If you were to take a look at the educational and professional backgrounds of those apart of Celixir’s leadership – including its founders, board of directors and scientific advisory committee – you might be surprised by the variety you’d find.
Professor Sir Martin Evans, Celixir’s President, Chief Scientific Officer and co-founder, attended Christ’s College (a constituent college of the University of Cambridge) where he studied zoology, botany, chemistry and biochemistry. After graduating with a BA, he moved to University College London where he worked as a research assistant and graduated with a PhD. Not only did Sir Martin Evans isolate the first embryonic stem cells, he’s also published over 120 scientific papers and is the recipient of a Nobel Prize.
This, compared with Celixir’s Chief Executive Officer and other co-founder, Ajan Reginald, whose background is in both science and business. Ajan holds four degrees and is an alumni of Harvard Business School, University of Oxford, Kellogg Business School and University of London. After serving as the Global Head of Emerging Technologies for Roche Group Research, he moved on to the Business Development Director at Roche Pharma. Since, he’s helped develop Celixir’s breakthrough technologies including Heartcel and Tendoncel.
Of course, this is all to say that the path towards a career in regenerative medicine is not necessarily a linear one.
The Field is Growing
While – compared to other fields – regenerative medicine is in its infancy, technological advances, ever-increasing funding and high demand have made it grow quickly.
What’s especially exciting, though, isn’t that regenerative medicine is a growing market. Instead, it’s the virtually limitless possibilities in terms of what scientists and researchers can achieve with their work. As the world’s population ages and diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s remain untreatable, more and more people are looking towards this multidisciplinary field for answers to a number of medical questions.
Desired Interests, Skills and Expertise
Regenerative medicine attracts people across several different fields including engineering, business, molecular science, healthcare and even robotics. And, because regenerative medicine is focused so heavily on applying current (and creating future) technology to improve quality of life for patients, it’s an especially attractive field for those interested in actually making a difference.
Luckily, and as demonstrated by Ajan Reginald’s and Sir Martin Evans’ backgrounds, the skills learned in all of the fields mentioned above (engineering, business, molecular science, healthcare, robotics) can be applied to regenerative medicine. This is to say that functional expertise and not necessarily general knowledge about regenerative medicine is key. Imaging specialists, immunologists, bioengineers and transplant surgeons are all contributing to the advances being made, even if they don’t consider themselves specialists in regenerative medicine.
But, there are specific programs available at universities all over the world that act as a ‘direct’ gateway to regenerative medicine. That is to say that they focus on a specific segment of regenerative medicine, like tissue engineering.
Breaking Into the Industry
As mentioned, there is no linear path to break into regenerative medicine. But, there are a number of resources that can help.
If you’re a student, professors or other mentors within your university could provide networking opportunities. Alternatively, you could network at jobs fairs or other conferences like International Society for Stem Cell Research or World Congress on Regenerative Medicine. You can also apply to companies or universities directly.
Bear in mind that a career in regenerative can take a number of forms, from a research associate to lecturer to a project manager.