Knowledge Bursts

Visit the Knowledge Burst stage throughout the day to hear from inspiring speakers on an array of topics to engage, inform and challenge your thinking. Knowledge Burst speakers will tell their stories to impart practical wisdom you can use to improve your business practices or to just stay informed!


Cell & Gene Therapy –
Can Pennsylvania Own It?

James M. Wilson, MD, PhD
Rose H. Weiss Professor and Director, Orphan Disease Center
Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics
Director, Gene Therapy Program
Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
Advisor and Founder, Scout Bio and Passage Bio

James M. Wilson, MD, PhD, is a Professor in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania where he has led an effort to develop the field of gene therapy. His research career spanning over 40 years has focused on rare diseases and ways to treat them by gene therapy. The Wilson lab identified a new type of vector based on novel isolates of adenoassociated viruses which have become best in class for gene therapy being used by over 28 companies. More recently Dr. Wilson’s laboratory has focused on improved vectors for gene therapy and clinical applications of genome editing and mRNA therapy.

Drug Development –
Increasing Success Through Genetics

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Carolyn Buser-Doepner
Head and VP Novel Human Genetics Research Unit
Carolyn A. Buser is Vice President of the Novel Human Genetics Research Unit and Interim Head of Human Genetics at GlaxoSmithKline. She received her B.A./B.A. in chemistry and German from Bryn Mawr College, spent one year as a Fulbright Scholar at the Technical University of Braunschweig in Germany, obtained her Ph.D. in Biophysical Chemistry at Yale University, and was a Damon Runyon – Walter Winchell postdoctoral fellow at the State University of NY. In 1996, Carolyn joined the Oncology group at Merck Research Labs, holding positions as preclinical team leader, director of Oncology Health Care Solutions, and senior director of External Scientific Affairs. In March 2011, she joined GSK, where she now leads a Research Unit focused on research and translation of genetically-associated drug targets across multiple diseases. Within GSK, Carolyn is a GSK Senior Fellow and a member of the Research Review Board.

Trends in Deal-Making –
Show Me The Money

Jon Civitarese
Managing Director
SVB Leerink
Jon Civitarese is a Managing Director in Investment Banking at SVB Leerink.
Mr. Civitarese was one of the firm’s earliest employees when he joined SVB Leerink in 1995, providing advisory services to high-net-worth individuals in the Private Client Group prior to moving to Investment Banking. Since 1999, his activities have included advising public and private life science companies on strategic initiatives and equity capital financings as part of SVB Leerink’s investment banking team. In addition to his primary banking responsibilities, Mr. Civitarese has also served as a senior member of the equity capital markets and syndicate team since 2001.
Mr. Civitarese began his career by serving in the U.S. Army as an infantry soldier, and later graduated from the University of Maine.

Medical Cannabis –
Patients As Regulators

John Collins, MBA, R.T.(R)(N), CNMT
PA Department of Health – Office of Medical Marijuana
John Collins is the inaugural Director of the Office of Medical Marijuana at the Pennsylvania Department of Health and held prior Commonwealth positions with the agency’s Division of HIV Disease and in the Right-to-Know Law area for PennDOT.
He is a certified allied health professional, holds an MBA from Lindenwood University, and completed leadership training at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.
As a general manager and chief operating officer in the private sector, John has over thirty years of executive experience starting new medical business ventures in the heavily regulated healthcare industry.