Hi, my name is Terence Ho, currently am a RA at Genentech in their FACS lab;
I grew up in San Francisco, I like science since I was in high school. I was considering some kind of medical practice as my career. I went to UC Berkeley and majored in Molecular and Cell Biology which is a perfect prerequisite for many medical schools. To learn more about working in the medical field I volunteered at UCSF in their Anal Neoplasia Clinic to explore my interest even further, and later realized that is not what I wanted. It wasn’t just the actual experience of what ‘Anal Neoplasia’ involves, but my interest and skill was not for working with people in that context. But from that volunteer time I did realize that research was fun and would give me some satisfaction to helping people and contributing to the world. To go into research, however, I needed to gain more hands-on skill because of the various types of laboratory equipment, and also needed to understand the way the tests are run and better understand how to help gather data for the scientists. I found out about CCSF Biotech program, which was prefect as I can continue to work during the daytime and go to school in the evening to gain the needed laboratory skills. This program made sure we knew all the important things about good laboratory practice, such as keeping ourselves protected from infection from whatever pathogens we’re working with to making sure the equipment was prepared for working with different materials and for acquiring quality data. They taught a lot of basic things, but also gave a lot of really specific practice on the machines used in many laboratories and skills. Pipetting, dilutions, centrifugation, and other technical skills are the same across all laboratory. Soon, I started working at the UCSF Core Immunology Lab to help researchers understand more about the human immune system in the frame work of HIV, HPV, and/or CMV infection. From working there, I acquired more advanced skills with flow cytometry and certain laboratory functional assays. But the core skills for working in a lab stayed the same, and the things I learned at CCSF on their equipment translated easily to what I needed at UCSF. Some of the equipment that was different still had the same basic operation and functionality, so going into advanced FACS was an easy transition. The thing I like most about taking CCSF classes is the teachers interest and dedication to teach their students. There was one time in my Biotech 65, Recombinant DNA class, we were working on the last day of transfecting bacteria to express fluorescent protein GFP. A storm had knocked out the campus power grid. Philip Jardim, our instructor, encourage us to finish because it was the last of a three day experiment. We improvised a way to work without electricity and continue our experiment working under flashlights. Of course, at the end of the successful experiment, the power came back on. This commitment to teaching and finishing the experiment is an example of what I admire most of City College Biotech program. Later, I found out the CCSF Biotech program had added Stem Cell technology into their program. Again I kept going to the work in day time and school in the evening as a way to advance my career in research. While I was at UCSF, I have ended up working with two colleagues who had also taken Biotech courses at CCSF and landed at working as facility lab manager and lab assistant. Programs like this at City College helped my colleagues to change their career from working in manufacturing to these positions in an Immunology lab, and they had the understanding and ability to do the job even without having a background in biology because of the completeness of the education at CCSF. Soon after finishing the CCSF Stem Cell program, I got promoted to become a FACS core site manager at UCSF. I continued on working with different scientists, and learning new things. In 2013, I took my current position in Genentech FACS lab. First what is FACS, it stands for fluorescence activated cell sorting. Our laboratory has about 20 flow cytometers. Flow cytometers use lasers to analyze particles in fluids. At Genentech my team assist users by teaching them how to use the flow cytometers, help with data analyses, experiment design and spend a fair amount of time on troubleshooting with the users. In order to maintenance the flow cytometers in top condition, we need to know a bit about optics, fluidics and electronics. I enjoyed my education at City College and found the program really opens up opportunities for anyone looking for a new job, or needing help to learn skills to move ahead with their current career. People coming from that program are really trusted by employers to know what they are doing and be able to handle the machines and techniques without needing much additional help or training.
First what is FACS, it stands for fluorescence activated cell sorting. Our laboratory has about 20 flow cytometers. Flow cytometers use lasers to analyze particles in fluids. At Genentech my team assist users by teaching them how to use the flow cytometers, help with data analyses, experiment design and spend a fair amount of time on troubleshooting with the users. In order to maintenance the flow cytometers in top condition, we need to know a bit about optics, fluidics and electronics.
I would like to host some lab tours at Genentech FACS lab to show the students coming in what they can expect from the program and what type of environment they can get into, or even teach a flow cytometry class at City College as a way to be part of something valuable.
Faces of Success: Terence Ho ccp13
Research AssociateFACS (Cytometry) GroupGenentech, Inc.
Medical School or Research?2000, UC Berkeley Molecular and Cell BiologyProvided a very good foundation (theoretical and conceptual)Prepared me to consider medical school (or not)2000, UCSF Anal Neoplasia ClinicDiseased butts made me think to go into researchDecided that medical practice is not what I wantedNeeded additional skills to fit into a research environmentHigh level of technical and laboratory equipment experience2002, CCSF Biotech Program to the rescue!Provided a broad range of practical and hands-on experienceEvening courses (Biotechnology, Stem Cell Certificates), flexibilityPrepared me for working in real world, UCSFFaculty dedicationUCSF colleagues were also enrolled in courses (Bridge to Biotech) 2012,Genentech FACS lab