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Positioning Yourself for Success with Melanie Sinche

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Melanie Sinche, NCC, from Jackson Labs and author of Next Gen, PhD joined us to show where PhDs are going and what they did to get their dream jobs!

After the PhD/Postdoc: Positioning Yourself for Success with Melanie Sinche, NCC  (Jackson Labs) and Author of “Next Gen PhD”

  • Jackson Labs is hiring at their Farmington, CT location!
    • 60 positions open for people with experience in:
      • Genetics
      • Genomics
      • Computational biologists
      • Software engineering
      • IT
  • Where have PhDs in the Sciences have ended up?
    • Melanie performed a survey looking at PhDs who graduated between 2004 and 2014.
    • Many respondents happy with their jobs after academia and wanted to become part of the survey.
    • According to the survey (n > 4K people):
      • 68% have one postdoc
      • 27% 2 postdocs
      • 4% 3 postdocs
    • What can you do about yourself:
      • Career assessment
      • Correct gaps in education/training
      • Job search
    • Evaluate your interests:
      • What gets you excited?
      • What really drives you?
    • How important PhDs think some skills are required for a job can change between how important they would be at the current job.
  • Values:
    • Work-life balance?
    • Salary?
    • Work stability?
    • Work independence?
    • There’s really no wrong answer
    • In the survey: “Intellectual challenge” was the predominant criteria for PhDs to accept a job.
  • What jobs are out there and how to get them?
    • In her survey sample:
      • 22% are in tenure-track faculty positions (that’s high!)
      • 13% are in non-tenure track faculty positions (seems about right)
    • According to recent NSF data: 14% go into tenure-track faculty
    • According to AAUP data (took into account every faculty position in the US): 68% into non-tenure tracks (adjuncts, contingent faculty) – eliminating tenure-track lines
      • A lot of people do teaching at night and have a day job.
  • A lot of PhDs are staying in jobs within universities – 49% – they like the university vibe
  • Within education – most of them end up in research institutions, followed by (in order from high to low) liberal arts colleges, community colleges, medical schools
    • Example: Jim Gould, PhD – Director, Office for Postdoctoral Fellows at Harvard Medical School
    • Jobs:
      • Academic Advisor
      • Director, Core Facility
      • Biostatistician
      • Grants Administrator
      • Data Analyst
      • Laboratory Manager
      • Technology Transfer Specialist
      • Associate Dean
      • Research Scientist
  • Within government – in order from high to low: federal government, state government
    • Positions:
      • Field Application Specialist
      • Astrophysict
      • Epidemiologist
      • Grants Administrator
      • Chemist
      • Watershed Ecologist
      • Staff Scientist
      • Biologist
      • Consultant
      • Policy Analyst
      • Program Officer
  • Within biotech/pharma – in order from high to low: biotech, pharma, medical devices and diagnostics
    • Example: Manisha Sinha, PhD – Scientist in Drug Development at Biogen Idec
      • Got her job by attending seminars, campus workshops and networking
    • Positions:
      • Vice President, R&D
      • Regulatory Affairs Specialist
      • Product Development
      • Medical Writer
      • Data Scientist
      • Marketing Specialist
      • Computational Biologist
      • Medical Science Liaison
      • Team Leader
      • Technical Support Specialist
  • Within the non-profit sector – in order from high to low: research foundation, professional societies, intergovernmental/nongov’t organizations, educational services, non-profit research, museums and botanical gardens
    • Example: Raluca Ellis, PhD – works as director of The Franklin Institute (climate change)
      • Got her job by taking extra coursework, volunteering for the Cambridge Science Festival, Museum of Science in Boston, etc.
    • Positions:
      • Editor
      • Senior Scientist
      • Statistician
      • Project Manager
      • Science Writer
      • Engineer
      • Museum Educator
      • Executive Director of Education
  • How do PhDs get the extra experience?
    • Networking
    • Self-teaching
    • Collaborations
    • Coursework
    • Professional programs
  • Melanie’s favorite job titles’ according to the survey:
    • Coordinator of Freshwater Turtle and Tortoise Conservation
    • Volcanologist
    • Aerospace Physiologist
    • Nanofossil Biostratigrapher
    • Virtual Lab Manager
    • Video Game Designer
    • many more!
  • What do people do on their day-to-day, according to the survey?
    • 40% basic research
    • 36% teaching
    • 34% applied research
  • Was a PhD required for the job, according to the survey?
    • 80% said it was required/preferred for their current position!
    • PhDs in high demand!
  • How do you find a job?
    • Talk to your career counselor or postdoc adviser
    • Network
    • Join professional associations
    • Do informational interviews – meet people in person
    • Save enough time to plan
  • Who are the happiest? PhDs outside of the tenure-track
  • Melanie planning to set up a follow up study/survey
  • Feel free to connect with Melanie Sinche through LinkedIn!

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Tufts University Postdocs Can Now Access the VersatilePhD!

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Interested in exploring non-academic career options? 

Versatile PhD is the oldest, largest online community dedicated to non-academic and non-faculty careers for PhDs in humanities, social science and STEM. Join over 70,000 other members in learning about options for those in (and out) of graduate school!

VPhD helps graduate students identify, prepare for, and excel in possible non-academic careers. The site includes content for humanities, social sciences, and STEM fields. You’ll have access to the career finder as well as real-life examples of Ph.Ds, ABDs and MAs who pursued non-academic careers. You’ll get their stories, advice, inside information about their fields, and even the actual resumes and cover letters they used to get their first non-academic jobs. You also get access to the community discussion forums, a member directory listing thousands of PhDs working across the United States, job listings, and great information about a wide variety of possible careers.

Log into Jumbo Jobs, then click on “Resource Library” and click on the Versatile PhD link to access this resource. 

Stay tuned for a seminar on using the VersatilePhD in your career development!

Login in using “postdoc” as your login and “guest” as your password.

Click on resource links.

Navigate to the VersatilePhD to register your email.
Register using any email address.
Activate your account by checking your email.

Check out the forums and ask questions of the great online community!


Postdoc Appreciation Week: Speed Networking & Career Panel

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Learn about PhDs and Tufts alum that have successfully transitioned into careers in Industry! 

In attendance: 

Antoine Boudot – in vitro Cancer Biologist at Merrimack Pharmaceuticals (former postdoc at Tufts)
April Blodgett – Sales and bioconsulting at PerkinElmer
Anh Hoang – Co-founder / CSO at Sofregen Medical
Michael Mattoni – Senior patent agent at Mintz Levin
Travis D’Cruz – Licensing associate at Tufts University
Michael Doire – Department manager – Biology at Tufts University
Angela Kaczmarczyk – Scientist / Founder of BosLabs
Nina Dudnik – Scientist / Founder and CEO of Seeding Labs
What drove your career path away from academia?
April: A lot of work and little pay.
Antoine: Too many postdocs in the Boston/Cambridge area that also want to do the same as you do.
Travis: Going through the motions and seeing his PIs on their offices for so long, writing grants and not doing actual science.
Nina: Never wanted to be an academic. What she cared most about was not about the details of the experiment but to explain/communicate to others why the science matters.

What do you do to step away from the academic path? What research did you do to prepare yourself to move out of academia?

Antoine
  • He works at the bench everyday as he used to do as a postdoc, but he enjoys not having to worry about funding and getting materials/reagents. 
  • Set up a LinkedIn account and realized it was about building connections. He also went to networking events and started making connections within Merrimack. So start making connections now!
April
  • Make connections now. Do not expect to connect with people now and then ask for help or a job the following day. Having a vaccine background helped her (microbiologist by training). 
  • She loves the speed/demands of her job. She felt like making a change after several years and she likes doing sales, so she made the move and started thinking about previous experiences that translate to sales so that she could use them to get the job.
Ang:
  • After publishing in a high impact journal paper, nothing happens. What was conflicting for her was that all that work led to a high impact journal paper would not progress much beyond that. Thus, she wanted to do something about it and started a company.
  • She came from a large, well-funded research group, so she says she had resources. She also did studies toward a MBA. Postdoc’d at day and hustled at night.
  • Her postdoc did not prepare her for any of this! The learning curve was very steep. When starting a company you do wear 5 hats 40 hours a week. The postdoc prepared her for the science part (to sell the idea to investors), but not the business side of it. She didn’t know how to incorporate a company, how to pay her employees, how to provide them with benefits… People management is a whole different subject to deal with when setting up a company.
Michael M.:
  • Realized didn’t want to do research 3 or so years into the PhD, but he pushed through. He went to the tech transfer office and asked if they had an intern position. He now wears 3 hats at his job.
  • No need to be an attorney to become a patent agent.
  • Soft skills from the postdoc to apply for a job: the dealing with people, wearing twelve different hats.
Travis:
  • Sought out what other options are there. He found other postdocs who started a small consulting group and he joined them. That helped him stand out among a pool of job applicants when he finished his postdoc. Think outside the box!
Skills that you gained during your postdoc?

Michael D.
  • Took a different path: he did graduate school in molecular biology but as he progressed through grad school he realized that he didn’t want to necessarily do that. 
  • Skills: Learning does not often solely happen in the class room. You learn valuable skills at your work place. Rarely the person who knows more in the lab is not the PI (not in terms of the everyday requirements). It’s usually the lab manager/technician.
  • He looks for people with passion and knowledge. Doesn’t care about people coming from top schools alone.
Michael M.:
  • A major skill is to ask the right questions! In his case: what does a specific sector need? How can he become an asset to their organization? Utility-centered approach. Take initiative. Know where you want to go. Be honest to yourself about not knowing. Get it out of your system.
Michael D.:
  • Much easier to teach PhDs about management than management people learning how to do science!
What to do when you already know what you want?

Angela:
  • Started by writing for the student magazine at Berkeley. Went to a bio-hacking talk and was intrigued by it. Moved to Boston and acquired teaching experience at Harvard, then found out about space open to do science at Somerville. Science classes open to all backgrounds (a lot of them are engineers interested in learning biotechnology!)
  • Events during the weekends and a forum this Monday 9/26/16 at LabCentral.
  • She is also a visiting scientist at the Broad Institute.
  • In the future she wants to do the community lab (BosLabs) full-time.
Nina:
  • She thinks the biggest problems in the world can be addressed by science. Knew she wanted to be a geneticist when she was 13 (wanted to feed the world).
  • Incredible compulsion to solve problems. 
  • When in Harvard she realized that many labs had a surplus of or were wasting equipment that could be used further, so she started Seeding Labs 5 years even before she officially started Seeding Labs.
  • Got funding for Seeding Labs even before she started writing her thesis.
  • Started doing networking events and met people that helped her learn about finances and management.
  • She had to learn about 7 different languages she would not have learned when in academia to run the labs.
Michael M.:
  • You will never be prepared for the next step! You make it as you go along.





[Job Listings] Associate Project Manager opening at Bracket Global

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[Job Listings] Associate Project Manager opening at Bracket Global

Check out this job posting from our friends at Bracket (formerly Clintara). Great for people who love project management and data analysis!

Position Overview:

Responsible for development and management of projects at assigned pharmaceutical clients.  The projects will include clinical data quality services (e.g. Rater training, subject eligibility, ratings quality assurance, endpoint reliability, scale management, etc.) for said pharmaceutical clients. 
Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
Project Management (50%)
·       Manage all phases of each assigned project, including budget, invoicing, staffing, project plan and client deliverables
·       Manage multiple projects concurrently, maintaining project schedule and quality deliverables in a dynamic environment
·       Coordinate with other Client Services personnel as well as Professional Services and Technical Delivery resources to ensure the timely and quality preparation of project deliverables based on assigned scope-of-services
·       Oversee development and approval of study materials
·       Manage team of Project Specialists and/or Project Assistants to facilitate project tasks
·       Ensure all project deliverables are of high quality and exceed client’s expectations in compliance with Quality Management governance procedures
·       Oversee study management and coordinate study status with project sponsors
·       Manage resources and tasks to ensure all logistics, materials and technologies necessary as defined by scope-of-services
·       Coordinate with project sponsors to ensure all project expectations are met
Data/Site Management (30%)
·       Manage identification and resolution of clinical trial data inquiries/data changes and communication to internal and external multi-function resources within project teams
·       Manage communications with client (e.g. pharmaceutical sponsor, CRO) and site personnel regarding site/study details
·       Facilitate data review meetings with clinical trial study team leaders
·       Own in-study/maintenance transactional project activities throughout entire project lifecycle, e.g.  project variable fees, inter-department workflow assignment, issue escalation
·       Set up master systems, additional study hardware, study site folders, and data folders for clinical trial execution
·       Design and configure unique project systems and manage data for each assigned project, utilizing proprietary IT applications (e.g. RDA, IR2, CDR PRISM, etc.)
·       Produce data reports (e.g., weekly, interim, final, etc.) for submission to pharmaceutical clients
·       Attend and deliver presentations at both site and client facing meetings
Account Management (10%)
·       Communicate new opportunities, as identified, at existing clients for Bracket  encompassing Change Orders and new projects
·       Facilitate new  Change Order creation and socialization for assigned projects in cooperation with Business Development Operations
·       Manage relationships within assigned client accounts including routine written, telephone and face-to-face communication
·       Provide account updates to Bracket account management teams
Administration (10%)
·       Provide ongoing career development, mentoring and performance feedback for supervised Project Specialists and/or Project Assistants
·       Track monthly and quarterly metrics (variable fee budgetary items) and provide to Project Manager for invoicing
·       Enhance the Bracket business model by institutionalizing business processes, implementing best practices and templates, and seeking ways to work more efficiently
·       Contribute to the development, enhancement and testing for enterprise IT applications
·       Coach, counsel and provide mentoring and guidance for direct reports
Experience
·        Three to five years of professional experience
·       One to two years of project management experience
Skills & Competencies
Required
·        Experience with managing work plans, project budgets, invoicing, resource allocation and deliverable management
·        College degree (B.S., B.A.)/University Degree for EU candidates required
·         Demonstrated analytical, organizational, creative problem solving and structured communication skills
·         Strong client and vendor relationship skills
·         Demonstrated experience in career development and team management
·         Ability to travel for business
·         Ability to work nights or weekends as required
·         Demonstrated proficiency with computers, especially Microsoft Office (Excel, PowerPoint, Word, Access)
·         Fluency in English (will be required to write, speak and understand English to conduct day-to day business)
·         Ability to manage own time proactively identify prioritized tasks
·         Entrepreneurial spirit, drive and work ethic
·         Focus on attention to detail
Preferred
·         Professional experience within the pharmaceutical industry.  Training and/or education background valued.
We offer a fully comprehensive benefits program with medical, dental, vision, company paid life insurance, short and long term disability.  Great Paid Time Off program that starts with 20 days of accrual per calendar year; great 401k plan with company match that is 100% vested immediately!  Paid parental leave and other competitive benefit programs.  Great salary and reward and recognition programs. 
EEO Minorities/Women/Veterans/Disabled

Regulatory Affairs: A Day in the Life Of.

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Interested in a career in regulatory affairs? Click through to find out more!

Written by /u/LifeAfterLifeScience and copied with permission

Communicating

At the most basic level, you act as a trader in information. You’ll stand at the midpoint between a vast variety of departments, experts and regulators – and you’ll be keeping information flowing between each and every one of them. Emails, reports, meetings, phone calls, the job involves keeping people up to date and in the loop. Communication lies at the heart of regulatory affairs, so expect to do a lot of it.

Organising

Are you organised? You’d better be – you’ll be juggling multiple projects at any one time, plus various meetings and whatever emergency has come up this time. Being able to keep track of these requirements is a must. You’ll need to be able to plan both in the short term (today’s chaos) and the long term (what is our 4 year development plan?). This is where the typical scientific background, with its multitasking of experiments, writing, and meetings, really comes in handy.

Managing

The job title is Regulatory Affairs Manager, and so it’s fairly clear that there’s management involved. But it’s not ‘management’ in the sense of having people reporting to you and doing the tasks you assign them (well, not until later at least). Instead it’s managing people without actually having any formal authority over them – you can’t give orders, you’ll have to persuade, wheedle, nag, bargain, compromise and trade your way to your goals. This is not to say that people won’t want to help you, but each expert you approach will have a ridiculous number of demands on their time. Why should they help you? You need to be persuasive, and this is why interpersonal skills are one of the main talents HR looks for when hiring.

Writing dossier modules

Want approval to market your miracle drug? First you need to show that you know what you’re doing – that your product is safe, effective, and made in a (consistently) high-quality way. This is done via the dossier, a vast document split into numerous sections covering every stage of the development process and the future plans. As you’d expect, working on a product’s dossier takes up a lot of time. Whether it’s putting together the initial application or making updates to a previously-approved one, a regulatory career will revolve around the dossier.

Working with source documents

This is a pretty big change for people coming in from academia or research: you’re done with laboratory work. Others within the company will be doing protein analysis, clinical studies, purity checks – that’s not your job any more. Instead, you’ll take the work produced by these people (studies and reports), and use that as a basis for their own writing. You still need experience dealing with scientific data and methods (to understand what you are reading!), but the data is produced by others. Your job is to understand these source documents so that you can decide how much of it ends up in the dossier.

Providing regulatory advice

You aren’t just reading reports and writing dossiers. Because companies are always changing their methods (trying to optimise for cost and yield), you’ll be part of the change evaluation process – saying how much regulatory stress is involved in any given change. That clever idea to increase yields by a few percent is less worthwhile when the FDA demands several years of stability data first. Likewise, your advice will be needed to plan these changes. What will be needed to get approval for your drug? What kind of studies will be needed in the final submission? This is where regulatory affairs comes in.

Thoughts on transitioning into reg. affairs straight from the bench?
It depends on the company. Small biotechs will likely be looking for candidates with more experience however large pharma companies often hire people straight out of a PhD or postdoc and train them up.  

Kind of interesting?

If this sounds like your area and you want to know more, then either drop me a question here or check out our short guide for life scientists on Amazon. Or both 😀

Job Listing: Client Support Specialist – Boston, Promega

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Client Support Specialist – Boston

 Job Description:

JOB OBJECTIVE:        The Client Support Specialist will serve as the liaison to our internal and external customers.  Provide technical support and information about Promega products and services, thereby building strong customer relationships that will lead to an increase in information exchange, technology acquisition, and economic interaction.  Responsible for coordination of all end user-defined activities in their respective territories, including assisting distributors.
All times are in Eastern Daylight Time.

Job ID 
2016-1284
# of Openings 
1

Posted Date 
4/13/2016
Category 
Sales

Location : City 
Virtual

More information about this job (click here):

ESSENTIAL DUTIES:
  1. Use Sales Analysis and designated CRM to generate reports, manipulate data and effectively analyze results.  Maintain appropriate notes in the designated CRM.
  1. Identify and maintain strategic accounts and clients to maximize effectiveness.  Consistently request, receive and leverage customer referrals.
  1. Develop and maintain an active sales funnel of opportunities across the Promega product portfolio.
  1. Provide technical support by thorough knowledge of Promega’s product line and effective communication of applications related to the products.
  1. Support and develop strong customer and distributor relationships by acting as a liaison between the customer and various departments at Promega.  Bring field issues and complex sales opportunities to the regional manager and provide necessary customer follow up.  Identify both new technologies/products and “targeted” technologies/products that will benefit Promega’s business efforts.
  1. In cooperation with the Regional Manager, design and implement a coordinated business plan for the territory that reflects Promega’s corporate initiatives while taking into consideration the customer situation (funding, technology needs, etc)
  1. Work with the regional manager to develop opportunity based pricing strategies at accounts (quotes, purchasing contracts with discount schedules, freezer programs and stockroom/consignment).  In conjunction with the Promega business units, organize and conduct field-marketing activities such as workshops, focus groups and beta test programs to gain customer feedback.
  1. Remain familiar with competitive products for the purpose of educating customers on the benefit of Promega technology.  Monitor the competition  and report important activites (technical developments, trends within key accounts, seminars, training sessions, etc) back to Promega.
  1. Drive awareness and success of the Helix program through Helix stocking and sample follow up.  Host Helix relaunch parties, develop stock customization, work with the SBU to appropriately market the unit within the account.
  1. Work with SBU resource/Inside Sales Team/CAM to provide instrument demonstrations with the goal of moving opportunities forward.
  1. Discuss relevant market investment activities and playbook items for strategic territory development with the regional manager on a regular basis and enact plans to achieve goals as defined in conjunction with the regional manager.  Succinctly deliver account and territory plan presentations to the sales team at regional meetings.
  1. Flexible in handling change, meeting a standard of excellence, persistent in pursuing goals despite obstacles and setbacks.  Self-awareness of how behaviors can affect our colleagues.
  1. Understands and complies with ethical, legal and regulatory requirements applicable to our business.
OCCASIONAL DUTIES:
  1. Attend Sales Training sessions for Miller Heiman and Spin Selling.  Independently develop SPIN call plans and identify appropriate use.  With manager assistance fill out and review Blue/Green sheets and sales call plans.
  1. Represent Promega at conferences, shows, workshops and seminars locally, regionally or nationally, as necessary.  Organize and plan lectures, vendor shows, workshops and seminars in specific territory.
  1. Participate in organization for regional and national sales meetings including logistics, food, etc.
MANDATORY QUALIFICATIONS:
  1. BS or BA (MS, or Ph.D. preferred) degree in a life sciences related discipline.
  1. Technical competency to understand and to clearly discuss fundamental theory and principles of experimental design, techniques and results; to stay current in technical knowledge; to troubleshoot and to provide information back to the customer in a helpful, courteous, positive and professional manner.
  1. Minimum of 2 years lab experience with proven knowledge and understanding of molecular biology, cell biology and related fields.