Career spotlight: field applications scientist
Takara Bio is an innovative and growing company, and we are proud of our friendly corporate culture in which creativity, teamwork, and intellectual diligence are recognized and rewarded. Our commitment to quality and customer satisfaction shows in everything we do, and this is how we attract top talent to our world-class team.
Through our series of blogs highlighting people who have found careers at Takara Bio, we hope to show you what it's like to be a team member contributing to the advancement of "good science." We perform and enable good science, and this mission to provide top-quality products and services informs everything we do.
Here, we've interviewed Dr. Shuwen Chen, a field applications scientist (FAS), about her career path and how she landed at Takara Bio. Our field applications team works alongside customers to push their research forward with a comprehensive array of innovative technologies. Field applications scientists like Shuwen can be trusted to train scientists on the use of products and instruments and to help adapt these technologies for the lab's specific applications. Let's hear more about her job.
What is your training background and how did you become an FAS?
I completed my Ph.D. in immunology at UC San Diego. During my Ph.D., besides traditional immunoassays such as ELISA and multicolor flow cytometry, I got a chance to do many different sequencing experiments, such as ChIP-seq, RNA-seq, and DNA-seq. Being interested in these NGS technologies steered me towards my first job as a technical applications scientist. While on that job, I felt that perhaps I could better utilize my training in molecular biology and immunology if I could work hands-on alongside customers. Working as an FAS seemed like a perfect choice.
What made you interested in your current role at TBUSA?
I had heard of TBUSA frequently due to its market-leading position for single-cell and low-input-material NGS reagent kits. With such a solid background, TBUSA has excellent potential in the market of single-cell sequencing, which is the field I believe will expand a lot in the future.
What do you enjoy about your role?
First, I thoroughly enjoy working with customers. It's very exciting for me to help customers set up new instruments and get experiments to work for their research projects. Moreover, it's fascinating to see how one technology can be applied to many different research fields. It's also a great experience for me to work with people from other groups at TBUSA. For instance, I continuously work with R&D scientists to learn about our latest products and methodologies. It's always fun to try new and challenging experimental protocols.
What kinds of interactions do you have with customers, and how do you help them solve their research challenges?
When a customer purchases a new instrument from TBUSA, I'll give an introduction and hands-on training sessions. During the training sessions, I usually help customers run some samples they'll use for their real-life projects. If customers run into trouble, I also provide technical advice for them to help them troubleshoot.
What is it like interacting with your team? What other teams do you interact with, and why?
I interact with my team a lot—both my manager and other FASs. Sometimes we function as beta testers to facilitate the product launch process. Besides my team, I interact with the product marketing team a lot as well since we are both customer-facing. We also work with R&D for many in-house research projects.
What do you think sets Takara Bio products and services apart from other companies?
The thing that sets us apart is that we are a one-stop shop that provides complete NGS solutions for any NGS application. I've noticed that we foster cross-talk between product areas, which speeds up the development of innovative products for new applications.
What do you like about our company culture and working/living in this area?
Living in the Bay Area is a lot of fun, especially with so many restaurant options (I'm a big foodie). Working at TBUSA is an inspiring experience for me, being surrounded by so many talented scientists. People at TBUSA are all very friendly and super collaborative.
Thank you for showing us what it's like to be an FAS at TBUSA, Shuwen.
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