Dr. Jordan Sand (PHD ’10, Verma Lab) has taken a winding road on his career. Working as a postdoc in the lab of Mark Cook, he developed a technology that has led to his own start-up company. In fact, this work has been highlighted by the Big Ten Network in their exposes.
When did you participate in the Molecular and Environmental Toxicology Graduate Program?
Please tell us about your current employment (company name, your title, and your responsibilities).
Self-Employed, I started a company based on technology I developed as a Post-Doctorate at UW-Madison. We found a new way to treat disease by targeting the host immune system. I am the Chief Technology Officer at Ab E Discovery LLC. I also co-own the company with my former mentor Mark Cook (deceased) and entrepreneur Chris Salm. We just finished building a manufacturing plant in Waterloo WI.
Could you describe your career path?
Winding…I guess you could say that my graduate career informed what I didn’t want to do. This is almost more important because most of the people that are in graduate school have so many options its good to know what you don’t want to do. I found Mark Cook my Post-Doctoral mentor at the Toxicology seminar and he always asked about chickens and how that technology or research could apply to chickens. I grew up on a farm and knew that Mark was entrepreneurial so I was attracted to his laboratory and that is where we made the discovery that gave me my job today.
What is your favorite grad school memory?
After seminars we always went to a local watering hole and drank beers and talked science. From that we started a softball team and it was great to develop those relationships that I still have today.
Which aspects of the Molecular and Environmental Toxicology Graduate Program helped you the most?
The aspects of METC that helped the most was hearing the diversity of science that was going on in the program. That really helps to see how your science may impact other fields and making new connections and collaborations.
What advice can you offer current graduate students to help them prepare for a career in your field?
The advice I can give is to keep an open mind and look for people that you can collaborate with. Its also good to get better at talking with non-science people about science. I do more teaching of people with business degrees about science than I would like to admit. Distilling complex ideas to understandable concepts for non-science people is probably my greatest strength and is something I would encourage everyone to work on.