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January 10th, 2018


IndEx: Meet the Alumni Series

Transitioning from UMass Chan into Industry


Aditya Venkatesh, Ph.D.

Aditya Venkatesh, PhD

“The best advice I have for you is to put yourself out there!”

“I am grateful to my mentor, my peers, and all the faculty and staff at UMass Chan Medical School. They modeled me to become the scientist I am today”, proudly states Aditya Venkatesh, PhD, a former graduate student in Claudio Punzo’s lab atthe Ophthalmology and Gene Therapy Center.

Adityais now a Scientist at Idera Pharmaceuticals in Cambridge, MA. "I am primarily doing bench research but also getting exposed to the regulatory, clinical and business development aspect of industry. My portfolio gives me an all-rounded perspective of the drug development process”. 

You entered industry directly after graduating. Why not do a postdoc first?

 I was confident that I did not want to pursue a career in academic research and, therefore, the idea of a postdoc seemed redundant to me. I acknowledge that one could develop new skills and potentially enter industry after a few years of postdoctoral training. However, regardless of whether you do a postdoc or not, I realized that getting your first industry job was always going to be a challenge. Given this uncertainty, I decided to invest time and energy in looking for industry positions right after graduation. My advice to anyone seeking to do a postdoc is to have a defined plan on what you really want out of the experience and not think of it as a default next step after a PhD.

Did you find resources at UMass or outside that eased your transition into industry?

 A stint at The Technology Transfer Office at UMass and the interaction with my mentors were the first steps that made me aware of alternative careers for PhDs. On a regular basis, I attended networking events on alternative career paths in Boston, where I made connections that were very helpful for my future career in industry.