SAIC - Orion Vanderlinde - Biotechnology Business Development Marketing Rep.

After talking to Orion Vanderlinde, one description immediately comes to mind: Renaissance Man.

A biotechnology business development marketing representative at SAIC-Cape Canaveral (a SATOP Bronze level Alliance Partner), Vanderlinde fits the definition of a Renaissance Man as someone who is well educated or knowledgable in a wide variety of subjects or fields. While his enthusiasm for and knowledge of molecular biology research is highly evident, Vanderlinde also exhibits talent for a number of disparate activities: in addition to a more recent involvement in body building, he enjoys underwater diving and photography, gourmet cooking, and jewelry making.

Vanderlinde says his parents share some of the credit for his varied interests. His father is a retired North Dakota State University art history professor who taught jewelry making, stained glass and pottery among other media, and his mother is a social worker turned juvenile court counselor.

Pursuing a lifelong interest in molecular biology led Vanderlinde to Florida State University to obtain his Ph.D. in biological science. While at FSU, he carried out his research into high energy phosphate transport in muscle tissue at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee. After receiving his doctorate, Vanderlinde stayed at FSU as a research associate investigating cellular force production.

Although he was very comfortable at FSU, Vanderlinde made the jump from academia to industry in 2004 when he joined SAIC.

Its been a big transition, but the people I work with at SAIC are wonderful and have helped me pick up on the business side of our research work, Vanderlinde said. Ive discovered that I enjoy the project management aspects its something new to learn, which is very rewarding and Ive welcomed the transition with open arms.

One-on-one with Orion Vanderlinde:

What job you would have had if you had not become a molecular biologist and why?
Probably a chef. Back when the decision had to be made between educational institutions, I seriously contemplated attending culinary school rather than college. I still have the desire to cook for friends and family and would probably be just as happy if I had chosen that career path. However, I had to choose what I thought best suited my skills and desires at the time and that was research.

Do you enjoy any pastimes not related to molecular biology? If so, what are they?
The one pastime I have enjoyed consistently from college to the present is diving. In Oregon the diving is average at best. Cold water and poor visibility really put a damper on the enjoyment yet I still couldnt get enough. Moving to Florida has been a real eye opener for how good diving can get and serves as a reminder that the best is yet to come.

Molecular biology project you wish you could have worked on:
MSP scaffolding protein mutant force generation project. I designed and expressed the mutants for this project but left the laboratory before the motility assays were completed. The MSP system is analogous to the actin-based motility system found in such cells as metastasizing cancer cells. Previously in the lab, we demonstrated the ability to control protrusion and retraction through phosphorylation states of an integral membrane protein. How force is generated without motor proteins is still a mystery in cell biology.

Personal accomplishment(s) of which you are most proud:
Receiving my Ph.D. in muscle energetics and transport was a tremendous personal accomplishment. It was probably the toughest yet most rewarding five years of my life. I had many opportunities to work with a number of researchers and labs that not only helped shape my career but also helped me grow as a person.

What do you enjoy most about being a SATOP volunteer?
The opportunity to help on a variety of unique projects allows me the chance to be creative in what otherwise is a