Dr. Diana West-Szymanski
Principal – Director of Operations
Diana joined the Plaisance team in 2023 as Principal – Director of Operations. Originally from the DC-metro area, Diana obtained her B.S. in Chemistry from The College of William & Mary (mentor: Richard Kiefer) and Ph.D. in Chemistry at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (mentor: Paul Hergenrother). Diana’s doctoral research centered around the screening and pre-clinical characterization of procaspase activating agents, such as PAC-1, a cancer drug now in clinical trials. Diana completed her postdoctoral training at The University of Chicago (mentor: Suzanne Conzen) studying glucocorticoid receptor modulation in hormone-driven malignancies such as breast and prostate cancers.
Beginning her professional career as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at the small liberal arts institution Ave Maria University, Diana worked on a collaborative team of faculty to bring the university its first research grant. With a desire to return to the bench and study epigenetics, Diana joined the laboratories of Professors Chuan He and Marc Bissonnette at The University of Chicago as a Staff Scientist. There, she worked with on biomarker discovery in over 10 different cancers (including colorectal, ovarian, and prostate cancers) using the He lab’s epigenomic technologies. In parallel with her research in the He laboratory, Diana also worked on early-startup commercialization projects through the Polsky Center at The University of Chicago, including a biotech spin-out AccuraDX. Diana was honored to be named a Top 40 Under 40 Chicago Scientist by Halo in 2019, an award she credits entirely to the efforts of the teams in which she worked, including extremely innovative scientific mentors, colleagues, and team members.
At Plaisance, Diana is enthusiastic about helping grow and support exciting scientific discoveries to bring them to the market. Diana enjoys spending time with her family, music, art, and occasional harmless pranks.