Italian Doctor Applies New Biotech Skills at Bay Area Research Institute


- Eleonora Migliore

Term : February, 2016
Department : Biosciences
Program : Biotechnology

When Eleonora Migliore moved from Italy to California, she had already earned a degree as a medical doctor (clinical pathology) and a master’s degree in biological sciences. She realized, though, that she would not be able to practice medicine without attending an American medical school, so decided to expand her understanding of biotechnology. When she discovered UCSC Extension’s Biotechnology program, she was excited to find courses that provided the background in molecular biology that she needed, and a community of scientists who could help introduce her to Silicon Valley industry. She completed the certificate in August 2015.

What attracted you to UCSC Extension’s program?

When I arrived in the Bay Area three years ago, it was difficult to know where to start. I knew I needed to build local connections and improve my understanding of pharmacology and drug discovery and development. Because I cannot be a doctor in the US, and my knowledge is clinical, I wanted to learn more about molecular biology and biotechnology. I wanted to learn more about the FDA; the laws and regulations are different here in the US than they were in Europe. The program was great for me.

What courses stood out to you?

“Molecular Diagnostics” was a very important course for me, because it offered a hybrid of molecular and applied biology in the diagnostics field. It was the most interesting course I took at Extension. The instructor was very clear, and explained every single detail at great depth.

“Next Generation DNA Sequencing: Methods and Applications” was also interesting because it is a very new field. Very few people have knowledge in this field, so it was interesting to have an idea of NGS generation is. Because I have the clinical background, it was important that I have this knowledge.

I also liked “Cellular Biology.” I asked the instructor if I could visit his company as a trainee and view their lab environment, and I was lucky because he was available to give me a tour. It was very helpful to see what the lab looked like.

What are you up to now?

I am volunteering at the Regenerative Science Institute in Sunnyvale, where I am working on a project programming stem cells. It’s very interesting and helpful work. I’m using the knowledge I learned in class, especially molecular biology. I’m also interviewing for positions as a research associate or associate scientist, because I’d love to be able to apply my background as a doctor and clinical scientist here in Silicon Valley.

What advice do you have for professionals interested in biotechnology?

You have to be very strong and positive. It is very difficult to start your career, especially if you move here from another country. I recommend that others enroll in Extension’s Biotechnology program, if that is their interest, because my experience has been positive. It was a very good starting point for me in the Bay Area.

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