Bree VculekMajor(s): MBIOT '17
As a business-minded scientist, I chose to pursue an MBIOT at Texas A&M University due to their unique emphasis on integrating industry principles into academia. The opportunity to earn a Certificate in Business alongside my MBIOT degree excited me, and the industry internship requirement promised to be a valuable asset to my professional growth. My passion for agricultural biotechnology found the perfect match at Texas A&M University, where I engaged in cutting-edge molecular biotechnology and genomics research. The classroom and lab experiences, coupled with industry exposure, have been invaluable to my career, as I apply the knowledge gained from the MBIOT Program every day. The MBIOT degree from Texas A&M University provided me with a well-rounded education that combines business acumen with scientific expertise, empowering me to thrive in my chosen career path. I am immensely grateful for the opportunities and experiences that have shaped my professional journey.
During my internship with Monsanto (now Bayer) in Woodland, CA, I supported their Vegetable Discovery Pathology team and managed three key projects where I (1) conducted host differential bioassays for three fungal pathogen isolates on bell and hot pepper; (2) developed, performed, and analyzed bioassay screens for bacterial pathogens on lettuce varieties, utilizing bacterial isolates from California and Brazil and (3) enhanced molecular diagnostic development for economically important viruses and viroids. I participated in the American Phytopathological Society’s Office of Private Sector Relations agricultural biotechnology tour. The tour took us to various academic and industry sites across California, including Monsanto, Bayer Crop Science, DuPont Pioneer, Syngenta, Dow, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and the Citrus Research Board.
In addition to my internship, I also worked on campus during the school year as a Student Research Technician and a Graduate Research Assistant at the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences with Dr. David Stelly. I oversaw a genome-wide interspecific chromosome substitution and introgression project focused on Gossypium hirsutum (cotton) and three other wild-type varieties. My responsibilities included assisting in wet lab cytogenetic assays, maintaining cotton in the greenhouse and field, and developing specific single nucleotide polymorphism primers for molecular analysis of four tetraploid cotton varieties. Furthermore, as a Graduate Research Assistant at the Office of the Texas State Chemist, I conducted an aflatoxin risk assessment analysis in animal feed and feed ingredients for the Kenya, Africa Parliament, and regulatory agencies. I also performed bio-statistical analysis on primary aflatoxin data collected from maize harvests in Kenya, collaborated with Kenyan scientists and risk analysts, and presented research and policy recommendations at a high-level breakfast meeting in Nairobi, Kenya.
Presently, I am working as an attorney specializing in biotechnology and artificial intelligence patent prosecution, with a strong focus on safeguarding the intellectual property of agricultural technology innovations. The knowledge and skills I acquired during my MBIOT journey have been instrumental in shaping my successful career in patent law, and I am deeply grateful for the opportunities this program has provided. With enthusiasm and determination, I hope to continue to make a positive impact in the biotechnology and agriculture sectors through my scientific, business, and legal experience.