Q&A with Former Fellow, Wei Tang, Ph.D.
Years at DCEG: 2009-2014
DCEG Title: postdoctoral/research fellow
Current Organization: AstraZeneca R&D, Data Science & Artificial Intelligence
Current Title: Associate Director
Who was your mentor at DCEG? What did you work on?
My mentor was Ludmila Prokunina-Olsson, Ph.D., Chief of the Laboratory of Translational Genomics (LTG). My work focused on fine-mapping GWAS signals using computational and experimental strategies. We utilized the available GWAS conducted by NCI on multiple cancers and infectious diseases, collaborated with NCI and extramural scientists to reveal the biological connections between genetic variants and molecular function, and explored the translational opportunities of our findings to clinical applications.
What is your current position?
I am currently an Associate Director at Data Science & Artificial Intelligence at AstraZeneca. Before this, I was a Staff Scientist and Associate Scientist at Laboratory of Human Carcinogenesis, Center of Cancer Research, NCI.
How do you apply the skills you developed at DCEG in your current job?
The training at DCEG is an essential experience of my career. Learning from the DCEG mentors and fellows, I developed my skills in various fields, such as self-learning, critical thinking, effective collaboration, grant writing, and communication. All these valuable experiences formed a solid foundation and allowed me to perform well in later positions. Every time I had challenges or obstacles ahead, I could manage and resolve them because of those skills I developed at time of DCEG.
Do you have any memories from your fellowship that you would like to share?
I really appreciate the support I had during my training time at DCEG. My mentor always encouraged me to attend state-of-the-art workshops and courses over the years as well as two national meetings, ASHG and AACR. When I had a dilemma, there were always fellows and colleagues around me, who provided ideas and solutions. Special thanks to the Office of Education, it was always open for conversations on planning my career development. Looking back, these are invaluable memories that I have never had anywhere else.
What do you do in your free time?
Now I have my girl and boy; they are in elementary school but keep me busy all the time. Parenting is an amazing journey. I enjoy traveling with them and introducing them to all the delicious foods, I enjoy watching them playing piano, biking, swimming, building Legos, or having a lightsaber fight with them.
Do you have any advice for current or future DCEG fellows?
Be super proud of being a DCEG fellow, no matter when and where. Remember that DCEG has many opportunities to learn, grow, and blossom. I was always encouraging fellows to find all available resources and take advantage of them, such as soft/hard skill training, network connection, grant writing, career path planning, job searching, etc. As a fellow, you are meant to prepare yourself for the future job market and nourish yourself with diverse experiences and skillsets. Use your time here wisely, because although you might not be aware now, with all your time in DECG you are becoming better and stronger with every one of your efforts.