The Pharmacology Department held it’s first “From Lab to Life” seminar April 15, 2016. This series features Pharmacology Alumni returning to share their stories. Our first “From Lab to Life” talk featured Emily Zhou.

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Emily Zhou, PhD, Sr. Feasibility Research Analyst at Novella Clinical gives inaugural talk for “From Lab to Life” seminar series.

How do you get your first job after graduating? What helped you get your foot in the door? Did networking opportunities pan out for you? How do you balance living your life with advancing your career?

These are the kinds of questions Emily Zhou, PhD, alumni graduate from Ken Harden’s lab, aimed to answer at the first “From Lab to Life” seminar on April 15, 2016. Emily’s path has led her to her current position as a Sr. Feasibility Research Analyst at Novella Clinical, a Quintiles company. Emily talked about how she got there, things she did along the way that turned into useful resources, being turned down, finding a way forward, and how being the second choice candidate can still lead to being offered the job you want when a first choice candidate doesn’t work out. After her talk Emily answered varied questions and stayed to talk with students interested in learning more about careers at Novella Clinical.

What do students have to say about it?

“I think it is a good idea for current pharmacology students to meet with alumni for a huge # of reasons….

    • to see where pharmacology phd can take you career wise,
    • how to get there,
    • networking opportunities,
    • learning about other research,
    • seeing old lab alumni/friends,
    • advice about lab life balance, graduating, postdocing,
    • good for people coming back to see the state of the department,
    • also good to meet new people and talk science all in a more personal setting then you’d get at networking event
    • and free bagels ;). ” ~Payton Bohnsack, student attendee

“The Lab to Life talk with Emily Zhou showed me what varied career options I have after getting my graduate degree. It also helped me build my professional network as well. These talks will no doubt help graduate students learn ways to find employment after completing their degrees.” ~Brian Constance, student attendee

“I thought the “From Lab to Life” event with Dr. Zhou was important in highlighting examples of non-academic career opportunities that match the skill sets that we acquire in our training as Pharmacology graduate students. Per Dr. Zhou, many of these opportunities provide rewarding career experiences while at the same time allowing one to lead a fulfilling life.” ~Denis Okumu, student attendee

About Emily

Emily Zhou obtained her Ph.D. in 2007 from the Pharmacology Department at UNC-CH. She did her dissertation on PLC and GPCR signaling under the guidance of Dr. Ken Harden, now an Emeritus Professor of Pharmacology. Emily continued to pursue her postdoctoral training at the NIEHS with Dr. Steven Shears studying inositol phosphates and lipid kinase signaling in 2009. She then moved into CRO industry and started as a feasibility medical writer at PPD in 2012. Currently, Emily is a Sr. Feasibility research analyst at Novella Clinical, a Quintiles company since 2014. During both her time at PPD and Novella, she enjoys strategy development that drives the proposal processes for planning clinical trials while working with multi-functional teams within the company. She leads the feasibility processes from proposal development, strategy writing, through project award. She manages investigator outreach feasibility assessments to develop feasibility reports for clients. Emily also participates in bid defense presentations and feasibility capability presentations with clients. Emily is interested in advancing cancer treatments through clinical trials of novel therapies.

Pictures from Emily’s visit

Click images to enlarge.

Emily gives her talk
Emily making her presentation
Emily presents
Emily answering questions
Emily with Denis Okumu and John Bohnsack
Students Denis Okumu and John Bohnsack with Emily
Graduate students with Emily Zhou
Alex Chung, Emily, Denis Okumu, Derek Franklin, NIcole Arnold and Marissa Cann after Emily’s talk
Denis Okumu and Emily Zhou
Denis Okumu and Emily chat afterward
Emily talks about working at Novella Clinical with Students
Emily talks with students Denis Okumu, Alex Chung and Dan Goulet about working at Novella Clinical