Introducing Amanda Zimmerman, our new Senior Scientist

Posted by Ethan Perlstein in Research News on December 02, 2019 # Research

The profile of the first hire I wished to recruit to the SCI skunkworks (think Bell Labs meets Y Combinator) I’m assembling inside the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation came into focus soon after I attended my first spinal cord injury science and advocacy conference last month in Cleveland (#Working2Walk19 recapped here). I knew this person had to be a creative and passionate systems thinker with a PhD in neuroscience and an outstanding research track record as a trainee in one or more SCI labs. I knew this person had to be a clear, committed and proven communicator of science and the cause of SCI. And, of course, I wanted this brilliant mind to be paired with an equally big heart.

I believe I found this person in Amanda Zimmerman – it’s my pleasure to introduce her to the SCI community!

Amanda ZimmermanAmanda has studied spinal cord physiology from the circuit level down to the molecular level for 15 years as a card-carrying neuroscientist, electrophysiologist and biomedical engineer with Professor Shawn Hochman as a graduate student and with Professor David Ginty as a postdoctoral fellow. She has instructed undergraduates in courses like electric circuits and systems physiology, receiving a Certificate of Distinction in Teaching two years in a row at Harvard. And she was a Venture Fellow at Flagship Pioneering, the blue-chip life science venture capital fund. Amanda’s unique combination of expertise and empathy makes her the perfect person to fill this role.

I thank everyone on Twitter and LinkedIn who graciously spread the word about the opportunity. I thank all the applicants for their interest and I thank the finalists who gave their time to be interviewed. I’m sorry I couldn’t hire more than just one person at this time. I’m sure we will find a way to work together on specific projects on a consulting basis because we are all mission aligned.

Amanda’s official start date is January 2, 2020. Because the future of work is remote, she’ll be based in Boston and spend one week per month at the Reeve Foundation headquarters in New Jersey. Being based in Boston provides the strategic advantage of having eyes and ears on the ground in one of the largest biotech hubs in the world, and the location of co-investor syndicates and biopharma acquirers. It also complements my being based in the San Francisco Bay Area, the other major US biotech hub. There will be many orders of business in the new year but one of the first is working with me to draft a SCI Cure Roadmap that will be announced at the Reeve Summit 2020.

In my next post, I’ll start describing the Roadmap and the consensus-driven approach we will follow to secure buy-in from the global SCI community.

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