Bahija Jallal, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President, R&D
Back when Bahija Jallal was working at Chiron as vice president of drug assessment and development, MedImmune reached out to see if she would be interested in working for the Maryland biotech as head of translational science.
"I was struck by two things," says Jallal. "I was struck by MedImmune's history of innovation, with two products. And second I looked at who they had on their board of directors and their executives. There were more women than you would see at other companies."
"It's not your usual thing," she adds. "We have made huge progress to see women in those positions, but we have still not broken all the glass ceilings everywhere."
Jallal, though, has cracked her share. Today, she's in charge of the 2,000 investigators working on 140 R&D programs at MedImmune's research facilities in Gaithersburg, MD, and Cambridge in the U.K. But for Jallal, real success isn't about pursuing a better job at a bigger company. Rather it's about following her passion wherever it leads.
"I never say, I want to be head of R&D here or there," she says. "What I do is really focus on my heart, if you will, and find the right environment."
Jallal got started down a global career path in science with a helpful push by an inspiring middle school teacher, continued to do what she was passionate about in her graduate work in Paris and a postdoc at the Max-Planck Institute of Biochemistry in Germany.