Editorial

Career Discussion Module Wrapped

All presentations can be found here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1B5nsHu6GipyLPQwYWMoZ3jevA_9pQb3h?usp=sharing

Recording of the session can be found here: https://fb.watch/v/1NePO_TbV/

Quick Q&A during the sessions:

Biopharmaceutical

Q. My question is related to career opportunities in Marketing & Corporate strategy roles in biopharmaceutical industry. For example, in my case, I have a background in biotechnology (B.Tech) and now will be gaining experience as a life-science analyst for a consultancy firm. What would be key for making a transition to biopharmaceutical industry (M.Tech, MBA, Some skill certificates)?
A. In a consultancy firm a person is not doing any skill based work like in a wet lab. So, again from a recruiters perspective in a company the candidate has to start as a fresher and gain experience because a consultancy experience will not be considered. For a different field like quality assurance or regulatory departments, it will be a considerable experience. So, regulatory is a good option and business development will be another good choice.

Q. How fast can we grow in the pharmaceutical industry once we join as a fresher after MSc biotechnology?
A. If you’ve joined any company as a fresher, learning skills is very important, observing and performing like other colleagues is another thing to keep in mind and applying those to work is crucial. After a few years, you must diversify in what you are doing and look for more opportunities and look for work, volunteer and perform well. All this plays a major role in one’s growth.

Q. Are there any specific skill set required to enter biopharmaceuticals?
A. Yes, while recruiting any candidate, the company looks for technical skills, dissertations or some research experience (for e.g. in fermentations or cell culture) or analytical skills and instrumentations like HPLC, PAGE, Electrophoresis techniques which will help in finding a suitable role.

Q. Is it possible for someone with good computational toxicology skills to have a successful career in this field?
A. I believe computational is not wet lab work so it is more suitable in clinical research rather than in the biopharmaceutical industry.

Q. In this pandemic, we don’t have access to labs, how can we still develop this techniques?
A. It is a reality that we have to live with. Candidates had to stop their research work and its very difficult to develop these skills. The companies and research institutes at this time are very reluctant to take in students as research scholars but yes, there is no replacement for wet lab experience. If you can continue working in a laboratory then it is the best choice.

Food Biotechnology:

Q. Is Canada good for food tech?
A. The college where you study plays a major role and Canada has very good universities for Food Tech. My scope for food tech was long back so I would suggest to go looking for universities or talk to professors whose projects interest you before finalizing universities. If you’re looking for jobs, it makes sense to look for the best universities but at the end, its best for you to talk to your professor. My professor in Cornell was instrumental in helping me with this current place where I am because he was confident about me having passion and innovation in the food industry and wanted me to pursue entrepreneurship. So, that is something more important for you to have a mentor or a professor to help and guide you with it.

Q. Which kind of licenses are required in the food industry?
A. FSSAI is one of the most important license for you guys to start with. For a small scale industry MSSE is a very important license to hold and all the other government requirements for being in the food industry. For selling in India, FSSAI is the most important and it is not very difficult to obtain if you maintain the laws which are part of your products.

IPR and Biotech

Q. How can we avail online courses in IPR?
A. WIPO courses you can go online on WIPO , i.e. the World Intellectual Property Organization so you go online on WIPO and they will be showing a list of cases/courses you can go and select whichever case/course you want to do. I would recommend that you try to do a short term course initially because it takes a little time for people to understand pattern flow and you will find that there are lots of predation. WIPO will be easily available online.

Q. What made you choose this field?
A. Well, I like talking and arguments, so it was an obvious choice. But then I had done my sciences and I did not want to pursue PhD and I had no interest whatsoever in the medical field and honestly, in my generation there was a limitation, we used to think only in terms of medical and engineering. Thankfully that has changed now. So, after that somebody introduced me to this field and it was very interesting and believe me I have been in the field for about 20 years and I have never ever regretted it so it is really interesting.

Q. What kind of internships should we do and where can we avail them?
A. You can do internships with any of the IITs (all of them have it), you can do with other Biotech and Pharmaceutical companies or any companies which are in Nanobiotechnology and things like that and even do your internships with Law firms. So, these are the 4-5 major options available across.

Q. Do we have to pursue LLB/LLM after our science graduation?
A. No, you don’t have to pursue LLB/LLM after your science graduation. If you join a biotech company, in that case there is no need for LLB/LLM. However, if in case you get in a law firm which has a very critical structure that are made for lawyers, so there is a particular learning and growth curve that you will have to follow to reach a certain stage. Once you reach that stage, if you want to become a partner in a law firm then it is necessary that you have a Law degree, in that case you can do that but that’s a long term thing. You can continue with your law along with your job, it is not a very difficult thing.

Q. How different is the transition from a researcher to an attorney. Can you please elaborate?
A. Not a lot of people have done this before . So when you come from the research background into a law firm this is a mindset that needs to change and second thing is “Can I publish it” because all researchers want their recognition and fame. So I think the biggest challenge is to change the mindset from being a researcher to becoming an attorney. It is technical, you will go through it and start understanding but the difficult portion is to understand and overcome the mindset that you already have as researchers, barring that I think its not a very big problem and yes there is a very big market for Private IPR law and private consulting practices in India.

Q. Is it useful to start a course in UG Biotechnology with Law.
A. I think yes you can. PG with law is also doable, but join a law firm after graduation then take a call. Do some internship, start working and then decide. otherwise, sky is the limit.

Genetic Counseling

Q. What are the skill sets required to be a genetic counselor?
A. Empathy. Good at multitasking. Be Curious.

Q. What are other fields one can pursue in genetics other than human genetics ?
A. Plant genetics; translational research; oncology

Q. Are there any organization which provides an internship in genetic counselling?
A. Sri Gangaram Hospital , Delhi; AIIMs; Lifecell International; Medgenome

Q. If we have interned in proteomics during bachelors, how can we avail a job in these institutions(Medgenome, Lifecell etc)?
A. Reach out to companies that are doing more translational research work.

Bioinformatics

Q. Is taking a dual degree in bioinformatics and cellular and molecular medicine a good idea?
A. Yes, it’s a good idea. However, you risk restricting yourself while looking for a job.

Q. Do we need a thorough knowledge of mathematics?
A. No. You need basic knowledge of Math.

Q. What is the scope of Bioinformatics/Computational biology in India. Can you suggest some organizations providing internships and job opportunities particularly in India?
A. Growing field in India. Pfizer; Monsanto and other seed companies; Infosys and IT companies.

Q. What is the scope of using Bioinformatics to address issues in Cancer biology?
A. Studying the efficacy of drugs on gene expression.

Bio-entrepreneurship

Q. When is the Bioinformatics section coming at BioRiidl?
A. We recently conducted a bioinformatics workshop. We’ll be starting a course soon. You can follow our social media platforms to stay updated regarding the programs and initiatives

Q. I’m a fresher in Bsc.hons. Microbiology right now. I want to go to US for further studies. So should I go after Bachelors or after Masters?
A. The requirement is 12+4 years of education. So, if you have completed 4 years then you can go.

Q. Do you provide laboratory based internships?
A. We do provide lab-based internships, but due to the current pandemic, we’re providing remote internships. You can also do remote internships if you want to. To do this, email your interests to me and you can work under projects or startups. Add this information in the mail and sent it to me, and I will connect you with our team. If you don’t wish to do wetlab, we also have community lab and you can intern at our community events.

Microbiology/Immunology

Q. How can we develop immunology wet labs skills at UG level? Are there any institutions which help us to do this?
A. You can join ongoing projects in your university or you can find other labs that are doing so. If not, there are institutions that offer summer internships, you can go there too. Utilize your vacations by applying for internships or working with someone. You’ll get basic knowledge once you get the experience.

Q. What made you choose Czech Republic to pursue your PhD? Also what’s the scope for life sciences there?
A. First thing, don’t go with colleges, go with labs. Look for labs and research about the work that they’re doing there. I chose Czech Republic because my work was very similar to what the labs here were working on. Find labs that share interests with you

Compiled by Bhoomi Oza, Muzakir Parkar and Saakshi Bangera 

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