UCI Affiliation: PhD and Postdoctoral Alumnus, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry
Current Position: Biologics Development Scientist at Allergan in Irvine, California
Current Industry: Pharmaceuticals
What do you like most about your current position?
It’s a lot like grad school in which you’re in the lab a lot running experiments. But then it also adds the new aspects, as far as how they do things in industry versus academia. So, every day is interesting.
What skills do you use on a daily basis in your current position?
Our group is small and I get to wear a lot of different hats. I’m still doing what I was hired for, but I’m also getting exposed to a wide range of the drug development process. On a daily basis, I’ve been working on molecular biology, designing the plasmids that are going to carry our genes of interest for drug targets, protein expression in bacteria and the development activities associated with that, as well as protein purification, so, purifying the drug target that we’re going to be using.
How did you obtain your position? Which people or experiences helped more than others?
While working on my master’s, I had done research with somebody that is currently at Allergan. That was a strong referral. He took my resume directly to the hiring manager. It got me the interview. I had experience in the postdoc that I could directly apply and without that I wouldn’t have landed the current position.”
One thing I like about GPS-BIOMED is that they do a lot of these events that get you in contact with people that are out in the field, in various fields. Without contacts it is very, very hard to get your foot in the door.
What went into your ultimate decision to select your current position or career path?
Close to the end of my PhD and then during my postdoc I was starting to dabble (in different fields). I taught some classes during the summer at UC Irvine. I did, through GPS-BIOMED, an internship in research development and that’s a writing position.
I went to one GPS-BIOMED activity that was co-sponsored with the Postdoc Association and they brought in a panel of speakers from Allergan. Several of us went out to dinner with them afterwards. So, you got to speak with people that have been working at Allergan for years. At that point I was definitely more intrigued into industry.
What advice would you give to participants who are new to GPS-BIOMED or who are beginning their career preparation?
As an incoming graduate student, if you know or you’re pretty sure that you want to go into industry, then try to find a lab at UC Irvine that collaborates with companies. If you can find one of those labs, then that’s actually a way of sliding your foot in the door too. I would encourage them to do as many of the [GPS-BIOMED] activities as possible, like networking mixers. If you know you want to go into my field, those are important.