Alumni Feature

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Where are they today?
Posted On: November 29, 2016
Meet Stefanie Di Giandomenico

My Scientific Journey
I earned a Bachelor of Science with specialized honours in Biochemistry from York University. I continued my scientific education as a graduate student in the lab of Dr. Linda Penn at UHN. My research focused on characterizing oncogenes and exploring the molecular mechanisms of cancer. I successfully defended my thesis titled “Characterizing the mechanism of Cul7-mediated Inhibition of cell death” and graduated with a Master of Science degree from the University of Toronto, in the Department of Medical Biophysics.

Transition to the Legal Profession
About a year and a half into my graduate studies, I realized that I did not want to stay in academia and began to explore other career options. After speaking with a lawyer, who was also a former scientist, about his career as a patent agent, I decided to go to law school to become a patent lawyer. I joined the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law, earned a Juris Doctor (law) degree three years later, and was called to the Bar of Ontario in June 2015.

Where I am Today
Today I am an associate lawyer at the law firm Belmore Neidrauer LLP in downtown Toronto. The firm specializes in all aspects of intellectual property law including patents, trademarks and copyright. Much of my practice is focused on large-scale pharmaceutical patent litigation. Over the last two years, I have participated in several patent trials at the Federal Court of Canada.

Best and Worst Aspects of My Job
The most enjoyable part of my job is that I never seem to be doing the same thing twice. Every day I face a new set of challenges and get to be creative in developing strategies to help solve the legal issues facing my clients.

The worst part of my job is that I often spend most of the day sitting. Luckily, I am usually so busy and engaged in my work that the time flies by.

How My Training at UHN Has Helped Me
As a patent lawyer, I use my science background on a regular basis. The training I received at UHN allows me to understand the science behind the patents that I work with every day. It also helps me relate to inventors and expert witnesses as fellow scientists. Because of my advanced training, my clients can be confident that I thoroughly understand the scientific and legal aspects of their cases.

My Advice to Current Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Fellows
Be open-minded and don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone when exploring career options. For me, making the transition from science to law was daunting; however, taking that risk was one of the best decisions of my life. When deciding the next step, be guided by what you enjoy, what you are good at, and what you want out of life.