Alumni

Jessica (Haywood) Bane completed her Ph.D. degree from the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry under the supervision of Distinguished Professor Christian Schöneich. Her Ph.D. thesis  involved the characterization of novel oxidative and photochemical degradation products in proteins and model peptides. During the Biotechnology Program, Jessica performed her internship at Genentech, where she studied the aggregation and oxidation process of monoclonal antibodies using different light stress models. After graduation, she accepted a position as a Research Scientist I in the Formulation and Process Development department at Gilead Sciences. She is responsible for the formulation of small molecule therapeutics in both pre-clinical research and development. As a relatively recent graduate, she provided her perspective on the Biotechnology Training Program, “The biotechnology training program was a valuable supplement to my graduate school coursework and research. It allowed me to interface with colleagues of diverse scientific backgrounds, preparing me for my future in ways the classroom could not. The internship gave me insight into the pharmaceutical industry and allowed me to expand my network and communication skills.

Dr. Daniel Kim is a recent graduate of the Department of Chemistry at The University of Kansas and was a member of the Biotechnology Training Program.  He studied under the direction of Professor Robert Dunn.  The Biotechnology Training Program supplied support that enabled Dr. Kim to perform an internship at Genentech during his graduate studies.  After receiving his Ph.D. degree, he accepted a position as an Associate Scientist in the Analytical Development Division at Nektar Therapeutics.  He is responsible for the development and characterization of several polymer conjugated proteins targeted for oncology in Nektar’s pipeline.  Dr. Kim was delighted to join the Biotechnology Training Program at The University of Kansas and he has said, “The training program was crucial for my career development path.  It provided me with direct exposure to the field of pharmaceutical chemistry and also gave invaluable initial steps into industry.  The opportunity for in-depth scientific training and career development opportunities is truly unique.

Dr. Franklin Okumu, a former trainee in the Predoctoral Biotechnology Training Program, is the Vice President of New Technologies at Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Inc.. As a trainee, he did his internship as a visiting scientist in the Pharmaceutical Research and Development Department at Genentech Inc. After graduation from the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, he accepted a Scientist position at Aradigm Corporation; following that he moved back to Genentech as a Scientist.  Later, he took scientific leadership roles in formulation development and drug delivery with several small and large biotech companies, including Associate Director at Optimer Pharmaceuticals, Executive Director of Durect Inc., Principal Scientist at Novo Nordisk A/S., and President and CSO of EVO Pharmaceuticals Company. His comment about his experience as a trainee of the Biotechnology Training Program at KU is, “I have always been interested in the intersections between biology, chemistry, engineering, material science, and pharmaceutics, and my participation as a trainee of the NIH Biotech Predoctoral training program provided me the tools to drive synergies across multiple disciplines and apply them to unmet medical needs.”

Dr. Brooke (Barrett) Milner is the Deputy Director of Analytical Methods Validation at Sanofi Pasteur. Dr. Milner earned her Ph.D. degree from the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry as a trainee in the NIH Biotechnology Training Program under the supervision of Professor Russ Middaugh. Brooke did her internship at Sanofi Pasteur in the area of formulation and stability of polysaccharide-based vaccine drug substance. After graduation, she accepted a position as Development Scientist at Sanofi Pasteur and moved up through the ranks to become Senior Scientist of Manufacturing Technology prior to her current position.  During this time, she focused on the improvement of influenza vaccine stability and worked cross-functionally to characterize influenza antigens throughout the manufacturing process.  When asked about her experience as a trainee, Brooke shared the following, "The program prepared me to work in the pharmaceutical industry by focusing on skills not taught in the classroom, such as scientific writing, communication, leadership, and ethics.  The internship allowed me to apply those skills, as well as to establish relationships that have been fundamental to my career."

 


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