Molecular Biology - Senior Research Associate

We talked with Desiree', a Senior Research Associate at Bioo Scientific Corp. Desiree' works with immunochemistry and molecular biology. She produces antibodies, purifies these proteins, and conducts experiments to see how well the antibodies work.

What biotechnology program did you (or do you) attend? 
Austin Community College

What degree / certificate did you obtain (or are you working towards)?
Advanced Certificate in Molecular Biotechnology

What you do for your job?
I do research on grants to develop products and technologies for a small biotech company. I also do services as necessary.

What are some techniques that you commonly use?

  • Flow Cytometry,
  • FPLC,
  • IHC,
  • RNA extraction,
  • qPCR,
  • cell culture/transfection,
  • acrylamide/agarose gel electrophoresis,
  • dialysis,
  • lyophilization

Describe an average day:
In a normal week I may perform several different experiments depending on where we are in the research and development process. You have to research to develop, so I tend to spend about half of my time researching information, putting together protocols, ordering supplies and getting quotes, and meeting with my boss about what I’m planning to do.

The other half of my time is spent performing the experiment, analyzing the outcome, documenting what happened and again talking to my boss about the results and next steps.

When I come in on an average day I check my email, ready my protocol and start an experiment. There are usually several incubation periods with almost all forms of biotechnology research and these allow you to perform other tasks such as ordering, documenting and research. During the rest of the day I may do any number of tasks. I could scale up any number of antibody producing cell lines for injection into mice for the purpose of producing ascites fluid containing large amounts of the antibody.

On another day I will do FPLC antibody purification and flow cytometry experiments to determine the usefulness of the antibody for conjugation. During the next week I will conjugate that lot of antibody using our T3 antibody conjugation kit and determine the conjugation efficiency using gel electrophoresis. The following week I will use the conjugated antibody and an siRNA of choice in a cell culture knock out transfection. I will then do the RNA extractions and real time PCR to analyze performance of the antibody as a delivery agent.

I learned the basics for most of these techniques at ACC and was able to build on them at Bioo Scientific.

What advice would you give someone who is interested in a biotech career?
Get the right training. Hands on training is much more useful than just learning theories. Learn to organize your experiments and learn to document properly, your research is nothing if it is not documented and repeatable.

Is there anything you'd like to add?
Research and development are fun for the right type of individual. If you are the type of person who can learn from their mistakes and move forward with a positive attitude you will fit well in this industry.

  • Injecting a mouse
  • Flow cytometry
  • Doing Real Time PCR
  • Using transfection to measure delivery of siRNA