Bo Ma – Senior Scientist, FireCyte Therapeutics
Q: How did you end up at FireCyte?
Bo: They found me on LinkedIn when I was working at the University of Florida.
Q: What did you do at Florida?
Cancer research for neuroblastoma, which is a very lethal form of cancer.
Q: How long have you been working in this field?
Many years. I came here from China in 2009 after my Ph. D program. I was first working as a post-doc at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and later at the National Institute of Health located in Bethesda, Maryland. Then I was recruited as junior faculty at University of Florida. I’ve been at FireCyte as a senior scientist since last May.
Q: Where in China did you come from?
I got my Ph. D from Beijin Union Medical College. I grew up in Tianjin, an industrial city about 100 kilometers away from Beijing.
Q: What is the role of a senior scientist?
It’s a mid-level research position which means you are still doing hands-on work. My role is mainly to establish the scientific research platform, the method and the research protocol.
Q: What do you wish you could spend more time working on?
I like new, cutting-edge technology. For example, in the cancer lab we used next generation sequencing to study glioblastoma. We also used next generation sequencing to analyze the patient-derived cell data. Then, I was developing the viral platform to actually kill the cancer. NSIV recently purchased the NextSeq sequencing machine, so we at FireCyte plan to use it.
Q: What advice would you give to somebody just starting out?
Find your real interest, when you have the interest, you work for fun. Then you can enjoy the process.
Q: How do you like the weather of Massachusetts versus Florida?
It’s quite different, but originally from my home country I grew up and lived in northern area. Also, I lived in Maryland for five years so I’m pretty much used to the cold weather. For working, I prefer being here in Boston. There are more opportunities. One of my recruiters said, ‘Boston is the Silicon Valley of biotech.’
Q: What’s your favorite movie?
I really like the Pirates of the Caribbean. For past couple of weeks, I’ve been listening to the Harry Potter series on my headphones. I like cartoons too, like Despicable Me, Minions, and Kung Fu Panda.
Q: If you had one superpower, what would it be?
Because I’m 1000 miles away from my family, I want to be able to fly.
Q: Do you prefer hamburgers or hot dogs?
Hot dogs, I get one every time I go to Costco.
Q: Do you prefer the beach or the mountains?
Mountains, I like the mysteriousness of the mountains. It’s like when you are doing research: you keep climbing, then you get the results. Hiking is like researching.
Q: What are your hobbies?
Watching movies and cooking. I moved nearby so I have time to cook at home, I like cooking chicken and beef.