Postdoctoral scholars and graduate students often face a difficult decision of choosing their ideal career path. To assist in their choice, the Gladstone Institutes exposes its trainees to many different opportunities. A notable example is Gladstone’s Exploring Careers in Industry and Technology (ExCITe) program, which introduces trainees from Gladstone to industry career paths.
ExCITe recently took a group of Gladstone trainees to IndieBio in San Francisco. IndieBio is the world’s first cross-disciplinary biology accelerator. It is devoted to funding, mentoring, and building startups dedicated to solving humanity’s most challenging problems—from providing energy to treating or curing disease—in as little as 4 months. With help from IndieBio’s partners and alumni, these start-ups are then launched as companies into the world of biotechnology to impact the community and make their mark.
“Visiting IndieBio was incredibly informative. We learned how the company provides mentorship and lab space for newly formed biotech start-ups to test whether their idea will be important to customers in the real world,” said Mo Mandegar, DPhil, a research scientist with Bruce Conklin, MD. “I loved learning about how they support young entrepreneurs in building breakthrough biotech companies.”
During the visit, the trainees met with IndieBio’s leadership, including Ryan Bethencourt, PhD; program director and venture partner; Ron Shigeta, PhD, chief scientific officer; and Alex Kopelyan, program manager. They also toured IndieBio and learned about many of the start-up companies that are currently working with the accelerator.
“We are constantly looking for ways to introduce our postdocs to different opportunities,” said Sudha Krishnamurthy, PhD, program director of the Gladstone Office of Postdoctoral and Graduate Affairs. “At IndieBio, we not only exposed them to alternative careers in industry, but also to one way they can take their own ideas and bring them to fruition with an accelerator company.”
The ExCITe program aims to increase exposure to industry careers, helping Gladstone’s trainees to explore the full range of career opportunities available to them. The program was established in 2012 by the Gladstone Office of Postdoctoral and Graduate Affairs and the Gladstone Postdoc Advisory Committee. Since its inception, the ExCITe program has taken trainees to a number of organizations, including Celgene, PerlsteinLab, Anacor Pharmaceuticals, and Bio-Rad Laboratories.