Bonnie Baskin
Bonnie Baskin
AppTec Labs

Bonnie Baskin, Ph.D., is the founder and past CEO of Viromed Laboratories, a nationally recognized clinical infectious disease testing laboratory  and AppTec, an international provider of regulatory-compliant testing and cGMP manufacturing services for biopharmaceuticals and medical devices. She founded her first company – Viromed Laboratories – in the early 1980s and built it from a small independent virology laboratory into a nationally recognized leader in clinical infectious diseases  and industrial biosafety testing.  After steering the acquisition of the clinical  infectious diseases division of that business by Laboratory Corporation of America in 2001, she reorganized the remaining biotech/medical device service components as the newly formed AppTec and secured venture capital to further grow the company. This allowed for the successful expansion of AppTec’s services into biopharmaceutical manufacturing and in 2008 sold AppTec to WuXi Pharmatech. Baskin serves on a number of private and non-profit boards and is a past president of MNBIO, the Minnesota Biotech Association.

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QYour career was inspired by a famous book, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring

A I read her book and, as a result, I decided I wanted to become a marine biologist. When it came time to apply to schools, I applied and went to University of Miami. They have a very good school of marine biology and oceanography. First semester, this was in 1966, I took my first course in marine biology. We had to go out on Biscayne Bay in these little boats with a little cabin. I got seasick. I was just incapacitated and I made a decision that marine biology was probably not in my future and that while I really was interested in science, I wanted to be involved in something that was landlocked.

QSeasickness was motivating.

A That was it for me. I think there must have been a fairy godmother when I made that decision as I ended up majoring in microbiology.

QAnd that led to a PhD.

A At that time the University of Miami was quite the play school and, quite frankly, I had a wonderful time. You hear of people who are driven and focused and know exactly what they want. Frankly, I had no idea what I wanted. All I knew is that I didn't want to work. I was offered the possibility of going to graduate school there and getting a masters in microbiology. They offered me a full ride, and I thought, well, I've got nothing better to do, so I'll do it. I was there for about a year, and then they said, "We'd love for you to go straight on for a PhD, and we'll also get you a teaching assistantship and take care of your tuition." I figured, why not? I got my PhD in microbiology in 1975.

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