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Virginia Woloshen

#iAmBiomed because the truth is in our genes.
Virginia's Biography

Ever since I was a child I knew my career would be in science. I began college in the hopes of one day becoming a veterinarian; however, many courses later I found my true passion was in plant genetics. This led me to study the genetic basis of innate immunity in plants. From there it was a short leap to the study of human genetic diseases, which is where I find myself now as part of Xenon Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Research Associate II, Xenon Pharmaceuticals, Inc. I am part of the genetics team at Xenon. Together we work to find the genetic basis for extreme pain diseases such as primary erythromelalgia using next-generation sequencing data.

It’s hard to pick just one. I really enjoy the investigative nature of this job, it’s like solving a puzzle every day. I also feel like I am contributing to the health and well-being of those in need.

I would not have been hired without it :). My education and degree provided me with the scientific background and a full skill-set with which has aided me in acquiring and excelling in this position.

How small a world the scientific community is. Everyone from all over the world seems somehow connected through their research.

I’d have to say it would be the primary erythromelagia study. We received samples from families all over the world some of whom we met as they took a tour of our facility – it really personalized this research for me.

I’ve always been interested in disease/immunity weather it be animals, plants or humans so this job fit my interests perfectly.

Equality. Although this aspect has been improving as of late, it would be nice to see equal numbers of men and women at all levels of science and engineering, from the number of females enrolled in these programs all the way up to senior management positions.

I will continue to sing the praises of the field to ensure all understand how accessible it really is no matter what your gender, religion or background may be. What advice do you have for young women pursuing a career in your field? Keep going. Don’t let yourself be distracted by naysayers. If you want it, you can have it.

Through outreach and professional development activities, research, partnerships, thought leadership and online initiatives, we work with industry and academia to educate on the value of diversity for innovation, to inspire women to thrive and to celebrate the contributions of women in science and engineering.
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