Establishing Roots in Biotech
Since she was 11 years old, Remya Nathan, VG17, (she/her/hers) knew that becoming a veterinarian was what she wanted to do. “My first job was with animals, and I worked in animal hospitals for eight years,” says the Queens, New York, native.
“It was and truly still is my passion,” she contends. “I don’t think anything will ever come close to the excitement that I feel for veterinary medicine.” Although her career has not begun how she had thought, Nathan has found a niche in biotechnology.
Nathan pursued the pre-veterinary track at Queens College, where she earned a B.A. in sociology while taking the science courses necessary to later pursue vet school. She embraced the caring community she found at Cummings School after enrolling in the Master of Science in infectious disease and global health program.
“There were hundreds of students in my classes at Queens, but my Cummings School class had about 16,” she explains. “I felt like each professor that I had was truly a mentor. Akram Da’darah [associate professor of infectious diseases] was my official mentor through the program and he was fantastic … one of the best professors and mentors I’ve ever had.”
“Abhineet Sheoran [associate professor and director of the M.S. in IDGH program] was great as well,” she continues. “I also worked in the lab with Patrick Skelly [professor and associate chair of IDGH] and he was wonderful. They all took the time and effort to be a mentor.”
They worked with and supported Nathan when she changed her focus. “I thought I was going to work as a veterinarian in an animal hospital, but the world of biotech opened for me through this degree,” Nathan explains. At Cummings School, she learned how to think critically and to present complicated data in a clear and concise manner. “I did not learn that as an undergrad, so that was incredibly helpful,” she insists.
I thought I was going to work as a veterinarian in an animal hospital, but the world of biotech opened for me through this degree. Remya Nathan, VG17
After completing her degree, Nathan landed an entry-level position at Keros Therapeutics, a Lexington, Massachusetts-based biotechnology company that develops therapeutics to treat hematological and musculoskeletal disorders with high unmet medical need.
“I’ve been here for five years and have been promoted three times,” she says. “The IDGH program provided what I needed to excel at this job, even though it wasn’t in infectious disease.” A senior associate director at Keros, Nathan consistently reaches out to Cummings School’s MS-IDGH faculty when seeking potential employees. “I bring IDGH grads in because we do so well here,” she says. “One of my coworkers is a fellow alum from the MS-IDGH program and we’ve excelled.”
In her role, Nathan assembles data collected by Keros’ in vivo pharmacology team to present it company-wide and submit it to conferences. She is eager to soon make her first presentation at a professional conference. “I’m giving a talk, so I’m preparing for that now,” she says.
Nathan proudly acknowledges that Keros has shown an interest in her career goals, as well. “I’ve consistently learned and gotten more responsibilities as I’m still developing, and I’ve considered pursuing an MBA to explore the business development side of science,” she explains.
With her degree and five years of experience in the industry, Nathan feels she is ready for the next step, and says, “I’ve learned how to convey information so anyone can understand it, and that is a skill that I can take anywhere.”
Department:MS in Infectious Disease and Global Health