(Photo by Adam Gierke)
Hundreds of professionals across multiple industries gathered at the DuPont Country Club in Wilmington last month to recognize and honor seven individuals and one company for their exemplary work in bioscience.
The event: the Delaware Bio Annual Awards Gala.
“Once a year, we recognize the industry for its contributions to society and STEM education, which should deliver more innovation and high paying jobs down the road,” said Bob Dayton, president of Delaware BioScience Association, which hosts the gala every year.
This year, a few minor alterations were made to the awards — the association split the “Educator of the Year” into two separate awards to recognize both higher ed and K-12.
“Not just in Delaware, but across the country, innovation is important,” Dayton said. “The bioscience area is one of the fastest growing sectors in the economy ere and also anywhere in the world, and it’s the most sought after.”
Here’s who took home awards:
Company of the Year Award
The pharmaceutical company was recognized for its work with Jakafi, which treats myelofibrosis.
“I think there is some magic happening in Delaware, where our teams have been working together for a long time and science is driving every decision process we have,” said Incyte President and CEO Herve Hoppenot. “The end result that we see now is a number of very important products coming from these teams of chemists and biologists we have here.”
Government Official Award
“What I want to know is today, a year from now, five years from now, that I actually made a difference,” Poore said. “If someone’s life is saved and they have an opportunity to have quality of life, that’s all that matters to me.”
Miro said biotechnology has been a “significant renaissance” for the Delaware economy. His advice to those in the industry? “Never give up. Don’t let someone tell you it cannot be done,” he said. “There are barriers, but there are also opportunities.”
- Dr. Nicholas Petrelli, Christiana Care Health System
“I’m certainly honored to receive this, but I have to tell you,” Petrelli said, “There are other individuals I work with every day that are just as deserving of this award.” Petrelli works at Christiana Care’s Helen F. Graham Cancer Center & Research Institute.
- Dr. Richard Birkmeyer, CD Diagnostics
CD Diagnostics develops analytics tools and lab tests. “We feel we’ve made a difference, but we also feel that Delaware Bio is making a difference out there,” Birkmeyer said, attributing his recognition to every individual involved with his company. Read our CEO profile of Birkmeyer from early April.
Academic Research Award
- Dr. Vicky Funanage, Operational Vice President of Research at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children
“What’s great about Delaware is the way we all work together, the collaborative spirit that exists,” Funanage said. “That enables us to do a lot of things that honor that old slogan, ‘It’s good being first.'”
Educator of the Year (Higher Education) Award
- Dr. Harold B. White, III, Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Delaware
“Too often, science gets taught in a way that’s pretty dry, unconnected, something that only happens in a labratory and doesn’t really relate to the world around you,” White said. His ultimate piece of advice? “Do the most difficult thing you enjoy.”
Educator of the Year (K-12) Award
- Lisa Tice, Biology Teacher at Smyrna High School
“The great thing about STEM is it teaches students how to critically think,” Tice said. “Hopefully they’ll use those critical thinking skills to help them make better decisions in the future, and to think outside the box when they make those decisions.”-30-
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