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What's a Boost for Getting an Academic Job? Industry Experience


WashU's Li Ding says a stint in industry helped shape her research focus and move her along in academia.

Between her postdoc and her current position as a research instructor at the Washington University in St. Louis's genome center, Li Ding did a stint in industry that helped change the focus of her research.

During her postdoc in Suzanne Pfeffer's lab at Stanford University, Ding studied the genes involved in vascular transport. In particular, she focused on Trp47, a protein responsible for trafficking magnesium phosphate receptors from the endosome to the transcardial network. She worked on identifying all the other proteins associated with Trp47.

Then, she started at Insight Genomics, where she began to work in cancer. Ding worked on in silico discovery of druggable genes. "I did a lot of EST and microarray analysis to identify genes with differential expression patterns in different cancer types," she says. "I think from there, I started to become interested in cancer research."

"It helped me to move into my current position," Ding adds. Based on her previous research into understanding differential gene expression in different cancer types, she now leads the medical genomics group at the WashU genome center. "I think my industry experience really helped me," she says.

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