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Manisit Das is a fifth year PhD student in the Division of Pharmacoengineering and Molecular Pharmaceutics, in the Eshelman School of Pharmacy.

1. Tell us a little more about what you’re studying and what your research focuses on.

I am currently developing gene and immune therapies against cancers of the pancreas. Solid tumors such as pancreatic cancers pose a challenge to drug delivery. In my research, I focus on designing formulations that can circumvent the structural barriers in the tumor, allowing enrichment of drug in tumor tissues, and enable safe and effective antitumor response.

2. What are your general career interests or professional goals after graduate school?

After spending eight years doing academic biomedical research in the US, Taiwan, and India, I am interested in transitioning to the pharmaceutical industry where I can combine my subject matter expertise and my passion for science communication, learning and growing in an industrial drug development environment.

3. How has participating in the Graduate School’s professional development programs benefited your professional development? Is there a particular workshop or program that you found the most helpful?

The GRAD 725 class gave me a lot of helpful insights into curating job application materials and effectively researching an organization and career trajectories. I also enjoyed learning about business ethics in the class and developing a better understanding of ethical perspectives in professional settings.

4. Are there other steps you are taking now as a graduate student to prepare yourself for the job market/your industry?

I am conducting informational interviews and participating in networking events to prepare myself for industry. When I learn about resources or professional development opportunities someone used in the past to make them competitive for a specific career that I am interested in, I try to avail myself of those opportunities as well.

5. What do you wish you had known about professional development in your first year of graduate school?

That if you do not have industry experience, doing an internship can be helpful in easing a career transition from academia to industry. It is important to be mindful of that while selecting a thesis lab where you will have the option to access internship opportunities when the time comes and to establish expectations with your advisor.

6. Do you have any professional development or career planning advice to offer your fellow graduate students?

Start early and keep an open mind while exploring career opportunities. You may end up following a career trajectory you never even thought of or were aware of. Don’t burn any bridges – life changes, things happen, and we live in an extremely interconnected world.

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