5/21/2020Julian Quinones graduated from Endicott College in 2012 with a degree in biology/biotechnology. He currently works as a Principal Research Associate on the Translational Biology team at Moderna, a biotech company in Cambridge, Mass. Moderna is working to build a leading mRNA technology platform and create infrastructure to accelerate drug discovery and development. Quinones has worked at Moderna for over seven years and his team currently performs a variety of functions such as the generation of cellular models and novel assays to measure important endpoints like the rate of translation, drug product potency, and cellular pharmacology. Quinones helped develop tests used to measure the quality of products, implemented automation to increase speed of production, and still continues to push the limits of Moderna’s technology to create mRNA medicines to address diseases which currently have no treatment.
During Quinones’ time at Endicott, he took a lab practical with an adjunct professor where he gained experience and worked in a lab conducting auto-immunity research in order to write his senior thesis. “The skill-set I acquired conducting that research was exactly the skill-set Moderna was looking for to complete a large screening project that generated data to help secure a partnership with a large pharmaceutical company, which helped to further explore mRNA as a platform technology,” says Quinones. He adds, “From the amazing professors (one strongly encouraged me not to change majors), to the very important internship and senior thesis programs, the Endicott model helps you be successful.”
On May 12, 2020 Moderna received fast-track approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The FDA told the company to proceed with Phase 2 testing of the vaccine. “It takes a village,” says Quinones, “We all have a responsibility to fight this thing so we can get back to doing the things we like to do with the people we love. I am fortunate and humbled to play a small part in the fight against this virus.”