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Microbiologist and entrepreneur to discuss innovation, work/life balance

Apr. 4, 2013

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 Jordan Hall 101 at the University of Notre Dame.

A microbiologist who has more than 35 patents and patent applications, Dr. Contag will describe how she negotiates a life that includes marriage, children, research, entrepreneurial involvement and consulting professorships. Her visit is sponsored in part by the IU School of Medicine-South Bend.

“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., associate dean at the IU School of Medicine and director of the IU University School of Medicine-South Bend “This issue impacts the careers not only of female professionals, but their partners.”

Dr. Contag will be joined by a panel comprised of Jessica Basham and Michelle Kerr, both medical students at the IU School of Medicine-South Bend; Katherine Ward, a Ph.D. candidate at Notre Dame; and Gabriella Cozzi, a senior at Notre Dame.

An expert in microbiology and optical imaging, Dr. Contag 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. She holds a doctorate in microbiology from the University of Minnesota Medical School and served as a postdoctoral fellow at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

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.

Additional sponsors for this event include the University of Notre Dame and 1st Source Bank.

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