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Meet Alums from Merck!

Posted: July 9, 2018

Introduction to research at big biotech pharma.

What:  Intro to Research & Development at Big Biotech/Pharma with Merck (Webinar discussion)

When:   12-1 pm on Wednesday, July 11

How:  Register here .  After you register, the system will send you a confirmation email with the link to join the webinar.

Who:  All Penn State undergraduates, graduate students, and postdocs interested in careers in biotech/pharma.   

More info?
Join this interactive session with Penn State alums to learn what Research and Development looks like at Merck.  Not only will our alums discuss the science and engineering behind the business, but will also explain ways in which your Penn State experiences and degree(s) fit with the different jobs types at Merck.  This webinar boasts ~30 minutes for questions and answers with our panelists! Can't make it?  We will record the session and share it with you.

Question?  Contact Tomalei Vess ( , Science Engagement), Jessica Kirkwood (, Penn State Hershey), or Sue Chappell (, Career Services)

Speaker Bios:
Janelle Konietzko graduated from Penn State with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering in 2008 and received her Masters in Biological Chemical Engineering through a distance program with Lehigh University in 2017.  While an undergrad, Janelle worked in Dr. Zydney’s lab assisting with research on plasmid purification using ultrafiltration membranes.  She joined Merck in 2009 at the Rahway, NJ site in Biologics Process Development working on the purification of several monoclonal antibody projects.  Janelle joined the Vaccine Process Development group in West Point, PA in 2010 where she has worked on several different vaccine candidates.  Her scope of work includes developing and optimizing chromatography conditions, ultrafiltration, and normal filtration operations for both protein and live virus vaccine products.  Currently, she is working on a conjugate vaccine product developing key chemical reaction steps and performing technology transfer of the process to clinical and full-scale manufacturing sites.    
     
Zachary Davis graduated from Penn State with a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and a Minor in Microbiology in 2014.  While an undergrad, Zach worked in Dr. Hanna-Rose’s lab assisting with research on vulval morphogenesis of C. elegans. Additionally, he interned with Johnson & Johnson as a Quality Control Microbiologist testing product sterility. Upon graduation, he joined GlaxoSmithKline as a contract employee in 2014 and worked in an biological assay development group.  Following his contract, Zach joined Merck in 2015 and became a member of the Vaccine Analytical Development group in West Point, PA. Specifically, Zach works in Laboratory Automation Development and Support where he automates manual assays using cutting edge robotic automation technology.  His scope of work includes developing and optimizing automated cell based assays, developing analytical data handling techniques, and researching and implementing new automation and integration equipment.  Currently, he is evaluating new automated liquid handlers to support sample testing for a wide range of vaccine projects.

Kyle Evans received his Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from Temple University School of Medicine in 2011. For his undergrad at PSU, Kyle was a biotechnology major in the Elberly College of Science. While in undergrad, Kyle took advantage of co-op opportunities available through his college. Kyle took part in a 9-month co-op at Glaxo Smith Kline in anti-infectives research. Kyle accepted a position with Wyeth pharmaceuticals after graduation in the fall of 1999 where he worked in vaccine and anti-venom manufacturing. Kyle started at Merck in 2012 in the Biologics Pilot Plant where he manufactured clinical materials for Phase I-III trials. Kyle joined the Vaccine Process Development group in 2014 where he has worked on several different vaccine candidates.  Currently, he is working on a conjugate vaccine product developing key chemical reaction steps and performing technology transfer of the process to clinical and full-scale manufacturing sites.

Jessica Welker Olson graduated from Penn State in 2007 with a B. S. in Microbiology and a minor in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. As a Schreyer Scholar, Jessica conducted undergraduate research in Dr. Andrea Mastro’s lab on the changes induced in osteoblast inflammatory pathways upon breast cancer metastasis to bone tissues.  Jessica joined Merck in the Fermentation & Cell Culture group (now Vaccine Process Development) in 2007, where she has participated in upstream bioprocess development for a number of monoclonal antibody and vaccine candidates.  Her current role focuses on scale up and scale down of a bacterial fermentation process, including technology transfer to contract manufacturing partners, clinical manufacturing, and full-scale manufacturing sites.

Sponsored by:  

  • Career Services, Penn State Hershey College of Medicine
  • Career Services, Penn State
  • Office of Science Engagement, Eberly College of Science (University Park)
  • PSU Alumni at Merck