Career spotlight: product manager
Takara Bio is an innovative and growing company, and we are proud of our friendly corporate culture in which creativity, teamwork, and intellectual diligence are recognized and rewarded. Through our series of blogs highlighting people who have found careers at Takara Bio, we hope to show you what it's like to be a team member contributing to the advancement of "good science."
So, what does good science actually mean? First off, our mission is to provide our customers with best-in-class products, expert support, and superior value, which empower them to overcome technical hurdles and focus on the advancement of scientific knowledge. Our talented team of product managers keep their fingers on the pulse of the market, acting as critical conduits between customers and our Sales, Technical Support, and R&D teams. Their goal is to deliver everything customers need to be successful in their specific applications. The expertise of the Product Management team and their mission of meeting the varied needs of customers fosters a work environment with a strong spirit of collaboration.
In this interview, we'll hear from Dr. Anastasia Potts, product manager of our single-cell RNA-seq and immune profiling portfolios.
When did you realize you wanted a career in science?
I was originally more interested in social sciences, specifically social psychology. But, after working in a microbiology lab as an undergraduate student, I was wooed by the chance to do elegant, controlled experiments that are simply impossible to do in humans. This first spark led me further into the ambiguity and complexity of transcriptomics and genomics. Although my career has shifted away from both microbiology and the bench, I do still have a special place in my heart for basic microbiology.
Why are you dedicating yourself to the advancement of science?
I want to help create tools that empower researchers to advance basic biology, identify potential therapeutic targets, and improve human health.
What is your training background and how did you get started at TBUSA?
I have a PhD in Microbiology and Cell Science from the University of Florida. My research focused on the post-transcriptional regulator CsrA in E. coli and Salmonella. I used multiple NGS sequencing methods (CLIP-seq, ribosome profiling, and RNA-seq) to understand how CsrA regulates gene expression. Before joining TBUSA, I was an NGS applications development scientist at another biotechnology company. In the applications development role, I worked with marketing and technical support to develop new applications for existing products. These applications were generally driven by requests or questions from customers. This experience exposed me to how product management bridges the gap between customers and R&D, which I found very exciting. I found an opening at TBUSA for managing NGS products, and the rest is history.
What made you interested in your current role at TBUSA?
TBUSA makes some of the best RNA-seq products on the market, especially in the field of single-cell RNA-seq. Single-cell RNA-seq is emerging as a critical technology, making it possible to understand complex tissues like the brain and uncover how cancer cells escape the immune system. This made managing the single-cell RNA-seq portfolio at TBUSA a very appealing prospect. At the same time, I wanted to make a transition away from the bench and become more involved in the business side of science, while maintaining a close link with R&D. Product management was the perfect position for this.
What do you enjoy about your role? (What keeps you interested?)
Every day is different with new challenges and opportunities. I never feel bored!
What kinds of interactions do you have with customers, and how do you help them solve their research challenges?
I talk with customers when I'm in the field. I am also the first point of contact for my products, so often I'm in the background giving information to sales or technical support to pass along to customers. One important role I have as a product manager is to translate customer needs or problems into product ideas and specifications. I also represent customers and communicate what they need to R&D. To do this effectively, I often look for opportunities to talk to customers about what kinds of projects they're working on, what direction they think things are moving, and what problems and difficulties they face in their research.
What is it like interacting with your team? What other teams do you interact with, and why?
I work with many teams across TBUSA: Product Management, R&D, Sales, Technical Communications, Marketing Communications, Operations, and Technical Support. These groups often bring very different perspectives, but working together really pushes us to make the best products for our customers and support customers in using these products. I am especially awed by the sales team at TBUSA. They do an amazing job cultivating relationships with customers and helping them find the best solutions for their research needs from our vast catalog of products.
What do you think sets Takara Bio products and services apart from other companies?
TBUSA is a surprisingly small company, which allows us to be agile in the rapidly changing biotech market. That means when we see a customer need, we can jump in to provide solutions. This might be the innovative Lenti-X GoStix Plus and smartphone app that makes titering lentivirus a snap or the ZapR technology in the SMART-Seq Stranded Kit that enables researchers to deplete rRNA from single cells.
What do you like about our company culture and working/living in this area?
I'm originally from Florida so Northern California is quite different, but the San Francisco Bay Area is lovely. I especially enjoy being able to spend the summers outdoors rather than hiding in the air conditioning. Being in the Bay Area also is a fantastic place to work in biotech; there are world-renowned universities nearby as well as many pharma and biotech companies.
Anastasia, thank you for sharing your insights about being a product manager at Takara Bio!
Stay tuned for more career spotlights!
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- Using the power of RNA-seq to characterize brain cell types
- When your his-tagged constructs don't bind
- Taking the SMARTer approach to RNA-seq of FFPE tissues
- Maximizing transduction efficiency in hematopoietic cells
- Efficient nonviral T-cell engineering: CRISPR takes a giant step towards the clinic
- Amplifying our understanding of breast cancer metastases
- How to choose the right tools for iPSC-derived disease model development
- Bringing epigenomic profiling to the single-cell biology stage
- Top 5 considerations when automating single-cell sequencing
- What's inside automated single-cell RNA-seq platforms?
- Women in science at TBUSA
- Career spotlight: product manager
- Career spotlight: technical writer
- Career spotlight: field applications scientist
- Career spotlight: technical support scientist
- Career spotlight: associate director of R&D
- 5 tips to make your single-cell RNA-seq experiments a success
- Cancer immunotherapy
- Customer spotlight: profiling transcription factors with CUT&RUN sequencing
- Web and mobile apps
- Successful knockout experiments
- Using UMTs in NGS experiments
- One-step vs. two-step RT-qPCR
- Avoiding DNA contamination in PCR
- Choosing a CMO partner for stem cell therapy manufacturing
- 20 years of human stem cell research
- Better biobanking with high-throughput qPCR
- Accurate detection of SNVs and CNVs in a single, low-pass sequencing run
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