Overview of 2017 AACT Career Development Workshop

The American Association of Chinese in Toxicology (AACT) Career Development Workshop: “Prepare for Your Success in China” was held on March 14, 2017, during the Society of Toxicology (SOT) Annual Meeting in Baltimore. Alex Xu, as the Workshop Chairperson and the 2017 AACT President, began by providing an introduction of speakers and an overview of the career opportunities for toxicologists. This workshop brought together Chinese American toxicology experts from industry to academia to share their experiences and discuss current trends and strategies in career development. All the speakers had worked in the US for multiple years before they moved back to China.

John Gong, PhD, MD, 3D Medicines Inc., provided a little bit about his background, especially the thoughts about his transition from the US Food and Drug Administration as a reviewer to CEO of a precision medicine company in China. It answers an important question “Why back to China?” Nowadays, China is becoming an important player in the global healthcare network. China has become the second-largest global pharmaceutical market, with significant growth in the innovative pharmaceutical companies and research organizations. Dr. Gong’s presentation provided helpful information to aid toxicologists finding opportunities in China.

Joe Zhang, PhD, DABT, Simcere Pharmaceuticals, as another successful returnee back to China, shared his thoughts on steps for a successful career. Dr. Zhang compared the definition of career and job, and then summarized it as “Jobs are the building blocks for one’s career.” He used his own experience (from CRO to pharmaceutical industry) to demonstrate how to take charge of your own career path. Professional development is no longer linear, and Dr. Zhang’s advice will help each of us to prepare for each change and navigate a route to career success. At the end of his presentation, he expressed his acknowledgment to a few fine people who have positively influenced his career.

Leshuai Zhang, PhD, DABT, Soochow University, provided practical advice for young scientists who would like to pursue careers in universities. In his talk, Dr. Zhang gave detailed tips on how to maximize the start-up package as a junior professor. It covered the salary, research funding (start-up and settlement), benefits (housing), awards (research and teaching), and equipment cost. These data, some are disclosed only under limited circumstances, will help young faculty to survive and thrive during the early years. He ended his talk by sharing his thoughts on adjustment and adaptation to the Chinese academic environment.

If you missed any of these excellent presentations or would like to revisit what was presented, the presentation slides have been posted on the AACT website

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