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Biosciences with Alice McConnell of Speragen

Season 1, Ep. 5

This week host Dan Dillard is discussing lives impacted by rare genetic neurological diseases with Alice McConnell of Speragen. Alice is the Founder of Speragen, Inc. A niche pharmaceutical company focused on developing therapies for ultra-rare pediatric neurometabolic disorders. Prior to founding Speragen, Alice worked as a Civil Engineer and has a deep personal connection to her work in biosciences.


Learn more about the ACC Bioscience Incubator:

https://sites.austincc.edu/incubator/


Learn more about Speragen:

http://www.speragen.com/


Learn more about founding_media:

https://foundingmedia.com/

More Episodes

12/9/2022

A Bioscience Playground

Season 2, Ep. 8
Former interns Jolie Muren and Liz Hampton both joined Austin Community College after deciding that their original educational paths weren’t suited for them. Jolie shares how she started out pursuing nursing, but quickly learned that she loved science and the creative problem-solving it entailed. She was drawn to the ACC Bioscience Incubator because she was able to get hands-on experience and jump into ‘doing science,’ instead of just learning about it. She shares how Nancy encouraged and supported the interns to try new things and how ABI gave her diverse experiences in all types of biotech processes and instruments. Liz had her own unique trajectory, seeking out ACC after moving to Austin specifically because it was a biotech epicenter and she knew that biotech was the industry she wanted to work in. When she visited ACC she saw signs for the ACC Bioscience Incubator, and decided to pursue the biotech program at ACC because of the internship opportunities at ABI. She shares Jolie’s experience that she was able to try new things and “play” with technology that she would never have encountered in a classroom or anywhere else, and both Jolie and Liz share some of the projects they were able to work on during their time as ABI interns. Our guests talk about how their ABI internships helped them in job interviews and how the skills and hands-on experience they gained during their internships transferred to their current roles at diagnostic companies. Beyond the knowledge and experience they learned at ABI and ACC, Jolie and Liz also talk about their personality traits that make them a good fit for their current roles. Both agree that perseverance and a desire to get to the bottom of a problem no matter what are helpful traits for aspiring scientists to possess. They close out the conversation talking about how many COVID tests they’ve had to take as part of their jobs working in labs developing new testing methods, and Jolie and Liz give their advice to folks who are interested in bioscience, stressing that no matter where your interests lie, bioscience and biotech companies have a role for every type of person out there. Learn more about Angstrom Bio. Learn more about Nuclein. Learn more about ACC Bioscience Incubator. This is a founding_media podcast.
11/11/2022

Fancy Plumbers and Quality Control

Season 2, Ep. 7
In part 2 of this conversation, Mike and Amanda talk about what they’re doing now in the job force. Mike is in Downstream Processing at XBiotech, and Amanda secured a new job recently in quality control and assurance at National Resilience in Florida. While they don’t work together, they are familiar with each other’s roles because both roles exist in both companies, and so they give us unique insight about what each person’s job is like from the perspective of having that job, and interacting with that job. XBiotech manufactures and researches medications, and more specifically antibody therapies. This means they find people with a resistance to an illness or affliction and use the human matter with those antibodies to create medicine. Mike uses the ACTA Machine we learned about last episode to filter and refine a big vat of material that contains the antibody in it - although he describes what he does as a “fancy plumber” since it is so dependent on the instrument itself! Amanda’s career began at Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies in Texas, and she has since moved to Florida to pursue a new opportunity at National Resilience. In both companies she found her niche in Quality Control and Quality Assurance where she audits documents and processes to ensure that everyone is following regulations and best practices. Mike and Amanda confess that they would not want to work in the other person’s job, but that their respective roles fit their unique personalities. They explain the many different roles in a biotechnology company and how there is a position fit for every type of person. They also vouch for the importance of finding a job that fits your personality and your preferences, in addition to fitting your passion for science. Mike and Amanda hold a discussion about the business side of working in biotech, especially for newer Biotech companies or companies that contract out their facilities, and close out the podcast episode with advice for aspiring scientists and those interested in bioscience careers. Learn more about XBiotech. Learn more about ACC Bioscience Incubator. This is a founding_media podcast.
10/14/2022

Troubleshooting, Hands-On Experience, and Vegetable Beef Soup

Season 2, Ep. 6
Former interns Mike Delisi and Amanda Brown join the podcast in conversation together because they interned at ABI at the same time! They share their unique life experiences that led them to Austin Community College, and explain how they came across the ACC Bioscience Incubator during their time studying bioscience. One experience that both Mike and Amanda share is that ABI gave them critical hands-on experience that helped them get their first jobs after graduation. This exposure to a laboratory environment and the instruments and processes within that environment lent them the confidence they needed to try new things outside of the classroom in professional settings. Critical thinking, problem-solving, and being comfortable making mistakes are not skills that are easily acquired in a classroom, and both former interns explain how ABI internships helped them hone these important attributes which gave them an edge in the job market. In addition to soft skills, ABI exposed Mike to the ACTA machine, an instrument that he uses today in his role in Downstream Processing at XBiotech. He and Amanda explain what an ACTA Machine is, and how it is used in the process of manufacturing medication at XBiotech. This hands-on experience earned during their internships at ABI plus the soft skills gained there combined with their Associate’s degrees helped secure their positions after graduation. Mike and Amanda point out that many of their colleagues have a Bachelor’s degree, but because of their experiences at ABI they were able to avoid possessing this “requirement” and instead compensate with real-life experience in laboratories. We close out part 1 with a conversation about how to secure job interviews after graduating, especially with an Associate’s degree, and Mike and Amanda share their tips for creating a resume that the bioscience companies in town can’t say no to. Learn more about XBiotech. Learn more about ACC Bioscience Incubator. This is a founding_media podcast.