I Develop Therapeutic Strategies

Abbygail Foster ’08 shares milestones from her professional journey

Interview by Cleopatre Thelus, OBSA doctoral fellow, and Stephanie L. Graham

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I grew up in St. Catherine, Jamaica and have always had a passion for science. My interests led me to Harvey Mudd College’s exceptional engineering program. At Harvey Mudd, I had the opportunity to work with new materials for tissue repair and cell growth with Prof. Elizabeth Orwin ’95 and Prof. Nancy Lape. These research experiences sparked my interest in drug delivery and biomaterial development.

After graduation, I moved to the East Coast to pursue a PhD in chemical engineering at the University of Delaware, where I developed new stimulus-responsive materials for targeted gene and drug delivery. I then moved back to California to further explore my interest in biomaterial design as a postdoctoral researcher in the Stanford Materials Science Department and the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute. While there, I had the unique opportunity to collaborate with physicians to develop biomaterial strategies for tissue regeneration and cell delivery. I joined Genentech in 2019 to provide scientific support for therapeutic development.

I am a technical development scientist in the Pharmaceutical Development Department, where I am the formulation lead on one of Genentech’s T-cell-engaging bispecific antibody programs for the treatment of metastatic cancers. This dual-targeting antibody is designed to redirect T-cells to attack cancer cells. As a formulation scientist, I work with our development and clinical teams to design a successful formulation of this antibody, manage clinical trials and pilot studies, and develop approaches for the safe and effective clinical use of our antibody drug.

In addition to supporting one of our antibody programs, I am also the formulation lead for one of Genentech’s engineered T-cell therapies. In this role, I have the unique opportunity to combine my cell delivery expertise with the formulation expertise I have gained at Genentech to develop this exciting new therapeutic strategy. I am grateful for my experiences at Harvey Mudd, which opened the door to a career creating new therapies with world-class scientists who are passionate about tackling unmet medical needs.

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