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How can I break into the biotech or pharmaceutical industry? That's a question many of my readers ask. Michael Ferguson, senior manager of clinical development for Memphis, Tenn.-based Medtronic Sofamor Danek, offers insights for people who wish to take the industry path.

Two years into his PhD studies in applied physiology at the University of Florida, Ferguson decided he wanted to join a biotechnology company or a clinical setting.

His first step was to work for a small firm during the last half of his PhD program. "Little did I know the experience there would catapult me into an opportunity with a large biomedical device company after graduation," says Ferguson, who manages a research group that examines devices and biologics used in spinal correction surgery.

Ferguson advises, and I can't emphasize this often enough, that you look for openings on,, and, and check postings on...

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