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Career Stories

The URBEST Career Story Q&A seminar series is specifically designed to motivate biomedical and health science trainees to consider research-related careers and initiate professional skills needed to become successful scientists. The monthly Career Story Q&A Seminar series will bring in successful scientists from diverse non-academic (and a few unique academic) careers to share their transitions and triumphs. These seminars will be guided interviews that use a common structure of pre-seminar readings (a blog post and a CV), a short seminar talk and a lengthy open-floor Q&A session. All posts are housed at the URBEST Blog.

All are welcome to attend the seminar. The session is rather interactive so bring all the questions you'd ever want answered. We will have some select opportunities to go to lunch with the speakers, and lunch invitations will be sent to URBEST trainees. First RSVPs will be selected for the lunch group.


Career Story - Kurt Schilling, PhD

Kurt Schilling, PhD - SVP Basic Science Research and Advanced Technologies at The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.

 Nov 03, 2017 @ 9:00 a.m.

 Medical Center | CEL 2-7536

Career Story - Jeffrey Harder, PhD and Candice Baker, PhD

Jeffrey Harder, PhD and Candice Baker, PhD (lunch will be provided to a small group of trainees) - Postdoc and Associate Study Director of Genetic Engineering Technologies, respectively, at The Jackson Laboratory

 Oct 06, 2017 @ 12:00 p.m.

 Medical Center | Natapow Conference Room (1-9545)

Career Story - Rick Lawless, BS, MBA

Rick Lawless, BS, MBA, - Associate Director of Biomanufacturing Training & Education Center (BTEC) at North Carolina State University

Blog Post: Fitting (Pounding) a Square Peg into a Round Hole — My Transition from Commercial Manufacturing to Academia


 Oct 04, 2017 @ 9:00 a.m.

 Medical Center | Louise Slaughter Conference Room (1-9555)

Career Story - Brian O'Mara, MSc

Brian O'Mara, MSc - Senior Scientist at Bristol Myers Squibb

 Sep 27, 2017 @ 9:00 a.m.

 Medical Center | Northeastern Room (1-9525)

URBEST Retreat and Career Workshop

Randy Ribaudo, SciPhD; LeRon Nelson, UR; Ed Brydon, Weill Cornell Medicine; Kirk Macolini, IntelliSpark; Kurt Schilling, Estee Lauder; Judith Dunn, Roche; and therapy dogs.

 Sep 14, 2017 @ 8:30 a.m.

 Medical Center | Class of 62 and CEL Teaching Laboratories

Career Story - Michael Krupp, PhD

Michael Krupp, PhD (Zoom Meeting) - CEO at Xfibra Inc., previous Senior Vice President at Chugai Pharma USA, and previous Director of Licensing & Development at Pfizer Inc.

Blog Post: Scientist to Business Executive — An Unexpected Journey


 Aug 22, 2017 @ 2:00 p.m.

 Medical Center | Louise Slaughter Conference Room (1-9555)

Career Story - Yuriy Shapovalov, PhD

Yuriy Shapovalov, PhD - Medical Science Liaison at Biogen

Blog Post: Medical Affairs – Do You Have What It Takes to Succeed?


 Jul 21, 2017 @ 4:00 p.m.

 Medical Center | G-8534 Anderson Room

Career Story - Yuriy Shapovalov, PhD

Yuriy Shapovalov, PhD - Medical Science Liaison at Biogen

 Jul 07, 2017 @ 9:00 a.m.

 Medical Center | G-8534 Anderson Room

Career Story - David McMillan, PhD

David McMillan, PhD - Toxicologist at FDA
Blog Post: Pursuing a Career in Regulatory Science and Drug Development

 Jun 26, 2017 @ 12:00 p.m.

 Medical Center | 1-9525 Northeastern Conference Room

Career Story - Elizabeth Schiavoni, MS

Elizabeth Schiavoni, MS - Life Sciences Writing Solutions LLC and University of Buffalo. A membership to the American Medical Writer Association will be awarded to three participants who submit a EPA funding explanation (500 words or less). Details at
Blog Post: Diversify Yourself and Your Work Experience CV

 May 17, 2017 @ 12:00 p.m.

 Medical Center | (NOTE ROOM CHANGE) Northeastern Room (1-9525)

Career Story - Alex Shih-Min Huang, PhD

Alex Shih-Min Huang, PhD - Senior Scientist, Biomarker Subteam Leader, Early Development at Genentech. Genentech Intern Rafael Gil De Rubio (UR alum) speaks May 2, 9:00 am
Blog Post: March Your Own Science Path

 May 05, 2017 @ 9:30 a.m.

 Helen Wood Hall | 1W-509 Craytor & McNerney Classroom (HWH attached to Saunders)

Career Story - Rafael Gil De Rubio (UR alumnus)

Rafael Gil De Rubio (UR alumnus) There will be coffee and bagels. - Genentech Intern

 May 02, 2017 @ 9:00 a.m.

 Medical Center | Northeastern Conference Room (1-9525)

Career Story - Aiyi Liu, PhD

Aiyi Liu, PhD - Senior Investigator, NIH, Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Branch, Inaugural Colloquium Talk of Rochester Data Science Society (RDSS)
Blog Post: Get Prepared to Become A Successful Statistician in a Collaborative Research Environment

 Apr 28, 2017 @ 11:00 a.m.

 Medical Center | 2-7520 & 2-7534 in Center for Experiential Learning

Career Story - Martha Harber, PhD

Martha Harber, PhD and UR Alum 2006 - Field Applications Manager at Unchained Labs
Blog Post: Preparation Meets Opportunity

 Apr 18, 2017 @ 10:00 a.m.

 Medical Center | Anderson Room (G-8534)

Career Story - Ben Glick, PhD

Ben Glick, PhD - President and Chief Scientist at GSL Biotech LLC and Professor Molecular Genetics & Cell Biology at University of Chicago. Dr. Glick will also present "Surfing the Secretory Pathway" at the Biology Departmental Seminar Monday, April 3 at noon in Lander Auditorium - Hutchison 140 on River Campus.
From AAAS Science’s She Said He Said: Ben Glick

 Apr 04, 2017 @ 9:30 a.m.

 Medical Center | Natapow Conference Room (1-9545)

Career Story - Fred Tenover, PhD

Fred Tenover, PhD - Vice President of Scientific Affairs at Cepheid Inc. and Consulting Professor of Pathology at Stanford University
A Summer Job Blossoms into a Career in Clinical Microbiology

 Mar 24, 2017 @ 1:00 p.m.

 Medical Center | Natapow Conference Room (1-9545)

Career Story - Maddie Sofia, PhD

Maddie Sofia, PhD - Assistant Producer, Science Desk at National Public Radio. Maddie will also lead, with six other instructors, Improve for Better Science Communication, on March 10 from 9 - 11 am and a second session from 2 - 4 pm.
UR Science Communicator Goes Public

 Mar 10, 2017 @ 12:00 p.m.

 Medical Center | K-307 Auditorium (Medical Center 3-6408)

Career Story - Melissa Badding, PhD

Melissa Badding, PhD - Toxicologist-Scientist at Exponent
Blog post: From the lab bench to the office — transitioning out of a research role as a scientist

 Feb 03, 2017 @ 10:00 a.m.

 Medical Center | KRMB 3-9624 (NOTE ROOM AND TIME CHANGE)

Career Story - Dina Markowitz, PhD

Dina Markowitz, PhD - President of Science Take Out, and Professor of Environmental Medicine and Director of Life Sciences Learning Center at University of Rochester
Blog Post: From Science Outreach to Science Start-Up

 Feb 01, 2017 @ 11:00 a.m.

 Medical Center | Anderson Room (G-8534)

Career Story - John Nelson, PhD

John Nelson, PhD - Senior Principal Scientist at GE Global Research. Five students will be selected to go to a noon lunch at Grappa. If you'd like to attend, send me an abstract and inventor list from one of Dr. Nelson's patents.
Blog Post: One Company, Lots of Freedom

 Jan 30, 2017 @ 11:00 a.m.

 Medical Center | Anderson Room (G-8534)

Career Story - Ramil Sapinoro, PhD

Ramil Sapinoro, PhD - Associate Professor Pharmaceutical Sciences at St. John Fisher
Blog Post: The World of a Research-Scientists into the Sphere of a Scientist-Educator

 Jan 13, 2017 @ 8:30 a.m.

 Medical Center | Natapow Conference Room (1-9545)