Sushmita is a scientist in the field of gene therapy and gene editing, who has been working in academia and industry for more than a decade now. Originally from India, Sushmita moved to Singapore in the 2010s and received her PhD from National University of Singapore (NUS), where she developed a novel universal DNA-based vector for gene therapy using RNA trans-splicing for precision gene expression. For about four years, she researched on non-viral ways to deliver genes that can be tailored with a safety on/off switch into specific human cells and tissues.
This laid the groundwork for what Avecris is doing today. In between completing her PhD and commencing her activities for Avecris, which she sometimes refers to as “full-circle”, she worked on other gene therapy avenues in Germany and Switzerland. Among others, she was a research fellow at ETH Zurich and the Medical Center – University of Freiburg, Germany, where she met her future husband, a German native. Later, when she was working with a Swiss gene therapy biotech startup, the co-founders of Avecris and her former PhD supervisor approached and persuaded her to move back to Singapore to help get Avecris operational. And that is exactly what she did in July of 2022.
At Avecris, she is responsible for the development of current pipelines, management of collaborations and to lead the company’s research direction. Everyone who works in a start-up company knows how challenging it can be, but she enjoys every minute of it: “I love the freedom that Avecris and my role are offering while we are developing the technology platform. I am very blessed to have such an amazing management and R&D team”. She is a firm believer that a company’s most important assets are its people, and “Avecris, for sure, has a special group of people, and it is a privilege to work with them. Moreover we are all extremely motivated and excited about developing a technology that has the chance of changing the trajectory of medicine”.