series is a program of Intellectual Capital and KidsEcoClub in partnership with the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD). Support includes lead sponsor The San Diego Foundation, the USS Midway Museum, the Samuel Lawrence Foundation, the Moxie Foundation, and others.


Justin Nunez, The San Diego Foundation,, 336-254-7056

Steve Chapple, The STEAM Leadership Series,,858-952-9547