For my interview, I interviewed Jennifer Wong, a scientist in the development of analytic chemistry. In her occupation she purifies and analyzes proteins, as well as characterizes the proteins. She works for Panox located at 10301 Stellink Houston, TX 77025. For this company Dr. Wong analyzes proteins in order for her company to market drugs that will later help patients with certain diseases. Right now her company has not yet marketed any products yet, but they are still in the process. To arrange for the interview, I first asked my cousin, Tracy Bui, who is in the biochemistry field, but she referred me to her co-worker who had been working for that company longer. I could not visit her laboratory because I was not an authorized employee. So in order to accomplish my interview I had to resort to a telephone interview. The following are the questions and answers in the interview with Dr. Jennifer Wong.
Q: What is your educational background or training?
A: Dr. Wong has a bachelor in chemistry, a masters in chemical engineering, and
a Ph.D. in biochemistry and also including analytic chemistry.
Q: How much education do you believe a person should have in order to excel in this profession?
A: You need to graduate from high school and college at least, said Dr. Wong.
Although Dr. Wong went to obtain her Ph.D., she does not believe that a person has to go that far in order to obtain a job in her field. Dr. Wong went that far because she thinks that higher education will help a person become more experienced in this field.
Q: What preparations did you take to obtain this job?
A: Dr. Wong first worked for a different company and then she went through a professional placement agency that gave her an interview with the company. She found the professional placement agency on the Internet and sought more information about it. At that time the company was looking for experienced scientists. After they looked at her experience and her resume they hired her. Before Dr. Wong applied for this job, she had ten years of experience.
Q: Why did you choose this field of work?
A: because as a high school student, I enjoyed chemistry, said Dr. Jennifer Wong. As she began to explore analytic chemistry while getting her Ph.D. she was interested because in this field she was able to do something she loved and help other people at the same time. Dr. Wong liked chemistry and decided to go into biochemistry. When she came to the states she wanted to continue her education and eventually she was led to choose a career in analytic chemistry.
Q: What type of research do you do?
A: Dr. Wong analyzes proteins in order for her company to market a product. She characterizes proteins in order for her to see if the human body will take in a certain drug. She examines the proteins for impurities. Usually the drug they want has to be an injection or oral drug. On average it takes about ten or more years before a product will be on the market. At the current time her company has not yet been able to market any products yet because the process is a long time. The product must pass the FDA regulations and must have clinical tests as well.
Q: What kinds of instruments/technology do you use in your work?
A: In the protein lab there are many different types of tools used to drill proteins and analyze them as well.
The electrophoresis is a separation technique that is based on the mobility of ions in an electric field. She uses this in order to separate DNA or proteins. The HPLC, a high performance liquid chromatography, is another tool used to separate compounds or the proteins that are dissolved in solution. Many different types of solvents are used when she uses this instrument such as citric acid. An IES is a type of drill used to analyze proteins.
Q: How do you spend your time at work?
A: In a typical day she does experiments by testing proteins that her boss wants her to analyze. She does lab work for about six hours. Then she either does paper work that is necessary or read literature related to what she is currently doing. Also there are times when she has to write reports or devise a plan in order for her boss to see what she will be doing on the proteins.
Q: How much of your job is made up of paperwork?
A: Every profession has somewhat of paperwork, said Dr. Wong. In her job she does much paperwork because everything is regulated. During her labs she has to write everything down even the insignificant things. She also has to write up proposals to her boss to explain what she will be doing and her methods of accomplishing it. After the experiment is completed she has to write a report on her findings to submit to her boss and other parts of the company to see if the experiment will be useful.
A: Her goals are to fulfill the goal for her commercial company. She wants to do the best to facilitate their goal. She wants to get her job done in a timely session so that no time is wasted.
Q: How is your chemical training related to your job?
A: As in her biochemical field, chemistry is the most important part. Chemistry is the first basic training needed in this field. Throughout her day she does not go without using some part of chemistry in order for her to analyze the proteins.
Q: What safety measures are required in your job?
A: In her lab it is regarded as biosafety 2 where employees have ID cards that allow them to enter the lab. The lab has an electronic lock where only certain people can access the lab. The usual safety measures taken in a lab is also taken in her lab. She has to wear her labcoat, goggles, and gloves at all times. The other safety measures taken are similar to other lab safety measures.
Q: What types of chemicals are generally used to separate proteins?
A: As Dr. Wong said, There are no main chemicals used. There are different chemicals used when a certain type of procedure is taken. Some types of chemicals used in her lab are salt and potassium sulfate.
Q: How do you dispose of chemical wastes?
A: To dispose the chemical wastes in her lab, there are containers where the scientists dump their used chemicals. First an inventory is taken to see what chemicals have been used and what chemicals are left. Then her company hires a waste management company that will pick up the chemicals that have been used or that have expired and are no longer needed. The waste management company will then dispose the chemicals.
Q: How do you foresee future technology/advances in your area of work?
A: In this high-technology field many types of technology is being used in order to help speed the process of marketing products. I believe that the drugs developed will be more specific and target specific diseases, said Dr. Wong. She believes that technology will produce instruments that will help her in analyzing the proteins in a quicker manner, so in order for a drug to be marketed.
Q: What is the best part of your job?
A: Dr. Wong believes the best part of her job is to use the knowledge she has to benefit people. She feels that by advancing in biochemistry she is doing something goodor giving back to society. She enjoys her job because she believes that it will later help other people.
Q: What is the worst part of your job?
A: She does not enjoy spending her time purifying a certain protein and then later not use it. She wants what she did to be useful and not be a waste of time. Dr. Wong believes that she could have done something better with that time then do something that will have no use later on.
Q: How would you describe your job in a couple of words?
A: Dr. Wong said, It fills the gap between chemistry and marketing. She believes that her job is only one part of chemistry, where as marketing is also important in order to establish a product in society. She feels that her job is a step towards marketing.
Q: Would you encourage a person my age to enter this profession? Why?
A: Yes I would because in my field someday it will help the future, said Dr. Wong. This profession benefits the future and believes that chemistry is valuable to the world and the advancing technology. She said that she enjoys her profession, and she has no regrets on choosing this route. She believes that what she does is a part where she can help other people.
At the beginning of the interview I had no clue what analytic chemistry was until the interview had ended. Throughout the interview I became intrigued with how the scientists separated the proteins. I wonder how this would help produce a drug that will later help other people. I learned that chemistry is a significant part of the world because without it there would not have been many medical advances. Also that analytic chemistry is just a stepping stone that will help people market products that will help people treat diseases. As the interview progressed I began to understand what analytic chemistry was about. I grasped the basic concept of analytic chemistry, where a scientist analyzes different compounds (and in Dr. Jennifer Wongs case proteins) in order to see if a certain drug will be accepted.
Dr. Wong has made me think about that the more education one achieves, the more experience a person will have. Although it would have be great if I could have visited Dr. Wongs lab, but since I was unable to, I think I could have learn a little more if I was able to. If I was able to tour the lab I could have seen how the instruments were used in order to analyze the proteins and how the scientists spend a typical day at the company. Overall the interview went well. Dr. Wong was nice to explain what she does and explain to me the certain instruments she uses. She has made me think that analytic chemistry might be a way to explore because I enjoy mathematics and science. She told me that as a child she was interested in science and had excelled at mathematics.
Dr. Wong has given me a vision that analytic chemistry is beneficial to a person as well as people. She gives me the impression that this is a rewarding career. I learned that chemistry is a part of many different jobs that can be brought into other occupations like marketing. This interview has shown me how analytic chemistry can be related to marketing. It has helped me understand other parts of chemistry as well and has given me a further understanding of what a scientist would do in biochemistry. I would be interested to do something in this field because I could help people, and also do something I enjoy. I believe that I want to explore more on this career. Analytic chemistry sounds like a fascinating subject that I could research more about.