Opportunities Abound at BioBash 2022

The Danforth Center opened new doors and forged new connections at BioBash 2022. The annual event, hosted by the Danforth Center’s Committee for Scientific Training and Mentoring (CSTM), is a unique job fair and networking opportunity, providing local scientists and industry leaders with opportunities to meet, mingle, connect, and discover.

Held over the course of two days, BioBash 2022 served as a celebration of all the individuals working to change the world through science and innovation and helped those in search of where they belong find their true calling.

Guests socializing at BioBash 2022. The 11th annual event, hosted by the Danforth Center’s Committee for Scientific Training and Mentoring, brings together scientists across all ages and experience levels to network and explore career opportunities in the life science industry.

From One Scientist to Another

The event kicked-off on Thursday, September 15, with a panel featuring four industry professionals who offered advice on how to make the most of a career in the sciences. Some of the key messages they imparted to the crowd concerned the importance of maintaining a work-life balance and cultivating a positive working environment. “Don’t work with jerks,” joked one of the panelists, Rachel Penczykowski, PhD, Assistant Professor at Washington University in St. Louis.

I thought the career panel was fantastic. The audience asked some really good questions that were relevant to me at this time in my career.

Lisa Snoderly-Foster,
PhD Student at UMSL and BioBash 2022 Attendee


In her seminar the following day, Dr. Kelly Gillespie, Vice President of Digital Ecosystem Services, Climate LLC and Digital Farming at Bayer Crop Science, echoed many of the same sentiments, emphasizing the important role that friends and family play in achieving happiness and career success. “They support you, they hold you up, they help you get through times that are really tough,” she said. “Don’t forget about your off-off the job opportunities.”

Showing Their Work

Kiona Elliot, a graduate student in the Bart Lab, presenting to attendees at BioBash 2022. Her prize-winning poster outlined her work to help reduce bacterial blight in cassava.

Following Thursday’s career panel, guests got to meet and learn from Danforth Center scientists in the first-ever BioBash poster session. Here, trainees and job candidates at the Center presented their research via posters they designed themselves and competed for cash prizes made possible by CSTM and the event’s sponsors. After the awards ceremony on Friday afternoon, the attendees then enjoyed a job fair where they had the chance to meet representatives from prominent agtech companies from across the St. Louis region and see for themselves the multitude of career paths available to them in the sciences.

“There’s a lot of opportunities here, and they’re spread across the spectrum,” said attendee Mwaura Livingstone Nganga, PhD, a Venture Capital Fellow at BioGenerator Ventures. “You just need to go out there and grab them.”

Five of the six BioBash 2022 poster session winners. Their presentations allowed them to network with guests and industry professionals while showcasing the groundbreaking research they are conducting at the Danforth Center. From left to right: Kiona Elliott; Kaushik Panda, PhD; Erin Mattoon; Lauren Whitt; Katie Murphy, PhD. Not pictured: Maria Daniela Torres Rodriguez.

I think the event is great. It’s a great chance to network and it creates an atmosphere where we can talk about science in a much more productive way.

Itumeleng Moroenyane,
Postdoctoral Associate, Bart Lab, and BioBash 2022 Attendee


“It was rewarding to see all the interactions between the company representatives and job seekers at my first in-person BioBash after all our hard work and planning, said CSTM Co-Chair Kong Wong. “Thankfully, we had a great team including my fellow CSTM co-chairs, Isabel Acevedo, Jenny Nguyen, the events team, and the A/V team that made things run smoothly and financial support from our generous Gold, Silver, and Bronze sponsors.”

Why it Matters

St. Louis has become a global hub of agtech innovation. To continue our progress, we must cultivate talented minds who will build on current success and power our region for the future. Events like BioBash do just that by helping to nurture the scientific leaders of tomorrow in our community.

Strengthening St. Louis through STEM

At the Danforth Center, the work we do to support the next generation of plant scientists goes far beyond opportunities like BioBash. It also includes our efforts to provide training and mentoring for graduate students, internships for undergrad and high school students, and equitable STEM education programs for K-12 students. Support our work by donating to the Danforth Center today.