Vanessa Ferlaino
Women enabling science to reach the people who need it

Vanessa Ferlaino

Vanessa Ferlaino
Chief Operations Officer

Mediphage Bioceuticals

JLABS @ Toronto

Why did you choose science as a career?

Careers in science are dynamic due to the very nature of the field; we are always learning and unlearning, proving and disproving. I had actually wanted to be a neurosurgeon, so I began U of T in Neuroscience and Cell and Molecular Biology. But when I was introduced to the applications of new technologies and therapeutics in the field, such as deep brain stimulation and focused ultrasound microbubbles for drug delivery, I graduated and went on to get my Masters of Business, Entrenpreneurship, and Technology at UWaterloo to enhance my business acumen and compliment my science background. So while my relationship with science changed a bit, in my role I can remain close to the field and bring scientific discoveries to those in-need.

Why are you passionate about what you're working on?

As I watch my father currently battle Stage IV Glioblastoma cancer, I can see firsthand that treatment options for patients need to move beyond pills and pharmaceuticals. I can see how our safe, effective, and affordable gene delivery technology will empower patients through giving them cures and give them control over their lives again. Knowing we will have the ability to cure my father and others like him drives me to push past the obstacles we face and invoke a huge paradigm shift in gene therapy, the way we treat patients, and make a difference in the lives of others.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to young women in the life science sector?

"Let your hard work speak for you." My results and accomplishments speak for me. I have to work extra hard just to make sure I am heard in this industry sp that my results and deliverables become my voice. But I have learnt, in the right environment and with the right team, hard work does not go unnoticed; you don't need to be the loudest one in the room to be heard, you don't need to have a comment for everything. Through hard work, you can be heard without saying anything at all.