Skip to Main Content
Chico State

Alumnus in STEM Develops Life-Changing Medicines “To Improve Lives”

Photo of Kaniel Cassady set against a pink and green background.

Curiosity can take you a long way in life.

For Kaniel Cassady (Biological Sciences, ’12), a scientist working on the development of life-changing medicine, it has taken him almost everywhere—from his roots in Marysville to a new home base in New York, and to laboratories across the world. Most importantly, it’s allowed him to fully explore his desire to make a positive impact.

Today, Cassady is part of a global group of scientists who collaborate with the singular goal of improving lives. As a Senior Director of Hematology and Translational Sciences at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., his work involves developing and testing medicines specifically for hematological malignancies and other blood disorders, including leukemia, lymphoma, anemia, and sickle-cell disease.
He calls his path to the pharmaceutical world “non-linear,” owing his circuitous route to a mix of upbringing and discovery.

“My dad is a physician, himself,” said Cassady. “Going with my dad to his clinic impressed upon me this philosophy of giving back to the community and to those around us.”

Attending Chico State was always an obvious option; the University has been a family affair. Not only is his father, Joseph (Natural Sciences, ’82), a proud alum, but so are siblings Jerilyn (Business Administration, ’18), Grant (Construction Management, ’16), Morgan (Mathematics, ’17), Alexander (Business Administration, ’08), and Benjamin (Political Science, ’09).

On a pre-medical pathway, Cassady discovered his calling and the unlimited potential of a research-based career path in Chico State’s biological sciences program, where asking questions and following curiosity was both a strong asset and a requirement.

“I had unfettered access to professors,” said Cassady. “[This] was instrumental in not only finding my passion, but preparing me with the wet laboratory experience for a research career and to segue nicely into a PhD program.”

Graduate studies at the City of Hope National Cancer Center helped foster his interest in using pharmacology to address blood-borne health problems, and after completing his doctorate, he completed a postdoctoral fellowship in hematology in Chongqing, China, followed by an MBA at Keck Graduate Institute.

Today, his quest for answers fuels his drive to save and improve lives while staying true to his philosophy of giving back. He has a history of working with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and serves on the board, noticing the importance of creating more equitable pathways in STEM fields to engage the next generation.

“When we talk about diversity and inclusivity in the STEM community, I think there’s an opportunity to intersect earlier and make space for underserved populations,” said Cassady. “I am driven by spending time with the younger generation, reaching kids who maybe don’t know if they want to be a scientist or a firefighter or join the military. It’s an opportunity to open their horizons to what else may be out there.”