Advancing women-led R&D to accelerate innovation and inspire new pathways of learning
March 20, 2023     
Miranda Broz, Scientific Director, Discovery Myeloid Biology, Tumor Microenvironment Thematic Research Center

Miranda Broz, Scientific Director, Discovery Myeloid Biology, Tumor Microenvironment Thematic Research Center

Miranda Broz, PhD, scientific director, Discovery Myeloid Biology, Tumor Microenvironment Thematic Research Center, is committed to making positive change at every scale — from her work at Bristol Myers Squibb interrogating microscopic cells in the human body, to her volunteer work reshaping and empowering communities a continent away. Miranda has been passionate about helping others for as long as she can remember — it’s a part of her DNA.

Growing up, Miranda’s grandparents lived with her, and her grandfather, who was paraplegic after suffering a stroke, was taken care of by her grandmother. Being surrounded by medicine inspired Miranda to devote her life to making a difference in the lives of others.  

Miranda works alongside other women in R&D who are making a difference and contributing to science. 

Ashley Koegel, Senior Medical Director, Early Clinical Development

Ashley Koegel, Senior Medical Director, Early Clinical Development

A pediatric oncologist by training, Ashley Koegel, MD, senior medical director, Early Clinical Development, knows what kind of impact her work in cellular therapy development might have for vulnerable patient populations, including those with pediatric cancer. While working at Bristol Myers Squibb, Ashley has maintained a volunteer faculty appointment at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) as a pediatric hematologist/oncologist where she continues to provide care to children with cancer. Ashley says that she loves her work because of the impact it has on patients.

Ashley and Miranda are just two examples of the women in the R&D organization at Bristol Myers Squibb who are dedicated to fostering a patient-centric, inclusive environment driven to achieve scientific excellence.

Learn more about Miranda, Ashley and others at Bristol Myers Squibb who inspire the next generation of young scientists and propel us toward new discoveries for patients who need them most.

Powering scientific achievement 

Bristol Myers Squibb fosters an inclusive research environment that promotes creativity and allows great ideas to thrive, resulting in transformational science providing the best outcomes possible for patients. In addition to our commitment to inclusivity and diversity, our industry-leading annual R&D investment of $9.5 billion and reimagined operating model provide talented researchers and innovators the creative freedom to drive R&D forward wherever the science takes them.

This culture has allowed young scientists like Miranda to flourish. Miranda leads a team of scientists that explore key interactions within the tumor microenvironment (TME) in the pursuit of overcoming the many hurdles contributing to immune suppression that allow for cancer cell survival and progression. Bringing together cancer researchers and scientists across several platforms and from different backgrounds and cultures who share a passion for science and compassion for patients has advanced breakthroughs and allowed Miranda’s team to unlock new discoveries. The impact Miranda has made on the organization resulted in her name being added to multiple industry awards lists, including Business Insider’s 30 Under 40 in Healthcare, which honors business leaders, scientists, physicians and entrepreneurs who are transforming the healthcare industry.

Fostering a patient-centric culture

Many of our leaders, like Ashley, maintain clinical positions and see patients in addition to their roles at Bristol Myers Squibb. Others, like Victoria Diab, associate clinical scientist, Cell Therapy, advocate for access to important medical interventions on behalf of patients.

Ashley’s passion for helping children led her to Bristol Myers Squibb, where she assumed clinical leadership of several new CAR T cell therapy programs; many of which successfully filed first-in-human investigational new drug applications starting in 2019 and began clinical trials as early as 2020.

“It’s critical to be able to analyze clinical data quickly and leverage impactful findings, as cell therapy is a fast-paced field,” Ashley said. “My role is particularly meaningful as I’m able to translate the scientific learnings of our clinical trials to our pipeline to improve the next generation of cell therapies that we bring into the clinic.”  

Ashley’s success resulted in being named San Francisco Business Times’ 40 Under 40, which recognizes standout young business leaders who are making significant contributions to their industries, their companies and/or their communities.

Leaders at Bristol Myers Squibb are fueled to make a difference inside and outside of the lab, because they have seen firsthand the impact they can have on improving patients’ lives. 

Victoria Diab, Associate Clinical Scientist, Cell Therapy

Victoria Diab, Associate Clinical Scientist, Cell Therapy

Victoria Diab is a bone marrow transplant nurse by training and has throughout her career cared for adults with hematologic malignancies. Since joining the CAR T Speakers Bureau at Bristol Myers Squibb in 2021, Victoria has played a vital role in elevating awareness and advocating for policies that support medical innovation and patient access to medicines by engaging with policymakers at every level of government. This work includes state and federal virtual “fly-in” events hosted by PhRMA to educate them, with the goal of improving patient access to innovative therapies for those who could benefit from them. Her thoughtful approach when educating policymakers about CAR T and advocating for medical innovation, research and patient access, earned her the PhRMA Working for Cures Champion award.

Our patient-centric culture is instilled in our leaders, and our employees are personally and professionally invested in developing life changing medicines for patients.  

Sarah Hersey, Vice President, Precision Medicine

Sarah Hersey, Vice President, Precision Medicine

Nurturing scientific talent 

Our leaders take a similarly personal approach to delivering on our values of inclusion and diversity.

Sarah Hersey, vice president, Precision Medicine, is dedicated to building and maintaining an inclusive and diverse team, allowing her scientists to thrive both personally and professionally; and colleagues describe her as a role model and professional inspiration. 

She is a supporter of pre-competitive consortia and collaborations that have the potential to advance our understanding of the science and accelerate the development of more efficacious treatments for patients in need. She was instrumental in co-leading efforts to launch PROLIFIC, the Prognostic Lung Fibrosis Consortium, which aims to guide and streamline the development of targeted treatment strategies for patients with pulmonary fibrosis, and is comprised of research institutions, academic medical centers and pharmaceutical and biotech companies committed to working collaboratively to advance the field. She also has been a leading member of the Measurable residual disease Partnership and Alliance in Acute myeloid leukemia Clinical Treatment (MPAACT) consortium, a cross-industry collaboration that aims to standardize molecular residual disease data generation and establish MRD surrogacy to accelerate AML clinical trial programs, ultimately bringing novel therapies to patients in need faster.  

A strong advocate for precision medicine awareness and education, Sarah is a member of the Personalized Medicine Coalition board, working to help patients and industry professionals understand the benefits of precision medicine in the future of medicine. Sarah was named to PharmaVoice 100 for her work in translational sciences and diagnostics across Bristol Myers Squibb’s pipeline.

Though her scientific work focuses on the development of precision therapeutics for serious cardiovascular disorders, with a specific focus on cardiomyopathies and heart failure, Amy Sehnert, vice president, head of Cardiomyopathy and Heart Failure Clinical Development, and a pediatric cardiologist, is passionate about mentoring women and helping them into senior and executive positions.

Amy Sehnert, Vice President, Head of Cardiomyopathy  and Heart Failure Clinical Development

Amy Sehnert, Vice President, Head of Cardiomyopathy and Heart Failure Clinical Development

Mentorship is an important part of the culture at Bristol Myers Squibb, and supports our competitive advantage as a diverse, inclusive workforce and leaders are encouraged to cultivate and support female employees and executives through targeted development, coaching, mentoring and sponsorship programs. 

Many leaders like Amy pursue mentorship opportunities through roles within our People and Business Resource Groups (PBRGs), which help us sustain a culture of inclusion that relies on the diversity of our people and our unique perspectives to achieve our patient-focused mission and objectives.

Amy is active in the company’s Bay Area chapter of B-NOW, the Bristol Myers Squibb Network of Women. B-NOW drives business performance by embracing gender diversity, ensuring that all women at Bristol Myers Squibb have equal opportunities to develop, advance and be retained globally within a culture that prioritizes this mission.

“My fellow colleagues not only exemplify the scientific excellence, patient centricity, and inclusive culture driven by Bristol Myers Squibb’s core values, but they proactively work to mentor and instill these qualities in their team members as well as the next generation of STEM professionals,” said Amy.

Amy’s leadership has been recognized internally and externally across the industry, including in 2022 being named a recipient of the James B.D. Palmer Award for Excellence in Drug Development at Bristol Myers Squibb, a recipient of the San Francisco Business Times’ Most Influential Women in Business award, an awardee of the Top 25 Healthcare Technology Leaders of San Francisco, and in 2020 as a founding member of the San Francisco CHIEF chapter, a networking organization specifically focused on connecting and supporting women leaders across industries.

The impact of women-led R&D

Each of these women plays an integral role in fostering our culture of inclusion and diversity and help propel their teams and colleagues into groundbreaking research.

Our leaders’ dedication to embracing diversity and fostering an environment where we can all work together at our full potential propels our mission to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases.

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About Bristol Myers Squibb

Bristol Myers Squibb is a global biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases. As global citizens, we work sustainably and responsibly to create a positive impact in the communities where we live and work.