Yvonne Klaue: KGI’s First Postdoctoral Professional Masters in Bioscience Management Graduate
Yvonne Klaue, Keck Graduate Institute's first graduate of its new Postdoctoral Professional Masters in Bioscience Management (PPM) program has come a long way—literally as well as figuratively.
As a child growing up in East Germany, Klaue couldn't have foreseen the distances she would travel. But following the reunification of Germany when Klaue was 14, "everything changed."
The more open society enabled Klaue, now 34, to spend a year as a high school exchange student in Southern Kentucky. Once she had completed her undergraduate degree in biology at the University of Kassel in Germany, Klaue went on to pursue a doctorate in molecular biology at the University of East Anglia in Norwich. While there, Klaue, a competitive volleyball player, met a fellow graduate student cum volleyball player. He was from Mexico and in the field of computer science. The two are now married and have an infant son, but Klaue says, "If it hadn't been for volleyball, we never would have met."
After completing their studies in England, Klaue's then-future husband asked if she would like to live in Mexico where he had been offered a job. "I'd never been anywhere in Latin America, and I think it's a good opportunity to know another culture by living there," she says. Without knowing a word of Spanish, Klaue shifted gears and moved to Mexico City and found a postdoctoral position at a lab in Cuernavaca.
Fast forward another year, and Klaue's intended was offered a job in California. She remained in Mexico to finish out her contract, then made her way to California where she found another postdoctoral position at the University of California, Irvine.
While at UC-Irvine, Klaue's supervisor took a sabbatical, giving Klaue a taste of what it was like to manage a research lab. "I realized that, as an academic, I didn't really have the tools to know how to do that," she says.
After learning about KGI and its new PPM program, Klaue realized, "This was the missing piece I hadn't covered in my previous jobs."
Klaue is exactly the type of student KGI had in mind when it instituted the PPM program. For postdoctoral fellows with backgrounds in science and engineering, the program is designed to help students acquire the business and management skills needed to pursue senior management positions within the life sciences industry or embark on entrepreneurial ventures that are intended to commercialize technologies developed in laboratories.
"The PPM program is a great fit for postdoctoral fellows who want to apply their science skills and knowledge to develop products and make them available to the people who need them most," says KGI President Sheldon M. Schuster.
For students like Klaue—"bright, articulate, and committed to the life sciences," according to Schuster—the PPM program, unique in this country, is the route to "exciting, new careers," especially in light of the waning numbers of government-funded research positions.
Klaue agrees. "Even if I remain in academia," she says, "I need to know how to bring a product to market."
As a member of the inaugural five-member PPM class, and as its first graduate, Klaue is enthusiastic about the opportunity she and her classmates have had to help design the program. Through KGI connections, many networking opportunities have been made available-with KGI students and faculty, industry-wide guest speakers, and KGI supporters.
"The classes I took and the people I met opened up new insights for me into areas I hadn't considered before," says Klaue, who is interested in pursuing a career in life sciences program management.
Klaue should be well on her way to realizing that goal, according to Schuster. "Yvonne won't have any difficulty finding just what she's looking for," he says. "We couldn't have asked for a better first graduate of this unique program."
By Carol Sorgen