Silvija Coulter, M.Sc., P.M.P.
Senior Director, Scientific Program Management
Sil Coulter joined the Allen Institute for Brain Science in June of 2015, making her return to the Seattle area after a 14-year tour of duty in “Big Pharma” with Merck where she held multiple leadership positions in Program Management and Strategic Operations. She considers these latter years as the most formative of her career, evolving from first building and leading the program management team for molecular profiling, to operationally leading and contributing to corporate mergers, numerous waves of transformative organizational change, and operational excellence initiatives. In this environment Sil also honed her portfolio management and business skills, rotating through a variety of Operations Lead roles in “Exploratory and Translational Sciences,” “Site Operations” and “Pharmacology.” It is here where she developed a strong appreciation for the world of where business meets science, recognizing that these two elements can and should harmoniously exist if we are to stay focused on the vision and drive to achieve results, through careful analysis of the ever-changing landscape.
Turning back to an earlier era, Sil’s humble beginnings were in graduate school studying Drosophila genetics at Canada’s University of Guelph, followed by a 17-year path that eventually took her through various academic and biotech lab environments across the US. It is here where she cultivated her passion for genomics through studying bacterial pathogenesis using a myriad of evolving technologies. And so, here we are, full circle back to Merck who, in 2001, acquired Seattle-based Rosetta to pursue the application of microarrays for transcriptional profiling in drug and biomarker discovery.
Sil attributes her diversified career trajectory to not only being open to new possibilities and embracing change, but to having had the support of many amazing mentors. The magic of true success lies in the people side of the equation and should never be under estimated! Supporting the Allen Institute’s mission represents the next chapter in this amazing journey and offers the opportunity to not only leverage many prior lessons learned and to continue learning, but to also give back to the scientific community in an unprecedented way.