Breakfast Briefings

Breakfast Briefings

The Gene Therapy for Rare Disorders series takes pride in supporting the personal and professional development of individuals in the field, both for new entrants as well as for those looking to progress their careers to the next stage.

Our Breakfast Briefings are your opportunity to meet with industry leaders in an informal, small group setting. Each of our experts will host a table to provide guidance, share personal experiences, and answer questions on a specific theme, providing attendees with insights beyond the scientific content in the main programme.

Feel free to browse the table topics below and choose one you are most interested in.

Registration will open shortly with tickets free of charge. These will be made available when you register for the meeting. If you have registered already, we will email you shortly with a registration form to add a ticket to your event pass. The Breakfast Briefings will be hosted during morning registration on Conference Day Two, Thursday, March 28.

Please email if you have any questions regarding the Breakfast Briefings. Please note that we cannot reserve any spaces on these tables until participants have registered for the main conference.

Click on a Table Number to Find Out More


Chris Williams
Head of Research
DeSci Applied Research

Table 1

Making the Most of a Conference Experience

Chris Williams has evolved his understanding of the challenges in drug development through 14 years of experience in technical development and manufacturing of biologics. Chris is challenging the status quo; discovering and delivering new strategies for developing cutting edge therapies so that patients of all disorders, no matter how rare, have the hope to live a better life.

Daniel Chung - SparingVision

Daniel Chung
Chief Medical Officer

Table 2

Expanding your Personal Network

Dr. Chung is a trained ophthalmologist who has been instrumental in the development of genetic ocular therapies for blinding diseases for almost 30 years, in the academic (UPenn) and industry (Spark Tx) spaces. He was heavily involved in the development of Luxturna, the first FDA approved gene therapy for a genetic eye disease. Currently, in a CMO role for SparingVision, developing gene independent approaches to save vision in patients with inherited retinal disease.

Darshna Patel - Neurocrine

Darshna Patel
Vice President, Regulatory Affairs
Neurocrine Biosciences

Table 3

Seamlessly Moving Between Departments

Darshna Patel, VP Regulatory Affairs at Neurocrine Biosciences, has been in industry for roughly 34 years working in early to late drug development across various different therapeutic areas. She has worked in process development, research, medical affairs, and R&D compliance, but the majority of her time has been spent in regulatory affairs leading strategic development for US and global programs, with a particular focus on patient focused drug development and strategic labeling.


Doreen Morgan
Former Vice President, Head of Global Regulatory Strategy
PTC Therapeutics

Table 4

Transitioning into a Senior Leadership Role

Doreen V. Morgan, Pharm.D., M.S., RPh. has extensive career experience in drug development and global regulatory strategy expertise in small and large molecules, cell, and gene therapies, including contributions leading to FDA approvals in multiple therapeutic fields. Her career highlights include strong global leadership and key stakeholder engagement working in small biotech and mid to large pharma. Doreen previously held the position of VP, Head of Global Regulatory Strategy at PTC Therapeutics.


Keith Wonnacott
Vice President, Regulatory Affairs
Lexeo Therapeutics

Table 5

Avoiding Burnout: Advice for a Long & Healthy Career

Dr. Wonnacott is currently Vice President of Regulatory Affairs at Lexeo Therapeutics, a clinical stage gene therapy company focused on treating cardiovascular and CNS diseases. Previously, Dr. Wonnacott worked at Pfizer where he led regulatory efforts to aid the development of their divers AAV-based gene therapy portfolio. Prior to working in industry, Dr. Wonnacott was Chief of the Cellular Therapies Branch at the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER). His branch was responsible for the CMC review of all cellular therapy products.

Khandan Baradaran - Ultragenyx

Khandan Baradaran
Vice President, Regulatory CMC

Table 6

Succeeding as a Woman in Biopharma

Khandan Baradaran, Ph.D., is Vice President and Global Head of Regulatory CMC at Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical. In this role she is responsible for multiple AAV gene therapy products as well as several other small molecule and biologics modalities across all stages of product development and commercial operations. She has 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, including early- and late-stage clinical development and commercial products.


Mitra Tavakkoli
Former Vice President, Clinical Development
4D Molecular Therapeutics

Table 7

Identifying New Career Opportunities

Mitra Tavakkoli is an experienced clinical development physician in early and late phase development in gene therapy, cell therapy and rare diseases and early phase development in immunoncology with a demonstrated history of more than 10 years of working in the biotechnology/pharmaceutical industry. She is a Former VP, Clinical Development at 4DMT, Taysha Gene therapies, and AVROBIO.


Richard Colvin
Chief Medical Officer
bluebird bio

Table 8

Working Effectively with Different Communication Styles

Richard Colvin, MD, PhD., has served as Chief Medical Officer of bluebird since March 2021. Prior to bluebird, Rich was an executive director in translational medicine at Novartis. Rich completed his clinical and research fellowships in the Mass General Brigham Infectious Diseases Program, and completed his internship and residency at the Brigham and Women's Hospital. Rich is on faculty at Harvard Medical School and sees patients in the Infectious Diseases clinic at MGH Chelsea. Rich received his MD and PhD from Duke University School of Medicine and his BS from Cornell University.