Research Jobs in the Sciences

Jessica MJ Swanson (PhD'06, UC San Diego), Moderator, Research Scientist at the Computation Institute and Industrial Liaison for the Department of Chemistry at the University of Chicago

Dr. Swanson is the Industrial Liaison for the Department of Chemistry and a Research Scientist and Fellow in the Computation Institute and the at the University of Chicago. She runs the annual Molecular Sciences Industrial Associates Meeting, an intensive recruiting event for PhDs and postdocs in chemistry-related disciplines. In her research position, Dr. Swanson is an expert in biomolecular simulations and theoretical chemistry applied to biomedically and environmentally relevant problems. She is a passionate proponent of connecting science with societal influence, particularly in the areas of clean energy and global sustainability.

Julia Barzyk (PhD'07), Contractor at US Army Research Office

Julia Barzyk received her PhD from the Department of Geophysical Sciences in 2007, where she studied the isotopic compositions of trace elements in meteorites. She is employed as a contractor at the US Army Research Office, the Army’s premier extramural basic research agency, working in the Terrestrial Sciences program and believes that the breadth of her training and experience at Chicago prepared her well for this role, which requires her to function across many sub-fields of geoscience and other disciplines.

Timothy Michael Barzyk (PhD'06), Research Physical Scientist at the US Environmental Protection Agency

Tim Barzyk received his PhD from the Department of Geophysical Sciences in 2006, where he studied the effects of urbanization on local-scale climates. His interests include atmospheric dynamics, chemical behaviors, global climate, environmental justice, and sustainability, and especially applying these concepts to local-scale communities. As an EPA mentor, he has worked with both post-docs and graduate students. Tim has worked in the private sector as well, with jobs at a consulting firm in downtown Chicago and as a field technician with a hydro-geology firm. His time at Chicago helped prepare him to work on complex issues, and to hone in on specific solutions from a wide array of potential options.

Richard Rustandi (PhD'91, UChicago), Research Fellow at Merck

Richard Rustandi received his PhD degree from Department of Chemistry in 1991 under Prof. J. Norris. He studied electron transfer and protein structure in photosynthetic reaction center using time-resolved EPR. Dr. Rustandi is currently a principal scientist in Vaccine Analytical Development at Merck Co and has been in the company for 12 years. He has been involved in the development of many therapeutic proteins and vaccines but truly appreciates the industrial challenge and satisfaction when for 6 years he was part of Gardasil (HPV) vaccine team product development from Phase II clinical to market launch. 

Dr. Rustandi's currently serves as biochemistry analytical group leader for vaccine development to support fermentation, purification, and formulation areas. He had the privilege to interact briefly with one of great vaccine developers at Merck, Dr. Maurice Hilleman, who was credited for more than 36 vaccines and has saved more lives than any other scientist in the 20th century (and more importantly was a PhD graduated from University of Chicago in 1941).

Kerren Swinger (PhD'04), Protein Crystallographer at Epizyme

Kerren Swinger is a protein crystallographer at Epizyme, a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company in Cambridge, MA, where she is responsible for utilization of structural and biophysical data for drug development for the histone methyl transferase target class. Prior to joining Epizyme, Kerren worked at Abbott Laboratories. Kerren earned her PhD from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Chicago under the direction of Dr. Phoebe Rice.