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Applicant Profile Review Request - Immunology / Microbiology PhD


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Hi All,

I am in the process of applying to Immunology programs for Fall '25 and would love to get some feedback on my profile in the context of the programs that I'm planning to apply to.

Target Programs (favorite first): 
1. UPenn
2. Stanford
3. NYU
4. UC Berkeley or UCSF
5. Harvard
7. UChicago
8. Icahn School of Medicine
9. Weill Cornell
10. Sloan Kettering
11. Yale
12. University of Toronto

BS Biomedical Engineering, Minors in Chemical Engineering and Biology at top 50 university: 3.51
MS Biomedical Engineering at top 15 university : 3.60



  1. 13 years of experience in industry with increasing levels of responsibility, all in R&D/product development for biopharma/med device companies
  2. Experience with soft tissue regeneration, plastic surgery, Type 1 Diabetes, implantable devices
  3. 6 years of leadership + management experience - lots of cross-functional projects and examples I can provide
  4. Founded life science consulting firm as sole proprietor - current role
  5. Wetlab experience:
    1. Undergraduate researcher - worked in various labs throughout undergraduate studies + summers -- this was 10+ years ago, would it still be relevant?
    2. Summer researcher - Children's Hospital Boston - published as 4th author, 2013 -- similarly, this was 10+ years ago.
    3. Graduate researcher - non-thesis research work with PI during 1 year at Columbia
    4. First ~7 years in industry, more hands on with DOE, study execution, protocol/report drafting
    5. Last ~6 years in industry, less hands on, more strategic/managerial + protocol/report reviewing and regulatory documentation drafting

Letter of Recommendation:

  1. Planning on having 3 recommenders from recent jobs:
    1. Last direct manager (3 years) - does not hold PhD, Director level at large pharmaceutical company - worked with him previously on development projects
    2. Colleague (3 years) - PhD, VP of R&D at large pharmaceutical company - worked with him and his team cross-functionally on multiple projects/initiatives
    3. Client/colleague (2 years) - PhD, VP of R&D at middle-sized biologics/med device company - supporting her team as a consultant - worked on multiple projects/initiatives

Any thoughts on not having PI's from undergrad/grad school?

Other notes:

  1. I have hold a few patents as primary/secondary inventors from industry
  2. I have been auditing microbiology and immunology courses online over the past year or so
  3. I volunteer at various soup kitchens and food distribution centers in my city
  4. US student

Welcoming any feedback, especially critical ones. My anxiety stems primarily from my older age and time away from hands-on lab work, though that has allowed me to gain more experience in management and leadership positions. If anyone was in a similar boat previously, would love to connect and chat! Any thoughts on how my profile might fare in the list of programs I am interested in (I've done the legwork of identifying 2-3 researchers that I'd be interested in working with, currently reading a million papers and identifying favorite labs)?

Thank you all in advance!



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