A Jersey girl drawn first captivated by engineering while in college at Dartmouth, Ariel Dowling went on to pursue her PhD at Stanford, exploring the use of wearables to anticipate and prevent knee injuries. After several experiences at tech-focused startups, Ariel has more recently found a home — and a calling — as a digital health leader in biopharma.
Ariel grew up in Basking Ridge, NJ (exit 36 off 78). A good student and a talented lacrosse player, Ariel was strongly drawn to Dartmouth. Once there, she found she loved the community, and especially appreciated their approach to engineering, which she describes as project-based and team oriented; the program was focused, as she explains, on cultivating engineering managers rather than individual contributors.
After completing Dartmouth in four years with two bachelors degrees, she headed off to a PhD in mechanical engineering at Stanford. While the Stanford class was relatively large, she found camaraderie from a group of women engineers who supported and inspired each other.
An avid ultimate frisbee player, Ariel noticed that women seemed to suffer more (non-contact) knee injuries in this sport than men. This ultimately led to her PhD thesis, involving the application of early wearables to injury prevention.
After graduation, Ariel and her husband spent several years in Israel, where she completed a post-doc in robotics. Upon returning to the United States, Ariel’s first job was at a DARPA-funded startup in Boston, which quickly proved to be a decision she regretted. She soon found another job at a fall detection company, and then was poached by an early digital health company, MC-10. This startup stood out to Ariel because it was her first experience at a “really hard-core, VC-backed, growth-focused” company; she took naturally to this environment.
Ultimately, Ariel decided to move on, taking a role in digital health at a biotech company—Cambridge (MA)-based Biogen. She found she enjoyed the challenge, and in short order became (and remains) a much-sought-out thought leader on the digital health speaking circuit. Importantly, Ariel says it was her “keep saying yes” attitude that helped create many of these opportunities.
More recently, Ariel joined Takeda Pharma, also in Cambridge, MA, where she’s a digital strategy leader at the company’s Data Science Institute.
With her combination of vision, expertise, passion, and optimism, Ariel offers an inspiring portrait of the future of digital and data in pharma. We are delighted to welcome her today’s show! To listen to the show, please use the audio player below or find it on the Connected Social Media website or on Apple Podcasts.
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