Todd Gabianelli, Partner at Green Key leading the Pharma team, was recently selected as an Old Master at Purdue University. Established in 1950, the Purdue Old Masters Program is an annual event that invites accomplished individuals to share their insights and experiences with students. Over 600 distinguished figures have contributed to this tradition over the years, representing diverse fields. 

According to Purdue Old Masters, “To Purdue students and faculty, an Old Master is an exceptional person who has made significant contributions to his or her own field. There is no typical Old Master, all walks of life are represented. It is not necessary for an Old Master to be a graduate of Purdue. Each person, however, possesses the same desire to share philosophies and experiences with Purdue students.” 

Todd was invited back to Purdue’s campus, where he had the opportunity to speak with several classes on how the decisions he made during his college experience set him up for a career in sales and recruiting.     

To be chosen as an Old Master, alumni first need to be nominated, and then selected by the Central Committee, comprising of student leaders and advisors who organize the program every year. The program offers Purdue students the opportunity to interact with the Old Masters in various classroom settings, round-table discussions, and topic driven panels throughout the multi-day program. 

We had the opportunity to chat with Todd about his experience as an Old Master and how his time at Purdue set him up for a successful career in recruiting!

What does this honor mean to you? 

“It was an incredible honor to be selected as a Purdue Old Master, a top 5 life moment!  The students that planned, hosted, and executed the Old Masters program laid it out in such a way that gave us the opportunity to have meaningful interactions with the students, student leaders, faculty, and former mentors. The Old Masters experience is a 73-year-old annual event designed to give Purdue students the opportunity to learn from alumni and various others that have built successful careers and/or business and have made an impact on others along the way.  It was fun to be back on campus and tell the story about how I ended up at Purdue sight unseen from a small town in Connecticut and to share the many obstacles I had to overcome, mostly academic, while at school that helped prepare me for my career.” 

Can you share some of the experiences or lessons from your career that you imparted to Purdue students as an old master? 

“One of the lessons I shared was to always be looking a few years ahead of where you want to be in your career, find people doing what you want to be doing at a high level and get around them.  The old saying that ‘success leaves clues’ is true and those that have found success are often the ones willing to share the most to help others be successful.” 

In your journey, what aspects of your Purdue education have played a significant role in shaping your success? 

“Although my professors were great, I attribute a lot of my growth and success at Purdue to the experiences I had outside of the classroom in various student organizations.  I was on an Education/Guidance counseling track so not exactly a direct path to a career in sales, but the skills that I learned and developed studying this curriculum ultimately gave me a competitive advantage that helped propel the growth of my career.” 

What advice do you have for current students who aspire to follow in your footsteps? 

“One of my favorite quotes is simple and straightforward; ‘Successful people are those willing to do the things that others aren’t.’ I’ve used this as a guide for the decisions I’ve made along the way in my career and my advice would be the same to the students regardless of which major they are in, or career path they are pursuing.  Create good daily habits, get out of your comfort zone each day, and find ways to help other people get what they want.” 

Jun 6, 2023

A Lifesciences Lab Where Robots Do All the Experiments

In the heart of Silicon Valley is a biotech laboratory run by robots. They carry out experiments ordered by scientists anywhere in the world who simply login to the lab, describe their project, set options like the cells to use or the types of analyses to perform, and go on to do other things while the robots do the rest.

The Strateos lab in Menlo Park, California is as sophisticated as many research facilities and it becomes more so all the time. In partnership with Eli Lilly, Strateos opened a second robotic cloud laboratory in San Diego this year that focuses on the drug discovery process.

Lilly is using part of this Life Sciences Studio for its own projects. The remaining capacity is available to startups in the biosciences to run their own experiments, providing them access to tools and processes few of them can afford on their own.

Though still rare, fully robotic, remote laboratories like these are the future of drug development and biological research. They’re a clear sign of just how much laboratory automation has advanced. From the early days of handling routine and basic functions like blood chemistries, immunoassay and urinalysis, the cutting edge Life Sciences Studio can synthesize, test, and optimize compounds in pursuit of new drug therapies without human help.

At the Texas Medical Center (TMC) Innovation Institute in Houston, concept automation is tested and demonstrated. One of the most futuristic is YuMi, a product of ABB Robotics, which has a research hub there. Already in use in a handful of facilities, YuMi manages viral antigen testing in one lab and handles tissue, bone, and sterile fluid samples at another.

ABB predicts that by 2025, 60,000 nonsurgical robots, many as versatile as YuMi, will be in use in healthcare. 5,000 deployed in laboratories.

Robots,says Robin Felder, PhD, professor of pathology and associate director of clinical chemistry and toxicology at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, are “beginning to swallow up all of the manual parts of the laboratory.”

But more than that, with the rapid advances in artificial intelligence, Ben Miles, PhD, head of product at Strateos, sees a future where the robots will analyze data to initiate experiments on their own.

We’re not there yet. But as Dr. Dean Ho, Provost’s chair professor of biomedical engineering at the National University of Singapore, said, “At some point, we’ll be able to move beyond solely relying on pre-existing data and algorithm training and prediction making.”

Photo by Daan Stevens on Unsplash


Jun 6, 2023

Clinical Investigators Need to Know the Privacy Rules

Distracted by the COVID pandemic, clinical investigator sites that haven’t been paying attention to new privacy laws may find it difficult to conduct trials in 2021.

“Nine out of ten investigator sites in the U.S. don’t know anywhere near enough,” and “don’t have the right tools to be in compliance,” says an article on the Association Of Clinical Research Professionals blog.

An interview with Al O. Pacino II, president and CEO of BlueCloud by HealthCarePoint, discusses the details of two key privacy laws: the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation and California’s Consumer Privacy Act. Both impose significant restrictions on how personal data is collected, stored, used and shared. Both require businesses and organizations to inform individuals of the information they have and make it available to them. The California law exempts government and nonprofits.

In the European Union, the GDPR is supplemented by local privacy rules and, for clinical trials and medical data sharing, by organizational rules and governance. A study published in BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making found enough lack of specificity and clarity among the privacy rules of each of the various study teams in just one EU program to give rise to challenges.

Noting that “Responsible data sharing in health research entails more than compliance with the GDPR,” the researchers found there was a need to reconcile local and individual investigative rules when creating “Big Data-driven translational research platforms” such as the BigData@Heart platform.

As in Europe, academic researchers in the US regularly share data. “The combination of even larger datasets into so-called ‘Big Data’ is considered to offer even greater benefits for science, medicine and society,” the Medical Informatics and Decision Making article observes.

With California’s privacy act – the toughest in the US – and other state laws now in effect and new ones under consideration, clinical researchers need to be aware of the rules, including the GDPR.

Investigator site leaders, says Pacino, must “understand modern laws and regulations that protect one’s personal data and privacy, learn how to take ownership of [their site data], and leverage modern e-vehicles that benefit healthcare professionals, sponsors, contract research organizations, and others.”    

Photo by Lianhao Qu on Unsplash