ISAT alum blends science and law in the healthcare sector


by Oliva Woolman ('24)

Candice Roman-Santos

After 22 years, Candice Roman-Santos, an alumna of JMU’s Integrated Science and Technology (ISAT) program, returned to the campus that was pivotal in shaping her success.

During her time at JMU, she excelled in the ISAT environment, focusing on biotechnology, engineering, and manufacturing. Academically, she engaged in NASA-related research projects throughout her four years at JMU. A noteworthy project involved collaborating with students from Harrisonburg High School to design and execute experiments that launched aboard a rocket for data collection.

"We were invited to the NASA Wallops Flight Facility to witness the launch and engage in microgravity educational activities," recalls Roman-Santos. "I still cherish a photo of me and my mentor wearing headsets in the Mission Control Center."

Roman-Santos is a lawyer with a profound interest in working with healthcare and life science companies. She has a wealth of legal experience spanning over 12 years across the pharmaceutical, medical device, and biotechnology sectors.

After earning her Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree, Roman-Santos continued her education at Saint Louis University School of Law before transferring to the University of California, College of the Law, San Francisco (formerly UC Hastings), where she obtained a Juris Doctor degree and a Health Law and Policy certificate.

ISAT gave her valuable critical thinking skills by emphasizing both exposure to diverse scientific disciplines and the use of practical tools and technology. These skills have proven beneficial before and after her time in law school.

“The ability to gather information, interpret it effectively, and develop well-reasoned conclusions has helped me become a strategic advisor throughout my career,” reflects Roman-Santos. “As a lawyer, synthesizing information from different sources enables me to craft sophisticated arguments and positions that drive change and continuous improvement for my clients.”

Roman-Santos describes her return to campus as both emotional and enjoyable. "As a first-year student, the ISAT/CS Building, now King Hall, stood as the lone structure on East Campus," she says. "By graduation, two dorms and the Festival building were added. Today, East Campus looks very different."

Candice’s interest in biosciences was sparked by her family’s experience with myotubular myopathy (MTM), a rare genetic condition that affects the muscles. Although she initially aspired to be a scientist to help find a cure for this orphan disease, her passion for bioethics ignited during a course on the ethical, legal, and social implications of emerging biotechnologies during her senior year.

“I worked for six years between graduating from JMU and attending law school,” explains Roman-Santos. “I eventually returned to my passion and have been intentional and strategic in the roles I’ve taken since becoming a lawyer.”

She pursued law school to contribute to the healthcare system, stressing the importance of responsible advancements in medicine. “I wanted to be at the forefront of new drugs and devices that will impact people’s lives on a global scale."

Roman-Santos has delved into healthcare regulatory law, healthcare compliance, commercial transactions, data protection and privacy, and government contracting. She currently serves as Senior Director, Life Sciences Attorney at Lykos Therapeutics, a public benefit corporation dedicated to developing investigational psychedelic-assisted therapies for the treatment of mental health disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder.


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Published: Friday, January 19, 2024

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 23, 2024

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