ABOUT ME

I am a life scientist, interested in learning and exploring new technologies inside and outside of the laboratory. I moved to the United States as a Trinidad and Tobago 🇹🇹 National Scholar after high school and went on to immerse myself in the world of science through tertiary education. This website is all about sharing some of my unique experiences and aspects of my journey as a researcher and Black woman in STEM. Feel free to get in touch!

IMG_6404-photo-full_edited_edited.jpg
 

ACADEMIC BACKGROUND

PRESENT

PRESIDENTIAL POSTDOCTORAL FELLOW

Cornell University
Ithaca, New York

2020

PH.D. CHEMICAL ENGINEERING

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Troy, New York

2015

B.S. CHEMICAL & BIOMOLECULAR ENGINEERING

New York University Polytechnic School of Engineering
Brooklyn, New York

 

EXPERIENCE

GENE THERAPY AAV DOWNSTREAM PROCESS DEVELOPMENT

BIOGEN - CAMBRIDGE, MA

Jul – Dec 2019

I worked with Biogen’s downstream gene therapy team to develop a more effective purification method to be used in creating gene therapy products. I also developed and optimized a high throughput platform for viral vector purification using the TECAN robotic system for rapid screening of recombinant clones. This project helps to expedite purification process development of gene therapy products while reducing the amount of material required. Stay tuned for our manuscript in preparation based on this work, entitled “Leveraging High-Throughput Strategies to Accelerate AAV Purification Process Development”.

My favorite part of working in Boston - evening view of the Charles River.
Show More

BIO-ENTREPRENEURSHIP WORKSHOP STUDENT MENTOR

NSF BIO I-CORPS - PHILADELPHIA, PA      

Jun 2019

As a returning 2018 I-Corps participant, I mentored teams of early-career life science researchers as they learned about biotechnology commercialization, federal regulation, and the organizational functions of a biotechnology company. I led facilitated exercises to explore the commercial potential of academic research as taught by NSF I-CorpsTM nationwide and guided participants as they applied evidence-based entrepreneurship concepts through customer discovery learning interviews at the 2019 BIO exhibition. This workshop was designed as a “hackathon” where participants brainstormed venture ideas in teams, around the theme of gene/cell therapy.

1/1

BLACK GRADUATE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION - VICE PRESIDENT

RENSSELAER POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE - TROY, NY

May 2018 – Jun 2019

1/1

I worked to foster a sense of community among minority students across campus, as one of the only 2 black graduate students in my department. During my term as VP, the BGSA executive board worked to improve RPI’s minority recruitment and retention efforts by developing several programs and initiatives, through partnerships with faculty, administrators, and various campus offices. Most notably, BGSA spearheaded the establishment of RPI’s annual Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education (EDGE) minority recruitment weekend and the implementation of mandatory unconscious bias training for all teaching assistants.

NASA BIOENGINEERING RESEARCH INTERN

NASA AMES RESEARCH CENTER - MOFFETT FIELD, CA

Jun - Aug 2015

1/1

I developed and troubleshot the design of a rehydratable single-use bioreactor prototype for in situ production of nutrients in space, and helped to secure federal funding for this project by conducting preliminary experimental tests on the bioreactor model using an engineered yeast strain. My NASA internship was focused on Human Nutrient Production in Space, involving R&D in advanced microbial strategies for producing nutrients within crewed spacecraft and habitats. In particular, we examined the production of the carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin in a spore-forming strain of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Carotenoids are important antioxidants required for ocular health, a problematic area for some astronauts on long-term ISS missions.

NATIONAL SOCIETY OF BLACK ENGINEERS (NSBE) NYU CHAPTER - MEMBERSHIP CHAIRPERSON

NEW YORK UNIVERSITY - BROOKLYN, NY

Sep 2012 - May 2013

1/1

I ensured that underrepresented minorities, particularly in STEM disciplines, were aware of the availability and access routes to opportunities for need-based financial aid and educational support programs. I cultivated interest in NSBE by hosting informational workshops and programs and facilitating new student mixers, subsequently increasing our NSBE chapter membership by more than 20% over a period of 9 months. My recognition that racial economic disparities in the US meant that underrepresented minorities from low-income families were much less prepared for college academically and financially than their higher income counterparts motivated me to serve in this role.

NYU RESIDENT ASSISTANT AND WELCOME WEEK LEADER

NEW YORK UNIVERSITY - BROOKLYN, NY

Aug 2013 - May 2015

Bulletin board design
1/1

I helped students get situated to life in a university residence and enhanced their on-campus experience by providing important peer-to-peer support in a wide range of circumstances - such as mental health issues, relationship problems, academic and financial challenges, and substance abuse. I also created and implemented programs to encourage student engagement and educational support, and served as an overnight responder to manage crises, conflicts, and policy-related incidents within the residence hall. My role as a Resident Assistant was one of the most rewarding jobs I had during my college career! As a Welcome Week Leader, I facilitated the transition of 5600 incoming students to NYU by facilitating workshops and serving as a peer mentor.

 

©2020 by Asher Williams. Proudly created with Wix.com