Adam Thomas

Current role: Market Development Scientist (Twist Bioscience, California)

Brief overview of organisation
Twist Bioscience are a DNA synthesis company based in San Francisco, California. At Twist Bioscience, we work in service of people who are changing the world for the better. In fields such as medicine, agriculture, industrial chemicals and data storage, our unique silicon-based DNA synthesis platform provides precision at a scale that is otherwise unavailable to our customers.

As a Market Development Scientist, I manage the newest products that are actively being developed by our R&D team. Brand new technologies require detailed customer testing to ensure success when they hit the market. I enable the sales team to bring onboard the best possible customers to test our products, while also translating customer feedback in an enactable format for our R&D team. In doing so, I manage the development cycle of each new product into full release.

How did you enter into this career?
In the second year of my PhD, I worked for Twist Bioscience on a PIPs placement, in the marketing team. Afterwards, while completing my PhD I ran my own consultancy business in my spare time. I provided technical writing services to companies requiring specialized synthetic biology content, and Twist Bioscience were a key client. Throughout my work with Twist Bioscience, I expressed and proved my interest in the development of new technologies, and my passion for pushing the field of synthetic biology into new areas. Shortly after finishing my thesis, I was able to close down the consultancy and join the team full time!

What helped you be successful?
Once I knew that I wanted to work in industry, and had a general idea about a desired role, I worked to develop a proven track record throughout my PhD and business that exemplified my competency and suitability. I also kept in regular communication with key individuals at Twist Bioscience, and made sure to regularly reiterate my interests in joining their team.

What aspects of the SWBio DTP programme has helped you with your career?
My PIPS placement really spring-boarded me into the commercial scientific world, providing me significant exposure to the wider academic and industrial community. Furthermore, I believe the collaborative nature of the SWBio DTP programme and its culture of personal evaluation and improvement has set me up for success in a commercial setting long into the future.

What is the best part of your job?
For me, I love that I am still working in a scientific setting. Now, instead of managing my own research projects, I am managing the development of new and exciting products that enable hundreds of unique projects conducted by the best scientists across the globe. At the same time, I get to work closely with those that are undertaking these bleeding edge projects, so while the work is constantly challenging, its also highly rewarding. The opportunity to travel around the world is also a great bonus!

What advice would you give other students wishing to follow a similar career path?
Understand your key achievements, do yourself justice by fulfilling them to your highest potential, and have fun while doing it.