Meet the Scientist: Jennifer Lippens, Post-doctoral Fellow at Amgen Thousand Oaks

Mar 21, 2018 1:10 PM ET

This profile is a part of the Amgen Foundation’s “Meet the Scientists” series, where we invite students and teachers to learn more about a scientist at Amgen and the work they do to create lifesaving medicines. Join the conversation by sharing your own experiences with @AmgenFoundation and @Amgen.

What do you do in a typical day?
In a typical day, I spend a lot of time in lab running experiments on the various mass spectrometers I utilize for my projects. When I am not in the lab, I am in the office analyzing data, working on manuscripts or planning my next experiment based on the current results I have. There are also weekly meetings that I attend and I help to organize monthly meetings for the post-doctoral fellows at Amgen.

What made you want to pursue this career?
I learned about my position at Amgen through a job search online for positions that focused on mass spectrometry, the technique I specialize in. One thing about this specific post-doc position that highly appealed to me and made me eager to start my career after academia was the heavy focus on publishing. Additionally, all of my research on the company led me to see that Amgen was using very innovative therapeutic modalities and is a place where I could really diversify my skill set as a scientist.

What motivates you each day?
I am motivated each day by my love of chemistry and science. I truly do love mass spectrometry and I find its application to biomedical research very important. I am constantly driven by my curiosity to find answers to scientific questions that arise from my work, as well as really to push the boundary of how mass spectrometry can be used to answer scientific questions.

What are some exciting things you have done/are doing at Amgen? 
My scientific work at Amgen has allowed me to publish several manuscripts, give oral presentation at several conferences and contribute to several Amgen therapeutic projects. I highly value the ability and opportunities to share my research with the scientific community. The research on native mass spectrometry of membrane proteins that I do at Amgen allows me to contribute to an area of scientific research that could provide valuable information to this up-and-coming area of therapeutic interest.

What was your favorite subject in school?
My favorite subject in school was a tie between Spanish and Chemistry. Both classes were very interesting, fun and really pushed me to do my best.

What kinds of skills do you use in your job?
In my job, I use a handful of skills that I have acquired in the lab and throughout my academic work. I use critical thinking and observational skills to plan experiments and analyze data. As a scientist in general, organizational skills are important, as well as networking and the ability to collaborate/work in a team. Also, communication skills are incredibly important as a scientist in order to convey experimental results and scientific concepts to others.

What advice would you give to students interested in pursuing biotech?
Pursuing a career in biotech is challenging but rewarding. My advice is to diversify your skill set as much as possible and network! Communication is key, and could give you access to amazing opportunities.

Never hesitate to ask for help when you need it. There are always more experienced scientists and engineers out there who have a lot of knowledge to share – take advantage and learn what you can.

Lastly, stay open minded - it can lead you to amazing opportunities. I am not on the career path of forensic science that I initially set out on when I started college. However, remaining open to the opportunities that presented themselves to me throughout college and graduate school has led me to a career that I am truly excited about.

To learn how the Amgen Foundation brings biotechnology to students, visit the Amgen Foundation website. Follow @AmgenFoundation to stay up to date with all STEM-related news from the Amgen Foundation.