Kathryn Davidson

Graduate student Kathryn Davidson received her MS in Biological Sciences at Commencement on May 17. She should have received a standing ovation as well for her work balancing raising a family with her studies in academia and her work with a major biotech firm.

In 2009, Dominican formalized BioMarin’s partnership in the Master’s Degree in Biological Sciences with an emphasis on developing and commercializing innovative biopharmaceuticals. Kathryn, who joined BioMarin in 2005 as an associate director in Regulatory Operations, took advantage of the partnership which enabled her to pursue her master’s at Dominican while working full time.

“The culture at Dominican is very warm and supportive from undergraduate through graduate classes,” says Kathryn, now senior director in Development Sciences Process Operations at BioMarin in San Rafael.

BioMarin Pharmaceutical was named No. 7 on Forbes magazine's list of the Top 25 Most Innovative Companies in 2014.

“The people that I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know, students and faculty, and the knowledge that I’ve gained have contributed to an invaluable experience.”

Kathryn, whose senior thesis project was evaluating in silico predictions for missense mutations, praised Dominican’s support structure and Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics faculty Dr. Mary Sevigny, Dr. Maggie Louie and Dr. Mani Subramanian for providing valuable encouragement and advice.

Remarkably, Kathryn was able to balance her two passions in life – her family and her cause – during her Dominican days.

“My husband, Tim, and I place great value on education so he has been incredibly supportive and helped with all the things required in raising two kids. My kids (a son, Ian, and daughter, Lauryn) are also amazingly patient and understanding with my class schedule and time I spend on course work,” Kathryn says “I also deliberately planned family and school time to ensure there were special times set aside for family while still being able to meet my school commitments.”

Kathryn stays busy at BioMarin, which develops first-to-market or best-to-class therapies that make a big difference in the lives of a small number of patients suffering from serious or rare orphan diseases.  She is dedicated to helping people, especially children.

“Imagine having a beautiful child who becomes increasingly sick, and then finding out that your child most likely won’t live long enough to go to high school and definitely not college. Then imagine discovering their disease is so rare that most companies wouldn’t dream of working on trying to find a cure,” Kathryn says, “I love being part of a company that offers these children and their parents treatments so they can do the things that we take for granted.”