A Day in the Life of Various Industry Scientists
We open the ‘black box industry’, the most common career path for life-science postdocs in the US! About 53% of PhD students in the biological sciences rank research professorship as their desired career path, yet <10% end up as tenured professors. Through our academic career most of us get little or no exposure to industry, especially when working in the fundamental sciences. Thus it is hard to evaluate industry as an ‘alternative’ career path to the traditional pre-set life in academia. Our panelist were all postdocs before their move to industry and will share their experience transitioning to industry, compare their life in academia with that during their industrial career and demystify the job of an industrial scientist.
Silva Krause did her Masters in Biotechnology and Engineering in Emden, Germany. From 2001 she worked at Tufts University first as research technician, then as PhD student in Cell, Molecular and Developmental Biology at Tufts Sackler School from 2003-2008. After graduating, Silva joined Don Ingber’s laboratory at Boston Children’s Hospital and the Wyss Institute as a postdoctoral fellow where she lead several breast cancer projects and co-founded the Boston Children’s Postdoc Association. In 2013, Silva transitioned to industry and worked in the Research team at Momenta Pharmaceuticals where she was involved in drug development, clinical trials and biomarker research for their oncology programs. In 2018, Silva joined Vertex Pharmaceuticals as Associate Director of Translational Medicine and Biomarkers and is the Biomarker lead for several rare kidney programs and some neurological diseases.
Melissa Bonner, PhD is the Director of Stem Cell Research at bluebird bio where she oversees translational gene therapy projects across the severe genetic disease portfolio. She leads the internal, cross-functional sickle research and development team. Prior to joining bluebird bio in 2014, she was at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for her postdoctoral training in the laboratory of the late Dr. Brian Sorrentino working on HSC expansion and next-generation virus production for gene therapy applications.
Rishab Shyam is a biomedical engineer with a B.S.E. in Chemical Engineering from Purdue University and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from The Johns Hopkins University – School of Medicine. Rishab is currently an Executive Director at PureTech Health, where he has been involved in cofounding and building their lymphatic and exosome initiatives (Glyph Biosciences and Calix Biopharma – now part of the internal pipeline at PureTech Health). Additionally, he is responsible for generating venture hypotheses and developing technologies that form the foundational platform for new entrepreneurial initiatives around the Brain-Immune-Gut axis. Prior to PureTech, Rishab spent a summer as an Entrepreneurial Fellow at Flagship Ventures and also spent a year as a Volunteer Educational Assistant at a School (https://www.shantibhavanchildren.org/netflix/) in a village in India.
Robin Kleiman is currently a Senior Director at Biogen where she leads the Translational Cellular Sciences group within Research and Early Development. Her team is focused on establishing translatable human disease models of CNS disorders to enable testing of novel therapeutic molecules. Robin came to Biogen from theTranslational Neuroscience Center (TNC) leadership team and faculty at Boston’s Children’s Hospital in August of 2017 where she was the Head of Preclinical Research and Co-Director of the TNC’s Human Neuron Core. Prior to joining Boston Children’s Hospital, Robin contributed to the discovery and development of multiple novel clinical candidates while working at companies spanning the big pharma and start-up industries, including >12 years in the Neuroscience Research Unit at Pfizer. She was one of several founding members of the Pfizer Neuroscience Phosphodiesterase platform team that produced multiple clinical candidate molecules, 3 first-in-human clinical trials for distinct and completely novel mechanisms followed by 2 proof-of-concept clinical trials. She holds a B.S. degree in Zoology from University of Vermont, a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from University of Virginia, and completed post-doctoral work at the University of California, San Francisco.
Ronald Dorenbos is a management consultant with business development and project management experience. He has two masters degrees, one in Biotechnology from the Hanzehoogschool in Groningen, The Netherlands, and one in Molecular Biology from the University of Groningen where he also did his PhD in Pharmaceutical Biology. From 2004-2010 he worked as postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard Medical School where he was doing research on Parkinson's Disease, Schizophrenia and the genetic basis of aggression. Ronald worked in project management, business development and consulting roles for several companies since, RXi Pharmaceuticals Corporation and BioFrontline Ltd in Boston, and Cyclofluidic Ltd. and the PA Consulting Group in London, UK. Since 2017 he served Takeda as Associate Director Materials & Innovation and recently as Head Innovation Management & Scouting.