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When Erica Stelten began studying Phenylketonuria (PKU) in college, she never imagined years later she would be working for the first company to release an FDA approved treatment for the rare genetic disorder.
Stelten is the associate director of the PKU division of BioMarin Pharmaceutical, a bio tech company that develops, tests and distributes therapeutics to patients who live with life threatening rare genetic disorders. An advocate for PKU patients and families Stelten oversees the distribution of PKU treatments to genetic centers all over the country.
“Currently there are 16,000 documented cases of PKU in the United States. BioMarin developed an enzyme substitution therapy that prevents the disease’s impact on the brain,” she said.
PKU is the deficiency of an enzyme that breaks down a certain amino acid found in all protein-containing foods. Avoiding that amino acid requires a very stick diet with custom proteins. In fact, prior to her role at BioMarin, Stelten worked for a company that produced food for PKU patients.
Stelten graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in Dietetics. She is a registered dietician, certified professional coach (CPCC) and mother of three boys.
“I’ve worked at home for the past 13 years, but when summer rolled around with three young children, I realized this doesn’t work for me. Being at home was starting to swallow me alive,” said Stelten. “Since my recent promotion, I need to be focused all day. At Decatur CoWorks I can put my head down and be a better employee.”
When Stelten isn’t working or spending time with her kids, you will likely find her in a cozy corner of her home, glass of red wine nearby, reading a book that inspires personal growth.