From basic biology research to data scientist
After doing a PhD in a very specialised area of basic science, it is sometimes hard to see how your experience could help you to get a job outside academia. During my PhD work, I was a molecular biologist by training with self-taught bioinformatics skills. When the time came to start applying for positions outside academia, I found difficult how to put on paper the so-called “transferable skills” that you get with the PhD (project and time management, working in an international environment, decision
making, etc). However, after making the transition from Academia to the Business/Industry world, I can see that everything I learnt during my PhD is valuable. Since November 2018 I work as a Data Scientist at Genova Research Center/Grace Systems. I am happy with my job and I can notice all the advantages that the PhD gave me: I am able to deliver results, to prioritise, to write and speak appropriately, to talk to bioinformaticians and software builders and at the same time to biologists and businessmen. I would like to share the story of how I knew I did not want to continue in Academia, how the transition happened and to explain what a Data Scientist does.
Alejandra Hernandez Segura obtained her bachelor degree in Clinical Biochemistry at the Universidad de las Américas Puebla (UDLAP), thanks to a full scholarship from the Fundación Jenkins. After
graduating Magna cum laude (honors), she moved to the Netherlands to study the top master program in Medical and Pharmaceutical Drug Innovation from the University of Groningen, with the support of a
Mexican scholarship from the National Council for Science and Technology (CONACYT). Alejandra finished her master’s degree with Cum laude in 2014, and she worked for six months as an invited lecturer at the UDLAP, in Mexico. In 2015 she went back to the Netherlands and started her PhD
supervised by Prof. Marco Demaria, where she studied the transcriptional heterogeneity of cellular senescence. She published four articles and reviews and holds a patent related to her research. Since
November 2018 she works as a Data Scientist at Genova Genomic Research Center (Grace Systems), in Utrecht, The Netherlands.