Saturday, June 23, 2007

Photo and career update from alumnus Phillip Chu

Phillip Chu graduated with a Masters degree in 1997. Below is message that he wrote describing his career path after leaving UCR and providing advice to current students. It was nice to see him at the Annual Student Symposium yesterday.

Sorry for the delayed follow up from our conversation from a few months ago. Things have been very busy with work and family which keeps me out of trouble. As per our conversation, I am writing to give an update on everything that has been happening since my matriculation from UC Riverside. After working at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Dr. Philip Koeffler’s lab for a year, I decided to spread my wings a bit and go into the business side of the medical industry in sales. Any one who knows me shouldn’t be surprised since it is well known that as much as I love research and the sciences, I was never a very good researcher or scientist. This was a fortuitous turn in my life as I found my true calling in life as a sales person. I start with Merck Pharma and worked there for 3.5 years as a pharma rep calling on physicians’ offices and promoted to a specialists position focusing on the growing asthma marketplace. After Merck, I returned to the sciences with a position at Sigma-Aldrich in sales as a Life Science Specialist. This kept me entertained for another 3 years after which I went to work for Applied Biosystems selling capital equipment into research labs and genome centers. About 75% of all the sequencers in the Southern California basin that were installed in the last 5 years were from my efforts including several at UC Riverside. After 3 years (anyone see a trend here?) I decided to jump out of the big boats of large companies and pursued a position with a start up company based in Toronto called Visualsonics. The transition to working in a small company was everything I hoped for – dynamic work environment, exciting technology, and the passion of working with a group of brilliant people all focused on a single goal of making the company successful. I also learned about the darker side of working with small companies as well as this adventure lasted just about a year. They re-organized the sales force cutting about 30% of the personnel for cost containment considerations in a push to go public. I was one of the casualties. But everything works out in the end and I am now with Nimblegen, another small, vibrant company based out of Madison, WI. They were just purchased by Roche Applied Sciences as a result of our hard work growing the business in a very competitive microarray marketplace with very entrenched players.
During this adventure of professional development, I met my wife, May May. She is everything that I could have ever wished for in a woman – she puts up with me! Let me assure you, this is no small feat and requires the patience, virtue, and wisdom of a great woman. She even saw fit to allow me to pass along my bizarre genetic traits in 2 wonderful sons, ages 8 and 10. As a family, they are the anchor that keeps me sane/insane on a daily basis.
It has been an exciting path since my matriculation from the UCR ETOX program. I am thankful for the opportunity I had to train in the ETOX program at UCR and felt that the breadth and depth of the coursework prepared me well for my jobs. The multidisciplinary approach of the program exposed me to various aspects of science that I continue to touch upon on a daily basis. Please feel free to use this as a story that life does exist outside of the lab and that sometimes life takes you down paths you didn’t consider before. Be open to different opportunities to learn different ideas. The greatest discoveries have always utilized oblique angles to attack problems resulting in innovative discoveries and wildly successful products.

Best wishes,

Phillip Chu
Class of ’97, M.S.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Welcome to Sharon Walker, our newest Program faculty member

We would like to extend a warm welcome to Sharon Walker, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering who has recently become a member of the Environmental Toxicology Graduate Program faculty. Sharon has been at UCR for several years. She received her PhD in Environmental Engineering from Yale University in 2004. Sharon's research interests lie at the intersection of physical, chemical, and biological processes in natural and engineered aquatic systems. Recently she has started investigating the movement of nanoparticles in the environment. We are very pleased to have her in the Program

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Kristy Richardson Selected for Departmental TA Award

Congratulations to Kristy Richardson who was recently selected to receive the 2006-07 Outstanding Teaching Assistant award from the Department of Environmental Sciences.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Cary Coburn Selected for Departmental TA Award

Our congratulations to Cary Coburn who was recently selected to receive the 2006-07 Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award from the Department of Cell Biology & Neurosciences.

Talbot Leads Successful Stem Cell Facility Grant Proposal

Prue Talbot is the Principal Investigator on a successful $2.7 million grant to establish a stem cell facility at UCR. We congratulate Prue and her co-investigators. For more information, see the UCR news release by clicking here

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Photo of alumnus Alvaro Alvarado and his daughter

After working for the federal EPA in Philadelphia and Washington, Alvaro Alvarado (Ph.D. 1998) returned to California and now works for the California Air Resources Board in Sacramento. Attached is a photo of Alvaro and his daughter at Lake Tahoe earlier this year.

Photo of alumnus Eric Kwok and his two children

Erik Kwok (Ph.D. 1993) works for CalEPA in Sacramento doing risk assessments of pesticides. Congratulations are in order as he is a recent recipient of the D.A.B.T. Attached is a photo of Eric with his two children Amanda and Ryan.

Photo from alumna Krista Dobo

Krista Dobo received her Ph.D. in 1996 and continues to work in the Genetic Toxicology group at Pfizer in Groton, Connecticut. Attached is a picture of Krista and Kevin's three children Patrick (13), Shawn (7) and Caleigh (4). Patrick has changed a bit since he left Riverside.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Photo of Heidi Bethel's wedding

Attached is a photo of Heidi Bethel and Kris Chillar at their wedding that took place on July 29, 2006 in Carlsbad, California. We are happy for them as they begin their new life together.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Photograph of Jennifer Sasaki at her wedding

Jennifer Sasaki (Ph.D, 1996) works in Brussels, Belgium as a Director of Toxicology for the Johnson and Johnson affiliated company Tibotec. She recently got married in Hawaii to Paul Van Hummelen (who, I might add, is a great guy). Above is a photo of them at their wedding that took place earlier this year. I believe that they also had another ceremony in Brussels last Saturday and the Krista Dobo, Maik Schuler and Naomi Rodriguez may have attended. [Follow-up note: Apparently the ceremony in Belgium was a great success. Below is a picture of Paul and Jennifer leaving on a decorated motorcycle from the ceremony in Brussels.] We are very happy for Jennifer and Paul and wish them the best of success.

Photo of Ling Wang's two children

Attached is a photograph of Ling Wang's two children, first grader Amy and 2-year old Ethan at the Cherry Blossom Festival this April in Washington, D.C. Ling is currently doing research and development for BD Technologies in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

Photo from alumna Patricia (Phousongphouang) Rowley

Attached is a photo of Patricia (Phousongphouang) Rowley (PhD, 2002) with her husband Jon and their son Oden enjoying a day in the park.

News and photo from alumnus Huiming Gong

Huiming Gong graduated with a Masters degree in 2003. He is now working in Beijing, China as a Program Officer on a new project focusing on promoting sustainable development. They are actively preparing for next year's Olympic Games which will be held in Beijing. At Janet Arey's request, Huiming provided the accompanying photo from 2005.