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Working before entering PhD program?

Working before entering PhD program? - Science Careers

Working before entering PhD program? - Science Job Forum. Discuss science and laboratory based careers. Includes Lab managers, technicians, post doctoral positions, faculty positions, salaray, applications and training.


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  #1  
Old 10-20-2009, 06:09 AM
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Default Working before entering PhD program?



I'm currently a molecular biology BS student at UCR. I plan on interning at Isis Pharmaceuticals during the summer. Should I work for them as a research associate for a few (1-3) years, to build my resume, gain research experience and skills, and gain valuable industry contacts, and then apply to a PhD program, or just apply to a PhD program right after graduation?

I'm really interested in antisense/RNAi, directed evolution, and immunology. What PhD program should I apply to, and what lab do you recommend?

I hope to work in industry R&D, perhaps at Isis Pharmaceuticals, Genentech, or Roche.

If I invented a novel enzyme or antisense oligonucleotide during my PhD research, could I patent it and use it as a bargaining chip during job interviews?

Thanks
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Old 10-20-2009, 02:09 PM
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Default Re: Working before entering PhD program?

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Originally Posted by Protoman2050 View Post
Should I work for them as a research associate for a few (1-3) years, to build my resume, gain research experience and skills, and gain valuable industry contacts, and then apply to a PhD program, or just apply to a PhD program right after graduation?
IMO, I'd apply straight for a PhD. Mainly because the kinds of work biotech companies give to BSc holders tends to be lab-rat-esque, and isn't likely to give you the kinds of skills that'll be hugely beneficial to you in your PhD.

Also, keep in mind that some profs have negative views of people coming from biotech - its stupid, but its not as uncommon as you may think.

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Originally Posted by Protoman2050 View Post
I'm really interested in antisense/RNAi, directed evolution, and immunology. What PhD program should I apply to, and what lab do you recommend?
Its more important you find a good supervisor than a good program. Look through the science literature (pubmed.gov, if you didn't know that already), try to find someone doing the work you're interested in, and apply to their lab.

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Originally Posted by Protoman2050 View Post
I hope to work in industry R&D, perhaps at Isis Pharmaceuticals, Genentech, or Roche.
In that case you may want to broach the idea of some sort of joint project with your PhD supervisor. It may be possible to arrange for a project where you do a portion of your work with a biotech or pharma company. It may be hard to arrange, but if you could do it it would serve you better than doing a few years as a lab-rat before starting your PhD.

If you want to go that route, make sure you look for a PhD supervisor that has a history of working with biotech/pharma.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Protoman2050 View Post
If I invented a novel enzyme or antisense oligonucleotide during my PhD research, could I patent it and use it as a bargaining chip during job interviews?
No and yes. As a PhD student you do not own the work you do - it belongs either to your supervisor or the uni. That said, students who do the work are often included in the patent process, and sometimes are co-holders of the patents. There are no hard-and-fast rules here; make sure you know the rules before you start, and that whatever patent-sharing agreement you come to is written on paper, signed and dated, and kept on-file. Always keep copies of these documents for yourself.

Regardless, working on a project that leads to patents will be a plus in your job interviews, even if you aren't a patent holder. All you really need to be able to get the benefit, job-interview wise, is to prove you worked on that project (papers, co-applicant on the patent, in your reference letter, etc). It'll show the company you're able to direct research in a way which is potentially profitable, and that you have experience with the patent process.

Just my $0.02

B
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Old 10-20-2009, 10:58 PM
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Default Re: Working before entering PhD program?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Warthaug View Post
You may want to broach the idea of some sort of joint project with your PhD supervisor. It may be possible to arrange for a project where you do a portion of your work with a biotech or pharma company. It may be hard to arrange, but if you could do it it would serve you better than doing a few years as a lab-rat before starting your PhD.

If you want to go that route, make sure you look for a PhD supervisor that has a history of working with biotech/pharma.


Regardless, working on a project that leads to patents will be a plus in your job interviews, even if you aren't a patent holder. All you really need to be able to get the benefit, job-interview wise, is to prove you worked on that project (papers, co-applicant on the patent, in your reference letter, etc). It'll show the company you're able to direct research in a way which is potentially profitable, and that you have experience with the patent process.

Just my $0.02

B

Now that'd be interesting, doing a joint project w/ a biopharma co. and a university. That gives me access to industry tech and expertise for my thesis research and the prospect of future employment.

Could I say "I've just advanced to PhD candidacy. I have developed a thesis project that may be of interest to you, and I would like to enquire about setting up a joint project with XYZ Inc., where I am hired as an RA, I do my doctoral research within the department lab appropriate for the project, you get assigned the patent resulting from this project, and I get promoted to Scientist upon completion of the degree." Or something like that.

I'd probably need to forfeit my stipend, right.

How many people have done this? Or would I be a trailblazer?
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Old 10-25-2009, 02:05 AM
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Default Re: Working before entering PhD program?

Hi, there. Try interning/working while waiting for the grad program to accept you. If you get stuck waiting it can take a while or various rounds of applications to different places. Once you are accepted leave the job and get the PhD. Consider Immunology.

Try to accomplish small research projects at first, get a feel for the game, the competition, and the proven winning strategies. Network to the max, hunt down a lucrative position, and then go for your patent/high impact paper.

If you don't score big time with the research, you will be a good game-player (i.e. resourceful, which counts in the long- term).
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  #5  
Old 10-25-2009, 05:35 AM
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Default Re: Working before entering PhD program?

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Originally Posted by danfive View Post
Hi, there. Try interning/working while waiting for the grad program to accept you. If you get stuck waiting it can take a while or various rounds of applications to different places. Once you are accepted leave the job and get the PhD. Consider Immunology.

Try to accomplish small research projects at first, get a feel for the game, the competition, and the proven winning strategies. Network to the max, hunt down a lucrative position, and then go for your patent/high impact paper.

If you don't score big time with the research, you will be a good game-player (i.e. resourceful, which counts in the long- term).
Yeah. I plan on going overseas to Sussex to earn a MSc in Genetic Manipulation and Molecular Cell Biology as soon as I graduate to 1) get advanced training in molecular biology lab techniques, 2 ) start my first research project and publication, and 3) get international experience.

Then, once I find a position as an RA for a company, I suppose I could express my interest to my employer that I'm interested in earning a PhD,that my proposed thesis topic would be highly beneficial to the company, and attempt to (with a supportive employer, of course) register for an external PhD at University College London. A petroleum chemist for BP, Steve Graville, did that.
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Old 10-26-2009, 04:32 PM
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Default Re: Working before entering PhD program?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Protoman2050 View Post
Now that'd be interesting, doing a joint project w/ a biopharma co. and a university. That gives me access to industry tech and expertise for my thesis research and the prospect of future employment.

Could I say "I've just advanced to PhD candidacy. I have developed a thesis project that may be of interest to you, and I would like to enquire about setting up a joint project with XYZ Inc., where I am hired as an RA, I do my doctoral research within the department lab appropriate for the project, you get assigned the patent resulting from this project, and I get promoted to Scientist upon completion of the degree." Or something like that.

I'd probably need to forfeit my stipend, right.

How many people have done this? Or would I be a trailblazer?
Sorry for the delay, I've been on holiday...

I have heard of these kinds of joint project before, but I have no direct experience myself. In terms of setting up a project, its probably easier to go through your PhD supervisor - especially if you have one who's done pharma/biotech collaborations in the past. Not only will they know who to talk to, but they both carry a lot more punch and have control of your project - meaning even if you approach the company yourself, your supervisor will still need to make the arrangements anyways.

Its legally tricky, especially when patentable materials are involved, so its in your best interest to let your supervisor/uni deal with the specifics.

From what I've heard - meaning this maynot be true - you'd still be considered a student at your uni, and that would come along with all the requirements (coursework, thesis, etc) and benefits (stipend). You'd simply be doing your research activities in another institute. No different then doing part of your PhD project in another university (quite common in Europe, btw; we have 1-2 of those guys roll through our lab each year).

Bryan
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  #7  
Old 10-27-2009, 06:12 AM
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Default Re: Working before entering PhD program?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Warthaug View Post
Sorry for the delay, I've been on holiday...

I have heard of these kinds of joint project before, but I have no direct experience myself. In terms of setting up a project, its probably easier to go through your PhD supervisor - especially if you have one who's done pharma/biotech collaborations in the past. Not only will they know who to talk to, but they both carry a lot more punch and have control of your project - meaning even if you approach the company yourself, your supervisor will still need to make the arrangements anyways.

Its legally tricky, especially when patentable materials are involved, so its in your best interest to let your supervisor/uni deal with the specifics.

From what I've heard - meaning this maynot be true - you'd still be considered a student at your uni, and that would come along with all the requirements (coursework, thesis, etc) and benefits (stipend). You'd simply be doing your research activities in another institute. No different then doing part of your PhD project in another university (quite common in Europe, btw; we have 1-2 of those guys roll through our lab each year).

Bryan
Well, I'm talking about beginning my career at the company, and then asking my corporate supervisor to help me register for an external PhD (which usually only carries the requirements of meeting with your academic adviser every so often, and the submission and defense of the thesis), once I gain a good amount of experience in professional research. I seriously do not want to go head first into a PhD without any experience in heavy-duty research.

I'll select an academic adviser with expertise in the area of my thesis, i.e. if I'm researching a method to treat HIV w/ RNAi or a similar method, I'll select an academic focusing in HIV antiviral research, like Professor Deenan Pillay of University College London, or Professor Michael Malim of King's College London, b/c both of them collaborate with biopharma all the time.

I'll rely on my corporate supervisor for advice on the week-to-week progress of my research, since s/he'll have expertise in the specifics of my thesis (and be easily accessable), and I'll rely on my academic supervisor for guidance on "the big picture" every quarter or so.
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Old 11-01-2009, 02:19 AM
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Default Re: Working before entering PhD program?

I actually really enjoy reading your blog. Glad you’re sticking around! And I must say, I absolutely love the title of your blog .
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Old 11-29-2009, 11:01 AM
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Default Re: Working before entering PhD program?

Hi

I know that these are many useful ones in this forum. Pls take a moment sending it to my email.

Tks in adv
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Old 12-12-2009, 05:07 AM
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Default Re: Working before entering PhD program?

You can work as a child case manager or in a day care. You may want to look into early intervention services. Some places will hire people with a BS and teach them to do things like the Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development (I've done 2 of these and they're great fun).
If you are interested in research, at some university hospitals, all you need is a Bachelor's to work as a research assistant.


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