International Day of Women and Girls in Science with Dr Pathiraja and Dr Röttger

Experiences, insights, and guidance to women to break into the healthtech world 

In honor of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we had the privilege to interview two prominent investors of Quibim who have extensive experience in the field of STEM1. Dr Fiona Pathiraja, Managing Partner of Crista Galli Ventures and Diana Röttger, PhD, Director of APEX Ventures, shared their inspiring journey to their current role in the tech investment arena. Today, they offer their experience, insights, and guidance to women to break into the tech world, drawing on achievements in this field2. 


Passion for technology 

Among their main interests, they have a deep fascination for medical and technological issues, so after actively engaging in this field, they were able to recognize the critical importance of supporting ideas and companies that invest in healthcare and bring the benefits closer to patients. Drawing on their experience and, as Dr Pathiraja states, “understanding that we need technology to unlock the next era of radiology”, their transition into the venture capital field was a natural step. 

Dr Röttger reflects that “after studying this field for more than 15 years, we have reached a breakthrough where technologies such as the ones developed by Quibim, will find global adoption”. This is why she now focuses on investing in early-stage deep tech companies tackling challenging issues, such as the shortage of radiologists.  

Indeed, asked about this, Dr Pathiraja highlighted Quibim’s collaboration with Philips, stating that “as an NHS radiologist, I analyzed thousands of MRI scans purchased on Philips machines. It is amazing that today Quibim, who I have been supporting since 2020, have their technology integrated into Philips MRI scanners”. However, she was inspired by another situation to create her healthcare technology fund: the noticeable scarcity of women and people of color in senior positions within European venture capital. This is concerning because even today, women in healthcare and technological fields encounter numerous challenges. 


Challenges in the STEM field 

Compared to nearly 50% in non-STEM roles, women make up only 29.2% of the STEM workforce across 146 nations, according to the Global Gender Gap Report 20233 

Dr Röttger stated in her interview that what made her think globally was “being able to work on interdisciplinary projects with the best scientists and medical doctors in the world”, unfortunately this is not the reality in many cases. Dr Pathiraja emphasizes the concept of “unconscious bias” and notes that, “as a young woman of color in a leadership position, mansplaining or sexism are not uncommon situations”. She says that “overcoming these situations and creating a healthier workplace unfortunately means speaking out against these behaviors immediately”. Dr Pathiraja, like many women in this field, is unafraid to confront difficult conversations, believing that it is essential for effecting change. 

While a significant gender imbalance persists, progress is being made, with a 1.58% increase in female STEM workers between 2015 and 20234. 


Leading the way for future generations 

When asked “How can investors like you help to foster opportunities in the STEM field?” Dr Pathiraja’s response was clear: “The digital age means that knowledge is universally accessible and traditional hierarchies have flattened. We can easily access online the inspiration from ideas of female leaders in the STEM and female investors role models. From a personal perspective, I believe women founders need more capital, rather than more office hours”. She’s always ready to discuss overcoming biases in fundraising or networking with other female founders. Mentorship is crucial for encouraging the next generation to pursue STEM confidently and passionately.   

Dr Röttger has the future at home with two daughters under the age of 3, and she is very clear that she wants to “raise them as little scientists”. She encourages them to be “curious, ask questions, and experiment”. This approach, she believes, is crucial to change the mindset from the very beginning. 


We asked them what advice they would give to women interested in science or venture capital, and they answered very directly: 

Dr Pathiraja: “Be open to new ideas, build a meaningful network, take calculated career risks, and always bet on yourself”.  

Dr Röttger: “Once you reach a level of depth and understanding, you become fascinated by the potential of tech, but you also see the barriers to its adoption. This is when you must persevere and push forward”. 


The journeys of Dr Diana Röttger and Dr Fiona Pathiraja exemplify resilience, innovation, and a dedication to promoting diversity and inclusion in STEM and venture capital. As we honor women’s achievements in science, their stories inspire those looking to make their mark in these dynamic fields. 

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Dr Fiona Pathiraja

“In 2017, as an NHS attending radiologist with an MBA from London Business School, I realized that we needed technology to unlock the next era in radiology. An ever-increasing demand for scans coupled with a global shortage of radiologists, a vision for AI in radiology was necessary. So, I started exploring this idea via angel investing in healthcare AI start-ups. In 2018, after realizing that there were very few women and people of color were in cheque- writing in European VC, I decided to start my healthtech fund, Crista Galli Ventures. We invest at pre-seed and seed, and we have the asset firepower to follow our investments all the way to exit. We have been continuously backing Quibim since 2020.”

Dr Diana Röttger

“I had some sort of a ‘coup de foudre’ when I attended my first lecture of medical computer science at a university open day. I was fascinated by what technology can do for medicine and knew I wanted to be a part of it, for the long run. I studied medical computer science in Germany, followed by a PhD in which I focused on MRI scans of the brain. After my time at the Brigham and Women’s hospital in Boston, I understood that I wanted to bring a commercially viable product to patients. I moved to London and joined a medical image analysis startup. In February 2021 I became a Principal at APEX Ventures, a deep-tech focused venture capital firm where my focus is in healthtech and techbio.”


  1. STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics  
  2. Both have been interviewed individually, their opinions are personal and independent. 
  3. SVG:,a%20troubling%20gender%20imbalance%20remains 
  4. Women in STEM: