Combining creativity and science, Dr. Laura Lande-Diner, a member of AFHU’s Northeast regional board, exemplifies the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU)’s commitment to dynamic scientific and industry innovation. Since obtaining her Ph.D. from HU, Dr. Lande-Diner has generated more than 12 patents and has been involved in the co-founding of several paradigm-changing life sciences companies. She was recently named to the 2017 PharmaVOICE 100, a list that recognizes the life science industry’s most inspirational and innovative leaders.
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Dr. Lande-Diner immigrated to Israel at the age of 18 to pursue her studies at HU. Even as a teenager, Dr. Lande-Diner knew her dream was to make a difference on a global scale, either by transforming human health or sustainability. She was drawn to HU’s unique B.S. medical program, which combines biology and pre-clinical medicine and gives undergraduates the best available training for translational research.
HU proved to be a catalyst to Dr. Lande-Diner’s social and academic growth. Not a day went by without her having a “WOW” moment over something she learned and, to this day, she remains friends with her former study buddies, fondly remembering cram sessions in the Guatemala dorms during exam seasons.
“My time at HU was a truly wonderful time,” says Dr. Lande-Diner. “I met some of my closest friends and acquired the strong scientific foundation that has allowed me to develop and get where I am today.”
After completing her B.S., Laura chose to pursue her Ph.D. in Genetics and Molecular Biology at the HU medical school. She joined the lab of Howard (Chaim) Cedar, which was one of the best decisions of her life. “He played a huge role earlier in my career. He taught me to think big, to aspire to answer only the most meaningful questions, and not to be bound by the current paradigms. I owe my love for science and my curiosity and creativity to him,” said Dr. Lande-Diner.
That ability to think big, focus on only the most impactful issues, and cast off existing dogmas have served Dr. Lande-Diner well in her life and career after HU. As an associate at Flagship Pioneering in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Dr. Lande-Diner brings this creativity, passion, and innovative energy to her role as an entrepreneurial scientist. Flagship Pioneering develops, creates, and grows first-in-category life-sciences companies, and as an associate at the firm, Dr. Lande-Diner conceives, produces, and cultivates category-creating companies in human health and sustainability.
Since joining Flagship less than three years ago, Dr. Lande-Diner has been a force behind multiple new technologies and scientific approaches, and she has authored more than 12 patents. This impressive body of work includes the development and creation of companies in fields as diverse as microbiome therapeutics, rational plant design, and native gene control. Never satiated in her creative quest for knowledge and creating value for the world, Dr. Lande-Diner is also leading two earlier-stage efforts at Flagship focused on metabolic control and repurposing a pathological cellular mechanism for therapeutic purposes. Her colleagues are impressed with her fearlessness, drive, and commitment to collaboration.
Prior to moving to the U.S., Dr. Lande-Diner lived in Israel for 10 years, where she met her husband, Ami Diner, and had her first child at the Hadassah Hospital, right next door to her Ph.D. lab at HU. She loved her time in Israel and considers herself an Israeli through and through. Now in Cambridge, Dr. Lande-Diner lives with her husband and their two sons.
In June, Dr. Lande-Diner served as an event chair at the 2018 President’s International Business Leadership Forum, a unique 3-day program designed to engage and connect global business leaders with Israeli innovation and ingenuity in Jerusalem, Israel.