Along with helping produce innovative medical and pharmaceutical products, Dr. Mark Tracy, PhD, founder and president of Tracy BioConsulting, LLC, strives to introduce undergraduate science students to biotech industry research. During Dr. Tracy’s doctoral program in chemistry at Stanford, he had the opportunity to collaborate with scientists in industry and enjoyed applying his academic research experience to solve problems that could enable new or improved products. Dr. Tracy realized that a career in the biotech industry would provide a more direct path to develop new medicines and was a better fit for him than academic research. His decision to pursue industrial research led to a successful career including key roles in developing several new medicines that have been commercialized and an interest in raising awareness about what it takes to develop new medicines and the career paths in the biopharma industry.
Dr. Tracy’s passion for harnessing science to develop new medicines along with his interest in improving the time and cost required to develop new medicines motivate his goal of introducing undergraduate scientists to the biotech industry. Dr. Tracy hopes that exposing students with different backgrounds to biopharma industry research, the drug development process, and the business of developing new medical products while they’re still in their undergraduate years would promote interest in solving important medical problems and foster greater awareness in the rewarding opportunities in this industry, as students prepare to make important decisions regarding their professional career direction after graduation. Dr. Tracy, a University of Illinois alumnus, was inspired by the Illinois International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) team, sponsored in part by the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology (IGB). Building on the IGB’s proven ability to reach out to talented undergraduate scientists, Dr. Tracy gifted a financial contribution dedicated to introducing Illinois students in the sciences to the biotech industry and biopharmaceutical product development. He hopes this gift will be a seed that ultimately will help us to address important medical challenges facing future generations.
Hundreds of University of Illinois students and faculty are involved with the IGB, in addition to the multitudes of alumni dispersed around the globe. It is an institution that makes significant impact in the fields of science and technology and that influences the next generation of scientists. The IGB’s focus on research and outreach, combined with its vision and leadership, empowers passionate donors like Dr. Tracy to positively shape the University of Illinois community and beyond.