Entrepreneur Pamela Reilly Contag, Ph.D., chief executive officer of Cygnet Biofuels and founder of four venture-backed start-up companies, will address the challenges faced by scientists, engineers and physicians as they balance work/life responsibilities during a panel discussion at 7 p.m. Sunday, April 14 in 101 Jordan Hall of Science.
“No question is as pressing to our future researchers and physicians as how to succeed in these highly competitive fields while achieving a manageable family life,” said Rudolph M. Navari, M.D., Ph.D. Navari is associate director and dean of the Indiana University School of Medicine-South Bend (IUSM-SB) and also teaches a class for pre-professional Notre Dame students. “This issue impacts the careers not only of female professionals, but their partners.”
Contag, a microbiologist who has more than 35 patents and patent applications, will describe how she negotiates a life that includes marriage, children, research, entrepreneurial involvement and consulting professorships. She will be joined by a panel comprised of Notre Dame Ph.D. candidate Katherine Ward, IUSM-SB medical students Jessica Basham and Michelle Kerr and Notre Dame senior Gabriella Cozzi.
Contag earned a doctorate in microbiology from the University of Minnesota Medical School before serving as a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University School of Medicine. An expert in microbiology and optical imaging, she has been named one of the Top 25 Women in Small Business by Fortune Magazine. In 2011, she joined the founding board of the Startup America Partnership, an organization envisioned by the Case and Kauffman Foundation and The White House to identify, encourage and celebrate entrepreneurs.
Contag’s visit is sponsored by Notre Dame, IUSM-SB and 1st Source Bank. She also will deliver the keynote address at the third annual Commercialization Award dinner April 15. The event honors faculty of Notre Dame and IUSM-SB whose discoveries have entrepreneurial potential.