Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Noe Galvan

Dr. Galvan received his BA in Molecular and Developmental Biology from UC Santa Cruz and his PhD. in Molecular and Environmental Toxicology from the UW Madison. After a two year Postdoc at UC Berkeley, he served as a Toxicologist at The Clorox Company where he designed and conducted product safety assessments for household products to assure safety and compliance globally. He transition to Amway to serve as the lead Toxicologist and eventually as the manager for the global safety team to lead and assure safety standards and compliance for all global ingredients and products (Nutrition, Cosmetics, Personal Care, Home Care, Durables, etc.). He is currently a Sr Director of QA at Beachbody where he serves as the Toxicologist, leads the Quality System, Quality Consumer Affairs, Compliance and Analytical Services teams to assure the document management, high standard of safety and quality for raw materials and finished goods.

When did you participate in the Molecular and Environmental Toxicology Graduate Program?

I was a student in the MET Graduate Program from 1998 to 2004.

Please tell us about your current employment (company name, your title, and your responsibilities).

I am a Senior Director of QA at Beachbody supporting the Nutrition business (Shakeology and Performance Product lines).  I have been for 3 years and I serve as the in-house Toxicologist, and lead a team that is responsible for Quality System, Quality Consumer Affairs, Compliance and Analytical Services teams to assure the document management, high standard of safety and quality for raw materials and finished goods.  As a toxicologist, I conduct risk assessment and safety evaluation for new ingredients to be used in finished goods.

Could you describe your career path?

I thought I was going to me a Toxicology professor at my alma mater, UC Santa Cruz.  Upon completion of my Ph.D.,  I did a two year post-doc at UC Berkeley in Toxicology laboratory pithing the School of Public Health.  Here I was able to hone in on grant writing, increase the molecular toxicology capability ties of the laboratory, and to collaborate in a multinational field research project in China.  Towards the end of my two year post-doc, I had just return from China, The Clorox Company reached out to me as they were in search of a Toxicologist.  Bye bye to being a professor, I took the job and transition to industry.  Here I was responsible mainly for products regulated by the EPA and CPCS.  After 5 years at Clorox, I decided to, as I like to call it, “expand my professional portfolio” and moved to Nutrilite, a dietary supplement company own by Amway, to expand into the FDA world on regulations.  Here, I was responsible of the conducting the risk assess and product safety for the global dietary supplement business.  About four years later, I become the Manager for the Amway/Nutrilite Safety Global Team responsible for assuring global safety standards and compliance of all Amway products (Nutrition, Cosmetics, Personal Care, Home Care and Durables).  At about 5 years, I found myself once again looking to “expand my portfolio” and moved to Beachbody as a Senior Director in Quality Assurance.  Here I lead a team of 10 and the learnings have been substantial, the QA world is defiantly a shift from Toxicology, but the good thing is that they are complimentary.  I still stay connected to Toxicology especially as I am the in-house Toxicologist.

What is your favorite grad school memory?

My best memories from the MET Graduate Program was the strong bond, the support and encouragement from members of my class.  The connections made with classmate ahead and behind me and with advisors.  It was always exciting going to SOT meetings and getting introduced to alums of the Program.  Our world as Toxicologist is a small one, and it makes proud to know we as alum are out there and we are not along as we are across many areas of industry, institutions and government agencies.  It makes me proud and happy to keep meeting and running into fellow Badgers (Toxicologist).

Which aspects of the Molecular and Environmental Toxicology Graduate Program helped you the most?

To me, it was the ability to be able to make connections and to problem solve in a scientific and creative approach.  Think outside the hat.  Being able to read as many articles as possible allowed me to get exposed to new methodologies, which I could connect with my research to better design an experiment.  One other key aspect was to be able to share ideas with my fellow students – think of as a cross-functional collaboration.  To this date, I still apply this approach as my career continues to grow and evolve.

What advice can you offer current graduate students to help them prepare for a career in your field?

Pursue your interest and grow your network.  I never realized I was going to be a Toxicologist. It all started with a few questions and not having answers about how pollution impacted humans and the environment, which triggered my interested in science.  Doors that lead me to Toxicology kept opening up and then more exciting opportunities came up which have allowed me to touch and drive the development of global products used by consumers on a daily basis.  These opportunities have become a reality because of the large network that I have and continue to grow.  Make sure to attend the MET Graduate Program reunions at SOT as it is a great opportunity to network.  Don’t be shy!  Build your network, meet and talk with folks to learn what they do, how they got there and you maybe be the path to a great opportunity!