A Day in the Life of a Technical Services Scientist

Technical Services Scientists answer questions such as "Which product is right for me?" "How does this product work?" and "Help! Something went wrong!"

As a student, I wasted so much time wondering which assay would work best or muddling through problems on my own. I wish I had known I could reach out to get help from another knowledgeable scientist: A Technical Services Scientist!

No two days are exactly the same for a Technical Services Scientist, which keeps this career interesting and engaging year after year. Maybe a student needs help using a luciferase assay for the first time. Or maybe the CEO of a company is looking for new bioassays to test a cancer therapy.

Technical Services started with one scientist answering phone calls. Since Promega has expanded to now support scientists in more than 100 countries with more than 4000 products, Technical Services has also grown to include several global teams connecting by phone, email, live chat and virtual meetings.

In general, Technical Services helps both internal and external researchers get the information they need to do great science. We collaborate as a team to provide technical expertise to assist customers with choosing an assay that will best suit their needs, guide users through troubleshooting, and teach new applications. Our Technical Services Scientists have an average of 10 years of bench experience and expertise in a broad range of techniques, research areas and model systems. We also receive extensive training on the Promega technologies and have a wealth of information resources available.

In addition to answering questions as they come in, Technical Services Scientists run internal teachings and trainings, as well as maintain our internal resources. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we even hired one and trained two people virtually. We normally attend a few scientific meetings, tradeshows or demonstrations in person each year. While Technical Services Scientists have mostly stepped away from research, we still have access to the Promega labs and equipment. This makes it possible to jump in the lab for a quick project when we have the time. Our teams also have opportunities to support our local communities through outreach and volunteering. In the Madison area, we offer DNA labs to area schools.

All of this means that a single day could go from a phone call with a pharmaceutical giant, to a technical discussion in a live Webinar, to telling children that no, they should not drink strawberry lysates made with a soapy and salty DNA extraction buffer.

To me, this career feels a lot like being a lab manager for a really big and diverse group; you never know exactly what fun questions you will get or what exciting project you will be helping with next. I get to use my lab experience, science mentoring philosophy and passion for data-driven understanding of complex processes every day. When I first started at Promega, I was surprised by how many people have been with the company for 10+ years; biotech companies are not well known for stability, but Promega just celebrated its 40th anniversary. Now five years in, I can see why people stay and the company continues to grow. Promega truly supports employees to maintain a real life/work balance and offers opportunities for creative and personal development. I never thought I could brew beer and make art for work!

Looking for a career in science? We have many options from research and development, to production, to quality assurance and more. See what opportunities await you at: https://bit.ly/3EEQqKF

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Joliene Lindholm
Technical Services Scientist II Joliene earned her Ph.D. in Entomology studying the molecular mode of action of an insect hormone from the University of Wisconsin-Madison before joining Promega as a Technical Services Scientist. She says “The best thing about my job is learning about all the interesting projects that scientists are investigating; there is always something new and exciting and I get to help them succeed in their goals.” She enjoys dancing and playing ultimate when she is not busy taking care of her menagerie of pets including cockroaches, ducks and rats.

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