Career Q&A with alumni Greg Wohlleb of BD Biosciences

By Caroline Osterman

The Fung Institute’s Career Development team provides a wide range of specialized programming and opportunities to help students develop strong professional skills, explore various career paths and build a strong network during their time in the MEng program. The Career Chat series allows MEng alumni to come speak to current students about their industry and recruiting opportunities. Greg Wohlleb, MEng ’16 (BIOE) returned in February 2018 to represent BD Biosciences, chat with students about his work in engineering, and share his advice for getting the job.

MEng alumni Greg Wohlleb and Steve Wolfsohn (Abbott Laboratories) at the Fung Institute’s 2018 Alumni Happy Hour in San Francisco.

Tell us a bit about you.

I was born and raised in Tucson, AZ and lived there until I graduated high school in 2011. For my undergraduate career, I attended Arizona State University and was a member of Barrett, the Honors College where I pursued a BSE in Biomedical Engineering. As part of my honor’s thesis, I worked in the Sirianni Laboratory at Barrow Neurological Institute on pharmacologic modulation of the blood-brain barrier and nanoparticle drug delivery systems.

“The MEng program at UC Berkeley was the perfect choice because it offered me the perfect balance of gaining additional technical experience and vital leadership/career skills. It’s hard to pass up a master’s degree that only takes one year!”

The MEng program at UC Berkeley was the perfect academic choice because I was intent on pursuing a career in the biotechnology industry. The program offered me the perfect balance of gaining additional technical experience and vital leadership/career skills. It’s hard to pass up a master’s degree that only takes one year!

What was your experience at Berkeley like?

At Berkeley I studied Bioengineering and was a member of the Healy laboratory. For my Capstone project, I worked with a great team (Alison Burklund, Daniel Campo, Dragos Puscalau) on a low-cost microfluidic cell counting device for HIV monitoring. We spent many lab hours optimizing the design parameters and workflow of the device, as well as researching the market needs for a such a device in developing nations. I also enjoyed being a member of oSTEM and Queer Grads during my time at Berkeley.

What do you do at BD Biosciences?

Greg repped BD Biosciences at his Career Chat at the Fung Institute in Februrary 2018.

In my 1.5 years at BD, I’ve gotten to work on several fascinating and high-impact projects. These include reliability testing of the recently launched FACSMelody cell sorter, and collaborating with foreign vendors on the design and testing for an upcoming integrated sample prep instrument. I also get to interface with all of the different sectors of R&D, including many types of engineering, validation & verification, quality, manufacturing, and regulatory. I really enjoy getting to do plenty of hands-on lab work and see the products of our hard work be successfully launched. The depth of technical knowledge at this company is awe-inspiring.

Do you have any advice for current MEng students?

Take full advantage of the excellent career resources and networking opportunities available through the Fung Institute. I found my job through a posting on the Facebook page for my MEng class! Definitely have them take a look at your resume and cover letter to help you tailor them to each job you apply for.

Also, don’t be afraid to apply for temporary or contractor positions at large companies. These are common and can often lead to conversions to a salaried position.

Lastly, apply to jobs even if you don’t have 100% of the qualifications or skills that are listed. For entry level jobs, even though a company may request 2+ years of experience, they will most likely interview plenty of people that are straight out of college.

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