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Career Story: Analytical Chemist For A Drug Company

Analytical Chemist For A Drug Company

Job Title: Senior Scientist

Type of Company: I work for a pharmaceutical company which specializes in macrolide and HCV API development.

Education: Ph.D., Chemistry, Lanzhou University, China

Previous Experience: Years ago, I worked as a scientist for a New Jersey-based pharmaceutical company before I moved to the Boston area.

Job Tasks: I work as an analytical chemist and one of my main responsibilities is maintaining quality control over the production of the pharmaceutical compounds we use. To do this properly, I've had to develop methods for identifying compounds and analyzing their purity. About fifteen of these assays have to be done on every compound; these include checks of the chemical properties and modern spectrum behavior of the compound.

On any given day, the company's chief chemist can contact us to tell us about a sample that needs to be checked for its purity. We then have to choose a form of analysis that suits the sample. If the results show the sample is pure enough for the next stage of development, the analysis is done, but if an assay shows the the sample is not very pure, then we may ask the chemist to purify the sample again for re-analysis later. The chemist may also ask us to identify the impurities we found. If so, we have detective work to do. We find all the major impurities and identify their chemical or structural formulas. This can take from a few hours to several days or even several weeks.

As an analytical chemist, I frequently have to investigate things like compound stability, water solubility and attributes other than purity.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job are the challenges we face. It's fascinating having to isolate and identify impurities.

The worst part of the job is finding a way to identify certain compounds when a deadline is looming.

Job Tips:
1. Prepare to apply for a job by making sure you understand what it requires.

2. Prepare a nice resume which describes your knowledge and your leadership abilities.

3. Practice doing job interviews with your friends and relatives.

Additional Thoughts: N/A

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