Society News

ASBMB launches industry advisory group

Aim is to link industry and academic scientists effectively
Laurel Oldach
July 20, 2020

Young researchers in the life sciences who want to chart a career path in industry often feel cast adrift, according to Ed Eisenstein, because many professors have little experience with business hiring practices and professional norms.

Edward Eisenstein of the University of Maryland chairs the ASBMB Membership Committee.

Eisenstein, a professor of bioengineering at the University of Maryland and chair of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Membership Committee, is leading a new advisory group convened by the committee and society staff to help both in the society’s outreach to scientists in industry and in educating ASBMB members about possible industry careers and how to prepare for them.

“I ran a biotech center for Maryland for a dozen years,” Eisenstein said. “I discovered very quickly … that there was exciting science being done everywhere, not just in academia.” However, he said, that appreciation for industrial research is not widespread among his peers.

Eisenstein and other members of the Membership Committee see a role for scientific societies such as the ASBMB in connecting scientists who work within and outside of the ivory tower. But before launching such efforts, he said, the society needs expert feedback.

“Rather than get a group of academics in the room” to discuss outreach to industry, Eisenstein said, “we decided we needed some better inside information. … We tried to convene a diverse group of people: large industry and small; early career and later career — even retired; men and women; (from) different geographic areas of the country.”

Six ASBMB members who work at companies such as Genentech and PepsiCo signed on to help. Over the next year, Shyretha Brown, Mark Harpel, Lana Saleh, Melissa Starovasnik, Douglas Storts and Paul Wright will work to determine how the ASBMB can offer programs and resources of value to scientists working in, and contemplating, nonacademic research careers.

The group is considering several preliminary ideas. The first is to offer professional skills development for trainees in academia who hope to transition to industry: for example, offering training in science communication to potential investors, rather than fellow scientists. The society might also match student members with internship programs and work to highlight the career paths of successful scientists in industry.

Finally, Eisenstein said, he would like to see the society recognize some of the research he didn’t see until he began working with biotech companies: work that may become part of the patent literature instead of appearing in journals. The ASBMB could highlight this work with new awards or invited lectures at the annual meeting, and by inviting members who work in industry to share stories about their careers and research. If you would have advice or ideas for the new working group, please contact staff member Jennifer Dean.

Laurel Oldach

Laurel Oldach is a science writer for the ASBMB.

Join the ASBMB Today mailing list

Sign up to get updates on articles, interviews and events.

Latest in Industry

Industry highlights or most popular articles

There and back again
Profile

There and back again

August 07, 2020

Grant Blouse, senior vice president of translational research at Catalyst Biosciences, offers career advice from his experience in both a big pharmaceutical company and a smaller biotech outfit.

An introduction to regulatory affairs positions in industry
Jobs

An introduction to regulatory affairs positions in industry

May 29, 2020

Industry careers columnist Courtney Chandler spoke with Stephen Amato, department chair for regulatory affairs, quality assurance and advance manufacturing at Northeastern University in Boston.

What are industry technology specialists, and what do they do?
Jobs

What are industry technology specialists, and what do they do?

May 08, 2020

Our careers columnist explores the role of technology specialist by talking to Jonathan Levine, a next-generation sequencing specialist with the synthetic DNA company Twist Bioscience.

Rethinking clinical trials for next-generation cancer drugs
News

Rethinking clinical trials for next-generation cancer drugs

March 14, 2020

Therapies tailored to a tumor’s genetic markers show promise, but figuring out who’s most likely to benefit presents new challenges for scientists.

Tackling the job market — with a little help
Jobs

Tackling the job market — with a little help

December 05, 2019

Our careers columnist writes about recruitment companies and other businesses that work with life science professionals transitioning into the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

Networking in industry
Jobs

Networking in industry

October 24, 2019

Our careers columnist writes about how to network for jobs in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries.