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In episode 18 of PhD Career Stories, Dr Umesh Gangishetti describes his transition from a PhD student working on Drosophila Embryogenesis to become a senior scientist conducting clinical studies on Alzheimer’s disease.
Hi my name is Umesh Gangishetti. I am from Hyderabad “A south eastern city in India and currently working as a Senior Scientist at Emory University in Altlanta, USA. Atlanta is at the East Coast, a city in Georgia State.
Today I would like to talk to you about my Journey in molecular biology and biochemistry career and how I transition into clinical sciences. During my PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology I was working on Drosophila Embryogenesis and soon I got interested in different developmental pathways that are required for proper embryonic development. At this time, I had no clue about industry and clinical research and was only thinking of doing a postdoc and later continue within academia.
So with this is question in mind I started looking for relevant postdoc positions in Nature and Science magazine for jobs in Developmental Biology and specifically on embryonic developmental pathways. I did find a job in Okinawa Japan at an international Institute that was recently built and was seeking international scientists. I applied and got the position and then quickly moved to Japan. The Japanese institutes including Okinawa Institute of Science and technology (OIST)pay a generous amount of money for the relocation. Though my PI was an American Citizen and the lab was international, I still had to deal with a lot of cultural and social situations which I did learn fast. Once adapted I started working on hedgehog signaling – a key developmental pathway that is conserved in all multicellular organism including humans.
After spending two years in Okinawa Japan, I realized that postdoc and academia was not my thing and was looking for options to move out of academia and possibly to Europe and the US; mainly due to language constraints. With this motivation in mind I moved on with a lead researcher position at Karolinska Institute developing 4D imaging technology. Still this was an academic position but with developing technologies and not basic Science. This gave me a lot of insights into industry and technology development related projects interacting with physicists and mathematicians. I got more interested in developing molecular biology and microscopy related technologies for disease diagnosis. It was very difficult to find industry related jobs in the US because of tight VISA regulations and hence started again looking for postdoctoral options in the USA within molecular diagnostics and method development based projects. That is how I found my current job in Emory University here in Atlanta, USA. I am currently employed as a senior scientist at the Center for Neurodegenerative disease developing biomarker assays for early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.
In summary, my career path includes international travel starting from India to Germany to Japan to Sweden to USA with a total of about 10 years of International experience in the field of the molecular biology. My career also includes the transition from basic academic science to method developments and clinical sciences. All along my path I have seen several career options that I would like to share with you.
Let me finish by stressing on molecular biology based job opportunities. There are several options after you finish your PhD: Staying in Academics (postdoc and professor pathway) has its own benefits.
Industry options include
- Next generation sequencing companies
- Biotech industry (bacterially recombinant proteins production) and crystallography methods
- Nanotechnology and Flow cytometry based industries
- Clinical trials, (genotyping and biomarker assays) drug discoveries and disease related clinical phase trials
- Imaging based companies (next-generation microscope developments and optimization)
- Bio-based Marketing jobs that needs molecular biology knowledge