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Alumni Corner

To our alumni:
This alumni corner is set up so that current undergraduate students at Binghamton can find out more about varied careers and paths toward those careers that you have taken. If you are willing to share your experience, please contact annatan@binghamton.edu.

ABY MATHEW (Ph.D. Biology, 2001) - Director, Hypothermic Preservation - BioLife Solutions, Inc. located in Binghamton, NY

Following my undergraduate graduation (B.S.in Microbiology, Cornell University), I was not entirely certain what career path I would follow. I started taking some graduate classes at Binghamton University and was fortunate enough to also be introduced to a new project being started with Dr. Robert G. Van Buskirk and Dr. John G. Baust. This project involved the development of low temperature preservation solutions for cells and tissues by understanding the cellular mechanisms involved with cell death. The promising success of the initial project encouraged me to enter the graduate program at Binghamton University, and resulted in an experience that I consider both rewarding and unique. In addition to the scientific and academic aspect of completing the Ph.D. in Cell & Molecular Biology, I was able to be involved in the development of BioLife Solutions, the first biotechnology incubator company at Binghamton University. Therefore, I was exposed to aspects of the corporate world in addition to the basic science studies and teaching experience of graduate education.

The last decade has seen the growing development of cellular therapies and tissue engineered products. There is much hope that these scientific developments will lead to improved abilities to repair and regenerate damaged or diseased tissues. One major obstacle to the eventual widespread use of these technologies would be the ability to transport and maintain these biological products across continental and global distances without loss of viability and/or function. The development of hypothermic preservation solutions and cryopreservation solutions by BioLife Solutions has attracted a growing list of clients and collaborators. The HypoThermosol® and CryoStor™ family of products is being evaluated and utilized by an increasing number of companies and academic groups across the world. We continue research to further understand the mechanisms of cell death involved with preservation so that the present limits of preservation can be extended and improved. Following the completion of my Ph.D., I have continued to work for BioLife Solutions (www.biolifesolutions.com) in several capacities (laboratory research, product development, customer service, contract services, etc.). I continue to conduct scientific experiments for basic science understanding, as well as to possibly discover a new product. If a customer calls with a question regarding how to use our products, I may be one of several people who might answer their questions. If we are hired by a client to develop a product specifically for their biological application, I may be involved with the terms of the contract and the actual scientific experiments. Although this requires wearing many hats, this is an experience not likely to be replicated at a larger company. I am able to gain experience in multiple facets of the company, as well as more efficiently incorporate information regarding these different "departments" that would often be separated amongst multiple personnel in a larger company. In a larger company, each of these functions is often the responsibility of one individual and would require meetings with the other individuals to incorporate information.

The experiences that I have gained from the graduate studies through the biotechnology endeavors would not likely have been replicated at most graduate institutions. This experience continues to teach and amaze me, and I am certainly fortunate that it all started when I came to Binghamton University.

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Last Updated: 5/5/09