Get inspired by what our UC Davis genetics and genomics majors are doing in their careers. (Since these alumni were at UC Davis, the name of the major has changed from “genetics” to “genetics and genomics.”)
We’re looking for more contributors. If you earned your undergraduate degree from UC Davis and would like to share your career story, contact blog editor Susanne Rockwell at email@example.com.
Scientist in the Applied Genomics Department of Helix
Erick Loomis, ’07 B.S., ’13 Ph.D. in genetics
Although it is often said a top-tier science education is cut-throat and extremely competitive, for Erick the experience as an undergraduate and graduate student at UC Davis was open and welcoming. He says achievement in science at UC Davis is based on individual success and the ability to work effectively with other people in labs and science classes.
“The breadth of my genetics training has been especially useful for finding a job first as a postdoc in cancer epigenetics at Imperial College, and now as an applied genomics scientist at Helix,” Erick says. (At Imperial College London, Erick was a postdoc in cancer epigenomics, learning how DNA damage from platinum-based chemotherapy drugs might induce changes contributing to drug resistance in ovarian cancer.)
Helix is a company focused on human DNA research. This startup partners with other companies and organizations — including National Geographic and its Genographic project — to bring people information about themselves.
Erick evaluates and develops consumer products based on genetic data. These products answer questions about health, physical traits, populations and ancestry. Erick’s multidisciplinary job mixes statistics, genomics and research. He must also communicate with science and non-science audiences.
Regulatory Affairs Professional, Agios Pharmaceuticals
Christina Baladi ’09 genetics, minor in nutrition science
The goal of Agios Pharmaceuticals, based in Boston, is to make a difference by helping patients find medicines and therapies that will change their lives. Christina is responsible for bringing new therapies for rare genetic disorders to the marketplace as quickly as possible.
She initially planned to use her genetics major and nutrition minor to help fortify crops to address world hunger.
“However, as I got more exposure to working in labs through my internships, I wasn’t entirely sure that lab work was for me,” she says. “That’s when I began my search for a career opportunity that would allow me to work outside of the lab, but still make an impact in the lives of others.”
During her last year at UC Davis, Christina got an internship in regulatory affairs at Genentech Inc. There she immersed herself in regulatory intelligence work, building a database of precedent approvals for different therapies. “This allowed me to build a solid foundation to understand what health authorities considered as the basis for drug approvals,” she says.