Dr. Simon Ye received his M.S. (2017) and Ph.D. (2020) in Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition from the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition. His interest and expertise in molecular nutrition, culinary arts, and social entrepreneurship grant him a unique insight into food and nutrition. He aspires to cultivate a judge-free and supportive nutrition community that can nourish people with different cultural backgrounds.
We got a chance to interview Dr. Simon Ye about his career journey.
In just a few sentences, please tell us about your current job.
I currently serve as the Regional Scientific Marketing Lead (Greater Asia/ Asia Pacific) at IFF Health. We are driven by 3 main things: health & wellness, consumer trends and industry leading science. This helps us develop some of the world’s most innovative health and wellness solutions by incorporating ingredients such as probiotics and natural plant extracts. As a scientific marketer, my work involves 1) translating the market needs into scientific innovations, 2) deliver our cutting-edge research in ways the consumers can easily understand and appreciate. As a marketer my responsibility is to keep our company’s leading position by developing competitive science strategy and ensuring excellent execution. As a scientist and Tufts alumnus, my responsibility is to stay true to the science- the scientific integrity will never be compromised. I work with various stakeholders including regulatory, investigators, innovations, sales, clients, and consumers. I started at IFF Health after graduating from the Friedman School with a PhD in Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition in 2020.
How did Friedman school influence your career journey?
I was very excited when I learned that Friedman offers training in nutrition plus entrepreneurship that I couldn’t get anywhere else. The personal touch offered by the Friedman faculty and staff encouraged me to see the possibilities for nutrition outside the laboratory, and learn how to apply my knowledge in the real world. They teach me how to think about nutrition problems in a holistic way (molecular biology, data science, sociology, psychology…), and place a high value on social responsibility. Plus, at Friedman, I was able to create a self-designed specialization in entrepreneurship, and cross-register for entrepreneurship courses at several other institutions. During my time in the program, industry experts with long careers in the corporate world taught me the skills I needed to apply my knowledge in a business setting. With such exposure I was able to take the role as a segment lead in marketing team without prior experience in marketing.
What advice would you offer to a student who wants to pursue a career path like yours?
My advice for students majoring nutrition science while interested in pursuing a career in the business setting is to (1) sincerely care about nutrition, 2) be curious to things other than nutrition and have sufficient exposure to different disciplines/areas, 3) try to always be kind to others and help people when you can. The first two speak for themselves. For the third, I would not simply say “make connections with XXX” because this scratches the surface and does not explain the logic/ process. I believe one should first give, and things will come back to you, usually in a way unexpected.