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Postdoctoral Research at Promega

Join us on the UW-Madison campus to learn about research at Promega!

Date: May 30, 2019
Time: 12:00–2:00 pm
Location: 1111 Genetics-Biotechnology Center, 425 Henry Mall, Madison, WI
Panelists: Lance Encell, Rachel Ohana, Mike Killoran, Michelle Boursier, Ginny Kincaid

About ATG

The Advanced Technology Group (ATG) is a diverse team of research-focused scientists and postdocs. Our role within Promega R&D is to engineer next-generation technologies. To do this, we combine expertise in cell biology, protein engineering, organic chemistry, bioinformatics and chemical biology to develop technology platforms for state-of-the-art research applications and products in the life sciences.

Postdoctoral Training in ATG

Postdoctoral researchers in our group have the opportunity to continue their scientific training in an industrial setting under the guidance of senior-level mentors in the group. The postdoctoral experience is centered on developing the confidence and skills to lead projects independently by pursuing an independent project within our group, working with internal and external collaborators, presenting research at conferences, and publishing in peer-reviewed journals.

Panelist Bios

Lance Encell

Lance Encell, Senior Research Scientist 3

Years with Company: 16

Research Interests: protein engineering, directed evolution of macromolecules, laboratory automation

Rachel Ohana

Rachel Ohana, Senior Research Scientist 3

Years with Company: 18

Research Interests: drug target engagement technologies, novel chemical labeling tools

Mike Killoran

Mike Killoran, Senior Research Scientist 2

Years with Company: 3

Research Interests: protein engineering, bioinformatics, high-throughput screening, synthetic biology

Michelle Boursier

Michelle Boursier, Postdoctoral Researcher

Years with Company: 2

Research Interests: chemical biology, bacterial communication, drug discovery technologies

Ginny Kincaid

Ginny Kincaid, Postdoctoral Researcher

Years with Company: 2

Research Interests: molecular interaction technologies, enzymology, intracellular assay development

Current and Past Postdocs

Michelle Boursier, Postdoctoral Researcher
Michelle Boursier

I received my PhD in Professor Helen Blackwell’s lab at UW-Madison. There, I synthesized and characterized chemical tools for modulating bacterial communication. My work designing novel assays to understand ligand binding got me interested in assay development and biotechnology. I sought an industry postdoc as an opportunity to do cutting edge research with a clear product application in mind. Promega has a reputation for excellent science and a great workplace, so it was an easy decision to stay in Madison.

So far I’ve learned a lot about target engagement and drug discovery technologies that build upon my chemical biology background. Additionally, I now have a better sense of how products are developed as well as how to work in dynamic, interdisciplinary teams. I feel better equipped to flourish in the biotech industry.

Ginny Kincaid, Postdoctoral Researcher
Ginny Kincaid

As I wrapped up a Biochemistry Ph.D. studying mycobacterial cell wall assembly, I became increasingly interested in jobs within the biotech industry. Looking at available positions, I was unsure how to get my foot in the door, considering I had no prior industry experience. By attending networking events within my graduate program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I made contacts with several Promega R&D scientists that directed me to postdoctoral openings in the Advanced Technologies Group (ATG). As I learned more about the program, I realized the unique opportunities that ATG presented as a launching platform for a career in industry. ATG inhabits research space that is exploratory in nature, but adapted to the focused, fast-pace of a corporation, creating an environment that feels like a hybrid of academia and industry. I was impressed by the repertoire of bioluminescence-based technologies that have emerged from ATG, but also drawn in by the emphasis on publication and collaboration within the postdoctoral program.

In my first year at Promega, my experiences as a postdoctoral researcher have been extremely positive. I have gained expertise in protein engineering, learning to use cutting-edge instrumentation that includes automation and robotics. Additionally, regular meetings and presentations have pushed me to continue to develop communications skills. The independence I’ve been given to drive my project has allowed me to cultivate new confidence and competencies as a scientist. In my remaining time at Promega, I plan to publish my postdoctoral work and present at an international conference. I am confident that the postdoctoral program at Promega has prepared me exceptionally well for a future career as a research scientist in the biotech industry.

Kristin Riching, Senior Research Scientist
Kristin Riching

As a graduate student in the biomedical engineering program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I studied the influence of the physical and mechanical properties of collagen matrices on breast cancer cell migration. My project combined many different elements including cell biology, mechanics of materials, fluidics, and computational biology to develop several new approaches for monitoring cell migration in 3D aligned matrices. The most exciting aspects of this work, for me, were not the resulting biological discoveries, but the development of the tools that enabled them. This is primarily what led me to pursue a career in industry, and Promega in particular, with its rich history in providing new and better tools to solve problems in biology.

Starting as a postdoc could not have been a better way for me to transition into a role as a Sr. Scientist. It gave me the opportunity to learn and apply the technologies developed by Promega as part of a research project, establish connections with other R&D scientists, and exposed me to the realm of product development before taking the reins as the lead scientist on a commercial project. While the research I did as both a graduate student and a postdoc is very different from the work I do now, my current role relies heavily on many of the skills I learned along the way. I now work as part of a team focused on new and innovative ways to characterize protein function in living cells. Several assays we developed for studying protein degradation have enabled a critical understanding of the dynamic and complex mechanisms at play, previously not possible with traditional approaches!

Interested in a research position at Promega? Look for openings