May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month. This celebration of the accomplishments of Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans started in 1979 as a week in April, eventually evolving to a month-long dedication in 1990.
Like other month dedications we have celebrated this year like Black History Month and Women’s History Month, this month takes the opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of a community that has historically not been properly represented.
Throughout history, there have been many AAPI professionals that have made large impacts on the biopharma and biotech industries including Dr. Tsai-Fan Yu and Har Gobind Khorana P.h. D.. Additionally, we would like to highlight four professionals who are currently having a substantial impact on our industry.
David D. Ho, M.D.
David D. Ho M.D is currently a Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at Columbia University. He is also well known for his contributions and research into HIV and AIDS. He is the founding CEO and Scientific Director of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center and is credited for his research discoveries leading to a drastic decrease in mortality as a result of AIDS, making it a manageable disease in most cases instead of a death sentence. In addition to his research and work as a professor, he is also a Member of the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Throughout his career, he has been given multiple awards, including the Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Science & Technology and the Ernst Jung Prize in Medicine.
Reshma Kewalramani, MD FASN
Reshma Kewalramni is currently the CEO of Vertex Pharmaceuticals, but is no stranger to executive roles as she has previously held roles at the company as Chief Medical Officer and Executive Vice President of Global Medicine Development and Medical Affairs since joining in 2017. After obtaining her medical degree from Boston University School of Medicine, she did her residency at Massachusetts General Hospital in internal medicine, then did her fellowship at the MGH and Brigham and Women’s Hospital program in nephrology. She has made many great contributions to the biopharma industry while in her roles at Vertex, and has been the recipient of many awards including being one of Boston Business Journal’s Power 50, and receiving the TiE Boston Healthcare Leadership Award.
John ‘Keoni’ S.K. Kauwe III
Currently the President of Brigham Young University - Hawaii, John ‘Keoni’ S.K. Kauwe III is well known for his research of Alzheimer's disease. With previous roles as Chair of the Biology Department and Dean of Graduate studies, he has been part of the University for a long time. He has a P.h. D in Evolution, Ecology, and Population Biology, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Washington School of Medicine to research the genetics of Alzhiemers disease in 2008. Due to his extensive research, he has had over 100 peer-reviewed papers be published over the last decade. At Brigham Young University - Hawaii, his namesake lab, Kauwe Research Lab mainly focuses on Alzhiemer’s research.
Pearl Huang, P.h. D.
Pearl Huang, P.h. D. is currently the CEO and President of Dunad Therapeutics. This is one of many leadership roles she has held in her career. She was previously co-founder and CEO of Beigene in China, and held executive and leadership roles at Merck, Roche, GlaxoSmithKline, and Cygnal, where she was president and CEO before moving on to Dunad. She earned her P.h. D. in molecular biology at Princeton University. Dr. Huang was included in the PharmaVOICE 100 list in 2020, and as one of the Fiercest Women in Life Sciences by FiercePharma.