Ilona Canestrelli


For nearly thirty years Ilona was employed in the field of biological science, specifically biotechnology. She began her career while still an undergrad working as a research assistant for a small biotech company.  After graduating with a BS in Biology from Cal State San Marcos, Ilona successfully secured a job as a research technician at the Scripps Research Institute.  Over the years she has worked for a number of different companies and in several areas of biotechnology which include cell biology, protein crystallography, gene therapy, and immunology diagnostics.  Her job titles changed over the years as well.  She has been, in order of progression, a Research Associate, a Research and Development Scientist, and a Managing Scientist.  Although Ilona felt she had a fulfilling career, she really felt compelled to pursue a different path.  In her spare time, she has volunteered as a “captain”  of her daughter’s play group through Scripps Parent Connection, then as a Daisy, Brownie, and Girl Scout leader while also volunteering at her daughter’s school and theater groups.  Through volunteering, she has found she really enjoyed working with children and teens. A year and a half ago, Ilona retired from biotechnology and began her path towards teaching.     Teaching at Fusion combines two of the things she love best: working with young people and biology.  Teaching her students here at Fusion Academy has been both a privilege and a joy.  After all, biology is the study of life and life is marvelous!