An interview with Ryan King, Madison Area Technical College Biotech Program graduate
1. What do you currently do (what is your job title/company)?
I currently work at Aldevron as an Associate Scientist 1. I provide assistance with making buffers, packing columns, and writing methods for the AKTAs, using a spectrophotometer to test concentrations, doing Tangential Flow Filtration and doing aseptic dispenses. Also, there have been opportunities to assist in improving purification methods involving scaling up and getting a high protein purity during certain parts of projects.
2. Where did you attend college and how has the Biotech program/certificate helped you in your current position?
I attended the Biotech program at Madison College, WI. The program prepared me for most of the tasks that I can get assigned at Aldevron by doing a lot of aseptic labs, protein purifications methods, working with similar equipment and software, and just feeling comfortable with the basics of my job at Aldevron.
Some of the basic skills are doing c1v1=c2v2 math problems, following procedures involving different E. coli growth methods, understanding the processes in having a living thing produce a product using different DNA plasmids, and just getting comfortable with a biotech laboratory with the different courses at MATC.
3. What does a typical work day look like for you? (What are some of the common techniques/experiments you use?)
A typical workday starts at 8 am with an overlook of the day and planning for any project meetings during the day. Once I have my plan, I head to the room where we make buffers to see if anybody has requested buffers. I also check on current dishware and if there is a need to clean dishes in the different areas in the lab. Around noon, I check in with my co-workers to see how their day is going to see if they need help with anything or if there are any possibilities to shadow them on new techniques, I am not fully comfortable with yet. Getting to the end of the day I finish up any paperwork and emails I have to complete, usually leaving at around 4:30.
When I am on projects:
Sometimes the week could start off on lysis where I assist the lead scientist in using homogenizing equipment to bust the cells open and separate the soluble and the insoluble parts of the lysate. As I get to the middle part of the week, I help with packing columns using different types of resins. There are also a lot of tests involving the concentrations and purity during this time. As the week comes to an end, I help with Tangential Flow Filtration, diluting the proteins to the right concentrations and dispensing the final material into different sized tubes. But these tasks could be arranged in a different order depending on the lead scientist’s needs during the project.
The most common techniques I use throughout projects are different math formulas, running SDS-Page gels, homogenizing E. coli, and working aseptically in hoods to filter and dispense the final product.
4. What advice would you give someone who is interested in a biotech career?
The best advice I can give someone that is interested in a biotech career is just try it out. If you think you will enjoy a job in a laboratory setting, the courses Madison College offers will definitely build your abilities to work in any kind of lab you are interested in.