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Christine Glidewell-Kenney, Ph.D.

Scientist I, Genomic Applications | Illumina, Inc.

Interviews by: Anjana Chandrasekhar 
Editing: Alexandra Bortnick

1. Could you please list your previous department at UC San Diego and provide a brief description of the research you conducted?

Reproductive Medicine. I investigated the molecular mechanisms that underlie the onset of puberty. I elucidated the cellular pathways activated downstream of a receptor recently found in human patients with idiopathic hypogonadotropic hypogonadism.

2. Could you describe your current job profile?

Scientist I in Genomic Applications at Illumina. I perform research used to develop and validate new products.

3. What made you decide to transition into your current position?

I decided to leave academia so that I could stay in San Diego to be near family. Also, I didn’t have much success in applying for grants to support my research as a postdoc and I didn’t think this indicated a potential for long-term success if I was to pursue a position in academic research elsewhere.

4. Apart from the research you conducted, do you feel like anything in particular has helped you to acquire your current position?

I had worked in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries before attending graduate school. Also, a former colleague who worked at Illumina recommended me for the job. I cannot stress how important this was and how far this personal recommendation went. She also answered many of my questions and helped me to prepare for the interview, including providing helpful suggestions for my job talk.

5. Could you list some of the most striking similarities and differences between your post-doc and current position?

Similarities- I continue to do research. I design carefully controlled experiments to test a specific hypothesis.

Differences- There are tight timelines associated with my research. I report results weekly or sometimes biweekly instead of monthly or every couple of months.

6. Is there any specific challenge (during the entire process of transitioning) that you would like to highlight and if so how did you overcome it?

It was difficult to transition from being very independent to doing team-based research. This takes a lot of trust, organization, and communication.

7. Could you describe your goals and ambitions for the next 5 years?

I would like to learn more about the product development cycle at Illumina and train to expand my skills in project management.