A while back I mentioned that my time as a post-doctoral fellow in Dr. Stephen Goff’s laboratory would be coming to a close at the end of this year and I’ll be looking for my next career move. I’m super-excited to report that I will be taking a position as a senior scientist doing vaccine development for a large pharmaceutical company, Merck. The job, and Merck as a company, is exactly what I was hoping to land. The position involves figuring out the most efficient method to make parts of vaccines (antigens) using human cell lines. Not only will I be working with amazingly talented scientists, but I will have the chance to make an impact on preventing the spread of infectious diseases.
It is important to note that I also considered a career in the brewing industry. Unfortunately, I was unable to marry my love of science and brewing to sustain my family. Getting into the brewing industry is incredibly difficult and would involve an extreme cut in pay, long hours, and possibly losing the passion I have for my hobby. To me, it seemed there were so many reasons against “going pro”. However, I’m not ruling out the possibility. Depending on how my career is going, producing rare artisanal beers commercially on a small-scale is very attractive to me. One scenario involves working in a small space near my home to supplement my income (many years from now).
My start date is October 1st and I will be moving my family to the Lansdale or Doylestown area of Pennsylvania (Merck is located in West Point, PA). Between closing out my experiments at Columbia and house hunting, I will post a few more times before a longer than usual hiatus to get acclimated to our new lives. This includes:
- Fermentation Temperature Experiment Results. This experiment was to look at beer flavors at two extreme fermentation temperatures for Wyeast 1388 (Duvel strain).
- Petite Spelt Saison tasting. This beer came out great and I’m looking forward to reviewing it.
- Kim’s Berliner Weisse bottling and tasting. I decided to go authentic cork and caged bottle conditioning.
- Post yeast class. I know I’ve said I’ll do this in the past, but I will get to this soon.
Once things settle down with my job, I’ll have to get back into brewing. Any homebrewers reading this blog and live in the Doylestown area? We need to meet up and share some homebrew! Get at me! Some other things to do when I start brewing in Penn:
- Finally start working on some wild/sour beers with two strains of Brettanomyces that I isolated from Cantillon, CB-1 and CB-2. The only thing I have done with these critters is to collaborate with Michael Tonsmeire, an incredible brewer of sour ales who is known as the Mad Fermentationist. I sent him some yeast to bottle condition a belgian ale, along with several other Brettanomyces strains. Read the post on his blog here. With these strains I plan on making quick and slow fermented ales in various combinations.
- Yeast class? I had a lot of fun teaching the yeast class at Brooklyn Homebrew, that I’m up for doing it again if anyone wants to hear it. Local homebrew clubs? Supply stores?
- Maintain a yeast laboratory in my home. Although I’ll be working in the lab on vaccines, I won’t be able to take advantage of equipment in Merck like I have at Columbia. I may consider purchasing a microscope and need to figure out how I’m going to transfer my frozen yeast bank.
- Upgrade. I’m considering the purchase a Blichmann Top Tier and an extra chest freezer as a dedicated temperature controlled fermentation vessel.
- Of course – brew more beer.
Thanks everyone for reading my blog and posting comments in the past. I’m sure there will be more to come in the future!