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Debora Lin (PhD ‘14) | Alumni Spotlight

Debora Lin
Ph.D. ’14
Chemical Engineering
Academic advisor: Professor Zhenan Bao

1. What have you been up to since Stanford?
After graduating from Stanford, I pivoted from the field of semiconductors and dove into the world of biotherapeutics by joining the upstream process development group at AbbVie. There I used the fundamentals I learned as a chemical engineer and gained hands-on experience of running bioreactors for the production of antibodies for oncology therapies. After three years I searched for an environment that was fast-paced and provided a broader scope, which I found by joining a startup, ADC Therapeutics. While the technical field of antibody therapies was the same, I enjoyed the dynamic environment and the opportunities of leading early and late phase drug development programs from proof of concept to regulatory filing. Fast forward another three years, we find ourselves in the middle of a pandemic and I was presented with a unique opportunity to join Vir Biotechnology, a company focused on treating and preventing serious infectious diseases. At Vir, I’m using my prior experience in developing and manufacturing antibodies but now with the intention of fighting infectious diseases including COVID, Influenza A, and Hepatitis B. While it has been an experience in itself starting a new job virtually, I am really excited to have an opportunity to play a part in our fight against COVID.  

2. What’s your fondest memory about your time at Stanford?
My fondest memories during my time in graduate school were all the late nights my classmates and I spent together either staying up playing strategic board games like Settlers of Catan, study groups solving the latest problem set, to hikes, and spending time outdoors around the Santa Cruz mountains and National Parks. Not only did I gain so many new hobbies which still pursue avidly, but I also gained lifelong friends.

3. Can you share any advice with our current students or postdocs?
One particular piece of advice I would share which has always been relevant since leaving Stanford is to network with a focus on building meaningful relationships. From landing my first job to where I currently work, previous connections all played a major factor. No matter what field you end up pursuing, the world is small enough that you will run into people who are connected to you in one way or another. So the next time you are at a conference or office meeting, open your eyes to those around you because you may never know if someone you sit across from could be your next manager or mentor. Finally, reach out to your fellow Stanford Alums or network through LinkedIn, I have found that getting traction on job opportunities is much more successful through people than job sites.  

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