Highlighting Women in Bio: Jessica Foley, CSO, the Focused Ultrasound Foundation

Jessica Foley is the Chief Scientific Officer at the Focused Ultrasound Foundation and has been involved in the field of focused ultrasound for nearly 20 years. The Focused Ultrasound Foundation, based in Charlottesville, is dedicated to accelerating the development and adoption of this groundbreaking, noninvasive therapy to improve the lives of countless patients worldwide. In her role, she guides the strategy, development, and implementation of the scientific and research programs and activities within the Foundation. She also leads alliance-building efforts with external stakeholders including (but not limited to) governmental policymakers, regulatory agencies, and disease-specific foundations whose interests align with those of the Foundation.

Why is it so important to have more women in biotech and life sciences?
Representation matters. Seeing people like you who are leading organizations and making groundbreaking discoveries is important in getting the best and brightest to be a part of our industry.

Can you share your experience and pathway to where you are today?
I have a passion for communicating important science to lay audiences, which I believe stems from presenting at scientific conferences as part of my PhD studies. It is exciting to be an advocate for a technology that I care deeply about and can benefit countless patients and a wide variety of organizations. Part of my role is to communicate to government and policy makers, aligning the Foundation at the nexus of a broader ecosystem to ensure stakeholders understand both the opportunities of this technology and work through the barriers that hinder it from reaching patients. This type of work is one example of the different career paths for women in science.

How can we amplify and celebrate the important work women are doing to propel health innovation forward?
Every day women are making significant contributions that are driving innovations in our industry. Our conferences, webinars, advisory boards, and funded researchers should reflect this diversity (e.g. no more “manels,” or male-dominated panels). We should invite and feature the work of women and underrepresented minorities in these venues where their expertise and successes can be celebrated and they can help chart the future for our industry.