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Preparing for Private Sector Careers in Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Industries (PPSC)

To register online, click here.
The deadline for registration is 9/10/2014.
The first 80 registrants will be accepted for the class. For more information contact Dr. Ravi Dhar, by e-mail ( or by phone (301-496-0990).

Preparing for Private Sector Careers in Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Industries (PPSC)

This fall, the Office of Training and Education for NCI’s Center for Cancer Research (CCR) will be hosting another workshop to help fellows and staff scientists familiarize themselves with job opportunities available outside of traditional academia.  Over the last few years, we have organized similar training workshops that have successfully introduced participants to potential career paths in the private sector.

The workshop brings in speakers from industry to help shed light on job opportunities for scientists outside of academia and/or traditional bench sciences.  They will share their experiences and the individual journeys that brought them to choose non-academic positions while describing best practices for getting a job, setting work expectations and imparting how to navigate unique business-oriented scientific cultures.  Speakers also provide tips for pursuing non-academic careers and how to improve chances of success.

The workshop will include speakers from different professional backgrounds, including scientists, science policy, strategic consulting, industry consulting, medical science liaising and technology transfer. Many of the speakers are former NIH employees who can provide unique insight into making the transition from NIH to industry.  Please review speaker biographies for more detail.

The workshop will cover topics such as:

  • Interpreting different job postings
  • Jobs available for scientists at smaller niche firms to larger multi-business corporations
  • What companies look for in candidates
  • Cover letter and resume writing best practices for specific jobs and industries
  • How to leverage experiences at NCI-CCR to develop the skills to succeed
  • Developing leadership, financial, behavioral and scientific skills and effectively conveying these skills to employers
  • Interview preparation best practices, negotiation tips
  • Industry business culture
  • Transitioning from academic research to industry—new and different roles
  • Expectations for collaboration across divisions within companies
  • Metrics for success
  • Strategic consulting
  • NIH’s Extramural Program

Some of the major takeaways from previous workshops include:

  • There are significant differences in the application and interview processes for private sector positions versus those in academia.
  • It is far better to begin job preparation earlier in your time at NIH.
  • There are many positions that exist within industry that do not involve bench sciences and require unique processes and preparation. This requires preparation and diligence on your part to be successful.
  • The workshop has helped participants identify opportunities at NIH which better position them for the future.

Location and Times

The workshop will be held every Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. for 9 weeks on the Bethesda campus, starting September 10, 2014 through November 5, 2014 in Bldg. 37/Rm. 4041.  The presentations will be streamed live for Video Tele Conferencing (VTC) to the Fredrick campus, Bldg. 549/Conf. Rm. B (Conf. Rm. A on November 5).

There is no registration fee. The workshop will be limited to 80 registrants at the Bethesda campus.  Registration is required and acceptance is on a first-come basis.  Those of you who plan to participate by VTC should also register so that we can send you the speaker handouts in advance.

 For more information please contact Dr. Ravi Dhar at or by phone at 301-496-0990.

Schedule and Speakers

The workshop will be held at 3:00 pm every Wednesday in Bldg. 37/ Rm. 4041 from September 10, 2014 through November 5, 2014. Click on each speaker to view their biosketch and the topics to be discussed.

Date Speaker Affiliation
Sept. 10 Tiffany Wallace, PhD Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities, NCI
Sept. 17 Rebecca Cerio, PhD Office of Scientific Program & Policy Analysis, NIDDK
Sept. 24 Mojdeh Bahar, JD, MA, CLP Office of Technology Transfer, ARS, USDA
Oct. 1 Raed Samara, PhD QIAGEN
Oct. 8, 15, 22 Randall K. Ribaudo, PhD Human Workflows LLC
Oct. 29 Michele Gunsior, PhD MedImmune
Nov. 5 Rosemarie Truman The Center for Advancing Innovation

Tiffany Wallace, PhD
September 10, 2014

Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities
National Cancer Institute

Dr. Wallace is a Program Director at the NCI within the Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities (CRCHD). Her duties include overseeing large national and regional collaborative agreements that support community-based research aimed at promoting cancer prevention and reducing cancer health disparities.   Additionally, Dr. Wallace oversees a portfolio of grant mechanisms promoting basic and translational cancer research and develops initiatives to stimulate research in under-funded areas.

Prior to joining the CRCHD, Dr. Wallace was an Oncology Scientist at Human Genome Sciences where she managed clinically relevant research programs and conducted preclinical development of promising cancer therapeutics.

Dr. Wallace received her Ph.D. in biomedical sciences from the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL. She completed her postdoctoral training in the Laboratory of Human Carcinogenesis at NCI-CCR, where she conducted basic and translational research to identify biomarkers of aggressive prostate and breast cancer.

Talking points for her talk:

  • How to make the transition from academic research to industry.
  • Description of the culture, work expectations, and general pro and cons of working in a biotech/pharmaceutical company.
  • Comparing a research position in industry with an administrative role in government.   Which career path is the right choice for you?

Rebecca Cerio, PhD
September 17, 2014

Office of Scientific Program & Policy Analysis


Rebecca received her doctorate in microbiology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied virus-induced programmed cell death. For her postdoc, she moved to the National Cancer Institute, where she studied human papillomavirus vectors as tumor detection and therapy agents. While at the NCI, her participation in the NIH’s Science Policy Discussion Group and the NIH Fellows Editorial Board helped her to explore “alternative career” paths that combine her love of writing with her love of science.  After leaving the NCI, Rebecca joined the National Institutes of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) as a Health Science Policy Analyst.  Her projects currently focus on providing plain-language information on NIDDK’s scientific advances and program initiatives to policymakers and the public.

Rebecca will be covering the following topics:

  • My career path – very brief overview of my education and positions, why I left the bench, etc.
  • My current job – an overview of my job, the sort of projects I work on, the lifestyle of my office, typical day, etc.
  • Skills relevant to my job – skills that I think are particularly important for success at my job.
  • My “lessons learned” – some suggestions I’d give to someone who is interested in a government or private science policy position (what activities can help build important skills as a post-doc, what policy jobs are out there, what employers are looking for, maybe a bit about federal resume writing/interviewing/hiring if folks are interested)

Mojdeh Bahar, JD, MA, CLP
September 24, 2014

Assistant Administrator

Office of Technology Transfer

USDA, ARS, GWCC, Rm. 4-1156

Beltsville, MD 20705-5131

Tel: 301-504-6905

Ms. Bahar serves as the Assistant Administrator for Technology Transfer at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). She has broad responsibility for managing the intellectual property that evolves from the research program of the Agency and serves as a resource for management of intellectual property and technology transfer across the USDA. She leads ARS's interactions with government agencies, industries, commodity groups and universities on matters dealing with intellectual property and technology transfer.

Ms. Bahar comes to ARS from NIH, where she served as the Chief of the Cancer Branch at the Office of Technology Transfer.  There she led a team responsible for marketing, patenting and licensing NIH and FDA inventions in the areas of cancer, gene therapy, and biological response modifiers. Prior to that, Ms. Bahar was an Examiner with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).  During her tenure at the NIH, she first served as the Regional Coordinator for the Mid-Atlantic Region of the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer (FLC) from 2008 to 2011 and then as the National Chair from 2011 to 2013.  She led FLC's efforts in creation of the Available Technologies Search Tool, and conceived & led the creation of the Federal Business Resource, a compilation of funding, programs, and facilities at the federal labs that help enable and support businesses. She also  moderated a webinar series entitled "Demystifying Working with Federal Labs," led the development of a training course for the transition of Washington-area scientists  into the business world and coordinated and hosted numerous subject specific regional network initiatives bringing industry, academia and government together to enhance federal laboratories' technology transfer efforts.

 She currently serves as an ad hoc member on the FLC Executive Board, continues to be a member of a steering committee of an annual post-doctoral employment-oriented conference for post-docs in the Washington area, Innovation to Commercialization (I2C) Conference, and serves as a judge in the Invest Maryland Challenge.

 Ms. Bahar has spoken nationally and internationally on a wide spectrum of topics ranging from restriction practice, double patenting, and claim drafting to technology transfer and commercialization, business development, and licensing. She is the recipient of an NIH Director's Award, a Mentorship Award, seven Merit Awards, NCI Federal Technology Transfer Awards, an FLC S.T.E.M Award, three Excellences in Technology Transfer Awards, a State and Local economic Development Award and a FAES NIH Team Teaching Award. She was the 2014 recipient of Volunteer of the Year Award by Maryland Economic Development Association.

 A patent attorney registered to practice before the USPTO, the State of Maryland, the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, and the United States Court of Appeals for Federal Circuit, Ms. Bahar is also a Certified Licensing Professional (CLP). She is a graduate of the University Of Maryland School Of Law, where she was co-founder and editor of Margins: Maryland's Law Journal on Race, Religion, Gender, and Class.  She completed the Health law Program, was a member of the Moot Court Board and the Phi Delta Phi International Legal Honors Fraternity, and the recipient of the William P. Cunningham Award for exceptional achievement and service.  She also received a Master of Arts degree from New York University and a Bachelor of Science degree with Honors in Chemistry and French from Dickinson College.

  • United States Patent and Trademark Officer
  • Technology Transfer professional
  • Patent Attorney
  • Skills you need to succeed in these environments

Raed Samara, PhD
October 1, 2014

Scientist, R&D Project Management at QIAGEN

Washington, D.C.

Raed Samara received his BS degree from Valparaiso University in biology and chemistry, and his PhD degree from Georgetown University in tumor biology. He worked for four years as a postdoctoral fellow at the NCI conducting research in the field of cancer immunology, with emphasis on identifying strategies to boost the efficacy of cancer vaccines. Currently, he is a scientist in the R&D Project Management department of QIAGEN at Frederick, where he coordinates multiple life sciences product development projects across R&D, Marketing, and Operations teams. He is also leading global product management efforts where he develops training modules and marketing material to support effective global product launches.

In addition to his research interests while at the NCI, Raed was an active member on several committees at the NCI and NIH. He was a member of the CCR FYI Steering Committee, serving as the Center for Cancer Research (NCI) Liaison to the National Postdoctoral Association and co-chair of workshops for the 2010 FYI Colloquium. Additionally, he served on both the Job Recruitment and Career Development Subcommittees of NIH FelCom.

Topics to be covered:

  • Day-to-day responsibilities in Project Management
  • Skills needed for Project Management
  • Differences between academia and industry
  • Culture in Industry
    • What industry looks for in applicants
    • Career Progression
    • Job security
  • What you need to do

Randall K. Ribaudo, PhD
October 8, 15, and 22, 2014

Co-founder, SciPhD Training Programs
President, CEO
Human Workflows, LLC

Human Workflows and SciPhD co-founder Dr. Randall Ribaudo, a former NCI Principle Investigator, has over twenty years of experience in the Scientific Research and Biotechnology fields and has successfully made the transition from academia to industry.  Dr. Ribaudo co-founded Human Workflows after more than five years at Celera Genomics.  During his time at Celera, Dr. Ribaudo acted as liaison between Celera and the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and academic communities, served as product manager responsible for developing support products for the Proteomics Groups mass spectrometry software, led the iScience Task Force to define strategic directions for sister company Applied Biosystems, advised on product development for the Celera Discovery System and enterprise solutions for information integration and worked as a Manager of Strategic Solutions in the Informatics business.

Prior to Celera, Dr. Ribaudo worked at the biotechnology and bioinformatics company Molecular Applications Group.  Dr. Ribaudo was responsible for presenting the capabilities of MAG's products to representatives in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and academic communities.

Dr. Ribaudo also has extensive experience in academic biological life sciences as well. After receiving a Ph.D. in Immunology at the University of Connecticut, Dr. Ribaudo joined the Laboratory of Immunology, NIAID at the National Institutes of Health where he studied the molecular basis of antigen presentation.  Dr. Ribaudo then accepted a position in the National Cancer Institute in the Laboratory of Immune Cell Biology as a Principal Investigator where he developed his own research program studying the immune response to viruses and tumors, leading a team of postdoctoral fellows, technicians, and university and high school students.  His work at the National Cancer Institute led to the development of a novel technology to develop vaccines against tumors and viruses.  Dr. Ribaudo holds patents for this technology which are now being further developed by private companies.

His experiences have provided Dr. Ribaudo with tremendous insight into the rapidly exploding technological capabilities in areas of discovery research, information and data management, as well as a detailed understanding of the skills and competencies required for scientists to be successful in industry careers.

Dr. Ribaudo will be holding workshops on three days.  Details are included below.

Workshop Descriptions

Workshop 1: Demystifying Job Ads to Develop a Targeted Resume

In this workshop, He will look at how to demystify job ads to identify the explicit and implicit information they contain. He will show how to use that information in conjunction with the results of your self- assessment, your scientific, business and social identities, and additional intelligence through smart networking to make you competitive for jobs you desire through developing targeted resumes and talking points for interviews. Additionally, understanding the social context of these competencies, and how they relate to each other provides foundations for not just obtaining industry jobs, but for excelling and succeeding in an industry career.

Key topics that will be discussed include:

  • 24 business competencies companies are looking for in new hires
  • Translating your research experiences into the 24 competencies
  • Solving the industry prejudice against academics "lack of experience"
  • Matching your skills to the job ad in your targeted resume
  • Understanding and marketing your three identities that separate you from the competition
  • Free access to SciPhD online training course and self-assessment

Workshop #2: Communications for Scientists

Effectively running a laboratory, whether in an academic, government or industry setting requires the ability to communicate and lead effectively. This in turn requires an understanding and appreciation that different people have different communications preferences and comfort zones that are a combination of their personalities and their level of technical competence with respect to the work they are expected to perform. In this workshop he will explore these personality preferences, relate those to real experiences you have had in and outside the laboratory, and discuss effective ways to use communications skills in order to manage relationships based on those preferences. He will also investigate how this understanding relates to effective mentoring and laboratory leadership.

Workshop #3: Finance and Negotiations

In this session he will discuss basic concepts of business finance that will benefit you as a manager. This will include learning how to read a balance sheet, understanding the concepts of return on investment, and how money is put to work in your organization. He will also discuss how to apply the communications and leadership skills that you have learned in order to be effective at negotiating with team members, as well as when considering job offers, and negotiating benefits that include salary, stock options, performance review timetables, and career advancement opportunities.

Michele Gunsior, PhD                                                              October 29, 2014

Translational Science Department


Dr. Gunsior graduated with a PhD in Chemistry from The Johns Hopkins University. She did her post-doctoral work in the laboratory of Dr. Paul Goldsmith at the NCI working on antibody and protein purification and immunoassay development. Her post-doctoral training led to a Principal Investigator position at Covance, a contract research organization that partners with pharmaceutical and biotech companies to bring therapeutics to market. Dr. Gunsior currently works at MedImmune in the Translational Sciences Department and is responsible for immunoassay development to support all stages of a drug program. She will be covering the following topics:

  • Be able to work in a matrix and team oriented atmosphere
  • Deliver results within the expected time frame
  • Juggle multiple projects (and associated deadlines) in a fast-paced environment
  • Good written and verbal communication skills

Rosemarie Truman
November 5, 2014

Founder and CEO
The Center for Advancing Innovation (CAI)
Tel: 202-438-2208

Rosemarie has over 20 years of experience in driving growth for clients, having created over $21 billion in new profits for clients that launched over 100 new products/services/solutions. Her experience spans strategy consulting, investment banking, and entrepreneurship. Rosemarie has provided strategy consulting services for over 110 clients in over 15 countries and 24 states. Having started her career at Goldman Sachs as an analyst, to this day, Rosemarie's core competencies are in complex due diligence and portfolio strategy, creating sustainable growth breakthrough strategies for clients and transformation

Currently, Ms. Truman is founder and CEO of a global public-private partnership whose mission is to accelerate and increase the volume of technology transfer, translational research and commercialization.  Her firm, The Center for Advancing Innovation, has been working with the Avon Foundation on Portfolio Strategy and also has Partnership Intermediary agreements with the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and six other research institutes within the NIH.  Recently her team completed a portfolio analysis effort of over 4,000 NCI inventions.  With AF and NCI, her firm is serving as managing director of a first-of-a-kind national business plan and startup Challenge for select breast cancer focused inventions.

Prior to launching her own firm, Rosemarie served as the global leader of IBM and PRTM's Innovation and R&D strategy practice; the VP and head of global strategy at Marsh & McLennan; leader in Oracle's Advanced Technology Group and also led eBusiness Strategy while at Ernst & Young and Booz Allen & Hamilton.  At IBM, Rosemarie also led internal transformation efforts in the Emerging Business Opportunity area to create models that drive sustainable "growth breakthroughs." Among the numerous awards Rosemarie has earned, she has been awarded IBM's highest award, The Golden Circle Award that only 150 of 350,000 employees receive. Finally, Rosemarie has spearheaded the development of several trade secret models and frameworks to select and nurture sustainable growth opportunities; one model is for the Life Sciences industry called "Industry Leading R&D Performance."  Rosemarie has worked across industries, including Life Sciences, Technology Transfer, Oil & Gas, Consumer Packaged Goods, Automotive, Aerospace & Defense, Financial Services, and High Tech.

Topics Rosemarie will cover in her lecture include:

  • Overview of a career as a strategy consultant
  • Types of consulting firms – strategy; operations and implementation
  • Practices for getting different types of non-academic positions
  • Consulting firm work in reality
  • What consulting firms look for in your resume
  • How to get in the door
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