This series highlights ABPDU alumni. We interview different alumni to learn more about their career path and what makes them passionate about their work.
Chyi-Shin Chen joined ABPDU in 2015 as an intern, and later joined full time as a senior process engineer. Now, she is a researcher at a pharmaceutical company using data science to improve product development.
How did you become interested in science and engineering?
I chose to go into engineering because I thought engineering can be applied to real life very easily. Both my bachelor and master’s degrees were in chemical engineering. While I was completing my master’s at UC Berkeley, I started an internship at ABPDU. That was my first experience in fermentation.
Tell me about your experience at ABPDU.
As an intern, I was assisting the fermentation team, so I was able to see the variety of projects at ABPDU — both early phase as well as large scale projects. It was very important for me to learn the whole cycle of bioprocess development. After I joined full time, I started to learn more about project management — how to make schedules and ensure the project is on track.
While at ABPDU, I completed a data science certificate program at the UC Berkeley Extension. I was able to apply what I learned to my work – for example, I created a program that assisted with transporting data and visualizing fermentation profiles. I appreciated how my supervisors supported what I wanted to do.
What did you do after ABPDU?
I moved to Japan and completed my PhD, which focused on modeling and simulating chromatography-based purification processes. At ABPDU, I had been involved in product recovery processes, so that helped jump-start my PhD research.
I recently started a new position at a pharmaceutical company in Japan. Here, I’m doing modeling work to help improve the prediction of product yields. Using modeling, we can estimate the process time or determine if we can make adjustments to improve productivity and yield.
How has your experience at ABPDU helped you in your career?
One thing I really enjoyed about my experience at ABPDU was the diversity. My supervisors were all women, so I had real examples to learn from. That helped me a lot then, and it continues to help me in my career today.
Many people I worked with at ABPDU were from different countries and had different backgrounds, so I became used to working together with people in a very diverse environment. In my career now, it’s easier for me to be open and accepting to different viewpoints and ideas.