Jason Condon , '04
Major: Biomedical engineering
Title: CMC Project Manager
Field of Work: HealthcareNon-Medical
What do you do?
I am responsible for the supply of biopharmaceuticals in our clinical trials at Vaccinex, a small biotech company located in Rochester, NY. I oversee the manufacturing, testing and stability of our products. I investigate any deviations or changes that arise in the manufacturing and distribution processes. I also work on planning and forecasting drug demand to supply our clinical trials.
How did you become interested in your field?
Since high school I have been interested in biology, physics and engineering. That is why I chose biomedical engineering at the U of R. As an undergraduate in BME, I worked in a laboratory performing cell culture experiments. I gained very valuable skills that translated directly to a career in biopharmaceutical R&D and manufacturing. This career choice was great for me because my ultimate goal was to help improve the quality of life for humanity. At one point I wanted to be a doctor, but decided I could have a larger impact if I went into biotechnology.
What, if any, additional education (degree, discipline, institution) have you earned?
Master of Biotechnology at the University of Pennsylvania.
What skills are vital for success in your field?
Technical knowledge (bioprocess engineering, cell culture, protein purification), time management, interpersonal and team-oriented skills, project management tools such as building/managing timelines, action item tracking, meeting management.
What experiences, internships, study, or previous jobs helped you get to your current position?
The biggest contributor to getting me into the biopharmaceutical/biotechnology field was being a volunteer lab assistant in Dr. JH David Wu's lab. Dr. Wu is a chemical engineering professor at the University of Rochester. In his lab I worked on cell culture and other molecular biology techniques that are commonly used in biotechnology. That experience gave me the credibility to be hired into my first job in a major pharmaceutical company and I have built on that experience ever since. Thanks, Dr. Wu!
What advice do you have for current students interested in your field?
Get as much experience as an undergraduate/graduate student as you can. Even entry-level jobs in biotechnology/biopharmaceuticals require some hands-on experience in cell culture, filtration, or protein purification. Use your vast resources at the U of R River Campus and Medical Center to get the experience you want and need. It may take volunteering a few hours a week, but it will be well worth the effort. Also, use your summer breaks to get internships at the major biotech/biopharmaceutical companies. They usually pay very well and provide you with awesome research and development experience.