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Graduate Research Symposium 2023 features vaccine developer


The Graduate Research Symposium, which was held on Friday, September 22 at The Ohio State University Faculty Club, had approximately 100 attendees, with guests from Dow and several other companies (see full list below).


Raghavan Venkat '95 PhD gives 2023 GRS keynote
Raghavan Venkat '95 PhD gives 2023 GRS keynote

AstraZeneca's Senior Vice President of Biopharmaceutical Development Raghavan Venkat ('95 PhD, '91 MS) gave the keynote address at the Fall 2023 Graduate Research Symposium. Venkat discussed his career journey and elements critical to success, illustrating the high value of teamwork in accomplishing extraordinary feats such as developing a Covid-19 vaccine in just two years.

"People who know about vaccine development would have laughed at the thought of developing a vaccine in two years," he said. "It was an incredible time period of constant innovation, building on years of previous efforts. We accomplished together what no one could have accomplished on their own."
Millions of people in 180 countries received the vaccine, saving an estimated 6M lives.

Venkat, who holds a Certificate in Business from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, obtained his Ohio State PhD with biologics pioneer Jeff Chalmers. Venkat has worked in the biopharmaceutical industry for over 27 years. With a keen interest and strength in novel modalities, especially in biologics process development and manufacturing, Venkat has strong expertise in pharmaceutical process and product development. He has led teams or directly contributed to the commercialization of more than 12 biologic medicines developed in response to the COVID pandemic, including Vaxzevria and Evusheld. He joined MedImmune / AstraZeneca in 2006, having previously worked at GSK and Lilly. In his current position at AstraZeneca (AZ) he leads the Biopharmaceutical Development function responsible for end to end CMC development of all biologics within the AZ pipeline.

Venkat 2023 GRS keynote slide

Industry Guests

  • Anna Opella - Dow
  • You Peng - Dow
  • Edward Marzal - Kenexis
  • Rick Watson - LyondellBassel
  • Miriam Shakali - P&G
  • Michael Beilke -  P&G
  • Jian Zou - Zenith Purification


Oral Presentations

Three students received awards for their Oral Presentations. Below, pictured with Umit Ozkan and Raghavan Venkat are Alisyn Greenfield (2nd Place, Palmer Group), Leah Ford (1st Place; Brunelli Group), and Megan Allyn (3rd place), Swindle-Reilly/Palmer Groups.

2023 GRS Oral Presentation winners

Poster Presentations

Four students were recognized for their outstanding Poster Presentations. Alisyn Greenfield received an honorable mention and Hannah Pineault (1st Place), and Jungwon Yun (3rd place, Asthagiri Group). Not pictured: Yutong Yang (2nd Place, Ho Group). 

2023 GRS Poster winners


GRS Committee

The event was organized by the 2023 Graduate Research Symposium Committee, which consisted of Co-Leaders Amna Abdalbaqi and Iona Cosmin. Event Logistics were handled by Paul Neff, Outreach by Kevin Donnelly and Ishani Kudva, and Marketing by Tanvi Varadkar and Jacob Breese. General member assistance was also provided by Aishwarya Rao and Tanay Jawdekar with input from GRS Advisors Nicholas Brunelli and Angela Bennett.

2023 GRS Committee Members
Members of the 2023 Graduate Research Symposium Committee





Categories: Grad StudentsAlumni