Dr. Lara Skwarek is formally trained as a cell and developmental biologist with experience in both academia and industry. During her graduate work, she uncovered a novel role for membrane lipids in regulating the highly conserved Notch signaling pathway and was awarded the Genetics Society of Canada Margaret Thompson PhD Thesis Award. As a Robert Black Family Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr. Skwarek studied epithelial cell polarity in tumorigenesis and developed an in vivo model for studying the dynamics of epithelial-mesenchymal transition through live imaging. Dr. Skwarek has been offered multiple competitive awards from institutes including the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the American Heart Association. She has also received “Best Presentation” awards at international conferences. Dr. Skwarek has worked in two biotech startups with roles in R&D, technology development, grant writing, product development, and commercialization. In these roles she contributed to the first successful 510(k) submission for clearance of a pharmacogenetics test, conceived of and wrote successful grant proposals, and participated in the NIH Concept to Commercialization (C3i) Program. In her free time Dr. Skwarek enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and exploring the many natural and cultural wonders of North Carolina.
Education: Combined Bachelor of Arts and Science (Honours) in Biology, McMaster University
Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics from the University of Toronto