A nurse-turned-pharma-exec strives to advance care for those with an autoimmune liver disease

Intermediate magnification micrograph of primary biliary cirrhosis, from a liver biopsy with H&E stain. Image by Nephron, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

Now the vice president and head of medical affairs at CymaBay Therapeutics, Mary Standen‘s passion for healthcare was sparked in her high school years when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Though her mother eventually recovered, Standen was galvanized to help provide both emotional support and practical assistance, such as administering weekly injections. The experience made Standen feel empowered to join her mother’s battle against cancer. “I felt I had it in my power to help with the fight,” Standen said.

The experience proved to be the initial formative experience that propelled Standen into a career dedicated to healthcare and patient advocacy. “After earning her bachelor’s in Psychology from Emory U…

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