When you work in an academic lab and are fully engaged in your research, it’s easy to overlook all of the people that provide support for your experiments and keep the lab working like a well-oiled machine. The microscope facility, the tissue culture facility, or even the dreaded sales rep that arrives with an overzealous smile peddling their wares that we so desperately need. Getting to know the people who perform these services has it’s benefits as they’re better able to help you with your experiments and it also helps you tap into a network of new people who might be willing and able to help you find a job post graduation (or post-postdoc)!

One critical aspect of biomedical students’ research is DNA sequencing for things like inserting our favorite gene into a cell to determine its effect, or finding out whether a gene contains a mutation. There are several companies and core university services that perform DNA sequencing, but lately, my company of choice has been Eton Bioscience. With customer service being at the forefront of their business model, I often see folks from Eton Bioscience around campus picking up DNA samples and personally delivering oligos. I sat down with Dean Brayboy, the regional account manager of the Raleigh-Durham Branch of Eton Bio, to get to know a bit more about his company, him, and how came to work Eton. Why? it’s always valuable to know someone.

What is Eton Bioscience, Inc?

Eton Bioscience is located in the Research Triangle Park, and has multiple other locations nationwide.

Eton Bioscience is a multi-branch company with locations in San Diego, Boston, New Jersey, and the Research Triangle Park in Raleigh-Durham. They specialize in DNA sequencing, oligo synthesis, and other genetic techniques, such as subcloning, plasmid mutagenesis, and gene synthesis. Additionally, Eton offers antibody development, peptide synthesis, and lentiviral generation for all of your shRNA-mediated knockdown needs. All of those techniques are molecular biology speak for determining the makeup of DNA in a sample or manipulating the genetics of a cell into doing your bidding. They have a great reputation for customer service, and reps will personally retrieve sequencing samples from labs, deliver oligos, and are more than willing to answer your questions or just shoot the breeze. Personally, I became intimately familiar with Eton Bio during the dark times of my 3rd year when I was frantically cloning and sequencing everything in sight.

Who is Dean Brayboy?

Dean Brayboy

Early on Dean knew that he desired a career path where human health and helping people would be at the forefront of his duties, and thus he gravitated towards the health and wellness sector. Dean attended Barton College and earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology. Following graduation, he decided to put his business acumen to use and he managed a nutrition store and worked as a personal trainer for a time. Now, in his role at Eton, he relies on both his knowledge of biology and his business skills to provide support for research at all of the local universities, hospitals, and biotech companies.  He’s also just a genuinely nice guy who’s interested to learn about the research his clients are doing and how Eton’s services can help answer their individual research questions.  Finally, a fun little aside, he’s the lead singer in a cover band, and last I heard, they were looking for a band name, so if you’ve got some suggestions, leave a comment. Dean reads The Pipettepen, so perhaps he’ll use your suggestion.

What does he do at Eton and how did he attain his career goals?

Dean is currently the regional account manager at the Eton Bioscience branch in RTP. In this role, he interacts with countless clients at both academic and private institutions in the area. He’s also in charge of training sales reps for all of the Eton branches.

Dean is very much a people-person and a pro at networking. He admits that connecting with many people in many different fields and actively using LinkedIn played large roles in nailing down his job at Eton. Throughout our conversation, he stresses the importance of networking and not being afraid to talk to people. “You never know who will know somebody that could help springboard your career,” he states.

What positions are available at Eton?

Eton hires folks from the level of a bachelor’s degree all the way to the postdoc level for various positions. People who would like to stick with bench science might fit in well as a lab technician. There are also roles for people who would like to combine some business with their science, such as sales representatives or general branch managers.

Final, sage words of career advice from Dean:

My final question for Dean was whether he had any specific advice for students or postdocs looking to make the transition from the ivory tower to a job in industry, and he had this to say:

“I can’t stress enough the importance of developing your communication skills; being able to translate what you are doing, or what you have done, in labs to people who have never conducted research is critical. This will make students very marketable in whatever position they are applying for.”

If you’d like to talk to Dean about careers, you can catch him around campus from time-to-time picking up samples or dropping off oligos. He was also generous enough to allow me to post his contact info for anyone interested: dean [at] etonbio.com

Peer edited by Zan Isgett.

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