Looking for a New Job? Several Major Universities To Offer Cannabis Courses

Posted in BioBusiness, BioEducation

In a previous blog post, I wrote that several community colleges and lesser know universities were offering summer and/or continuing education classes about cannabis.  While these course offerings were impressive, most were community-based and specifically designed to support local cannabis growers and the emerging cannabis business in these locales.

More recently, however, several major universities including Ohio State University, the University of Washington, the University of Vermont and the University of California-Davis announced that they will offer courses designed to provide students and healthcare professionals with an understanding of the physiology, medical and legal implications of cannabis use.

And, quite surprisingly, Louisiana State University has entered into a private agreement with a Las Vegas-based biopharmaceutical pharmaceutical company GB Sciences to cultivate and supply cannabis for disease indications that the company plans to treat including chronic pain, arthritis, cardiovascular problems, asthma and inflammatory bowel disease. While LSU entered into this agreement, it is not clear whether or not it relationship with GB Sciences may affect its sources of federal funding because cannabis is still illegal at the federal level.

Nevertheless, it is becoming abundantly clear that academia sees an opportunity to get into the cannabis business one way or the other. Below is a sampling of the cannabis courses and seminars that are currently being offered.

The University of Vermont offers a medical marijuana and cannabis certification course for clinicians who want the latest information regarding medical cannabis and possible healthcare applications of the plant.

The Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University offers a seminar style course on the legalization of cannabis that will examine the social and historical backdrop of intoxicant prohibition, and assess the legal reforms and political debates now having an impact on the control and regulation of marijuana distribution and use.

The University of Washington offers a course for healthcare professionals on the use of medical cannabis to treat chronic pain.

The University of California-Davis will offer a course to biology majors that will cover the biology of cannabis and cannabinoids as well as their physiological effects in multiple systems, underlying mechanisms and therapeutic values. It also will survey the history of cannabis use, cover the endocannabinoid system and discuss potential medical targets for cannabis and their relative effectiveness.

Finally, there is a big push at University of California at Los Angeles to create a research center to study the medicinal effects of cannabis on a variety of disease indications.


  1. http://cannabisscienceblog.com/2017/06/15/69/ accessed September 25, 017
  2. https://www.businessreport.com/article/lsu-finalizes-medical-marijuana-agreement-gb-sciences/ accessed September 25, 2017
  3. http://learn.uvm.edu/com/program/cannabis-science-and-medicine/ accessed September 25, 2017
  4. http://moritzlaw.osu.edu/academics/course-explorer/category/criminal-law/ accessed September 25, 207
  5. http://adai.uw.edu/mcacp/ accessed September 25, 2017
  6. http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/physiology/ accessed September 25, 2017
  7. http://dailybruin.com/2017/05/23/editorial-ucla-must-build-marijuana-research-center-study-effects-of-legalization/ accessed September 25, 2017

Emerging Opportunities for US Pharma and Biotech Sales Reps

Posted in BioEducation

Since 2001 many major pharmaceutical companies have been restructuring their sales forces and laying off reps to reduce redundancies, improve efficiencies and cut costs. This downsizing, which likely peaked about a year ago, is mainly in response to the projected loss of sales revenue as many blockbuster drugs lose patent protection over the next three years or so. For example, products like Lipitor, Plavix and Zyprexa that currently generate more than $142 billion in sales are expected to face stiff generic competition in the very near future.

Nevertheless, while many pharma companies are restructuring their sales forces, there is a growing demand for new reps at speciality pharma, biotechnology and generic drug companies. Unlike their pharma counterparts, the new reps are more specialized and require additional training to better understand how to maximize sales of increasingly complex products in both developed and emerging life sciences markets.  

One organization, National Association of Pharmaceutical Representatives (NAPRx), a trade organization that provides continuing education, certifications and career development for its members is helping to usher in the era of pharmaceutical and biotechnology sales reps. To that end, NAPRx has embarked on an aggressive advertising campaign to help to recruit and match sales representative with drug companies who are hiring. Many sales jobs are open throughout the US. Jobs are available in small cities like Littlerock, AR, Milwaukee, WI and Baton Rouge, LA as well as larger cities including Pittsburgh, PA, Los Angeles, CA,Boston, MA, Honolulu, HI and San Diego, CA. Starting salaries range from $65 to $85 K. For more information about other job openings please visit the BioJobCenter. 

In a previous blog post, I suggested that a career as a sales rep may represent viable alternate career opportunities for PhD-trained scientists who have an interest in sales and aren’t averse to earning a living selling drugs to physicians and other healthcare providers. Because of the complexity of newly approved biotechnology and speciality pharma products, drug makers are beginning to understand that persons with a strong background in molecular biology, immunology and pharmacology will be required to help to sell their products to physicians, hospitals and other healthcare organizations. That said, sespite the recent reductions in R &D for new drug development, there will always be a need for drug makers to sell their products! After all, selling drugs is how these companies remain in business. 

For more information about a career in pharmaceutical and biotechnology sales please visit the NAPRx website.

Until next time… 

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!!!!


Statisticians and "Big Data" Analysts in High Demand

Posted in BioEducation

When I was a graduate student back in the dark ages, I took an advanced statistics course and then briefly worked in a laboratory where statistical analysis of data derived from animal models of disease (in this case the guinea pig model of tuberculosis) were essential. After leaving that lab, I developed an appreciation for the power of statistics (when appropriately designed according the laws of parametric statistics) and actually used statistical analyses of in vitro data for my PhD thesis. Unlike me, most of my contemporaries never understood statistics and thought that statistics can be used to manipulate data to confirm any hypothesis put forth by an investigator.

Imagine my surprise when I read in today’s NY Times that statistics are one of the hottest new career opportunities in technology and related industries. This is because billions of bytes of data (aka "big data sets")are generated daily and someone (usually a statistician or a person with knowledge of some arcane statistical analyses) is regarded to tease out trends and interpret the data. Companies like Google, Facebook, as wells as marketers, risk analysts, spies and companies that engage in competitive intelligence are desperately seeking new employees who understand applied statistic, analytics and trend analysis.

According to a recent LinkedIn survey, from 2009 to 2011 the number of new jobs with titles related to analytics grew 53%. Unfortunately, there are not enough trained or qualified persons available to fill these positions at most of these companies. Because of workforce shortages, universities like Stanford, Harvard and North Carolina State (NC State) have created graduate programs to train students in statistics and advanced analytics. 

Ninety per cent of NC State advanced analytic students (a 10 month program created in 2006) annually found jobs. The average graduate’s starting salary for an entry-level job is $73,000. Stanford and Harvard statistics department graduates head to Google, Wall Street and in many instances bioscience companies and start with salaries of over $100,000.

Not surprisingly, competition for entry to these programs is getting fierce. NC State takes only 40 new students per year in its program (185 applicants last year). Moreover, this year, Stanford received over 800 applications for 60 openings in next’ years class; nearly twice the number of applications that it received three years ago.

Like it or not “big data” and analytics are de rigueur and persons with advanced analytics training may be the new rock stars. That said if you like statistics or love to look for trends in large data sets then a career in analytics may be right for you. Now, you have to figure out where to get the training.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!.


Are There Career Opportunities in Stem Cell Research?

Posted in BioEducation

Stem Cell research was hot in the early 2000s. Sadly, 8 years of George Bush effectively eliminated America’s competitive edge in the field, primarily in embryonic stem cell research.  Consequently, it is no surprise that there is little emphasis or discussion about stem cell research in the US.  To that end, a recent Gallup Poll was conducted to determine American attitudes and perceptions of stem cell research.  The results of the poll (originally posted the the Assay Depot blog) are shown below.

The poll results suggest that over 50% of Americans surveyed believe that all forms of stem cell research are morally acceptable.  Interestingly, while increasing number of American believe that stem cell research should progress, government funding for it has markedly declined since 2009 even though the ban on embryonic stem cell research was removed.

The take home message is that Bush’s 8 year band on embryonic stem cell research has seriously affected American competitiveness in the field and that it is no longer a priority of the US government.  The bottom line: I would not plan a career in stem cell research unless you are willing to relocate outside of the US.

Until next time….

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!!!


Demand for Patent Agents and Attorneys Continues to Grow

Posted in BioJobBuzz

Times are tough for many in the legal profession these days. However, the demand for patent experts including attorneys and patent agents is skyrocketing. According to an article in today’s NY Times, openings for patent attorneys account for more than 15 percent of law firm job openings while only 3 percent of lawyers in the US specialize in this area. The bottom line: it is a great time to be a patent attorney or agent in today’s tough economy.

Not surprisingly, many patent attorneys (and agents) usually have a background in science or engineering. And, because of the scarcity of qualified applicants many law firms are doubling their recruiting spending to meet the growing demand for specialists in intellectual property (IP) and patents.

One of the reasons for the growing demand is passage of the America Invents Act, the largest overhaul in the US patent system in the past 60 years. The legislation which changes how patents are reviewed and process is spurring competition between firms to higher IP specialist to ease the transition pain. At present, there are over 230 IP openings among more than 1400 lawyer positions nationwide. Many of the openings have been unfilled for over 90 days and more are added daily.

Currently, there are about 40,000 patent attorneys and agents registered with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). In order to register with the USPTO agents and lawyers are required to pass the patent bar examination. While registered patent agents have taken and passed the exam, they are not lawyers who are required to pass state bar examinations to become licensed attorneys. For those of you who may not know, you don’t have to go to law school to take the patent bar exam nor is a law degree required to take individual state bar exams (however, person who are not law school graduate are likely not to pass the state tests). Patent agents can prepare patents and prosecute cases with the USPTO but cannot litigate in court or draw up contracts. There are roughly 1.2 million licensed patent attorneys in the US according to the American bar association.

The greatest demand for IP attorneys and agents is in information and computing technology and the life sciences. Persons with PhD degrees in the life sciences can sometimes find work at IP and patent law firms. Also, you may be able to find work at a patent examiner with the USPTO! PhD degree holders who have passed the patent bar are even more desirable. However a law degree plus a PhD degree will almost certainly guarantee you employment at most IP firms. That said, before you decide to go to law school, I high recommend that you talk with IP professionals or read a few dozen patent applications (they can all be found at www.uspto.org) in your spare time. If you find the reading interesting or manage to stay awake after reading the fifth application than patent law may be a good choice for you. If not, I suggest that you consider other alternate career options.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!


Careers: The Ten Fastest Growing Fields?

Posted in BioJobBuzz

I am not a big fan of top ten lists but I decided to take a look at the list compiled by Cecilia Capuzzi Simon in a recent article that appeared in the April 13, 2011 New Times Education supplement. Entitled “Top Ten List: Where the Jobs Are.” The article was extremely well written and based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ list of the fastest-growing occupations. 

The Bureau gleefully announced that it expects there to more than a million new jobs by 2018, and a “worker pool that may not be trained to fill them.” While this may seemingly appear to be great news—given the almost 10 percent unemployment rate that has been plaguing the US for the past three years—I was puzzled by appearance of biomedical engineering (#1), medical scientists (#6) and biochemists and biophysicists (#9) on the lists mainly because I know that persons who are trained in these fields are having extremely difficult times finding jobs in the current economy. That said, with most life science R&D being shipped over seas or outsourced, it hard to see that any of these jobs will be in great demand in the US over the next seven years. Maybe the bureau knows something that I don’t? Or maybe, it is the US government’s way of gently nudging people into careers that they anticipate will be highly valued in the future? Whatever the reason, it is going to be tough to convince college freshman to major in these fields if the current job market for these professions is currently so bleak.

What is even more puzzling then the ranking of these three career choices list is the actually numbers of new jobs that are anticipated to be created. The total number of new jobs expected in these fields by 2018 is roughly 65,000 (biomedical engineers-12,000; medical scientists-44,000; and biochemists and biophysicists-9,000). Compare this with the number of jobs anticipated by 2018 for network systems and data communication analysts (156,000), home health aide (461,000), personal and home care aide (376,000) or physician assistants (29,000) and you will get a better idea about the urgency for biomedical engineers and other life scientists.

There is no question that life scientists will command higher salaries and wages than home health aids or possibly a physician’s assistant but life sciences jobs typically require a minimum of a MS or PhD degree. Moreover, the economic theory of supply and demand suggests that it will be much easier for healthcare informaticists or home healthcare aides to find a job as compared with a biomedical engineer or PhD biochemist—even by 2018. In other words, don’t expect the US job market for life scientists to get better any time soon. 

While it is unfortunate that the US is beginning to seriously lag behind much smaller countries in science, math and engineering preparedness, the current demand for these types of jobs is waning and undergraduate college students—who lived through the recent financial meltdown—will likely (and rightly) choose to pursue careers where the likelihood of future employment is greatest. Unfortunately, the life sciences isn’t one of them.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!


Over 50,000 New Healthcare IT Jobs Will be Added in the Next Few Years

Posted in BioJobBuzz

The $789 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that was passed in 2009 included funding for the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) act to promote the adoption of electronic health record (EHR) technology in health. Beginning next year, doctors and eligible medical providers can receive Medicaid incentive payments over a five-year period if they adopt a certified EHR technology platform and adopt so-called "five goals" established by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

The act is expected to create more than 50,000 new health information technology (HIT) jobs. With many hospitals and physicians making the transition from paper charts to electronic medical records, there is a growing demand for specialists trained in the latest medical record technology. Recognizing the surging demand for HIT workers many universities including two- and four- year colleges and for profit institutions like DeVry University have created HIT certificate and degree programs.

There is no question that HIT professionals will be in high demand over the next decade or so. That said, if you have an interest in biology or medicine and like IT, HIT may be a good career choice for you! Don’t wait; act now.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!


Good News for Jobseekers: German Law Will Limit Employer Use of Facebook to Vet Job Candidates

Posted in Social Media

Over 70 percent of hiring managers and HR professionals routinely use Google to find out more about prospective job candidates. While many jobseekers know this and do everything possible to expunge deleterious and compromising information from a Google search on their names, some don’t know that Facebook profiles are a routine target of all Google searches. Consequently, hiring managers may have access to some personal information (including photos) that may jeopardize a job candidate’s prospects.  

Today, German government officials proposed a new law that would place restrictions on employers who want to use Facebook profiles to recruit and vet job candidates. The bill would allow hiring managers to search for publicly accessible information about prospective employees on the Web and to view pages on job networking sites like LinkedIn, BioCrowd and Xing.  But it would not allow employers to access or use information about job candidates on purely social networks like Facebook. The proposed law would also prohibit companies from secretly videotaping employees except in certain areas as long as they disclosed the fact.

The idea of crafting legislation to limit company access to personal information of job candidates found on social networks like Facebook, Ning and others reveals the underlying paradox of the social media phenomenon. That is that people publicly, voluntarily and willingly offer private and intimate information about themselves as part of their right to freedom of expression and then that information can be used against them! In other words, the transparency and inherent freedom of expression offered by social media can in reality hinder, restrict or inhibit the professional and social opportunities of those who use it. I highly doubt that legislation similar to the proposed German law would ever see the light of day in the US.

For now, I highly recommend that jobseekers continue to routinely Google themselves to see what information is “out there” about them. Also, continue to limit access to personal profiles on Facebook and any other “purely social” online networking sites that you may belong too. Both activities will help to insure that the photo of you in a compromising position or with a beer bong in your hand won’t eliminate you as a prospective job candidate.

Until next time….

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!!


Looking for a Job? Go East Young Man/Woman

Posted in BioJobBuzz

Unemployment in the US is still hovering around 10% and in some parts of Europe like Spain it is closer to 20%. In marked contrast, the unemployment rates in Australia (5.1%) Hong Kong (4.5%) and Singapore (2.2%) are much lower. With the exception of Japan, Asian economies have rebounded more quickly from the global recession than those in the West.

According to an article in today’s New York Times there is a growing trend among Westerners to consider relocating to Asia and other eastern destinations to seek gainful employment. This is because many companies in places like South Korea, China, India and places in Asia are enjoying rapid expansion and hiring again. 

Asian recruiting firms estimate that the numbers of job applications and resumes arriving from the US and Europe has risen 20 to 30 percent since 2008. The two destinations experiencing the greatest increases in job applications include Hong Kong and Singapore. This is not surprising because both places are more westernized than other parts of Asia. Indeed, the percentage of Hong Kong companies in June that planned on hiring new workers was at the highest level since 1988. Similarly, two-thirds of Chinese companies in Hong Kong and the mainland queried last May said that they planned on adding new employees in the third quarter this year. In Singapore, 57 percent of companies plan on hiring; the highest rate since 2001.

 Most of the hiring is taking place in the legal and financial services sectors but there are indications that hiring is beginning in sales and marketing, luxury goods, hospitality and other businesses. Also, it is becoming increasingly apparent that many opportunities exist in the life sciences industry including scientists as well as marketing and sales representatives.

While hiring Westerners in Asia is on the rise, the actual number of new hires is relatively small. This is because would-be Asian employers mainly hire Westerners who have previous track records in the region and who bring languages skills and local contacts to the job. However, if unemployment rates among pharmaceutical employees remain high in the West; don’t be surprised if many of your lab mates and colleagues begin to look to the East for gainful employment.

In the past, I have jokingly ended posts about unemployment in the US life sciences industry with quips about looking for jobs in China, India and elsewhere. Unfortunately, this has now become a viable option for scientists and other bioprofessional seeking employment in the life sciences industry.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!! (Now really check out Asia!)


Life Sciences Job Update: Which Ones are Hot!!!

Posted in BioJobBuzz

While the layoffs at pharma and biotech companies continue, the good news is that fewer jobs are being lost in 2010 as compared with 2009. Despite the massive loss of R&D and sales and marketing jobs, many life sciences companies are beginning to hire again. In general, job opportunities at emerging growth public biotech and venture-backed start-ups appear to be growing while those at big pharma and big biotech are stagnant or shrinking. Specifically companies are looking to hire:

  1. Clinical affairs managers and executives
  2. Regulatory affairs personnel and executives
  3. Commercial and operational expertise at all levels
  4. Business development executives
  5. Chief financial officers
  6. Investor relations and corporate communications professionals
  7. CEOs (venture capital investors are beginning to part with their capital again)
  8. Board of directors candidates (especially those with specific functional expertise in clinical development, regulatory affairs or commercialization)

A quick perusal of the list indicates that most of these jobs are not traditional science-related jobs and many may require additional training and expertise; especially in business. That said, now may be a good time to re-evaluate whether or not a MBA may be in your future.

Until next time….

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!