The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced in April 2017 that diagnosed diabetes among youth is on the rise in the U.S. According to the report, 208,000 people under the age of 20 currently live with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Diabetics have weakened immune systems, and they rely on vaccines and the scientists who develop them to avoid complications from the flu, polio, measles and other diseases.
Jennifer Donato is one of those scientists. She works in a lab at the Thermo Fisher Scientific Center of Excellence for Cell Culture R&D in Grand Island, NY, where she helps develop products designed to enable customers in the pharmaceutical industry to scale up development of new treatments for cancer and other diseases as well as high quality vaccines. Cell culture, which is the process of removing cells from an animal or plant and growing them in a favorable artificial environment, offers advantages in developing consistent and reproducible drugs and vaccines.
For the 23-year-old Donato, the work is her profession, but it’s also quite personal: As a type 1 diabetic, she has spent her entire life on the receiving end of the types of products she now develops. Her work impacts thousands of individuals with similar conditions.
“It is rewarding knowing that my work is not only addressing childhood diseases, but also one that affects me,” said Donato. “When I am working, I think as both a scientist and a patient.”
Donato earned her Bachelor of Science degree in biotechnology at the University at Buffalo in December 2016. She was drawn to the heavy lab course work in biotechnology and was fascinated by a course in cell culture, gaining a new appreciation for cell culturing and its role in developing vaccines.
“What initially got me interested in science was my own background as a patient and realizing that there are gaps in treatment options for diseases such as diabetes,” she said.
That interest turned into a passion and led her to Thermo Fisher, first as an intern before she graduated from the University at Buffalo and then in a full-time capacity in December 2016. Fittingly, she was hired as an R&D scientist on the new product introduction team focusing on childhood vaccines. In this role, she creates the fundamental tools for pharmaceutical companies to develop lifesaving childhood vaccines. Every time she enters her lab, Donato is able to see how her work is making a difference.
“What motivates me every day is knowing that I have both the scientist and patient perspective in mind,” Donato said. “I’m able to impact many different customers and types of patients rather than developing just a single treatment. It’s fulfilling to be an important puzzle piece in this large scheme of medicine, biotherapeutics and pharmaceutical research.”
If you’re ready to help impact cutting-edge science, you’ll discover that, at Thermo Fisher Scientific, each one of our 55,000 extraordinary minds has a unique story to tell. And we all contribute to a singular mission—enabling our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer. To learn more about career opportunities click here.
Note: You clicked on an external link, which has been disabled in order to keep your shopping session open.