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Program Outcomes

The Caltech NIH Biotechnology Leadership Pre-doctoral Training Program was established in 2015.

Industrial Internship - 2016 Highlight

Contributed by: Josh Brake

This past summer I had the opportunity to intern for Instrumentation Laboratory, a medical device company headquartered in Bedford, MA. Instrumentation Laboratory has two main diagnostic product lines: hemostasis analyzers which assess the clotting properties of blood and critical care analyzers used at the point-of-care in hospital emergency rooms to quickly analyze blood samples and determine the levels of key analytes and diagnostic markers. While I was there, I worked with a group of R&D engineers on the development of some new ideas for optical detection in their next generation critical care analyzers. As part of this team, I had the chance to work closely with several of the engineers and learned about blood diagnostics and the optical techniques they use in their current devices. Additionally, I got to see and work to solve some of the engineering challenges that need to be addressed to improve future generations of the product. I particularly enjoyed the chance to see how research is done outside of the academic setting of my research lab at Caltech. The experience of an internship as a PhD student is rewarding and one I would recommend for all graduate students. Even though I am interested in pursuing a career in academia at this point in my studies, understanding the constraints on research and product design methodologies in a commercial setting is a valuable asset for framing research questions in a practical and compelling way. This experience taught me to think critically about simplifying and distilling devices so that they are reliable, easily made at scale, and cost efficient. These skills have translated back into the lab, helping to hone my entrepreneurial thinking and to elucidate the right questions to ask when translating technologies from the lab to real world practical applications. I am grateful to Instrumentation Laboratory for the chance to work for them this summer and also for the Biotechnology Leadership Program at Caltech which provided me with the opportunity and support to explore this opportunity. The experience was a valuable one for me, and I hope that other PhD students will consider taking an internship during their studies to explore potentially fulfilling career opportunities outside of the typical academic track. I suspect that you’ll learn, like I did, a lot of valuable lessons!

Trainee Accomplishments:

Conference Presentations

  • Kevin K. Yang, Claire N. Bedbrook, Austin J. Rice, Viviana Gradinaru, Frances H. Arnold. "Using Gaussian process models to predict channelrhodopsin plasma membrane localization." Southern California Machine Learning Symposium, Nov 2016 (Poster presentation; *Runner-up for best application)
  • Farwell, C. C.; Zhang, R. K.; McIntosh, J. A.; Hyster, T. K.; Arnold, F. H. “Enantioselective enzyme-catalyzed aziridination enabled by active-site evolution of a cytochrome P450.” Metals in Biology Gordon Research Conference, January 2016. (Poster presentation)
  • Ramesh, P. et. al. Engineered biosynthesis of magnetic nanostructures in non-magnetic bacteria. World Molecular Imaging Congress Annual Meeting, September 2016.  (Poster presentation)
  • Artavanis, G et al. “The role of single occupancy effects on integrase dynamics in a cell-free system”. SEED2016 conference, July 2016. (Conference paper)
  • Brake, Joshua, Mooseok Jang, and Changhuei Yang. "The relationship between decorrelation time and sample thickness in acute rat brain tissue slices." SPIE BiOS. International Society for Optics and Photonics, 2016. (Conference presentation) 


  • Brake, Joshua, Mooseok Jang, and Changhuei Yang. "Analyzing the relationship between decorrelation time and tissue thickness in acute rat brain slices using multispeckle diffusing wave spectroscopy." JOSA A 33.2 (2016): 270-275.
  • Davis, H.C*, Ramesh, P* et. al. Mapping the microscale origins of MRI contrast with Subcellular  NV Diamond magnetometry, Submitted to Nature Methods, 2016. * Equal contribution 

Honors & Awards

  • Ruijie (Kelly) Zhang: Caltech Li Ming Award for 2015-2016, recognizing outstanding students of Chinese birth, decent or nationality.


In future years, this page will describe additional outcomes of our training program, including:

  • Average time to degree
  • Percentage of students who successfully attain a PhD
  • Average number of publications per students graduated from PhD, including highlights on 1-2 publications
  • Percentage of URM and students with disabilities in the program and graduated
  • Data on career placement of trainees
  • Highlight piece(s) on one or two trainees (either current or past)
  • Examples of places where alumni have gone
  • Statistics on fellowships and awards obtained by graduates and current trainees, including highlights of 1-2 awards
  • Industrial internships
    • List of industries that have partnered with the program and statistics on where students have done internships
  • Career outcomes beyond the program (symposiums, seminars, etc)

We are excited to share the results of our program, so be sure to check back often!