Soaring to New Heights

I am Research, Progress, Hope: Soaring to New Heights

01.31.14 | By Preet Bilinski

What does working in a lab have in common with flying an airplane? A great deal according to the next researcher highlighted in our “I am Research, Progress, Hope” series, Dowdy Jackson, head of the Antibody Drug Conjugate (ADC) Biology group at Agensys, an affiliate of Astellas.

Jackson, who flies single engine planes and gliders in his spare time, says that flying allows him to look at the world differently and with new perspective – similar to his day-to-day learnings at work. He says that flying appeals to the sense of curiosity that drives medical research.

Jackson’s team evaluates new ADC technologies, leads new ADC projects and supports current ADC projects that aim to make an impact on the lives of cancer patients and their families. They are focused on the potential development of new technologies and the identification of better targets to improve clinical successes and subsequently patients’ lives.

“I’ve always wanted to pursue a career in science. There’s nothing else that I’d rather be doing with my career,” Jackson says. “There is always that hope that the drug that you are working on will allow a cancer patient to spend more time with their family.”

Unfortunately, the number of young people who feel that a career in science is the only path they’d like to take is dwindling. According to the recently released Battelle report STEM: Building a 21st Century Workforce to Develop Tomorrow’s New Medicines, there is an increasing STEM skills gap in the U.S. versus other countries creating concern among R&D-intensive industries such as the biopharmaceutical industry about the future of scientific innovation and American competitiveness.

PhRMA member companies are helping to bridge the gap and inspire students to become more interested in careers in science through a broad range of local, state, and national level programs, investing over $100 million in STEM education related initiatives since 2008.

For more information about those programs, we invite you to read the full Battelle report at: www.phrma.org/innovation/stem.

And, to learn more about Dowdy Jackson’s work and his life outside of the lab, visit our day-in-life page.

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