Where do you attend college?
The University of Florida.
What degree/certificate(s) do you hold?
I have a Bachelor's degree and I am currently working on my Master's degree at the University of Florida.
I completed the BACE (Biotechnician Assistant Credentialing Exam) during my senior year at Spanish River High School. The BACE is an industry-recognized exam designed to assess core skills and knowledge sets identified by industry, and aligned with the performance standards in many biotechnology programs.
What do you do for your job?
I have been working on creating a developmental atlas with nanoCT data. Nano CT is is a nanoscale 3D X-ray microscope used for 3D imaging. Nanotomograpy is a high-resolution imaging technique that uses X-rays to create cross-sections of a 3D object. These data can be used to recreate a virtual model. My project involves collecting specimens, contrast-staining the specimens, CT scanning them, and virtually segmenting out the organs of these specimens.
Most of my time is spent conducting virtual analysis of the specimen segmentations. Soon, I will be analyzing single-cell RNA sequencing data for another project, so my days will also involve analyzing RNA sequencing data through bioinformatics techniques.
What are some techniques you commonly use?
Nanotomography, staining, analyzing image data, bioinformatics, microscopy.
What advice would you give someone who is interested in a biotech career?
Obtain the BACE credential.
Earning the BACE credential gave me an advantage in my initial stages of both looking for a lab as well as working in a lab. I already had a basic understanding of many lab techniques (both how to conduct these techniques as well as what they do/why we use them), and that made me a better candidate for undergraduate research positions. I think the aspect of my academic/career path that the BACE credential most helped me with was simply learning about opportunities in the Biotech field. Before joining the Biotechnology Academy and earning the BACE credential, I hadn't heard much about biotechnology in general. Earning the BACE opened new doors in terms of the potential opportunities I was thinking about for my future. If it weren't for BACE, I don't think I would've even known that I could conduct research as a freshman undergraduate.
What is the best thing about your job?
The thing I like most about my job is how we're using cutting-edge techniques to provide important information for the world. Even as an undergraduate, I felt like an integral part of our team.