Talent looking to join Greater Philadelphia’s cell and gene therapy hub can hear firsthand from those living and working here about the types of opportunities the industry offers and the region’s quality of life. So far, eight talent ambassadors have shared their stories as part of the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia’s “Discovery Starts with Me” series.

Discovery Starts with The Wistar Institute’s Kristy Shuda McGuire, Ph.D.

As the Greater Philadelphia region’s cell and gene therapy industry continues to grow, The Wistar Institute is addressing the need to attract and train talent. The Wistar Institute, located in the life sciences hotbed that is University City, is a world leader in early-stage discovery science in the areas of cancer, immunology, and infectious disease. Wistar is organized into two main Centers – one focused on cancer research and the other on immunotherapy development.

Dedicated to bringing new technology to patients and fostering the collaboration of our region, Wistar is a member of the Philadelphia Research Consortium The Consortium is a preclinical research network facilitating early access to our region’s robust research and development pipeline, increasing the likelihood of partners’ discoveries seeing further success, and eventually getting to the marketplace.

In addition to research discovery, Wistar believes in making careers in the life sciences industry accessible to all through its education and training programs.

Wistar’s Dean of Biomedical Studies, Kristy Shuda McGuire, Ph.D., is one of the driving forces at Wistar behind this mission. In her role, Shuda McGuire oversees a pipeline of education and training programs, works to secure funding for these programs as they expand regionally with more community college partners, and teaches her students in the lab.

For the latest installment of our Discovery Starts with Me series, we sat down with Shuda McGuire and discussed what the future of cell and gene therapy talent looks like in Greater Philadelphia.

What does the cell and gene therapy research and instruction look like at Wistar?

I think the exciting thing about cell and gene therapy is it’s really brought medicine down to the molecular and cellular level. And that’s the level of biomedical research that has been at The Wistar Institute and the level that we’ve been training students in for years. So the really exciting part about cell and gene therapy is that it’s now this biomedical research at a cellular and molecular level having that effect on personalized medicine for patients.

How is the life sciences ecosystem in Greater Philadelphia, and Wistar, as a part of this ecosystem, supportive of the cell and gene therapy industry and the growing talent pool?

We think Wistar really plays a crucial part because, as a “.org,” we’re right on the bridge between an academic institution and a company. And so, we really are able to bridge that gap in a lot of ways. We lead the Philadelphia Research Consortium. We have a lot of companies that use our shared resources at The Wistar Institute. And then, of course, through our talent pools of scientists at all levels, we’re able to serve the growing biotechnology and cell and gene therapy industry in Philadelphia.

What do you see for the future of life sciences talent in Greater Philadelphia?

I think it has a lot of opportunity to open the doors to biomedical research and biotechnology for individuals who haven’t had access to positions in this industry. So again, it’s what we’ve been trying to do at Wistar, which is to expand the diversity of individuals who are working in biomedicine.

To watch the latest Discovery Starts with Me video featuring Kristy Shuda McGuire, Ph.D., and past videos from the series, visit Select Greater Philadelphia’s website.