Dennis Goulet (Atkins lab), graduate student in Medicinal Chemistry, is completing a summer internship with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a Johnson & Johnson company headquartered in New Jersey. Janssen wanted someone with a background in biophysical characterization and an interest in antibody scaffolds (proteins that bring other proteins together for interaction); Goulet was selected via application and phone interview. The 13-week internship allows him to see pharmaceutical research from an industry perspective. “It’s fascinating to hear about the research people are working on, and to know any of these projects could produce a new agent to treat cancer and other diseases,” said Dennis.
At the Janssen research facility near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Goulet is making antibody constructs and labeling them for use in fluorescence experiments. “We’re interested in the advantages bispecific antibodies may have over traditional monoclonal antibodies for treating cancer,” said Dennis. (Bispecific antibodies are artificial proteins engineered to bind to two distinct biological targets.) By exploring the kinetics and thermodynamics of bispecific antibody assembly, scientists hope to speed up their formation and increase production efficiency to yield more antibodies for therapeutic use.
“It’s quite a collaborative environment,” said Dennis. What surprised him most was the level of support for novel ideas and perspectives. The wide range of scientific backgrounds at Janssen has made it possible for Goulet to explore new techniques and receive advice from experts in the field.
“I’m grateful to Dr. Atkins and Dr. Chiu (Associate Director at Janssen) for giving me this opportunity,” said Dennis, “and to the group at Janssen for making the internship such an informative and enjoyable experience.”
Congratulations, Dennis — see you in Seattle for Fall Quarter!