Physicist creates cross-organization visibility at BioTech startup - Propheto Case Study

Published: January 10, 2021


Before deciding to pursue a PhD in Physics, Max worked in industry for a hardware startup. He really enjoyed collaborating with people towards accomplishing immediate goals. It was something he was missing while he was deep in his PhD research working largely in isolation, particularly during COVID-19. At the time, he was looking for industry experience:

"I was looking for exposure to problems and solutions that arise in R&D driven businesses as well as feedback on how my current skill set meshes with an industry role."

That’s why when Max learned about Prophto, he was intrigued by the opportunity to get a taste of industry again. He wasn’t sure whether wanted to stay in academia after obtaining his degree and was hoping to apply some of his new skills on something outside his research.

After signing up, Max saw a project with a biotech company, completely outside his domain. Yet, the skills required to do the work were perfectly aligned with his. Fluency in Python? Check. Ability to build visualizations? Check. Experience working with SQL Databases? Check.

The company, a developer of clean herbicides and pesticides, needed someone to build dashboards for the development cycle. The team was overwhelmed with other priorities but desperately needed someone on this project since companywide stakeholders wanted visibility into what compounds were in which stage of development. A dashboard and supporting visualizations would provide transparency and ease of access to this information.

After brief conversations with the Propheto and client teams, Max was matched on the project and immediately began working remotely with their data science team. He was not only back in a collaborative environment but also honing and sharpening his skills. He was acquiring industry-standard best practices in Git as well as learning Plotly dash, a Python library used for visualizations and dashboarding.

"I learned new plotly dash skills, familiarized myself with some of the typical problems/solutions in industry data-science, and improved my habits/skillset for working remotely on a team."

Working through Propheto, Max applied his skills in an environment where he could generate direct and immediate impact.

"I helped the client transition to a larger data-team structure where team roles are more encapsulated and the team can scale better (the data team grew while I was with them, and I helped with that transition)."

In thinking about the value Propheto offers, Max was enthusiastic about how helpful it could be to other students interested in industry.

"I would be recommending Propheto to other grad students interested in industry experience/internships...Propheto made it extremely easy to connect with interesting companies and find a satisfying role!"