Career Development: Molecular Biophysics Training Program: Purdue University Skip to main content

Career Development

Mentors and their trainees will specifically address specific career development activities in their Individual Development Plans. This website aims to serve as a resource by catalog career building opportunities for our current trainees, including university-sponsored mentoring workshops and career panels, and travel grant opportunities sponsored by the departments, colleges, and the university that will allow trainees to either showcase their work at professional meetings and/or attend special symposia dedicated to alternative careers. Below are some examples of activities for career tracks that most obviously derive from molecular biophysics training. Other career track-specific opportunities will be incorporated into other activities, such as career panels associated with the annual Biophysics Symposium.


To give trainees insight into industry career opportunities in the Midwest and increase their visibility and communication with the companies who might hire them, they can participate in day trips to Chicago (AbbVie, Baxter), Cincinnati (Procter and Gamble, Ethicon), Warsaw (OrthoWorx, Medtronic, Zimmer Biomet, DePuy Synthes), Indianapolis (Roche Diagnostics), and West Lafayette (Cook Biotech, Endocyte, Bioanalytical Systems). Short trainee summer sabbaticals can be arranged in industry labs that collaborate with MBTP preceptors or that feature new experimental approaches.


The Weldon School of BME offers courses on Regulatory Affairs, which are designed to educate participants on regulatory affairs at the initial approval, the preclinical strategy phase, clinical strategy phase, and the manufacturing compliance stage. Trainees can also attend the Biomedical Entrepreneurs Workshop (BIOMEDSHIP), a focused educational program at Purdue University that provides formal training in innovation and entrepreneurship in the context of biomedical technology and the medical device industry.

Government/Public Policy

Summer site visits to Washington DC (NIH, NSF, CDC, FDA, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Naval Research Lab, Children's National Hospital) will be offered. Informational visits from former STEM trainees currently involved in science policy will be scheduled throughout the year.

Private Sector Internship

We have arranged an opportunity for T32 trainees interested in private sector work to apply for a 12-week internship during the Fall semester with Dr. Zhara Assar in the Biophysics group at Cayman Chemicals (Ann Arbor, MI) (see Letters of Support). It will feature a membrane protein-related internal project, a poster presentation, and potentially a publication. Trainees will submit a written application designed by Cayman, which will then interview finalists for the position. T32 mentors agree in advance to support their trainees during this internship if they are selected, with Cayman covering up to $1500 a month for temporary housing. Depending on demand and success of the program, more than one slot may be offered in the future.

Tech Transfer/IP Law

Informational interviews on careers in tech transfer and patent law will be scheduled, such as the popular "Coffee with Cedric" session already hosted by the Department of Biological Sciences, which features Purdue Chemistry graduate Dr. Cedric D'Hue.

Basic Research/Teaching

Students interested in educational careers will actively teach in undergraduate courses taught by MBTP preceptors, and will participate in university mentor training and URM recruiting activities. The identification and interaction with molecular biophysicists involved in diverse fields of science in the Biophysics Seminar Series will aid trainees in applying their skills in a broad range of professional activities.



Required Career Development Activities

Attendance at Scientific Meetings

All MBTP trainees are required to travel to and present data at one regional or national meeting in the area of Molecular Biophysics in each year of the award, at minimum (typically starting in the summer at the end of year 2 in graduate school). There are limited travel funds set aside in the budget for this purpose. This allows trainees to network, learn about science from other universities, gain experience in oral communication, and help them decide on future career directions.

Individual Development Plan (IDP)

Trainees are required to complete an IDP and discuss it with their mentor on an annual basis, beginning the first semester they join their thesis research lab (first year of appointment to the MBTP). Trainees will submit a completed copy to the MBTP Executive Committee, and the trainee and mentor will also submit a brief report documenting the discussion of the IDP, noting areas of achievement and question or concern. As part of the annual meeting, trainees and mentors are also required to have a 1 hour discussion about relevant Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) issues for the upcoming milestones established in the IDP.

Mentor skills development

Regardless of career choice, the ability to mentor effectively is an important skill to develop. As such, all MBTP trainees are required to be teaching assistants for at least one semester. Trainees are also required to participate in the 8 hour mentor effectiveness training provided by Dr. Tesmer as part of his "train the trainer" experience at the National Research Mentoring Network Workshop.

Other aspects of mentor skills development are optional and will be tailored to fit the trainees' IDP plans. For example, URM recruitment and retention is a high priority for the MBTP, and participation in this activity is anticipated to be important for mentors and trainees who are interested in pursuing careers with a basic research, education, or government trajectory. Finally, trainees will have access to BME-sponsored mentorship-building workshops such as Mentoring and Being Mentored.