By Michelle King

Virginia Bio partnered with the Center for Bioelectronics to host the 7th Annual Women Building Bio Conference at Old Dominion University. Every year, Virginia Bio gathers STEM leaders across the state of Virginia and Maryland to celebrate women leaders in biotechnology industries, entrepreneurs, and the community. This year's theme, Extending the Pathway, aimed to honor the women in life sciences who have forged a path forward on their journey.

John Newby, CEO of Virginia Bio, and Robert Wojtowicz, ODU Vice Provost and Dean of the Graduate School, started the event by highlighting the tremendous biotech research in the Hampton Roads Area and Old Dominion University, creating a solid foundation for innovation. Great emphasis was placed on the region's wealth of biotech opportunities and the women making this happen.

As we celebrate the women leaders of today, we also take the time to celebrate the future women leaders. Three of the six graduate student presenters represented the Center for Bioelectronics, an innovative interdisciplinary center advancing scientific frontiers in biomedical research. The research highlighted novel biosensors, targeted drug delivery systems, and revolutionary biomaterials. Two of these students are NIH-funded Graduate Research Training Initiative for Student Enhancement (G-RISE) scholars at ODU. A program designed to increase the participation of underrepresented minority students in the biomedical research workforce.