Friday Seminars

Students enjoying a class

DEB294/ECH 294 - Current Progress in Biotechnology Seminars (a.k.a. "Friday Seminars")

Offered on Fridays at 11:00am during the Fall, Winter and Spring academic quarters, this seminar course is designed for STEM doctoral students interested in biotech innovation and industry careers.  The seminar is also open to the campus community and members of the public.  Seminars will be held in person in 1022 Green Hall unless otherwise indicated on the schedule below. If interested in attending a Zoom seminar listed below, but not officially enrolled in the DEB294/ECH294 course, please contact Program Manager Jacki Balderama (jbalderama at ucdavis dot edu) for the registration link. 

Winter Quarter 2023 Seminar Schedule

Note: Seminar titles will be updated as the information becomes available. 

  • Jan 13 – “Applications of Plant Sciences in the Biotech Industry: Using your Degree to Advance Sustainable Agriculture”, Elizabeth Henry, PhD (UCD Alum, Sr. Scientist, Pro Farm Group)

  • Jan 20 – “Industrial Biotechnology at a Global Scale”, James Broering, PhD (Research Manager, Microbe Analytics & Automation, Novozyme’s, Inc.)

  • Jan 27 – “Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Programs Review”, Niki Peterson (Senior Program Manager, Mike and Renee Child Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship)

  • Feb 3 – “A Glimpse into My Journey as a Metabolic Engineer”, Shuchi Desai, PhD (DEB Alum, Principal Scientist, Cardinal Biocraft)

  • Feb 10 – “The Road I’m On, the Steps I’ve Taken. Everything Counts as Experience”, Shannon Ceballos, PhD (DEB Alum, Precision Fermentation Scientist, TurtleTree)

  • Feb 17 – “A Career in Fermentation R&D: From Large Corporations to Small Start-Ups”, Amanda Hildebrand, PhD (DEB Alum, Director of Fermentation, Willow Biosciences)

  • Feb 24 – “Title TBA”, John Thorup, (Senior Manager, Engineering, Genentech)

  • Mar 3 – “Title TBA”, Vanessa Small, PhD (Founder and CEO, Alcheme Bio) *Zoom

  • Mar 10 – “Scaling Fermentation to Opposite Extremes: Precision and its Sacrifice under the Dueling Quests for Design Space in Lab and Tank Volume in Plant”, Gian Oddone, PhD (DEB Alum, Independent Consultant, Biolucid LLC)

  • Mar 17 – “My Journey from Metabolic Engineering to Early Drug Discovery”, Nicole Nozzi Cooper, PhD (DEB Alum, Scientific Leader-Protein Sciences, GSK Pharma GmbH)

Recent Seminars

Fall Quarter 2022 Seminar Schedule

  • Sep 23 – “How to Translate your Research and Ideas into a Startup”, Mike Lemcke (Associate Director, UC Davis Venture Catalyst)

  • Sep 30 – “Structure Study and Downstream Recovery for Bispecific Antibodies”, Ambrose Williams, PhD (DEB Alum, Senior Scientist and Team Lead, Genentech)

  • Oct 7 – “Forging a Novel Career Path: From PhD to BD (Business Development)”, Elizabeth Edmiston, PhD (DEB Alum, Director of Operations, Foundery Innovations)

  • Oct 14 – “Drug Development for Large Molecule Therapeutics”, Danielle Mandikian, PhD (UC Davis BMB Alum, Senior Scientist, Genentech)

  • Oct 21 – “Molecularizing the Science of Plasma to Therapeutically Target Diseases of Aging”, Viktoria Kheifets, PhD (Senior Vice President, Alkahest, Inc.) ZOOM

  • Oct 28 – Special Session (Zoom) – Office of Research Forum on Alternative Proteins - Details TBA

  • Nov 4 – – “Probing and Measuring Biology on the Mesoscale”, Shawn Douglas, PhD (Assistant Professor, Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, UCSF)

  • Nov 11 – Veteran’s Day Holiday

  • Nov 18 – “Sustainability and Industrial Biotech”, Victoria Huang (Applications Scientist, IFF) and Jeffrey Chen, (Technical Project Manager, IFF)

  • Nov 25 – Thanksgiving Holiday

  • Dec 2 – Cancelled/rescheduled due to illness

Spring Quarter 2022 Seminar Schedule

  • Apr 1 – “Advances in Early Cancer Detection”, Maggie Louie, PhD (Vice President, Biology, Earli Inc.)

  • Apr 8 – “Development of a SARS-CoV-2 Spike-RBD Subunit Antigen Vaccine Expressed in the Unique Filamentous Fungus C1 Production Platform”, Yakir Ophir, PhD (Head, Lab of Environmental Microbiology and Biotechnology, Department of Biotechnology, Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) and Visiting Scientist, McDonald-Nandi Lab, UC Davis)

  • Apr 15 – “Harnessing the Power of Algae for a Greener Future”, Anna Case, PhD (DEB Alum, Scientist II, Viridos) (Zoom)

  • Apr 22 – “Pharmaceutical Data Management”, Janssen/Johnson & Johnson Presenters

  • Apr 29 – pre-recorded biotech seminar will be assigned for enrolled students

  • May 6 – “Galy: Creating New Frontiers in Cell-Based Agriculture”, Prince Zogli, PhD, MBA (Senior Scientist, GALY)

  • May 13 – “Enabling Biotechnology Through Contract Research, Development, and Manufacturing”, Zane Starkewolfe, PhD (DEB Alum, Director of Corporate Development, WuXi Biologics)

  • May 20 – “PRDM2 as a Druggable Target in Lung Cancer”, Brad Niles, PhD (DEB Alum, CEO, ARIZ Precision Medicine)

  • May 27 – “Safety Assessments of Newly Expressed Proteins in Genetically Engineered Crops”, Lucas McKinnon, PhD (DEB Alum, Protein Scientist, Bayer Crop Science)

Winter Quarter 2022 Seminar Schedule

  • Jan 7 – “What is Intellectual Property?”, Robin Stears, PhD, MBA (Director, Business Development and Licensing, UC Davis InnovationAccess) (Zoom)
  • Jan 14 – “From Bench to Product Management”, Amir Bolandparvaz, PhD, MBA (DEB Alum, Product Manager, Thermo Fisher Scientific) (Zoom)
  • Jan 21 – “Applications of Data Science and Machine Learning in Omics Data Analysis and Synthetic Biology”, Dmitry Grapov, PhD (DEB Alum, Director of Data Science, Amyris and Director of Data Science and Engineering, Creative Data Solutions) (Zoom)
  • Jan 28 – “The GOOD Meat Journey Towards the First Ever Commercial Launch of Cultivated Meat”, Vitor Espirito Santo, PhD (Director of Cellular Agriculture, Eat Just, Inc.) (Zoom)
  • Feb 4 – “Experimental and Computational Platforms for High-throughput Antimicrobial Drug Discovery”, Prof. Anand Ramasubramanian, PhD (Professor, San Jose State University) (Zoom)
  • Feb 11 – “Creating Consumer Biomaterials: Bolt Threads, from Microsilk to Mylo”, David Breslauer, PhD (Co-founder and Chief Science Officer, Bolt Threads) (Zoom)
  • Feb 18 – "Navigating PhD", Alexey Tomilov, PhD (President and CEO, Bindkin Bio, LLC) 
  • Feb 25 – “Microbe and Microbiome Research at Novozymes”, Panel: Megan Cheneaux, Dan Lasko, PhD, Joanne Liu, PhD, and Laura Vann, PhD (Novozymes) (Zoom)
  • Mar 4 – “The Role of Regulatory Affairs in Drug Development”, Angela Monterrubio, PhD (DEB Alum, QED Therapeutics)
  • Mar 11 – “From Academia to Industry—My Path Through the SMDP Biotech Scholars Program”, David Olivos, PhD (DEB Alum, Senior Scientist, AbbVie)

Fall Quarter 2021 Seminar Schedule

  • Sept 24 – “Ginkgo Bioworks: Making Biology Easier to Engineer”, Dr. Gabriel Rodriguez (DEB Alum, Senior Organism Engineer, Ginkgo Bioworks) (Zoom)​​
  • Oct 1 – “How to Translate your Research and Ideas into a Startup”, Mike Lemcke (Associate Director, New Venture Resources, Venture Catalyst, UC Davis)
  • Oct 8 – “BCD Bioscience, a Fiber Innovation Healthcare Company”, Dr. Angela Marcobal (Principal Scientist, BCD Bioscience)
  • Oct 15 – “Advances in Liquid Biopsy Technologies and Applications”, Dr.Stephen Fairclough (Director, Technology, Guardant Health) **(Note: speaker change - seminar will be in-person at 1022 Green Hall)**
  • Oct 22 – “Enabling Epigenetics in the Clinic”, Dr. Jesse Lopez (DEB Alum, Services Research Scientist, Active Motif)
  • Oct 29 – “Absci: Changing the World One Protein at a Time” Dr. Ben Golomb (DEB Alum, Scientist II, Strain Construction, ABSCI) and Dr. Shane Reynolds (Scientist I, Purification, Absci)
  • Nov 5 – “Fulfill the Promises of Genome Editing Technologies”, Dr. Eric Zheng (DEB Alum, Associate Director of Gene Editing, Mammoth Biosciences”
  • Nov 12 – pre-recorded biotech seminar will be assigned for enrolled students
  • Nov 19 – “The Bright Biotech Future in IFF”, Dr. Pauline Teunissen (Global Applications Leader, Grain Processing, International Flavors & Fragrances) & Rudo Nyachoto (Process Operations Manager, Pilot Plant, International Flavors & Fragrances)
  • Nov 26 – Thanksgiving Holiday
  • Dec 3 – “From R&D to Clinical: Becoming a MVP in a GMP World”, Dr. Nicole Nunez (DEB Alum, Regulatory Scientist II, Eureka Therapeutics, Inc.) (Zoom)

Spring Quarter 2021 Seminar Schedule

Note: All seminars were held via Zoom due to pandemic closures.

  • April 2 - "Academia to Industry: My Career Path from Neuroscience to Cellular Aquaculture”, Dr. Courtney Benson (Scientist III, BlueNalu, Inc.)
  • April 9 - "Validating New Ag Technology for Crop Nutrient Use Efficiency and On-Demand Plant Breeding", Dr. Shawn Stricklin (Data Platform Lead, Sound Agriculture)
  • April 16 - " The Entrepreneur's Journey from Davis to Asia!", Kirin Tsuei, MS, RD (Co-founder, CTO, Sophie’s BioNutrients)
  • April 23 - "Microbes on the Mind: From Graduate School to Starting the Microbiome Therapeutics Company Holobiome", Dr. Phil Strandwitz (Co-founder and CEO, Holobiome, Inc.)
  • April 30 - "Vertical Pharming; The Future of Plants with Purpose", Jake Eisenberg (Director, B2B Development, OnePointOne)
  • May 7 – "Oral Delivery of Therapeutic Proteins Bioencapsulated in Plant Cells: Preclinical and Clinical Advances", Dr. Imran Khan (Assistant Project Scientist, McDonald-Nandi Lab, UC Davis)
  • May 14 - "The Plant Age: Materials for the Future", Prof. Oded Shoseyov (Plant Molecular Biology and Nano Biotechnology - Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
  • May 21 - "Biomarker Operations: Making Personalized Healthcare a Reality", Dr. Allison Hsia (DEB Alum, Biomarker Operations Project Manager, Genentech) 
  • May 28 - "Bioengineering Silk Proteins for New Utility", Distinguished Prof. David Kaplan (Biomedical Engineering, Tufts University)

Winter Quarter 2021 Seminar Schedule

Note: All seminars were held via Zoom due to pandemic closures.

  • Jan 8 - "Biosolarization as a Sustainable, Circular Economy Approach to Improving Agricultural Soil Health", Prof. Chris Simmons (DEB Alum, UC Davis Bio and Ag Engineering)

  • Jan 15 - "My Journey to CZI Science", Marc Malandro (VP Operations, Chan Zuckerberg Institute)

  • Jan 22 - ""Sharing Career Experiences from the Non-Profit Sector", Dr. LaKisha Odom (Scientific Program Manager in Soil Health, Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research; NSF CREATE-IGERT Alumna)

  • Jan 29 - "The Value of Commercial Strategy in the Success of a Treatment", Anita Rajamani (DEB Alum, Business Analyst, Lifesciences Dynamics, Ltd.)

  • Feb 5 - "Challenges and Rewards of Biotechnology Startups", Ted Daley (Co-Founder and CEO, Selva Therapeutics, Inc.)

  • Feb 12 - "Bioprocess Scaleup: From 96 Well Plates to 1000 L Fermentors", Dr. Konrad Miller (Director of Process Development, Solugen)

  • Feb 19 - "Development of a New Class of Drugs, Recombinant Polyclonal Antibodies, for Treatment of COVID-19", Dr. Rena (Goodman) Mizrahi (DEB Alum, Vice President of Process Development, GigaGen Inc.)

  • Feb 26 - "Engineering Plants to Produce the Food of the Future", Prof. Robert Jinkerson (Chemical and Environmental Engineering, UC Riverside)

  • Mar 5 - "A New Alchemy; The Intersection of Biology, Chemistry, Materials and Fabrication", Dr. Scott Franklin (Co-Founder and CSO, Checkerspot, Inc.)

  • Mar 12 - "All-rounders or specialists? And the answer is ….", Dr. Jos van Boxtel (vanboxtel consulting, LLC)