MCP Student Derek Dang Secures Prestigious Fellowship Position

By Lynn McCain | November 30 2023

Derek_Dang-20180808.jpgStudents who train in our Molecular and Cellular Pathology graduate program find a broad range of opportunities before them as they graduate.  Whether they wish to remain in academia, go to industry or pursue another path, their options are plentiful. Derek Dang, who will be defending his dissertation soon, decided to pursue a path that is taking him to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He was accepted into the prestigious Laboratory Leadership Service (LLS) Fellowship.

LLS fellows experience rigorous training, mentorship, and hands-on experience in the field in the public health arena. Dang will begin at the CDC in Atlanta, Georgia for a one-month summer orientation this July. Following this, he will relocate to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he will work with the Director of the Milwaukee Health Department, also a graduate of the LLS fellowship program. During his time in Milwaukee, Dang will engage in practical field investigations, conduct applied laboratory research to help address urgent public health problems, conduct comprehensive laboratory safety risk investigations, evaluate laboratory quality management systems, conduct data analysis using bioinformatics, surveillance, and laboratory data, and present his findings during agency seminars and at national and international conferences.

This path seems to be somewhat of a change from his doctoral training. Dang explained, “This is something I have always been interested in doing. I do a lot of outreach with my science now and as I am graduating, I was thinking about the things I wanted to do. I wanted to be able to combine community outreach, public service, and laboratory science. This fellowship binds all of them together.”  Dang went on to explain how the MCP graduate program prepared him for this path. “In this PhD program, you are training how to be versatile, to learn a variety of techniques that can be used in different contexts throughout the rest of our careers. This will be a challenging transition, but one that the PhD program has prepared me for.”  He also encourages any current or future student to reach out to him if they are interested in this fellowship or similar government jobs.

At the conclusion of the LLS fellowship program, about 70% of the graduates are recruited to stay at the CDC. The majority of the remainder become city or state public health laboratory directors. “I’m not sure yet where this will take me as I haven’t started yet, but my goal will be to learn all the skills that will allow me to become a public health laboratory director,” explained Dang.

Please join us in congratulating MCP graduate student Derek Dang on his selection to this prestigious fellowship program.  We wish you all the best in your career!