One of the aspects of my science career that I really enjoy is the career coaching that I provide, and receive. I actually spend a lot of time telling students that are graduating, whether it is at the Bachelors, Masters, or PhD level, about industry, and helping them get a feel for what the job search will be like. Since I repeat a lot of what I say to different people, I thought maybe I could save myself some time and organize a series of posts about job searching and finding different types of positions in regenerative medicine.
It is interesting that the majority of jobs that I have noticed over the last year at regenerative medicine companies have been in cell production or bioprocessing, more so than in R&D. I think this is directly related to the RegenMed 2.0 transition that Chris Mason talks about, and the progress that cell therapy companies have made in translating the research into products that can be clinically tested. As the industry initiates more early and later-stage clinical trials, larger quantities of clinical-quality cells are required to treat the patients. There is an abundance of both entry level and manager/director level positions at companies like Apptec, Cognate, Progenitor Cell Therapies, Organogenesis, and Aldagen (to name only a few) in quality control and cell production (manufacturing). These types of positions require a good cell biology or assay background, but they also require a background in cGMPs and an attention to detail that is very attractive to the more structured scientists. It is possible to get this cGMP or bioprocessing background at some universities, but not many. However, as the field expands and as expertise is gained, more university programs will emerge that allow students to obtain this production background. I hope to have a colleague outline how to get this type of training for those interested in these jobs.
In the coming month or so, the Regeneration Station will organize a series of posts outlining strategies for searching for different types of jobs in regenerative medicine. The posts will be from myself, or colleagues throughout the industry, on what different positions in industry are like, what some alternative science careers are, the best resources for the job search, and how to score jobs in consulting or venture capital if the bench is getting cold and lonely for you. While you are waiting for these posts, check out this article at Genetic Engineering News on life as an industry scientist.
There are some academic labs in the US that have affiliated cGMP facilities. I know they are opening one at the Roslyn Franklin School of Medicine. We have one at the Tulane Center for Gene Therapy, and are opening another in Temple, TX, with Texas A&M. While these programs don’t train you to deal with the anality that is a cGMP facility you do get a fair bit of exposure through a standard PhD track program.
We’ve just launched a site dedicated to regenerative medicine careers. Check us out at http://www.regenerativemedicinejobs.com
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