Joseph Paulson '15

JPaulsonPicPosition: Statistical Scientist, Genentech
Thesis: Normalization and differential abundance analysis of metagenomic biomarker-gene surveys
Advisor: Mihai Pop and Héctor Corrada Bravo
Application Area (during AMSC studies): Genomics / Computational Biology

What is your current position? What do you enjoy about it?
I actually just left academia to try out industry and I am pleasantly surprised. I was offered a few academic positions with generous start-up packages and got a NIH K-25 award, but I was more excited by the potential impact that I could have at a large biotech company like Genentech. They are working on developing the next generation of immunotherapies and are building such exciting work; to be able to help deliver impact in people's lives and bring potential therapies to patients in need has been a thrill these last few months.

What are your favorite memories of your graduate school experience?
I loved the people that I met in graduate school. I am still friends with many of them. In fact, I work and was recruited by one of my lab/house/AMC/mates (Kwame Okrah - '15 AMSC, AS). Late nights in the Math building, in CBCB (center for bioinformatics and computational biology). Living in the AMSC house on 37th street and just the amazing learning and extra-curricular experiences are really what made those years some of the best.

What do you think the best parts of AMSC are?
Other than the cohort of students selected, it has to be the professors. I don't say this as if it's a pitch for AMSC, but being that AMSC has so many affiliate professors it really is amazing the opportunities to focus on whatever interests someone has and learn from so many experts. 

What advice would you give to current students?
Explore your interests. Use the time to really learn about different opportunities. Also, don't forget to make use of the ERC (CRC or whatever the gym is called now) and the many other facilities open to the student population at Maryland. Something always important, but people are shy to mention it - grad school is always a trying time (sometimes just the time-period can be tough) mentally. Maryland has great health services that students can access for free.