Academia and Industry Intersect at MCB Industrial Affiliates Program (IAP) Symposium

What happens when academia and industry come together to share their passion for innovation and discovery? You get bold new ideas with the potential to transform outcomes for our health, environment, and economy. This synergy was sparked at the MCB Industrial Affiliates Program (IAP) inaugural symposium on September 22, 2017, with inspirational speakers, an engaging poster session, and rewarding scientific exchange.

The symposium featured welcome talks by campus leadership and MCB faculty including the Dean of the Biological Sciences, Professor Michael Botchan, MCB Co-Chair Professor Nipam Patel, and MCB Professor and HHMI Investigator Robert Tjian. Presentations from IAP founding member companies Agenovir, Amgen, NGM Biopharmaceuticals and Thermo Fisher Scientific showcased the companies’ exciting developments, future directions and career opportunities for students and postdocs. The interactive poster session highlighted the research of our next generation of scientific leaders and represented a breadth of MCB research projects ranging from genome editing to modeling metastasis. The 16 poster presenters included outstanding undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, whose work ignited engaging scientific conversations between our industry program sponsors and the MCB community.

Industry presenters from left to right included Dr. Simon Cawley (Thermo Fisher Scientific), Dr. Jin-Long Chen (NGM Biopharmaceuticals), Dr. Bolyn Hubby (Agenovir) & Dr. Bill Richards (Amgen). Photo credit: Peg Skorpinski

Our industry partners shared their excitement for the promising partnerships between their companies and the MCB community. For some, the connections were even deeper as they were once students here too. As Dr. Jin-Long Chen, MCB alumnus and Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of NGM Biopharmaceuticals stated, "UC Berkeley is where I learned about scientific vision and the need for boldness. I was once told by my own teachers that I was not there to read the text book, but to learn how to write the next chapter.  I am so excited to partner with MCB and help provide young researchers with an opportunity to blaze their own scientific paths." 

Dr. Jin-Long Chen and MCB undergraduate student Bianca Filart discussing her research during the poster session. Photo credit: Peg Skorpinski

Enthusiasm from students and postdocs mirrored that of the industrial partners. This symposium, and the MCB Industrial Affiliates Program in general, is going beyond typical professional development opportunities to offer UC Berkeley scientists at all career stages with a unique opportunity to build direct connections with innovative companies. Brian Castellano, a 5th year MCB graduate student and one of the poster presenters at the symposium said, “The symposium gave me an opportunity to discuss my research with biotech representatives ranging from startups to tech giants. Now I have insights into what the companies are looking for, and how I might fit within their workforce.”

MCB graduate student Brian Castellano engaging in scientific exchange with Dr. Bolyn Hubby, Chief Scientific Officer at Agenovir. Photo credit: Peg Skorpinski

MCB Department Co-Chairs David Drubin and Nipam Patel concluded “We are very excited to strengthen our ties to industry through MCB’s Industrial Affiliates Program. This is a win-win proposition for MCB’s students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty, and for our industrial partners.”

To learn more about the IAP program or participate in future events, please visit our website at