Report on 2020 ASMS Workshop (June 4th: 10-11:30 AM CDT):
“Career Opportunities for Chinese Students and Scholars”
by Prof. Hui Zhang
Chair: Professor Hui Zhang, Johns Hopkins University (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Co-Chair: Professor Liang Li, University of Alberta (email@example.com)
With the rapid development of mass spectrometry and the increasing need for applications of mass spectrometry in academic research, medicine, industry, and regulatory agencies, a growing number of students and scholars are being trained in the field of mass spectrometry. This Workshop provided career perspectives to students and scholars to learn the career paths after completing their training.
We have invited 6 speakers from academia, industry, clinics, and regulatory agency to share their career development experiences. These speakers also served as panelists to answer questions from the audience. Dr. John Cipollo, Principal Investigator at Food and Drug Administration Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research spoke about his career path and also encouraged students and scholars to apply for positions in different levels. Dr. Ying Ge, Professor in the Department of Cell and Regenerative Biology and Department of Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin (UW)-Madison, and 2020 Biemann Medal recipient, shared her unique career experience, beginning with industry and later transitioning to academia, and encouraged students to stay focused during their training and build up the best CV for job applications. Dr. Erin Han, Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, summarized the core skills and knowledge a trainee needs to prepare for their future career in academia, industry, or nonprofit organizations, as well as how to take the training opportunities to gain these skillsets. Dr. Ventzi Hristova, Senior Scientist at Clinical Omics, AstraZeneca, discussed education and training, including academic institution, government agency, and clinical fellowship, and how these would help her to build a career in pharma. She emphasized that the most important consideration during a job search was to find the skills and interests that an applicant has, and whether they would match specific career opportunities. Dr. Stefani Thomas, Assistant Professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology at the University of Minnesota, added additional career opportunities in consulting, publishing, and journalism in addition to academia, industry, government, and medicine the previous speakers discussed. She also mentioned that students and scholars with Ph.D training in science can apply that knowledge to patient care through the Clinical Chemistry post-doctoral training program (comacc.org). Dr. Leon Wu, Manager at R&D Systems, Bio-Techne, spoke about staying innovative by working in a biotech company to develop new high-value and high-quality products by continuous research and breaking stereotypes.
About 70 people attended the Workshop online and asked questions during the Q & A section. One audience member asked how to jump from one career path to another and whether it was difficult to switch from industry to academia. Dr. Ying Ge responded to the question based on her experience moving from industry to academic positions by saying that switching should happen in the early stage of career development. Dr. John Cipollo provided another take on the question by speaking about that the experience switching from academia to government or from government to industry could be beneficial with the experience and skills gained from the previous positions. One question from the audience asked whether Chinese students and scholars should consider finding positions in China. Dr. Ying Ge responded that there were opportunities everywhere, including academic and industrial positions in US and in China. Students and scholars should focus on the science and work they are interested in doing and areas that they able to contribute to, and stay away from current politics. A question went to Dr. Ventzi Hristova on whether an applicant should have all requirements of a position before applying for the position. She answered that there should be a 70-80% match for skills and requirements. The last question was for Dr. Leon Wu on the differences between biotech and pharmaceutical companies. He answered that biotech companies make products for academic and pharmaceutical uses and pharmaceutical companies develop drugs for medical uses. More questions were posted in Q&A but could not be answered due to the time limit of the Workshop.
At the end, the Workshop chairs, Dr. Hui Zhang and Dr. Liang Li, thanked the speakers and the audience for participating in the Workshop and for making it a huge success. The experiences and information shared in the Workshop will greatly contribute to the career development of students and scholars and bring new blood to the growth and strength of the field of mass spectrometry.