Known Medicine
March 8, 2022

The Female Factor: Known Medicine’s Innovators in Biomedical Science

Women and their scientific advancements have often been undervalued. Ada Lovelace is credited to be the first computer programmer after translating and annotating a proposed analytical engine in 1842. Rosalind Franklin, PhD used X-ray diffraction images and discovered key properties of DNA, including the double helix structure, which in 1962 was credited to her male colleagues Watson, Crick and Wilkins. The uninformed collection of cervical cancer cells in 1951 from Henrietta Lacks (i.e. HeLa cells) have been used to advance medicine including cancer treatments, radiation therapies, and vaccine development. More recently in 2020, Drs. Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna were the 6th and 7th women to be awarded a Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their discovery of CRISPR. These women and countless others have changed the fields of mathematics and science, laying the foundation for new biomedical technologies developed today. Despite these remarkable achievements, only one-third of scientists are women.

Known Medicine’s co-founders, Andrea Mazzocchi, PhD and Katie-Rose Skelly, MS have built on the traditions established by these past incredible women and many others. Prior to co-founding Known Medicine, Andrea earned a PhD in biomedical engineering and spent several years studying cancer biology, tissue engineering, and biomaterials. Her research has focused on the intersection of these fields to generate a powerful cancer precision medicine platform. She is an expert in materials-based three-dimensional (3D) cancer models, has authored part of the book Tumor Organoids, and has written a seminal paper using malignant pleural effusions for 3D lung cancer and treatment-screening models. Andrea has been on the leading edge in the field of evolving biomaterials to be used consistently in a high throughput and automation-friendly manner, as evidenced by her 15 publications in this space. Katie-Rose is a brilliant artificial intelligence (AI) for drug discovery data scientist with over a decade of experience in biology and computational models. After studying computer science with a focus in biocomputation and then biomedical informatics at Stanford University, she chose to join Recursion Pharmaceuticals as the second woman on the data science team. There, she worked to ensure high quality data from their novel high-throughput screening platform. Katie-Rose is an expert in determining the effects of drug treatments on cells using images.  

Together Andrea and Katie-Rose have created a welcoming, scientifically-minded environment where data scientists, engineers, and cancer biologists are encouraged and enabled to work together to find the best treatment for every cancer. They believe the best work environment is one that does not judge by the immediate abilities, but rather by the enthusiasm and potential of the individual. This emerging cancer biotechnology and drug discovery platform is ground-breaking in that it enables clinicians to see how a patient will respond to chemo-, targeted-, and immunotherapies while avoiding a trial-and-error approach. Known Medicine takes the experiment out of the patient, giving them access to effective and life-saving therapies faster. With collaborations at Duke University and numerous others, Known Medicine is working to solve problems that will change real people’s lives. They continue to work to discover the right cancer therapy for each cancer.

The Future is Known.

Read full story

Read next