Two female PhDs to manage largest commercial shared lab hub in US
PHILADELPHIA—Amid the region’s ever-increasing demand for high-caliber lab facilities with expert management, CIC welcomes two seasoned scientists and leaders to its Philadelphia innovation campus team. Native Philadelphian Michelle Ottey, PhD, joins as Managing Director, and Kelly Sullivan, PhD, as Director of Lab Operations. The new hires, standouts among all candidates, also support CIC’s desire to advance gender equity in life sciences. Their hiring signals key progress toward the center’s $11M lab expansion, announced in August 2021 and targeted for completion in April 2022.
Life sciences innovation — particularly gene and cell therapy — is widely viewed as the leading regional growth engine. Combined with doubling its lab space and adding 200+ benches, CIC’s hiring of Ottey and Sullivan reflects its deep commitment to the life sciences, West Philadelphia, and uCity Square communities. With local demand for lab facilities sharply exceeding supply, many scientists wait 12-18 months for space. CIC’s expansion, making it the largest commercial shared lab hub in the nation, aims to decrease that wait time as it increases access and opportunity for scientists at all levels.
“In light of our lab expansion, and all that prompted it, we sought leaders with the expertise necessary to provide the level of support we demand for our clients,” said Sarah Morin, VP and head of CIC’s North American centers. “Michelle and Kelly bring a highly elusive combination of research and leadership experience that uniquely qualifies them to meet the needs of scientists and other innovators. We are particularly excited that they are women and to have found Michelle right here in Philadelphia.”
Michelle Ottey comes to CIC after 15 years with Fairfax Cryobank, a division of the multi-state Genetics and IVF Institute. She served as Lab Director and Media Spokesperson for the past 10 years and Director of Operations for the past 12. Ottey navigated donor growth challenges, led the integration of acquisitions, and raised standards across all Fairfax labs. She is a graduate of Rosemont College and earned a PhD in Genetics from Thomas Jefferson University before a postdoctoral fellowship at Penn’s Veterinary school.
As Managing Director, Ottey will catalyze and accelerate life sciences, technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship in the region. She will oversee all aspects of CIC Philadelphia to support client success in its shared lab and entrepreneurial communities. She aims to strengthen the surrounding innovation ecosystem and bolster and diversify the talent pipeline by nurturing strategic alliances and maintaining CIC’s success attracting venture capital funds to the area.
“Being from Philly, the idea of having a hand in leading such an important footprint for local scientists and innovators is very appealing to me,” said Ottey. “I have a deep understanding of the nuances of compliance and regulatory requirements from running labs in seven states, and more than a decade of experience building relationships with people whose lives are impacted by science, but who aren’t scientists. I’m excited to help build CIC’s growing innovation ecosystem within its walls and in greater Philadelphia.”
Kelly Sullivan spent the past five years managing labs in multiple states in the nascent legalized cannabis industry, with its rigorous regulation and pace. Her expertise in compliance, licensing, and managing systems and relationships are key to her new role. She is a graduate of Cornell University, earned a PhD in Biochemistry from Purdue, and conducted postdoctoral research at Purdue and the University of Louisville.
As Director of Lab Operations, Sullivan will serve as a partner with CIC’s lab clients to support their success and integration into CIC’s innovation ecosystem. She’ll manage a diverse team with a focus on cultivating and fostering a welcoming, inclusive, and inspiring culture, and providing the highest level of lab operations for clients.
“CIC’s mission to change the world through innovation resonates with me; I’m passionate about discovery to improve quality of life,” said Sullivan. “It does matter that I’m a scientist in this role. This allows me to understand our lab clients’ day-to-day pressures and potential obstacles. I’m eager to lead and expand a strong team that seamlessly handles the details, so our scientists can spend every minute focused on discovery.”