Kaja Wasik is an entrepreneur and a scientist dedicated to applying genomic and genetic studies to the benefit of global health.
She is a co-founder and Chief Science Officer of a Biotech company, Variant Bio. Founded in 2018, Variant Bio focuses on identifying new therapeutic targets and developing therapies for globally unmet medical needs, including neurodegenerative, autoimmune, and cardiometabolic diseases. Variant Bio combines cutting-edge sequencing technology, genetic studies, and sophisticated machine learning algorithm to study health-related traits and identify genetic basis that underlies disease predisposition and resistance. In collaboration with communities, academics, healthcare professionals and biobanks, Variant Bio is particularly interested in genetic studies on medically underrepresented population, and is deeply committed to sharing the benefits with their research partners. Before Kaja founded Variant Bio, she also co-founded Gencove and served as the Chief Scientific Officer.
Kaja earned her M.A. in Journalism and Political Science and her M.S. in Molecular Biology in the University of Warsaw, Poland. She completed her Ph.D. studies in Molecular Genetics in Dr. Gregory J. Hannon’s lab at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Her work got published in PNAS, Genes & Development, and RNA.
After her PhD, Kaja worked in EpiBone, Inc and then moved on to New York Genome Center as a postdoctoral research associate. Her work at New York Genome Center focused on developing a cheap and robust genome sequencing technology, in order to collect human genomic data at the population level that can be used for large scale association studies on genetic variance. After her postdoc studies, she co-founded Gencove, a spin-out of the New York Genome Center. Gencove aims to develop new sequencing technology to make genomic studies more accessible and inexpensive.
Besides her scientific research and entrepreneurship, Kaja was actively involved in science community and organizations, including New York Women in STEM, Association for Women in Science, and American Association for Advancement in Science.
Entry courtesy of BEC’s member, Yushu Chen
Photo taken from BEC/WiSE Event Flyer