GRADUCon 2020 - Industry Research Careers in Biotech



How can you leverage your UChicago technical training in the physical and biological sciences to launch into a career in the biotech industry? And what type of work could you find there? Our panelists will share their experiences in the transition from academia to the biotech industry, including how to succeed in the application process and the cultural differences that they discovered once they got there.


Bryan Clay, Principal Scientist, Pfizer (PhD, Immunology, University of Chicago, 2008)

Bryan received his B.S. in Biological Sciences from DePaul University and a Ph.D. in Immunology from the University of Chicago.  During his time at the University of Chicago, he researched costimulatory signals into T cells and dendritic cells that augment Th2 differentiation and Th2-mediated lung inflammation in Anne Sperling’s laboratory.  He is currently a principal scientist at Pfizer Department of Cancer Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics. In this position, he researches the effectiveness, mechanism, and safety of novel therapeutic cancer vaccines and oncolytic viruses.  In his tenure at Pfizer, Bryan has used his experience in T cell research to investigate how various cancer vaccine platforms, monoclonal antibodies, and small molecule immunomodulators can augment the anti-cancer cellular immune response topics and how adjuvants can influence the development of T follicular helper cells among others.

Mauricio Cortes, Senior Scientist, Cellarity (PhD, Biochemistry, University of Chicago, 2007; Postdoc, Glycobiology, The University of Chicago, 2010; Postdoc, Hematology, Harvard Medical School, 2016)

Mauricio Cortes obtained his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Chicago under the supervision of Dr. Nancy Schwartz. His PhD research focused on elucidating the role of chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans in Hedgehog signaling. He pursued postdoctoral studies at Harvard Medical School identifying novel modulators of hematopoietic stem cell homeostasis under the supervision of Dr. Trista North. Upon completing his training he joined CRISPR Therapeutics where he played an integral role in the team that led to the first CRISPR clinical trial for the ex-vivo gene editing of human hematopoietic stem cells to treat sickle cell disease. Currently Mauricio is a team leader at Cellarity, a novel biotech startup who is leveraging artificial intelligence and single cell biology to develop new therapeutics through understanding of cellular behaviors.

Pavel Elkin, Senior Scientist 1, Chemistry, AbbVie (PhD, Chemistry, University of Chicago, 2018)

Pavel is a research scientist in the Oncology Synthesis Group, part of the AbbVie Oncology Department, which he joined in June 2018. Prior to joining AbbVie, Pavel received his PhD in Organic Chemistry from the University of Chicago Chemistry Department, studying under the guidance of Prof. Viresh Rawal. Pavel was born and raised in Russia. After receiving his B.S. degree in synthetic chemistry from D. Mendeleyev University of Chemical Technology of Russia he moved to US to pursue his PhD in chemistry at the University of Chicago. During his graduate studies, Pavel took part in several research projects, including total synthesis of indolidine-based alcaloids, developing novel synthetic methodology and a collaborative project in medicinal chemistry with the group of Prof. Abraham Palmer. In his current role at AbbVie, Pavel is responsible for designing and executing efficient and scalable synthetic routes towards potent drug-like molecules, preparing initial active pharmaceutical compound lots for animal studies and exploring the structure-activity relationship in the novel promising drug candidates.


Abby Stayart, Director, myChicago Options In Career Empowerment (myCHOICE) Program (PhD, Genetics, University of Chicago, 2012)


Please register for the event. Zoom details will be shared with registrants a day prior to the event.