On improving human health as a scientist, engineer, and business leader

Madison Jackson graduated from the MTM program in 2018, and is currently a Cross Portfolio Lead at Genentech, a leading biotech company headquartered in San Francisco. We asked her about her experience in the MTM program and how she’s applying what she learned as a student in her current role.

What inspired you to pursue a Master of Translational Medicine degree?

I’ve always been interested in improving human health. This started with my research in undergrad at the University of Miami, where I studied marine biology, microbiology, and minored in chemistry. Although I enjoyed the technical aspects of my research, I wanted to take it to the next step, which was application. Berkeley and UCSF’s MTM program is one of the few that allows you to be a scientist, engineer, and a business leader; providing the skills to have a holistic positive effect on patients.

What are you currently working on? How has what you learned in the MTM contributed to your current work?

At Genentech, I work in portfolio analytics and the pipeline of product development. The MTM program not only provided me the ability to understand the science behind the drug development process, but the full pathway of it. In essence, I could speak the language of both the scientist and the business professional thanks to the MTM.

What was your capstone project and how did it prepare you for your current role?

My capstone project — a tissue regeneration project in collaboration with UCSF — was a huge part of my learning experience. One of my biggest takeaways was gaining the ability to solve complex and ambiguous real-world problems with tangible solutions. I also realized my interest in product development from a business and strategy standpoint.

How has the MTM degree prepared you for leadership?

Having an advanced professional degree from two top universities gives you standing ground in this industry. It helps you gain trust, as it marks you as an expert with the clinical, technical, and business aspects in this field. Without this unique degree, I wouldn’t have been able to transition directly into a lead role.

What advice do you have for someone considering the MTM program?

You’re going to love it! Come in with an open mind, and be ready to make connections with a diverse group of peers and industry leaders. Be willing to put yourself out there and get out what you put into the degree.

Is there anything else you’d like to add or share?

Outside of work, I love traveling and sports! I’ve explored 6 of the 7 continents, and played on co-ed soccer and softball teams during my time in the MTM.

Connect with Madison on LinkedIn.

Learn more about Genentech.

We’re a 1-year professional master’s program at UC Berkeley and UCSF that trains future leaders in healthcare innovation.