At home and at work, Justine Dell’Aringa is ready to meet the challenge.
The associate scientific director of translational research at Bristol-Myers Squibb Immuno-oncology and Cell Therapy Research Center is a Seattle-based biotech industry veteran. She has worked in the field for 21 years and considers herself lucky to contribute to a few successful therapies.
At home, the mother of two children has been building a new home with her husband, which is enough for most families for the pandemic of the year.
Dell said: “Because this challenge has almost dominated our lives-as well as the pandemic, working from home and distance education-I was shocked by the similarities between the process of building a house and the scientific work I did.” ‘Aringa, our newest geek of the week. “Problem solving, flexibility and adaptability, learning new tool sets and processes, and most importantly, strong cooperation is the foundation of these two activities.”
Dell’Aringa is a member of the following team Bristol-Myers Squibb This helps to develop two approved chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapies.
But she admits that discovering and successfully developing new cancer therapies requires “a painful time and huge resources and efforts.”
Before: Bristol-Myers Squibb’s $74 billion acquisition of Juno’s parent company Celgene puts the Seattle biotech world on alert
She said: “We are at an exciting time. In this era, access to cutting-edge technology has the potential to deepen our understanding of cancer and the immune system.”
The work of the scientists currently led by Dell’Aringa is to analyze samples collected from patients in order to assess the immune system in the context of the disease they are studying. The team compared the tumor and immune responses of patients who responded to treatment with those who did not. This information is used to develop biomarkers that can identify patients who will benefit from treatment in the future and help develop next-generation therapies.
“I am passionate about this work because I can see the impact on patients’ lives, and I believe we are at the forefront of the next generation of cancer treatment,” Dell’Aringa said.
Being part of the team—watching her new house rise from the ground—inspired her.
Learn more about our latest geek of the week Justine Dell’Aringa:
What is the most important thing people should know about your field? A game-changing cancer treatment method is being developed and launched. My team at Bristol Myers Squibb and I are using the human immune system to change cancer treatment and bring life-changing therapies to more patients as soon as possible. We take the patient’s immune cells, modify them to target the cancer, and then reinject them into the patient’s body to fight the cancer cells. We are able to do this because of all the new technologies developed in this field through years of research and development. My work in translational research is largely focused on ensuring that new technologies are used to the fullest. The number of new tools in the toolbox has taken a big leap, and they can do many amazing new things. Our challenge is to understand all these new features and apply them effectively to gain insight into how patients respond to our innovative new treatments in our clinical trials.
Where do you find your inspiration? In people. My colleagues motivate me and challenge me every day. I have never seen anyone as dedicated to their work as the team that contributed to the two CAR T cell therapies that we recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The dedication to patients I saw in our team inspired me. I have heard many patients’ stories with satisfactory results, which made me deeply encouraged, and the sad stories reminded me that we still have a lot of work to do. I was inspired by the knowledge, creativity and leadership that I witnessed around me, and the commitment to collaboration that we saw as we tackled challenges. When people come together for a common cause, what they can do is incredible.
What is a technology you can’t live without and why? My manual lever espresso machine. Because I like coffee, and I also get something from hands-on practice-I haven’t entered the laboratory for a few years.
What is your working space and why is it suitable for you? My home workspace is a mess! Did I mention that we are at the end of a major construction project? At the beginning of the pandemic, my family and I lived in our 400 square foot backyard cabin for 14 months while we demolished the outdated 700 square foot house and built our new home. At that time, I was working on a small plywood desk built for me by my husband, which was suitable for the small attic where my children sleep (think about climbing up and down the ladder). I recently moved my office from the sleeping loft in the cabin to the loft of our home that is about to be completed. I currently work on a folding table, using a modified TV as a monitor, surrounded by building materials, luggage, and holiday decorations waiting for the storage space to be completed. I do have a very beautiful ergonomic office chair that my neighbor lent me. One benefit of the pandemic is that we have become very close to our neighbors.
The best tips or tricks for you to manage your daily work and life. (Help us, we need it.) I try to live in the present. While taking care of a full-time job, a full-time construction project, and two young children, I understand that every moment is important. It is important to prioritize listening attentively in the meeting and making time to connect with your loved ones.
Mac, Windows or Linux? Windows.
Favorite superhero or sci-fi character? Wonder Woman.
Transporter, time machine or invisible cloak? Time machine so I can go back in time to get the transporter and the invisibility cloak (in this order).
If someone gave me $1 million to start a startup, I would… Consider opening a professional laboratory to focus on providing new technologies for exploratory research on clinical specimens.
Once I was waiting in line… Cultivated Land AllianceSales of edible plants in May.
Your role model: my parents. They are very hardworking, resilient, generous and compassionate.
The greatest game in history: chess.
The best gadget ever: iPhone.
The first computer: Something you might find in the computer museum now, I think it is the Vectra PC-308 from the mid-90s.
Current phone number: IPhone 7.
Favorite application: It was Pinterest at the time because their image recognition technology was very helpful in the design and material procurement of our DIY construction projects.
Favorite reason: Sustainable agriculture and food security.
The most important technologies in 2021: The synthetic mRNA technology used by Pfizer-bioNTech and Moderna to produce coronavirus vaccines is an incredible scientific advancement at a critical time. The breakthrough success of mRNA technology is a prime example of the importance of upholding science. Decades of trial and error eventually led to an important breakthrough by Drs. Katalin Kariko and Drew Weissman, which promoted the development of this technology and made it possible to develop a coronavirus vaccine at an unprecedented rate during the global pandemic.
The most important technologies in 2023: In the field of clinical exploratory research, I believe that advances in the application of relatively new technologies (such as single-cell sequencing, spatial analysis, high-dimensional/spectral flow cytometry, and platforms for evaluating circulating tumor DNA) will be more routinely applied, and Provide deeper biological insights. Help us explore how the human immune system works in the context of the disease we are studying, and generate influential data sets that provide information for our clinical development and drug discovery pipelines.
Final advice to all geeks: My advice to other geeks is to let your passion guide you, and when you encounter challenges, persevere, collaborate and seek different perspectives. If you encounter difficulties, please take a step back, look for perspectives, and believe that you will find a solution that can advance your work.
website: About Bristol-Myers Squibb.
LinkedIn: Justin Dale Allinga