Senior Scientist, Cell Therapy Process Development Team at Johnson & Johnson

May 14, 2024
Senior Scientist, Cell Therapy Process Development Team at Johnson & Johnson

Richard Youngblood, PhD, is a Senior Scientist on the Cell Therapy Process Development Team at Johnson and Johnson. He is responsible for allogeneic platform development and autologous CAR-T process development to enable progress to the clinic.

What is the highest degree you have earned and what can you tell us about your academic path?

The highest degree I received was my PhD in Biomedical Engineering. I have a non-traditional academic path since, after getting my B.S.E. in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University, I worked for two years at Baxter Healthcare in the Operations, Development Rotational Program. While at Baxter, I managed teams of engineers and scientist to push new products to the market. I then went on to pursue my PhD at the University of Michigan in Biomedical Engineering to gain more experience as a technical leader and learn more about translational research. My PhD research focused around utilizing regenerative medicine and biomaterials to develop insulin-producing pancreatic organoids for Type 1 diabetes.

Where do you work now and what is your company about?

I work at Johnson and Johnson and our company is about confidently addressing the most complex diseases of our time and unlocking the potential medicines of tomorrow.

How did you first learn about the company?

J&J was a name I was familiar with growing up due to their consumer products, like Tylenol or Band Aides. Once I was in graduate school, I was paired with a mentor who worked at J&J and that helped me learn even more about the company.

What do you like most about the company?

I like that there are many different roles I can explore while staying within the company and that everyone I interact with is passionate about making a difference in patient’s lives.

What skills make you successful in your role and why did you choose this role?

I think being open and curious has helped drive my career development. After I became comfortable with being authentic and real, doors started to open for me. I chose my current role because I enjoy being able to both learn from the scientific research as well as learn from my colleagues on cross-functional teams through collaborative meetings.

How do you define success?

I think success is meeting your desired goals and feeling proud of the work you accomplished.

What's the most fulfilling aspect of your job?

The most fulfilling aspect of my job is when I hear a patient is showing a positive response after taking a drug that I helped develop.

What advice do you have for students and job seekers?

Since J&J is such a large company, it can be difficult to identify what department or function is the best fit. Reaching out to a J&J employee, like myself, to learn about the company and where you can be of value can save a candidate a lot of time. For students, in particular, my advice is to be sure to translate their academic research into industry terms by thinking of how their work could make a medicine safer, more efficacious, more accessible or more affordable.

What book did you read last?

Life and Times of Frederick Douglass by Frederick Douglas