US Food & Drug Administration (FDA)
CMB Degree Received in:
Describe your current position:
I review experimental products (Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls Reviewer) in the Gene Therapy Branch at the FDA.
Describe your career path from graduate school to your current position.
I conducted a research-based post doc with Dr. Diane Griffin at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health where I studied the immune response to viral infections in the CNS. I gained experience in teaching at the undergraduate level (University of Notre Dame in Maryland and UMBC), and decided that I didn’t want to pursue this as my career. I entered the Commissioner’s Fellowship Program at the FDA to explore other options. I undertook a research project to identify predictors of clinical safety across clinical trials. From this fellowship, I transitioned to a full-time position.
How did your experience with CMB shape your career?
At Wisconsin I learned how to ask good questions and to communicate effectively. This is critical to many job paths.
What challenges did you face in your graduate degree, or in launching your career?
I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I always wanted to have a job related to science, but I didn’t know how to identify the options available and choose which would work for me.
Describe a “day in the life” of your current job.
I oversee clinical trials in a rapidly evolving field, making each day different. My work entails reviewing applications to begin clinical trials and bring new therapies to market, I also frequently interact with scientists and companies conducting clinical trials, formulate policy, and perform outreach to encourage the development of new therapies.
What is the most important lesson you have learned throughout your career?
Acknowledge people who help you along the way.
What is your best piece of advice for current graduate students preparing for their careers?
Ask lots of questions. Not just about the science but about how people got to where they are, who they interact with, and where they think the field is going.