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Women's Month: Meet Kerstin Papenfuss

‘I joined Deep Science Ventures 3.5 years ago to develop science companies designing more curative therapies from scratch which is undoubtedly the achievement in my career that I am most proud of. Joining a team of 4 crazily driven people at the time to change the UK ecosystem to establish a new way of creating deep tech start-ups is no mean feat - talk about start-up troubles on steroids!’

To celebrate women's month, we will be sharing some of our inspirational community members here at BioTalent.

Meet Kerstin Papenfuss, PhD MBA. Having always been fascinated by the molecular mechanisms that create life and how we get sick when things go wrong, Kerstin started out studying Molecular Life Science. The same motivation then led her to do a PhD in Cancer Research, as she found cancer extremely fascinating. The body turns against you and the cancer exploits all the failsafe mechanisms that are there to protect us. Kerstin started her PhD at the German Cancer Research Centre and then moved to a lab at Imperial College to work on novel treatment options within the field of tumour immunology. She has since spent ten years in leadership roles at impact-driven organisations advancing medicine and therapeutics (LifeArc and Cell and Gene Therapy Catapult) while also securing an executive MBA.

This year’s International Women’s Day theme is ‘Embracing Equity,’ and we were keen to hear Kerstin’s thoughts on how we can create an equitable space at work.

‘If I could give one piece of advice to my younger self, it would be that rather than waiting for opportunities to present themselves, go out and make them. I feel like I have woken up to this realization a bit late and am now making it for it. The same goes for equity really, where I have only realized over the last few years how big this issue truly is, and it makes me mad and I am very driven to change this. Having worked at DSV I have learned that most problems can be cracked by looking at a problem from all different angles. But in order to do so, you have to have access to all sorts of different brains and be able to think differently. This type of thinking can only happen in a truly equitable space that fosters contributions from everyone around the table.’