The Berkeley Lab Postdoc Association is an organization run by and for about 1000 postdocs and early career scientists working at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. We organize many activities to strengthen our ties to the Lab, to each other and to the (Berkeley) Bay Area. Our goal is to facilitate social interactions, scientific exchanges, seminars and general orientation.
LINC Launch March 27th

LINC Launch March 27th

Thank you all for giving our newest program LINC, Lab-Industry Networking Connection, such a warm welcome last Wednesday March 27th! We had a great afternoon where five industry leaders joined us to discuss about their science and career paths. Our distinguished panelists had very diverse backgrounds and shared with us the potential career paths, skills required to work and join industry and networking tips based on excellent questions from our postdoc community.

We kicked off the panel with Laurel Wright, a scientist in the Data Science group at Zymergen. Laurelshared her evolution from a microbiologist to a data scientist and also explained the primary importance of communication between different departments.

Next on the panel was Paul Ashby, a staff scientist at the Molecular Foundry and co-founder of Scuba Probe Technologies. Paul told us about his experience as an entrepreneur and how the business side is ultimately most important to the successful commercialization of products.

Diego Scarabelli shared his story on growing from a quantum engineer to lead a team at Rigetti to pursue quantum computing technology. Diego recently moved to Cerebras Systems to work on computing system for machine learning.

Up next was Israel Figueroa who highlighted the power of networking and showed us how our next career step could be just down the hall. Israel transitioned to Visolis, a startup working on the biorenewables industry, which was next door to his postdoctoral lab.

Last, but not least, Christopher Benson showed how versatile we can be. Christopher worked as a mechanical engineer for airspace after his undergrad education then entered grad school working on experimental high energy physics. Now, he is an associate consultant at Exponent in the field of consumer electronic devices and systems.

We kicked off the panel talking about the biggest difference between academia and the panelists’ new roles in industry. We ventured from scientific curiosities, through soft skills to the inevitable visa question. Our postdoc community was also interested in how to stand out from your peers when applying for a job and the collaborations between the Lab and Industry.

The evening concluded with a vibrant networking session, where all the panelists were engaged in additional discussion with the large postdoc crowd. In addition, many postdocs took the opportunity to expand their connections amongst their peers. It all culminated in a final closure, with many thanks and applause to the organizers and volunteers for making the event happen, and to the panelists and postdocs who made it successful – with a prize giveaway raffle!

However, this event was just the launch of the LINC platform! Already two more events have been planned and ready for their successes!

1. Zymergen has invited the LBNL postdoc community to visit their headquarters. Zymergen is a company that integrates automation, machine learning and genomics to unlock new sources of molecular diversity. The visit will take place on April 16th, from 8:30 am to 12:00 noon. RSVP for this visit if you are interested in Zymergen’s company profile or industry in general.


2. The First Annual Career Fair on July 26th as a collaborative effort between BLPA and the Lab. Save the date and stay tuned for more information!

Are you interested in connecting with our new platform LINC? Are you a postdoc wanting to help out, a former postdoc who would like to stay in touch, and industry wanting to reach out to postdocs to organize events, offer networking opportunities or more involved science projects?

Reach out to and get involved in this platform!