Industry Research Careers for Scientists


How does research in industry differ from the research you do here as an academic scientist? The world of industrial research companies often seems mysterious to PhD students and postdocs, but all of their scientists were once in academia and made a successful transition. This panel will provide a peek behind the proprietary curtain of industry research as these UChicago alumni share their own experience as well as tips for landing your first industry job.


Stephan Klopcic, Lithography Group Leader, Intel Corporation (PhD Northwestern University Physical Chemistry 2008)

Dr. Stephan Klopcic joined Intel's Logic Technology Development team in the Litho department in 1999 as a Sr. Process Engineer after receiving his MS and PhD in Physical Chemistry from Northwestern University.  He is currently an engineering Group Leader responsible for single and multi-pass interconnect patterning solutions and the development of spin coat technologies for multiple applications. Steve is also the hiring manager for LTD Lithography. LinkedIn

Shilpa Keerthivasan, Senior Scientific Researcher, Genentech (Postdoc BSD 2011-2014)

Shilpa Keerthivasan, Ph.D., a Senior Scientific Researcher in Cancer Immunology program at Genentech Inc, is expert in molecular immunology and cancer immunology with an established record of scientific contribution in the field of inflammatory diseases, including cancer. At Genentech, she is the biology lead of Cancer immunology pipeline projects, mostly focusing on targeting stroma to develop novel ways to treat cancer. As a biology lead, she impacts target validation and studies to help in the transition of anti-cancer drug from preclinical stage to clinical trials. Prior to joining Genentech in 2014, Shilpa was a postdoctoral fellow at University of Chicago in the department of medicine where she worked on the role of T Cells in Colorectal cancer. During her postdoctoral fellowship, she was awarded independent funding as a principal investigator from NIH (2011) and Chicago Biomedical Consortium (2014). She served as a Chairperson of University of Chicago BSD Postdoctoral Association (PDA) Seminar Series and a Chairperson of External Outreach for PDA symposium. She was also an early contributor to the myCHOICE program.  Shilpa received her Ph.D in molecular biology from Loyola University Chicago and her Masters and Bachelor degree from All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi. She has a passion for painting and cooking. LinkedIn

Aparna Vasanthakumar, Senior Scientist III, AbbVie (Postdoc BSD 2007-2015)

Scientist in the Pharmacogenetics group within the newly established Genomics Research Center of Excellence at AbbVie. I support all genetic, genomic and epigenetic projects which fall under the therapeutic areas of infectious diseases and neuroscience. Worked as a post-doctoral fellow, and then as a research track assistant professor at The University of Chicago in Dr. Lucy Godley's lab (Hem/Onc- Medicine). LinkedIn

Curt Dvorak, Senior Principal Scientist, Johnson & Johnson (PhD Organic Chemistry 1998)

Dr. Dvorak joined Janssen Pharmaceutical Research and Development L.L.C. in 2000 as a scientist in the Neuroscience therapeutic area.  At Janssen’s La Jolla facility Dr. Dvorak has been the chemistry team leader on multiple programs resulting in 16 years of experience pursuing GPCR and ion channel targets within the CNS.  As a member of the Neuroscience team Dr. Dvorak has led research resulting in multiple NMEs many of which have entered clinical trials.  Most notably a pyrazole series that produced 4 clinical candidates which was driven by novel chemistry and a program targeting insomnia where the team was able to deliver the tools necessary to dissect the target receptors diverse pharmacology.  In 2014 Dr. Dvorak was the recipient of Janssen’s Hoffman award for outstanding scientific contributions that resulted in understanding the critical roles these targets.  Dr. Dvorak grew up in the Chicagoland area and attended Illinois State University in Normal, IL for undergraduate studies.  At Illinois State University ( 1992 - Chemistry; B.S. Magna Cum Laude) participated in the undergraduate research program under the mentorship of Dr. JoAnn DeLuca exploring the reactivity of singlet carbenes.  Moving on to graduate school he obtained his Ph.D. in organic chemistry at the University of Chicago studying reaction methodology and organic synthesis under the direction of Dr. Viresh Rawal examining efficient construction of sesquiterpenoids.  As a postdoctoral fellow in the labs of Professor Al Meyers at Colorado State University he successfully completed the first total synthesis of the streptogramin antibiotic (-)-griseoviridin.  Dr. Dvorak is author on over 30 peer reviewed publications in major journals and has two invited lectures.  He is an inventor on sixteen granted US patents and over sixty-six patent applications.  LinkedIn


Bob Keenan, Associate Professor, Biochemistry & Biophysics, UChicago

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