Canadian Science Policy Fellow, Canadian Food Inspection Agency – Office of the Chief Science Operating Officer
Olga Pena completed her PhD at the University of British Columbia, where she contributed to a better understanding of the immunopathology of sepsis and discovered a new set of biomarkers. She is a former Canada Vanier CIHR and Killam scholar and her PhD work laid the research grounds for the creation of Sepset Biosciences Inc, a spin-off biotech company developing a first-in-class diagnostic assay for the early and rapid diagnosis of sepsis. Olga earned her undergraduate degree in Clinical Microbiology from Javeriana University in Colombia, where she was born and raised. She was selected as a Young Research Scholar by Colombia’s Science Funding Agency, Colciencias, allowing her to expand her interest in science research. Olga possesses extensive research and management experience, which she obtained working at research institutions in Colombia, the United States, Australia, and Canada. Olga is involved in a variety of local and international capacity-building initiatives and organizations. She founded the Accessible Science Initiative and was part of several Sepsis organizations such as the Canadian Sepsis Foundation. Through her involvements, Olga connects her passion for science to the impact it can have in society by applying effective science communication, promoting international cooperation and supporting patient engagement activities. Moreover, based on her own challenges and experiences as an Immigrant Woman in Science (IWS), Olga co-founded the IWS Network to promote equity, diversity, and inclusion, and empower other IWS across Canada. Olga hopes to combine her science expertise and advocacy efforts to contribute to the development of evidence-based policy in Canada and the strengthening of science diplomacy in the world.