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LSN Careers

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Vania Cao did a PhD in neuroscience before transitioning away from the bench to become an Application Scientist at Inscopix, Inc . She is now Manager of Scientific Content and Training at Inscopix. We caught up with Vania to learn more about how she moved from academia into industry. You did a PhD in neuroscience at Brown University (finished 2013) and a postdoc at the National Institute of Mental Health before moving into industry. Why did you decide to leave academia? Ever since I started doing research as an undergraduate, I’ve known deep down that bench experiments were not really for me.  I’ve always loved science, but the pace and emphasis ...
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After completing a PhD in Molecular Biology and doing a postdoc, María Carretero is now a Medical Science Liaison in Oncology for Shire. She was kind enough to share her career path with LSN and offer tips for other academics looking to leave the bench. You did a PhD in Molecular Biology at the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre and a postdoc at The Scripps Research Institute in San Diego. Why did you decide to move away from academia? I decided to move out of academia because the career options ahead of me weren’t appealing anymore and even though I was still as excited with good results as the first day of my postdoc, this wasn’t enough for ...
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Jeff Allen did a PhD in analytical chemistry at Arizona State University before transitioning to a career in technical marketing for several large life science companies. He left this career to found TumorGen MDx, a biotech startup with a novel cancer diagnostic platform. We caught up with Jeff to learn more about his career path and his advice to young scientists looking to transition away from the bench. You did a PhD in analytical chemistry at Arizona State University – why did you decide to leave academia? I decided to go straight into industry because I thought industry was more exciting. The job I went into right out of graduate school was ...
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Free the PhD

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The thought of transitioning to a non-academic job can be very scary for a lot of scientists. At Life Science Network, we want to make it easier by highlighting people and resources that can help you make the jump. This week I spoke with Vania Cao, founder of Free the PhD about how she can help scientists move out of the lab. What is Free the PhD? So many talented and ambitious PhDs are looking for opportunities to make an impact with their education, background and personality, yet feel stuck at the end of their training periods.  Free the PhD is a program I founded to support fellow scientists with their transitions into society after they’re ...
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This article was originally published on the  Careers blog  and is shared here with the permission from the  American Society for Microbiology . The link to the original article is found here .  Career progression in academia depends on multiple factors. Traditionally, the metrics most widely used to assess how successful a researcher is and how likely they are to progress in their academic career have been quantifiable items, such as the number of grants, publications, presentations, posters, etc. However, researchers also engage in many other, less tangible activities that are not regarded as being equally valuable to the traditional metrics. Those ...
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LSN CENTRAL COMMUNITY

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The life sciences industry has historically been slow to change, although the current shift in healthcare needs is currently causing some dramatic changes. For example, medical affairs (MA) was once a relatively minor aspect of healthcare marketing that has become responsible for disseminating medical knowledge to both internal and external stakeholders. MA has thus become an invaluable strategic function for many decision-makers in healthcare. The most significant trends in medical affairs include the following: Drug Development Micro-Battle approach Small conferences Medical value teams The importance of these trends primarily lies in ...
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A successful drug launch requires a more data-driven approach due to the continually evolving landscape in oncology. A 2013 study by Bain & Company shows that half of all drug launches fail to meet expectations during their peak sales. Furthermore, half of those launches missed their projected sales by more than 50 percent. The traditional strategy of attempting to launch a blockbuster drug every other year has given way to more frequent launches of pipeline drugs that target specific conditions. The current trend towards launching multiple drugs each year requires a more structured approach that includes the following: Cost-effective drugs Small conferences ...
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In August 2017, the NIH   hosted   a workshop to mark the 10th and final year of the Human Microbiome Project (HMP), a two-phase program that greatly increased our understanding of the role of human microbiota in human health and disease. Although this NIH initiative is over, it has   spurred continued funding   for human microbiome research from the NIH, other government agencies, and several dozen external institutions, including the UW-Madison Microbiome Initiative, the UC San Diego Center for Microbiome Innovation and various private foundations, most notably, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In this post intended for a general audience, I share ...
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Nuclear energy has always been a contentious issue for all the world economies, especially for the developing ones. Some environmentalists have been advocating against the use of nuclear power by citing its long term hazards from the radioactive waste, while on the other hand some environmentalists have openly thrown their support behind the continued use of nuclear energy and citing the threat of global warming because of the use of excessive conventional energy resources. However, we can’t ignore the threats with the nuclear energy, but at the same time, the need of surplus energy to run the economy can’t be ignored on any grounds as well. So for the latter ...
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The Association for Women in Science (AWIS) advocates for women working in STEM fields. I caught up with Adriana Bankston, Founder and President of the Kentucky Affiliate of AWIS, to find out what inspired her to start the affiliate group and how they support women in science. Why did you start the Kentucky Affiliate of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS)? In June 2016, I was contacted by AWIS National as they were trying to increase the membership of AWIS in Kentucky. At the time I was one of very few members of AWIS in Kentucky. I wanted to bring this opportunity to women in STEM in Kentucky, and to help them connect with each other and ...
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LSN Startups

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Not all science can or should be commercialized. If you are a new entrepreneur, or a scientist thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, it isn’t always easy to work out whether research could be turned into a successful business. Here are the basic steps to turn science into a product: It takes years and millions of dollars to turn that flow chart into reality. How can you decide whether it is worth spending the time and money trying to commercialize a particular technology? If you work or study at a university or research institution, your Technology Transfer Office (TTO) can help you with this. In fact, you have to let them drive the commercialization ...
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Ravata Solutions , a biotech company in the Bay Area co-founded by Arshia Firouzi and Gurkern Sufi, is changing how scientists genetically engineer their experimental models. Ravata’s technology is 100 times faster and 10 times more efficient than standard techniques. Ravata uses microfluidics and electronics to knock-out genes or manipulate DNA. They have created a chip with thirty wells that each trap a single embryo. They then use electric fields to open pores in the cell membrane so that gene editing tools like CRISPR can enter the cell and alter the DNA.  They have partnered with the UC Davis Mouse Biology Program to create 17 transgenic mouse ...
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Lori Dernavich is a leadership development advisor for startups. She helps founders develop the skills they need to scale their companies. I sat down with Lori to learn about how first-time founders can find the right people to build a successful biotech company.   What are investors looking for in a founding startup team? I’m not an investor but can tell you what I hear from investors. They are more interested in companies that have co-founders. It’s important to have a partner to help you build your company. If you are a scientist-founder, find someone who has business experience or who is willing to be the sales person or business developer, someone ...
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Biosignatures Ltd is a UK-based startup company developing novel protein-based diagnostics. We caught up with CEO and co-founder Will Dracup to find out more about his technology and his startup journey. What does Biosignatures do? We find new diagnostics, particularly blood tests for cancers. We have a platform technology comprising software, proteomic separation and clinical trial management that can reliably discover new diagnostic biomarkers. How does your technology work? It comes from a deep understanding of the scientific issues in this area. We spun Biosignatures out of my previous company Nonlinear Dynamics. At Nonlinear we ...
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  TumorGen MDx has created a cancer diagnostic workflow with the goal of allowing doctors to provide targeted anti-cancer therapies. TumorGen’s microfluidics chip captures live Cancer Stem Cells. Their platform then allows single-cell sequencing and drug susceptibility testing. We caught up with TumorGen’s President and founder Jeff Allen to find out more about his technology and his startup journey. What does TumorGen MDx do? We have developed a microfluidics chip designed to capture living Cancer Stem Cells (CSCs). These cells are responsible for a large percentage of metastases, cancer recurrence and acquired therapy resistance. There’s ...
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Marketing for Life Sciences

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Three ways in which Life Science companies destroy brand value Companies invest heavily in establishing their brands yet there are 3 common ways in which they can destroy brand value, often without realising it. https://goo.gl/PLnKq
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When you have a parity or commoditised product with little differentiation from competitors, you need a profound understanding of what frustrates customers and what matters to them most before looking for ways to differentiate what you are offering. It’s only through real customer insight into the customer’s behaviour , experiences, beliefs, needs and desires that you can find a point of differentiation. Customer segmentation is one technique used by marketers to understand their customers better and develop differentiated offers for different segments. This article will focus on more general points of differentiation. If the makers of bottled ...
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The average marketing campaign for Life Science products achieves a lead to customer conversion rate of around 10–20% with similarly low conversion rates at each stage along the customer purchase journey. There is an enormous amount of attrition along the sales funnel. Sales are receiving insufficiently well qualified leads while marketing is working overtime to stuff the funnel in an attempt to meet targets. Example: Marketing campaign for an established Life Science consumable product: In this example, more than 80% of leads were not sufficiently well qualified to convert to sales. The marketing team contacted over 30,000 ...
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The barriers to technology adoption are frequently higher than marketers recognise especially when that new technology brings seemingly huge new capabilities. Marketers often don’t anticipate the level of inertia that needs to be overcome for customers to change to a new product. There are several examples where customers haven’t bought innovative new products even when they offer distinct improvements. New products almost always require customers to change their behaviour and scientists are subject to the same psychology as the rest of us when it comes to behavioural changes. However, scientists face additional barriers to change ...
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Startup entrepreneurs know that media coverage can be a powerful way to find customers or users and to gain credibility with potential partners or investors. However, it’s not always easy to get that media coverage. The first step, as science journalists will tell you, is to make sure that your news is really news . Before contacting journalists, ask yourself, “Why should their readers care about my story?”  If your news is really news, then the standard way of sharing it is in pitch emails accompanied with a press release. We asked LSN member and PhD grad turned PR professional turned startup entrepreneur Maria Angelella for some tips on how to write ...
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It’s not uncommon for R&D to develop products and then “throw them over the fence” for marketing to promote. This is a particularly common problem in Life Science companies because they are often run by scientists and engineers who focus on the technical aspects of the product, leaving the customer as an afterthought. These products have a high rate of failure in the market. Here are some of the most common reasons why products, that aren’t designed with the customer in mind, fail: The customer doesn’t perceive any need for the product; The number of customers who need the product is just too small for the product to be profitable; The product ...
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First published on Medium.com 3 April 2017 The landscape in which we as Life Science marketers are working is becoming more and more complex. The number of marketing tools available is increasing rapidly with no sign of slowing down. Below is a great infographic, produced each year by Scott Brinker of Valtech showing the marketing technology landscape (1). The number of marketing tools has increased from about 100 in 2011 to over 3,800 in 2016, thats a compound annual growth rate of 108%! Added to this, the number of social media channels available is also increasing. This infographic by Luma Partners (2) shows the increase in ...
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The explosion in marketing content has contributed little to improving the quality of sales leads. The impact on Life Science organisations is particularly visible where overstretched marketing teams are struggling under the burden of content creation while facing increasing pressure to generate more sales in a cautious funding environment. As marketing departments reach breaking point, what marketers need is a simple way to help generate less content thats more relevant. A recent poll found that less than half of Life Science marketers feel confident that they know which types of content to use at each stage of the customer purchase journey. The net ...
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Scientists of the World

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This post was written by Prakriti Sharma and edited by Holly Hamilton. To see the original posts and other stories, check out Scientist of the World . What is your aim? Or what do you want to be when you grow up? "My aim is to study more. More and more…" This was the answer I used to give when I was a kid. I even used to read many story books, comics and newspapers. Several life stories of people I looked up to inspired me to pursue what I love. Even though I knew I wanted to study more, I did not know what I would be studying. My interest built up in biology later in high school. This choice also came from my exam results where I used to score 99 out of ...
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This post was written by PJ and edited by Holly Hamilton. This post was originally featured on November 4, 2016 on the Scientists of the World  Facebook page. When you’re a little kid people always ask what you want to be when you grow up. My answer was always the same: I was going to be a lawyer and, eventually, President of the United States. I hated science when I was younger; really who wants to learn about the parts of a flower or all the different kinds of rocks? So, when asked how I ended up pursuing a Ph.D. in Biochemistry, the only honest answer is that it was an accident. I didn’t just hate science as a kid; I pretty much hated all ...
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This post was written Holly Hamilton. This post was originally featured on September 23 2016 on the Scientists of the World  facebook page.   Holly Hamilton at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Smithville, TX My path to graduate school was a straight shot. Biology was my favorite subject in high school. I aced my tests with ease and excelled beyond my classmates. I choose Microbiology as a major because I preferred viruses and bacteria to plants and animals. Plus I had what I thought was a unique experience- one that compelled me to embra ce the power of science. I found out that a 16 year old friend of ...
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This post was written by Geoff and edited by Holly Hamilton. This post was originally featured on November 11, 2016 on the Scientists of the World  facebook page. Everyone says graduate school was difficult. My experience destroyed my personal life and sunk me into clinical depression for 6 years - all because I simply love science. I spent the first 4 years of graduate school struggling to remember words, speak, pay attention, study, and be productive. I was in two car accidents. I would stop talking mid-sentence to friend s and during presentations. Tape dispensers would scare me. It would take hours to read through a single paragraph and my linguistic ...
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Irene Suarez-Martinez is an Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellow with her own lab and a permanent research position at Curtin University in Perth, Australia. She grew up in Spain before doing a PhD in Chemistry at the University of Sussex in England and a postdoc at the Institute of Materials Nantes, CNRS (French National Research Center) in France. She then moved to Australia to do another postdoc at Curtin University before becoming an ARC Postdoctoral Fellow and then an ARC Future Fellow. We caught up with Irene to find out more about her work and why she became a scientist as part of Holly Hamilton’s ‘Scientists of the World’ series. ...
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