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Marc Pollack: A Hybrid in the Making (Pharmaceutical Disc & Dev)
KGI’s Master of Bioscience program has something for everyone. Students seeking a career in the life sciences have easily found a fit within one of KGI’s five career focus tracks. The KGI curriculum strives to meet the needs and interests of every group of students, no matter how small. Marc Pollack, the sole student pursuing the Pharmaceutical Discovery and Development career focus track in the MBS class of 2011, shares his experience being in a class of his own.
Where the majority of students come to KGI to escape the lab bench, Marc is one of the handful of students who came to embrace it. Marc’s microbiology work at UC Davis provided him with some research experience with bacteria, molecular parasites, viruses, and some human cells. He continued on at KGI to work with yeast in an independent study and then on to stem cells during his summer internship as well as his Team Masters Project with Celgene. Continually building on to his technical skills and experiences, Marc hopes to step beyond his role in the lab and manage research at a higher level in order to play a larger role in delivering a product to the market.
As a result of sitting in the business courses offered at KGI, Marc’s interest in more managerial roles grew into a passion for a broader vision of pharmaceutical discovery and development.
“We’ve got this problem and we know this pathway. We also know what interacts with that pathway. How are we going to set it up so we can push this along and get it into clinical trials? I want to be the one to ensure that the process works to get a drug to market.”
Marc’s interests in the process lie in allocating research at earlier stages of the development process, managing clinical trials and basic concepts of drug development, and even working with investors and presenting business proposals in order to fund manufacturing and marketing once the drug is approved. Luckily, the interdisciplinary nature of the curriculum allows Marc to take courses in other focus tracks. This also allows for flexibility in creating an education plan tailored to his personal interests.
Outside of class, Marc is able to develop the communications skills required to be successful in bioscience management by participating in Writing and Editing for Professional Publication (WEPP) as well as heading a student organization of his own, Debate Club.
KGI attracts a spectrum of students who are all very passionate about the life sciences. Some prefer to approach science from a business perspective, others prefer to stay closer to the traditional bench work, and everyone else falls somewhere in between. As students like Marc demonstrate, your preferences can even change throughout your time at KGI. Fortunately, there is something for every group of students no matter how small.
By Christina Lai (MBS '11)