The following interview is part of a series the College of Science conducted with some of our alumni. While their experiences and career paths vary widely, their passion for science and love for the College and OSU tie them together.
Major: Biology ('08)
Additional Education: Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology, Oregon State University ('16)
Occupation: Research Director, Insmed Incorporated
Why did you choose to study science at OSU?
I was interested in science and medicine growing up and grew up in Oregon, so I thought that OSU would be a good fit to study science and prepare for med school.
What led you to choose your major and career path?
I grew up always wanting to be a medical doctor. I started at Oregon State University as a pre-med while exploring primary research in my 3rd year, I discovered that biomedical research was my true calling. Every medicine and vaccine used today started with a research discovery, and I found out that my work could lead to something that could help thousands or millions of patients was very attractive and still drives my passion for research today.
How did the College of Science prepare you for your future career?
The core classes I took during my undergraduate paired with the primary research I conducted laid the foundation for my career as a scientist in the biotech industry.
Describe your career? How are you making a difference?
My company focuses on transforming the lives of patients affected by serious and rare diseases. I am part of our discovery pharmacology research group that is on the front lines of discovering and developing novel therapeutics for diseases with high unmet needs. I have been lucky enough to be involved in the entire journey of our first approved therapeutic - starting with performing pre-clinical pharmacology experiments for this company when I was an undergraduate, further collaborating with them during and after graduate school, and then by being on the team to help gain FDA approval of this drug while formally being at the company in 2018. The long-term goal of my career is to continue to bring new therapeutics to patients, all the way from the bench to the clinic.
How were you involved in the OSU community?
I started researching bacterial pathogenesis and immunology in the department of Biomedical Sciences as a 3rd-year undergraduate, and I haven’t stopped since! I was involved with the Corvallis music scene by participating in OSU athletic bands and being in a local rock band throughout my undergrad.
Was there a particular professor or advisor who made an impact in your undergraduate career?
In the classroom, Dr. Janine Trempy taught ‘The World According to Microbes’ which opened my eyes up to the wonderful world of microbiology. In the lab, Dr. Luiz Bermudez, my undergraduate research advisor, who also became my graduate school research professor, was instrumental in jumpstarting my career in biomedical research.
If you could give a future College of Science student advice, what would it be?
Don’t burn out! Find something that will stretch and work out the opposite side of your brain than science does and a lot of it. Balance is key.