DEB 282 (Internships)

DEB 282 - Professional Internships

One of the most unique and rewarding experiences that DEB students have during training is the professional internship.  The internship is a required course instructed by DEB Chair, Prof. Abhaya Dandekar and coordinated by DEB Director, Dr. Denneal Jamison-McClung. The internship is a minimum of three months, full-time effort, usually taken during the summer (required for international students), but may be taken at any point during the academic year by domestic students. 

DEB students are assisted in identifying and applying for internships across a wide range of biotechnology industries and global locations, including help with CV preparation.  It is up to students to decide on the type of internship that will most benefit their planned career path and to discuss the logistics and timing with their major professor. The majority of DEB students take an internship with a biotech company, though students may propose cross-college research experiences, college teaching experiences, policy-related work and other biotech-related professional internships to the DEB executive committee for review and approval.  

Ultimately, the majority of DEB students report that their internship experience was one of the best technical training and professional development opportunities of their entire PhD. Through the professional networks built during the internship, many alumni go on to secure positions in industry when they graduate.  

 Tangible Benefits to Students

  • Developing new technical skills and familiarity with equipment and research approaches not available on campus
  • Honing transferrable professional skills and practicing team science
  • Having a non-academic context in which to assess personal strengths, areas for improvement and career goals
  • Professional networking for job opportunities, mentoring, letters of reference, and potential research collaborators

DEB 282 Instructions

Here are the main steps in completing the DEB course requirement: 

  1. About a year before intending to take the internship course, discuss your plans with your major professor and DEB director, Dr. Denneal Jamison-McClung.  Obtain the DEB CV template and start your draft, highlighting "DEB Internship" within your objective statement at the top of the CV.  Also, list the DEB as part of your PhD education (e.g. PhD in Chemistry with a Designated Emphasis in Biotechnology) and indicate that Dr. Jamison‐McClung is your DEB advisor, also listing her among your professional references. 
  2. Attend the fall quarter Internship Preparation Workshop advertised to the DEB listserv.  If unable to make the workshop date, follow up with Dr. Jamison-McClung to set an alternative meeting time.
  3. Pursue internship opportunities that you locate independently or via messages sent to the DEB listserv.  Students wishing to pursue an alternative internship type (cross-college, national laboratory or research institute, government agency, college teaching) should contact Dr. Jamison-McClung to discuss submitting a proposal to the DEB Executive Committee for approval. 
  4. Once an internship has been confirmed, plan to enroll in the DEB282 course during an academic year quarter that fits the training timeline (e.g. the fall quarter after the summer internship is completed). Request the course registration number (CRN) from Biotech Program manager, Jacki Balderama and enroll in ~7-12 units. Different students may have different timelines in mind - please discuss the logistics with Dr. Jamison-McClung if the internship will be close to your intended graduation date. Once on filing fee status, students may not register for the DEB282 course, so timing of DEB282 course registration must be carefully planned.
  5. International students have a few additional steps.  Once an internship offer letter has been received, F-1 visa holders will need to apply for curricular practical training (CPT) approval and J-1 visa holders will need to apply for academic training (AT) through the UC Davis Services for Scholars and International Students (SISS) office.  The timing of the internship will need to coincide with the summer break between spring and fall quarters.
  6. Before starting an industry internship, all DEB students must meet with Dr. Jamison-McClung to review and sign the Industry Internship Program form outlining UC Davis intellectual property guidelines that must be followed.  The student's major professor must also sign the form.
  7. Once the internship has been completed, students should submit their final internship reports (~4-5 pages) to course instructor, Prof. Abhaya Dandekar (, and cc Dr. Jamison-McClung ( and Jacki Balderama ( Within the final internship report, DEB students should provide the information outlined below.

DEB282 Internship Report Guidelines

Header (~1/4 page, single-spaced)

  • Student contact information, including address and phone number
  • Name and address of the company
  • Indication of full or part-time internship effort
  • Start and end dates of the internship
  • Name and contact information of the internship mentor

Internship Project Description (~3-4 pages, double-spaced)

Please do not include any IP-sensitive information in your report and do have your internship mentor read and approve the draft before submitting to the DEB282 course instructors. It is possible to use general terms in the report in order to keep IP confidentiality. For example, an intern might say, “I purified ‘protein X’ from human mesenchymal stem cells” or “I purified our ‘protein-of-interest’ from human mesenchymal stem cells”, rather than specifically identifying a protein that the company deems IP-sensitive. If any of the questions below do not apply to your internship experience (e. g. regulatory affairs, marketing or other business function), skip that question and attempt to add relevant, similar information for your specific role.

  • What is the company mission / vision? Is it a large, medium or small enterprise? What types of products, processes or services does the company aim to provide?
  • Who are the company leaders or executives (e. g. CEO, CTO, CSO)? How is the company structured and who did you report to for the internship?
  • Describe the project(s) you were assigned for the internship. How did your work fit into the bigger picture of company goals? Were you embedded in a team or did you work more independently? Which divisions or groups within the company were involved in your project(s)?
  • Do research teams publish their work? What is the balance of research focus on “basic” science that provides foundational knowledge for the company’s overall mission vs. “applied” science that is more closely related to commercialization goals.
  • What technical or professional skills were required to conduct your internship work? Did you have the opportunity to work with specialized protocols/equipment or access other resources that would be considered “cutting edge” or difficult to access in academia?
  • What were the internship project(s) outcome(s)? Illustrate your work with a diagram, photo(s), figure(s) or other visual media if permitted under IP restrictions.
  • Did your project reach some or all of the expected internship milestones? What technical or professional challenges, if any, did you face along the way?
  • In your opinion, what would be the logical “next steps” for your internship project if you were to stay on for another few months?  
  • References (optional, not included in page count) – include a list of science publications or reports that you read in order to establish foundational knowledge needed for the internship.

Your Personal Internship Experience (~1-2 pages, double-spaced)

Please use the questions below as prompts to help develop your writing. Only share personal thoughts and experiences of the internship that you would deem acceptable for “classroom” discussion among DEB peers, as quotes may be included in future Internship Prep Workshops.

  • Describe your day-to-day internship work – what did you enjoy? Were there any challenging aspects to the work? Would you consider doing similar work in the future? Why or why not?
  • Did you learn any new or enhance any existing technical or professional skills while interning? Based on exposure to different types of work within the company, do you now have plans to brush up or acquire specific skills before graduation?
  • Has the internship experience solidified or changed your thoughts on future career paths and plans (e. g. public sector vs. private sector, large company vs. smaller company, specific types of jobs)? Please elaborate.
  • Were there opportunities for professional networking at the company? Did you have a chance to meet company leaders, professionals in other teams, or other interns? How do you plan to follow up and stay connected to people who you met during the internship (e. g. LinkedIn, ResearchGate)?
  • Describe the company culture and overall mentorship experience. Was there a formal, company-wide internship program? Seminars, poster sessions or other regularly held meetings and events? How was the internship experience similar to your academic experience as a doctoral candidate at UC Davis and how did it differ? Were there aspects of the company culture or mentorship approaches that you particularly enjoyed or found effective for training, team-building and reaching research milestones?
  • Where was the company located? Did you have to travel out of state, commute long distances or find lodging to participate in the internship? How did the company location impact your overall internship experience?
  • Would you recommend this internship experience to a future DEB student? What is your best advice for preparing for a similar internship experience?

DEB282 Report Instructions (pdf)


DEB Science Communication Internship

Approved by the DEB Executive Committee in Spring 2020, the DEB Science Communication Internship serves as an alternative, distance-learning option for students who are not able to complete an industry internship for a variety of reasons, including disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  DEB students interested in this option should contact the internship mentor and blog editor, Dr. Denneal Jamison-McClung, to discuss their career plans, progress to DEB degree completion and whether this option would be appropriate for their specific situation before starting to work on blogging.

DEB students approved to complete the alternative, distance-learning DEB Science Communication Internship, will work with Dr. Jamison-McClung on choosing blog topics and posting the writing assignments on the Endoplasmic Biotech-You-Learn blog platform. Students must register for the DEB282 course and submit a final internship report, as described above, with the following modifications:

  • Internship Project Description: Describe the rationale used in choosing your blog topics and the process used to write and create illustrations for the work. Discuss any Twitter interactions or public feedback you received on the blog post(s), as well as any professional feedback received from peers, mentors or colleagues.  List the titles of your blogs and include short quotes and/or or figures from the blogs that will help to describe the experience to the course instructor of record.
  • Your Personal Internship Experience: Comment on the professional value of the blogging experience and any skills that you feel were gained or refined during the internship.

DEB students who complete the the DEB Science Communication internship for DEB282 course credit will continue to receive the same level of mentoring and networking support in pursuing industry internships and other professional opportunities across a variety of biotech-related career paths.  This option provides a more accessible route to degree completion, given recent societal and economic disruptions, but should not be construed as a "career-defining" activity. Clarity, brevity and audience engagement in professional writing is important for all biotech-related professions.  If interested in further discussion, please contact Dr. Jamison-McClung.


A graduate student in bioengineering works in the lab.


Recent and Past Industry Internship Partners

We would like to thank our partners and champions of regional biotechnology education who have contributed to our program

  • 10x Genomics
  • 23andMe
  • Advanced Micro Devices (AMD)
  • Agilent Technologies
  • Alza
  • Amgen
  • Amyris
  • Antibodies, Inc.
  • Aqua Bounty
  • Ariz Precision Medicine
  • Bayer and Bayer Crop Science
  • Berlex Biosciences 
  • BioMarin Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
  • Carollo
  • Celera AgGen
  • Cytokinetics
  • DuPont
  • Exelixis
  • Expression Systems
  • Genencor
  • Genentech
  • Hoffmann Eitle
  • HM Clause
  • iBio
  • IBM Almaden
  • Icahn School of Medicine
  • ICOS
  • Igenica
  • Institut Charles Sadron
  • Intrexon
  • Marrone Bio Innovations
  • Maxygen
  • Monsanto
  • Novartis (formerly Chiron)
  • Novozymes  
  • Nunhems
  • OncoMed
  • PinPoint Testing
  • Recovery Sciences
  • Regeneron
  • Roche Biosciences
  • Scios
  • Second Genome
  • Somagenics
  • Syntex
  • Synthetic Genomics
  • Sutro Biopharma
  • State Water Control Resources Board
  • Tethys Bioscience, Inc.
  • Unilever
  • Ventria Biosciences 
  • and others..