BioBash 2021: Making Connections, Discovering Possibilities

BioBash, the Danforth Center’s annual career event for early-career scientists, went virtual for the first time this year. Hosted by the Committee for Scientific Training and Mentoring (CSTM), the tenth annual BioBash 2021 took place over the course of two days, May 20-21, and featured three virtual career panels and a virtual career fair. Through these opportunities, the event helped the attendees interact with leaders in the industry and gain insight into the many ways they can shape the world through science and innovation.

“Take risks. As opportunities come up, jump on them,” said Nadia Shakoor, PhD (top left), a panelist on one of the three virtual career panels at BioBash 2021. The panels at the tenth annual BioBash featured scientific professionals offering advice and stories to help early-career scientists discover the many paths they can take in the sciences.

Forging a Path

The three panels were made up of industry experts and professionals who shared their stories, answered questions, and offered advice for those starting out in the field. Amanda Koltz, PhD, a senior scientist at Washington University in St. Louis, chose to attend BioBash to learn more about opportunities for PhD scientists outside of academia. One of the panels she attended, the “Alternative Science Career” panel, was focused on unique and nontraditional paths scientists have taken in their careers. “It always seems like there was some linear trajectory with intention, but that’s not always the case,” Amanda said. “So it’s nice to hear about how people have bounced around and how they ended up where they are.”

If you missed any of this year's talks, please visit the BioBash 2021 webpage to view the recordings.

I’ve been interested in industry as a career as opposed to doing the academic route, so I thought this was a perfect opportunity to dip my toes in.

Brennan Copp, MIZZOU student and BioBash attendee


Fair Game

Friday’s career fair provided guests a chance to connect in a fun and unique way. It was held on the video-call platform Gather, which lets people interact within a pixelated, two-dimension digital environment. Using customizable avatars, the attendees could move around the event space and chat with other attendees as well as representatives from some of the largest agtech and biotech companies in the world, including Pfizer and Bayer Life Sciences.

Amanda Koltz, PhD, a senior scientist at Washington University in St. Louis, attended BioBash 2021 to learn more about career possibilities for PhD scientists. the event used the video platform Gather for networking (seen here), Amanda was able to meet other scientists and representatives from leading agtech and biotech companies.

“I think it’s fun!” Amanda said. “Of course, it would be nicer to be in person, but I think this works really well. Particularly for international events, or for people that are far away, I can definitely see using it again in the future.”

The CSTM co-chairs this year included Rachel Jouni, Erin Mattoon, Sarah Rommelfanger, and Trish Tully. Of the event, they had this to say: "We are thrilled with how this year's BioBash turned out, and we had a great time working with and learning from our talented Danforth Center colleagues, panelists, and career fair company representatives. We look forward to seeing everyone in person at next year's BioBash!"

Why It Matters

Events like BioBash help shape the science of tomorrow by supporting the future leaders of the field. By fostering early-career scientists and bringing new jobs to the region, the Danforth Center is encouraging discoveries, and ensuring that St. Louis continues to be a leader in agtech and biotech.

A Brighter Tomorrow

Through our internship and training programs, the Danforth Center is dedicated to supporting early-career scientists and believes in the power of education to create a better future for all. If you would like to support the next generation of scientists, click here to make a donation today.