Why diversity always matters
At AbbVie, we bring together staff and scientists from all different walks of life to ignite innovation and spark creative ideas in our laboratories. Our diverse workplace is why 47% of our management positions are held by women and DiversityInc named us one of America’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity.
In this article, three female senior researchers at AbbVie reflect on their paths into science, passion for discovery and hopes for the future of cancer research.
Katherine Bell-McGuinn, M.D., Ph.D.
group medical director, tumor dependency, AbbVie
Katherine Bell-McGuinn remembers her kindergarten teacher’s response when she said, “I want to be a doctor.”
“No, dear, you must mean a nurse,” the teacher replied.
It was the 1970s, and many Americans still didn’t always envision a multitude of career paths for women, especially in science. But Bell-McGuinn didn’t let that hold her back.
After earning M.D. and Ph.D. degrees at Johns Hopkins, she moved on to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City and led more than 20 clinical trials in gynecological cancers.
Her work underscored how rewarding it can be to find, as she says, “the right combination of drugs that go after the right combination of mechanisms that went awry to cause cancer in the first place.”
“Whenever I first met a patient, curing their cancer was my focus,” she says. “With ovarian and cervical cancer, 80% of patients with optimal frontline therapy go into remission. So that’s always my goal. I wanted to get every patient to that point.”