Note from the Directors

As the crisp mornings return to Belmont, the Chinese pistache trees and eastern redbuds in the S-T-U-Wings begin their annual transformation into brilliant flames of red and yellow, and the BTI community is abuzz with activity. In this newsletter, we present our annual highlights of the fall season:

  • The Sophomore Symposium where students met industry professionals
  • The Meet-Your-Mentor Breakfast where juniors were introduced to their one-on-one mentors
  • Slime Time for Halloween fun
  • Pie Feast, celebrating the BTI family

Engaging activities are happening in our classrooms, too, from mock trials for Frankenstein to beverage making in chemistry, and plant cloning in Biotechnology 3.

The holiday season is a time for the BTI team to reflect on how amazing and generous the extended BTI community continues to be. Thank you to our parent volunteers on the development committee, the mentors who share their time and expertise with our juniors, the sophomore symposium speakers who help ignite our student’s passion for science, those who are working on industry field trips, and the many friends of BTI who have contributed to the program in a multitude of ways. The BTI team would like to express deep gratitude for the Carlmont Academic Foundation. Many of the opportunities that BTI students enjoy are directly related to the work and funds CAF has generated in its partnership with BTI. Finally, thank you for your generous support during the CAF’s Giving Week—we are over halfway to our goal of $50,000 thanks to your generous support!

Jaime Abdilla and Susan Gold

Sophomore Symposium

On October 3, Patricia Carlos, Senior Vice President of Regulatory and Quality from Jasper Therapeutics was the keynote speaker for the BTI Sophomore Symposium. She gave a highly engaging, down-to-earth talk about her educational journey and career path, and the mentors who influenced her along the way. After her presentation, students broke out into small groups to hear about the work of other professionals in the biotechnology industry. We are so grateful for the speakers who donated their time and expertise and showed enthusiasm for their fields.

Symposium Presenters

Akiko Kaitlin Balitactac, Graduate Research Assistant, master’s program for molecular and microbiology, PhAGE lab, San Jose State University

Bowdoin Su, Medical Affairs Director, Roche Diagnostics Solutions

Diane Heditsian, Founder/CEO, deClarity

Feifei Jiang, Lead Data Scientist, SalesForce

Kui Liu, Combination Product Development, Johnson and Johnson

Natalia Panikashvili, Sr. Research Manager, Acumen, LLC

Pardeep Singh, Software Engineer, Google

Pauline Vogl, Environmental Sustainability Manager, Cisco Systems

Rebecca McPhink, Program Manager, Triumvirate Environmental

Sharon Buechler, Sr. Director, Product and Marketing, Element Science

Shu Wang, Sr. Director, Bioinformatics, Mission Bio, Inc.

Tyler Doughty, Sr. Scientist / Program Manager, ZymoChem

Uplaksh Kumar, Chief Operations Officer (COO), Foresite Labs

Junior Meet-Your-Mentor Event

Big thank you to Mr. Fabic for finding stellar mentors for each of our juniors! There was a beautiful hum in the room as mentors and mentees met for the first time on November 3. Students will work with their mentors through most of May and will even shadow their mentors at work one day this spring.

Oscar Fabic, BTI Mentor Coordinator

Thank you, Mentors

  • Sergio E. Baranzini, University of California San Francisco
  • Patricia Carlos, Jasper Therapeutics
  • Eva Chan, Roche
  • Natasha Chaturvedi, BioVertical Solutions
  • Nicholas Choong, SeaGen
  • Dawn Colburn, Arcus, Genentech
  • Leslie Cruz, Natera
  • Joanne Curley, Vera Therapeutics
  • Steve Del Cardayre, Zero Acre Farms
  • Saniya Fayzullina, GRAIL
  • Julie Fogarty, Gilead Science
  • Jason Gioia
  • Cameron Glick, Stanford Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute
  • Karen Grinker, Genentech
  • Alyssa Herrera
  • Megan His, Zero Acre
  • Jennifer Huber, Prothena Corp
  • Sowmya Jujjuri, Oracle
  • Sandy Kan-Tang, Truebinding
  • Corwin Kostrub, Mirum Pharmaceuticals
  • Jeffrey Kumer, PerkinElmer Informatics
  • Tony Liang, PTM Therapeutics
  • Kui Liu, Retired, Johnson & Johnson
  • Hesam Movassagh, Genentech
  • Tejaswini Narayanan, Exelixis
  • Yvonne Ngo, Cytokinetics
  • Rachel Padget, Cytokinetics
  • Roshy Pakdaman, Revolution Medicines
  • Rajita Pappu, Genentech
  • Manoj Rodrigo, Cytokinetics
  • Barry Rowland, Gilead
  • Richard Smith, Kite Pharma
  • Dan Spiegelman, Retired, BioMarin
  • Suba Srinivasan, GRAIL
  • Nathan Stump, Oracle
  • Lakshmi Subramanian, Ideaya Biosciences
  • Roopa Sunku, Oracle
  • Jeff Tepper, Tepper Nonclinical Consulting
  • Martha Lovato Tse, Gilead
  • Michelle Van Ryswyk, Cytokinetics
  • Vishal Verma, Genentech
  • Jennifer Yang, JY Consulting

Halloween SlimeTime

The magic of slime-making and eating too much Halloween candy is something that transcends age. This BTI Spooktacular event is one of the traditions that has become an integral part of BTI community building.

Costco loves Ms. Abdilla!
Ms. Abdilla and Ms. Burndon with a senior.


Students and staff alike shared their pie-baking and eating talents at PieFeast. What better way to bond than over yummy holiday treats!

Ms. Abdilla makes another Costco run!
Precious cargo!

What the Sophomores have to say about BTI

In 10th grade, I’m learning lab practices most people don't get until college, giving me a head start for college classes and jobs later down the line. I feel more capable in the lab than practically anywhere else. I've also met some of my favorite people through BTI. We're not just classmates in the same room, you know? Even before I’ve really talked to my classmates, I know we have shared interests, so it’s way easier to approach people even if you're not extroverted. –BS

One positive experience I had was the California Academy of Sciences. It was a day-long field trip where we not only got to look around and explore new things but I got connected with more people who I have become good friends with. I also appreciate the biotech twist in my classes. For example, in BTI English, reading material related to biotech is much more interesting than the regular English curriculum. –DO

I enjoyed making cheese on the first and second days of school. Never have other classes given me something so fun to do on the first day of school. JR

BTI’s Pie Feast was a wonderful early taste of Thanksgiving. They had more pie than I’ve ever seen, and it was an amazing bonding activity with students from every grade walking in. I left the event thinking, "I can't wait for the next one!” Earlier this quarter, I attended a symposium to gain more information about possible future career paths. We were put into groups and professionals told us about what they do and how their education got them there. –RK

Upcoming Events

December 14, 5:00-7:00 PM - Study Night: Get ready for finals in U21. Bring $5 for pizza. Snacks and drinks will be provided.

Mark your calendars: Open House is February 15, 2024. 10th and 11th-grade students will present long-term, cross-curricular projects.

Mark your calendars: BTI Graduation is June 5, 2024 at 6:30.

Contact Information

Directors of BTI: Ms. Abdilla at jabdilla@seq.org and Ms. Gold at sgold@seq.org

Mentor Coordinator: Mr. Fabic at ocortez@seq.org

Class of 2024 Rep - Lisa Wong – land.lisaw@gmail.com

Class of 2025 Rep - Shirley Chan – shirleyrd1@gmail.com

Class of 2026 Reps – Angera Kuo, and Ranjan Ray – angekuo@gmail.com, ranjan_ray@yahoo.com

BTI/CAF Liaison for the 2023-2024 school year: Ulla Foehr