QC Team Lead at Pluristem – Completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the faculty of Biology
Pluristem is a biomedical company that develops placental cell therapies that can be used without the need for tissue or genetic matching. The company’s products are currently in advanced phases of clinical trials to test their efficacy in treating conditions like ischemic diseases, inflammation, muscle injuries, hematological disorders, and exposure to radiation.
“I started studying Biology at the Technion when I was 23. After I finished my B.Sc., I proceeded to an M.Sc. in Endocrinology – a field I encountered during my undergraduate studies and found fascinating.
I was actually always interested in biology. It’s a very broad discipline that keeps growing more and more these days. You can use it to influence and improve our everyday lives, whether by developing drugs, vaccines, medical devices, genetic counseling, clinical trials, and even cosmetics and plants (such as cannabis). Biology really is the basis of everything.
I also always wanted to go to the Technion. Beside the fact that it has the highest academic level, the Faculty and different study programs collaborate with other science and engineering faculties, while the staff and the student association – the best in the country – are always helpful and nice.”
Can you tell us a little about your current job, and how you got there?
When I was about to finish my master’s degree, I decided it was time to try myself out in the industry. I sent my CV to some job sites, and luckily, I was very soon contacted by Pluristem, a company located in Matam High-tech Park, here in Haifa.
I started working as a QC analyst to gain some experience in the industry, to learn how a plant works and what types of jobs are available, and to better understand my career options.
After about a year on the job, which included product definition and quality checks, my supervisors saw my potential, and I was promoted to team lead. The new position allowed me to develop my management skills and provide training and professional assistance to my staff, and it’s all based on the knowledge and tools I acquired at the Technion.
How is work in the industry different from work in the academy, and what would you recommend?
People with a passion for research will often choose to stay in the academy. But I want to emphasize you can do research work in industry as well. The difference is that in the industry, your research will be aimed at serving the company’s/organization’s needs. It’s important to remember there are many different types of jobs in the industry, so nearly everyone can find something that suits them.
Today, when I recruit for my team, I can recognize a Technion graduate from miles away.
The Technion teaches you to think, to learn on your own, and gives you the basic skills which will help you tackle any new task or project you are assigned. It’s an enormous advantage in an industry that’s made up largely of growing startup companies.
Is an advanced degree absolutely necessary to advance?
From what I can see – of course, each case is different – timing is important. Someone with a bachelor’s degree can start as a lab technician or lab manager in a small startup company and grow with it and become team lead or even department manager. In research positions an advanced degree, especially a Ph.D., is definitely a big advantage, but if you are more interested in development, QA or lab management, a master’s degree is enough and won’t hold you back. To succeed – and this is true in every field – you must be creative, have ambition, always think about how you can improve and what puts you above everybody else. But if you’re the kind of person who just wants to work in peace, there are a lot of jobs for you, too.
For myself, I can say I learned a lot of practical skills during my M.Sc. studies. I was taught how to write a paper properly, how to plan an experiment, how to properly think, how to take a research question or project and develop it further. I was taught to quickly learn new working techniques and trained in project management, decision making, and top-level results analysis.
Would I recommend others study Biology? A thousand times yes!
For the last few decades, the entire discipline of Life Sciences has been growing more than any other field. The biology of tomorrow can be very practical and deal with some of humanity’s greatest challenges, like cancer, COVID-19, curing diseases. Taking part in the development of a drug that can improve people’s lives gives you enormous satisfaction and sense of meaning.