Dr. Xiaoban Xin (mentor, Dr. Lily Dong), who graduated from the Cellular and Structural Biology graduate program in 2011, is now is now a Patent Attorney at Johnson, Marcou & Isaacs, LLC.
While in the CSB program, Xiaoban was the 2010 recipient of the Barbara Bowman Award for Excellence in Graduate Studies. He also received an American Heart Association (AHA) predoctoral award in 2010. After graduating, Xiaoban was briefly a postdoctoral fellow at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine before a stint as a Technology Transfer Fellow in the Technology Development Office at NIH/NIAID. While he was working at the NIH, he enrolled in the JD program at George Washington University Law School and seved as the Editor, American Intellectual Property Law Association Quarterly Journal at GWU Law School.
Xiaoban who has since graduated with the J.D. degree is also a Registered Patent Agent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Here is a brief interview with Dr. Xin.
When did you first become interested in science?
I guess when I was little. I have always been curious about how things work.
Why did you pick UT Health Science Center and your program?
UTHSCSA has a great multidisciplinary biomedical sciences training program. Our CSB program offers excellent courses covering a wide range of topics, from biostatistics to animal models. More importantly, the faculty in the CSB works on interesting projects and publish great papers.
Tell me more about your career path.
I am very interested in the process of transferring scientific discoveries to real world products. I figured that one way for someone with a life science Ph.D. to get involved in the technology transfer process is to become a patent lawyer. I then went to law school at night while working full time during the day. In the past years, I worked as a technology transfer fellow at NIH and then as a patent agent at a law firm. I just finished law school this summer and am now an associate in the firm.
Tell me about your current career, what do you do?
I help life science companies, especially start-ups, to build their intellectual property assets, which help the companies to get funded and sold. What I do include advising life science companies on building and managing patent portfolios, drafting patent applications, communicating with the Patent Office to get patents granted, and investigating intellectual property issues in investment and acquisition deals.
What is a day like in your job?
Most of the time is spent on reviewing and drafting documents, and meeting with my colleagues and clients.
How did the education you get at UT Health Science Center prepare you?
From my graduate education, I gained solid knowledge in a variety of aspects in life sciences. This is very helpful when I need to deal with a wide range of technologies from DNA sequencing methods to transgenic animals. More importantly, the analytical skills, critical thinking, and attention to details I developed during my training in Dr. Lily Dong’s lab are key skills at my current job.
What is the most challenging part of your work?
One of the challenging parts of my work is to learn different new technologies within a limited amount of time. There is always something new to learn each day. But this is also the fun part of the job.
What is the most rewarding part of your work?
The most rewarding part is to play a key role in the process of making treatment and diagnosis that have huge impact in the real world. The opportunity of interacting with leading scientists and business professionals in the life science industry is very exciting.
What would you tell a current student interested in your career? Any advice?
Patent law is a great career for a scientist who wonders how basic research can have an impact on the real world. It takes some time to get there but it is worth it.
What do you like to do outside of work?
Work and study have occupied a lot of my time. I like to spend the precious time outside of work with my family and kids.