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Snapshot: Dr. Oanh Dang

SequenomDr. Oanh (pronounced “wahn”) Dang was born and raised in San Diego, California. She received her Ph.D. in biomedical sciences from UC San Diego and began working in the biotech industry in San Diego. She has lived in other biotech hubs including Boston and Vancouver and has returned to San Diego to continue her career and raise a family. Her husband, Dr. Benjamin Good, is a post-doctoral researcher at The Scripps Research Institute. Industry hubs are essential for providing multiple job opportunities and career advancements and help recruit and retain the best talent to the state.

Hometown: San Diego, CA.

Received a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from UC San Diego

When have you lived in California?

I moved here in 1986. Left in 1993. Came back in 1998. Left in 2003. Came back in 2009.

Where else have you lived?

Boston, MA, Davis, CA and Vancouver, Canada

You came back to San Diego and are now working in a biotech in California – how big a factor was the location?

It was extremely important. We wanted to be close to family and have good job prospects. San Diego offered both of those criteria and had great weather and the ocean.

As a person at the director level in the biomedical industry, how do you view your career prospects in California?

Extremely high, that’s why the move back to San Diego was an easy choice. There is a large enough biotech and academic hub in San Diego that both my husband and I were confident that we would be able to land positions within our respective fields.

What do you think California does well in supporting the life science industry?

The creation of hubs is critical to attracting and retaining talent. It is very difficult to move to a new place if there are only a handful of companies in a specific industry, especially in biotech where expansion and contraction of companies is very common. So, a hub is necessary, since it provides the stability instead of having that responsibility lay with an individual company. A person might change companies every couple of years, but still be able to stay in the same city and that is comforting for families that do not want to be uprooted constantly.

What needs to be improved in California to support the life science industry?

California needs to ensure that it keeps maintaining and building its biotech hubs. This means attracting and keeping venture capital in the state, funding basic research in its universities and providing incentives to large pharmaceuticals to set up headquarters in the state.

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