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Spring 2015 Alumni Profile: John Cody Vinci

Name: John Cody Vinci
Degree: Chemistry Ph.D.
Graduation year: 2013
Advisor: Luis Colón
Thesis title: Fundamental Studies of Carbon-based Nanomaterials: Exploring the Interface Between Nanotechnology and Separation Science

Describe the timeline of your professional life since graduation from UB.

After graduating from UB, I took off 5 weeks for relaxation and travel before starting work at AbbVie, a global biopharma company. I have been there for approximately 12 months as of Jan. 2015.

Describe your position and your responsibilities (i.e. What do you do?).

I work as a Senior Scientist within Process Research and Development, and we are responsible for developing the scientific understanding, control of impurities, synthetic route, and scale-up of active pharmaceutical ingredient syntheses to support clinical trials around the world as we advance drugs toward commercialization. As an analytical chemist, I am responsible for developing new methods to aid in process understanding and development. This includes analyzing starting material, intermediates, APIs, and impurities, such as low-level genotoxic impurities that must be controlled down to low levels. We also validate analytical methods and transfer them to AbbVie sites and third parties around the world as drugs approach commercialization, and we support regulatory filings and responses.

What in your experience at UB prepared you the most for your career?

While at UB, the practical application of my graduate work to my current career prepared me the most. While working on the chromatographic separation and application of carbon-based nanomaterials at UB, I received hands-on experience and developed a fundamental understanding of chromatographic instrumentation and technology. Although I did not work with drugs in graduate school, the instrumentation and theory was directly applicable to the day-to-day lab work at AbbVie.

Can you offer a few words of advice for current UB students?

Take advantage of every opportunity to collaborate and work with others while in school. If your opportunities to do so feel limited, create your own. For example, ask your peers in a different or related field if they’re interested in working together with you on a project or spend a day in their world to see what they do and try to get some hands on experience in their field. Forging professional relationships with people in multiple disciplines and gaining experiences and an understanding of different fields is invaluable for success in graduate school and a career. It allows you to see the bigger picture and be more effective at what you specialize in.