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Cornell University


Friday, May 25, 2018
One transition experience and one successful career

Alumna and BEST mentor Dr. Rajni Singh shared her experiences in transitioning from academia to regulatory affairs (RA) with Ph.D. students and postdocs. Dr. Singh got her bachelor degree in Animal Science from Rutgers University in 2007 and her Ph.D. degree in Molecular and Integrative Physiology from Cornell in 2012.  She was a postdoc at the NIH before she was awarded the ORISE fellowship and started to transition her career to RA. She is now a Consumer Safety Officer at the FDA.

Dr. Singh considered her ORISE fellowship at the FDA as a unique and invaluable opportunity for her to set foot on the career path to RA. Even though she knew little about regulatory affairs when she applied, the program offered training in a variety of formats that prepared her to grow and advance as a regulatory affairs professional. Therefore, she highly recommended the ORISE program to anyone who is potentially interested in RA. While the postdoctoral experience is usually not required for an entry-level RA position, Dr. Singh still considered that her postdoctoral training at the NIH helped prepare her for her career in RA because many skills she had acquired are surely transferable.

Dr. Singh also gave the audience an overview of her typical workdays as a Consumer Safety Officer at the FDA. Her work focuses on post-market safety surveillance of veterinary drugs, which involves performing intensive data review and analyses on post-market studies and clinical trials, writing and presenting reports, communicating with drug sponsors, etc. When describing her job responsibilities, she put great emphasis on the importance of teamwork. Not only does she work with other FDA officers like herself on a daily basis, but she also works closely with many others within and outside the FDA, ranging from researchers and veterinarians to drug sponsors, educators, attorneys, and legislators. Therefore, Dr. Singh pointed out that superb communication skills and great attention to detail are required to excel in RA.

These are the participants' takeaways: 

"Benefits of ORISE" (Physics)

"Job opportunities @ FDA." (Biological and Biomedical Sciences)

"Personal experience information about career."

"Knowing the flexibility of a biology PhD student to fit into a new job, such as regulatory work."

"Learning about teamwork at FDA. What it means to be a reviewer." (Biological and Biomedical Sciences)

"More opportunities and learning." (Molecular Biology and Genetics)

"Pros and cons about this career path." (Soil and Crop Sciences)

"Nicely balance perspective provided." (Microbiology)

"Learned a lot about the FDA/regulatory affairs." (Molecular Biology and Genetics)

"Importance of transferrable skills, don't necessarily need regulatory background." (Environmental Toxicology)

"That you don't have to know everything." (Genetics, Genomics and Development)