June 3, 2014 | by Greg Cherryholmes
While many scientists have continued their career paths into industry, or stayed in academia, there are few who have been able to successfully traverse both arenas of research as well as David Webb. I recently had a discussion with Dr. Webb about some of the transitions that young scientists (graduate students and post-doctoral fellows) face when looking to enter positions in academia or industry.
GC: Any final words of advice for someone thinking about going into academia, going into industry, or thinking for transitioning between the two?
DW: I think the best advice I have heard has come from HR/recruiting professionals who remind us that we are all in charge of our own careers and thus we must think and then prepare for the kind of future we want. At every step in the development of your career, undergrad, grad school and post-doc, one needs to be thinking about where the road ahead might lead and what are the things that one needs to be doing to control your own future. So, channel your passion for research into realistic directions that will provide you the future you truly want for yourself.
During his illustrious 40+ year career, Dr. David Webb (currently an Adjunct Professor at the Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in La Jolla, California) has been actively involved in both academia and industry, holding senior positions at numerous companies and adjunct/consulting professorships at several prestigious institutions. Dr. Webb graduated from Rutgers University with a Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology. Following graduation, he became a Dernham Junior Fellow of the American Cancer Society at University of California San Francisco from 1971-1973. Since then, Dr. Webb has been actively involved in both academia and industry, including positions such as Associate member at the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology and Distinguished Scientist and Institute Director positions at Syntex, Inc. Dr. Webb has held many academic research jobs in addition to the Roche Institute: Adjunct Associate Professor at Columbia University, Adjunct Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at New York Medical College, and a Consulting Professor of Cancer Biology at Stanford University. Dr. Webb has also held several management positions, in both academia and the life science industry, including: senior manager positions at several biotechnology companies (including Syrrx, OSI Pharmaceuticals, and Cadus Pharmaceutical Corp.), Chairman of the Board of Sorrento Therapeutics, Chairman Emeritus of the Board of BIOCOM, Member of the Executive Committee of the Board of CONNECT (San Diego), and Vice President of Research at Celgene-San Diego.