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Neurocrine Biosciences Interview
Questions

30 Questions and Answers by Ryan Brown

Question 1 of 30

What are your thoughts regarding using stem cell transplants to treat degenerative disorders of the central nervous system?

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Neurocrine Biosciences Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    What are your thoughts regarding using stem cell transplants to treat degenerative disorders of the central nervous system?

      Although many people are supportive of stem cell research, the idea of transplants is still a subject of controversy in many circles. It is always wise to speak positively about a subject, even if it may be a controversial subject. The old saying, 'you don't have to agree with progress for progress to happen' is especially true with medicine.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "I have to admit, I don't have a lot of experience with stem cell research. With that in mind, I can't give an answer based on personal research. However, I feel like anything that we can do to help improve someone's quality of life and provide hope is something we should do."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "I think the idea of using stem cells to help treat CNS disorders is exciting. I've read some studies on stem cell transplants. If Neurocrine Biosciences has any projects that are focused on stem cell research or transplant trials, I would love to see if you think I may be a good fit to join that team."

  2. 2.

    What interests you about the central nervous system?

      Interviewers almost always ask questions like 'what interests you....' or 'why did you choose....' Sharing your interests is a way for the interviewer to get to know you. Additionally, sharing what interests you the most will help the interviewer try to find placement for you within that preference.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Knowing that one system in the body controls and has an effect on every other system has always been interesting to me. I enjoy learning and discovering new ways that medical advances give hope to those who suffer from CNS disorders."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "I have always had an interest in how the brain works and how the central nervous system controls functions of the rest of the body. There are so many more things that we, as healthcare providers, have to learn about the central nervous system. I look forward to being a part of the process of learning and developing new ways to help patients overcome CNS disorders."

  3. 3.

    Alzheimer's disease is often said to be more difficult for family members to endure than the actual victims of the disease. Do you know why this is said?

      The Alzheimer's Association states that AD is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. About one in three seniors die with AD or another form of dementia. What is your knowledge of why some say that the family members seem to endure more difficulty than the victim?

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Alzheimer's is a sad disease, for sure. My grandmother was diagnosed with the disease and I understand why some say that it is harder for the family to endure than the patient. The patients do experience frustrations due to being forgetful, etc. If a patient does not have another diagnosis that leads to death and Alzheimer's progresses to its last stage, the patient returns to what appears to be an infantile state of being. They must be fed, clothed, and have no memory or understanding. It is a very painful thing to experience when someone you care for has no memory of you or others that they loved."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "It is understandable why people say Alzheimer's is more difficult for family members. I'm not sure if I would go so far as to say it is more difficult, but I can understand the thought behind it. In the beginning, patients are afraid and frustrated because of memory loss which can lead to so many dangers (forgetting medicines, driving and becoming lost, etc.). At later stages, though, more burden to provide care is placed on the family and the patient forgets more. So, I can see why the statement is logical to many."

  4. 4.

    If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

      Employers realize that there is life outside of work. Getting to know employees/potential employees and what interests them gives employers an opportunity to develop a relationship with them. Share what you like. Have you been to a destination you'd like to return to? Is there somewhere you've always dreamed of going? This is also an opportunity for you to get to know the employer. Ask questions to show your interest in building a relationship.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Without a doubt, I would go to Italy! I have always wanted to travel and Italy will be one of the first places I go to once I have time to go and really experience it! Have you ever been to another country?"

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "When I was younger, I went on a mission trip to Brazil. I have always wanted to return and spend time with the missionaries who are still there. I came back with such an appreciation for the opportunities and conveniences that we have here. What about you? Have you ever traveled abroad?"

  5. 5.

    Autism has several disorders within its spectrum of diagnoses. Can you share your knowledge of one of the disorders within the Autism spectrum?

      There are several disorders associated with autism. Until recent years, this diagnosis was not understood and much research is still be conducted to find ways of preventing and diagnosing the disease early. What do you know about autism?

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Autism is a complex spectrum of disorders. One of the diagnoses I am aware of is Asperger's Syndrome. It is characterized by repetitive or restrictive patterns of thought and behavior. Unlike persons with other forms of autism, people who have Asperger's syndrome retain their early language skills."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "'High-functioning autism' isn't an official medical term or diagnosis, but an informal one some people use when they talk about people with an autism spectrum disorder who can speak, read, write, and handle basic life skills like eating and getting dressed. They may live independently, and are a lot like anyone else."

  6. 6.

    If you were the person responsible for hiring new employees at Neurocrine Biosciences, what qualities would you look for in a candidate, and do you think you possess those qualities?

      There is more than one reason for asking this question. First, the interviewer wants to know what qualities you think are important to perform this job. Second, and most importantly, your answer will tell the interviewer if you hold yourself to the same standard as you do others. If you want to see certain characteristics in your peers, you should be able to tell the interviewer with confidence that you possess those traits, as well. This question is one that interviewers often use to distinguish sincerity on the part of the candidate.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "I believe that honesty is important no matter what job title a person holds. I have found that being honest with people creates an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect. Those qualities, I feel, are essential when building rapport with patients and co-workers."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "We all possess different qualities and that is what makes a great team. If I were responsible for interviewing and hiring new employees,I would look for someone who has a genuine interest in the job and a desire to grow and learn. None of us knows every thing there is to know about each disease or treatment. Being willing to learn and share what we've learned with one another makes us a better team and benefits our patients and those who will need care in the future."

  7. 7.

    If a patient has a temporal lobe injury, what are some symptoms that you may expect to see manifest?

      Understanding the different parts of the central nervous system and the normal functions of the CNS will help identify abnormal symptoms if/when they occur. A brain injury will manifest with different symptoms depending on what part of the brain is injured. Share your knowledge of the brain by explaining symptoms of a temporal lob injury.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "The temporal lobe is responsible for processing sensory input and assigning it emotional meaning. If a patient experiences an injury of the temporal lobe, I would expect him to exhibit abnormal emotions to stimuli. For example, a patient with this type of injury may laugh at something that would normally cause a person to cry or feel sadness."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "The temporal lobe also involved in laying down long-term memories, as well as housing some aspects of language perception. A patient with a temporal lobe injury may manifest signs of difficulty understanding a conversation. He may also be able to recall something that happened this morning (short-term), but not be able to recall something that happened last year (long-term)."

  8. 8.

    Over 400,000 people in the United States have Multiple Sclerosis, and around 10,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. Do you have any knowledge or experience working with this disease?

      Diseases of the central nervous system, such as Multiple Sclerosis, are often debilitating. Having an understanding of the different diseases and what possible signs of progression are is helpful for researchers to determine if new methods of treatment are effective. The interviewer may ask you to explain your knowledge of specific diseases to see what area would be a better fit for you. Sharing any knowledge or experience you have is a plus!

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "I have had patients before who were diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Symptoms range from milder cases, in which there may be numbness in the limbs. Severe cases may involve paralysis or vision loss."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "I do have some knowledge of multiple sclerosis. In the CNS, nerve fibers are surrounded by a myelin sheath, which protects them. Myelin also helps the nerves conduct electrical signals quickly and efficiently. In MS, the myelin sheath disappears in multiple areas, leaving a scar, or sclerosis. There is no cure, but treatment can relieve symptoms and help the person manage their daily living."

  9. 9.

    Have you ever worked with patients who Childhood Integrative Disorder, and if so, what do you know about it?

      Autism is a complex disorder of the central nervous system and the condition has a wide range of severity along its spectrum. Childhood Integrative Disorder is one disorder within the autism spectrum. Share any knowledge you have of the disorder.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "I have studied some of the diseases on the autism spectrum. Childhood disintegrative disorder is a rare condition characterized by late onset of developmental delays or severe and sudden reversals in language, social function, and motor skills."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "The information I have seen regarding the disorder reports that it is characterized by at least two years of normal development, followed by loss of language, social skills, and motor skills before age ten. It is my understanding that it is one of the most severe diagnoses within the autism spectrum."

  10. 10.

    Have you ever been involved with attempts to secure funding for medical research?

      Most of the funding for medic research by private voluntary health organizations comes from individuals, but some comes from grants to those organizations (and so might be counted as foundation or government funding as well as spending by the private voluntary health organization). If you have been involved in helping to write grant applications or soliciting private organizations to become a part of research funding, this could be considered an asset. Share any experience you may have.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "I used to work for a company that operated mostly from money received from federal grants. When I worked there, I was an under-study to the head grant-writer. I have hoped to find placement with a company where I can do research but also offer my services in securing funding to further our research efforts."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Yes, I have assisted with attempts to secure private funding for a few research projects. I have found that the more specifically focused a research project is, the more easily private funding is secured."

  11. 11.

    Have you ever studied Central Pain Syndrome, and if so, what do you know about it?

      Central pain syndrome is a neurological disorder caused by damage to the sensory pathways of the central nervous system. It is a rare condition that can develop following a variety of conditions including stroke, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, brain tumors, or iatrogenic damage to the central nervous system. Share any knowledge you have about this disorder with the interviewer.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Central Pain Syndrome is caused by damage to the nerve pathways of the CNS. Common symptoms include pain and loss of sensation, usually in the face, arms and/or legs. Pain is often constant and can be mild, moderate, or severe in intensity."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "I know that with this syndrome the patient experiences almost constant pain of varying degrees, depending upon the underlying cause of the disorder and the area of the central nervous system affected. It can potentially disrupt an individual's daily routine. In severe cases, the pain can be agonizing and unrelenting and dramatically affect a person's quality of life."

  12. 12.

    What education would you provide to a patient with Bell's Palsy?

      One of the primary responsibilities of healthcare providers is patient education. Understanding disorders and being able to help patients understand them is important. Approximately 1 in 5,000 people develop Bell's palsy each year. Although it is classed as a relatively rare condition, it is frightening to patients as it affects the nerves of the face. Share any knowledge you have about Bell's Palsy with the interviewer.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "Any disorder that affects the nerves enough to leave a paralysis can be frightening. I think one of the most important things is to assure the patient that Bell's Palsy usually resolves within a few months. Also, as the facial nerve begins to recover, tightening and relaxing facial muscles can help strengthen them. Instructing patients to do this often makes them feel like they can have an active role in their own recovery."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Difficulty swallowing is one of the side effects of Bell's Palsy and it is important to educate patients on safety measures to prevent choking. For instance, patients should chew food well and eat slowly. Choosing soft foods, such as yogurt can also help. If there is little or no feeling in the mouth it is easy for food to build up leading to decay or gum disease. Brushing and flossing can help prevent this."

  13. 13.

    What is your understanding of Huntington's disease?

      Disorders of the central nervous system are often debilitating. Huntington's disease is certainly no exception. If you have ever worked with patients with this diagnosis or done research on the disease, share your experience.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "I have done some research on Huntington's disease in the past. It's devastating because this is one of those diseases that is hereditary and has no cure."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "Huntington's disease is an incurable, hereditary brain disorder that causes damage to the brain cells. Early symptoms may include mood swings, clumsiness, and unusual behavior."

  14. 14.

    The affected brain cells of people with Parkinson's Disease contain Lewy bodies. Do you have any knowledge of what these are or how they may be connected to Parkinson's Disease?

      Lewy bodies are deposits of the protein alpha-synuclein. Researchers do not yet know exactly why Lewy bodies form or what role they play in the disease, although there is some speculation. If you have heard of these, share what you have learned with the interviewer. If you have not, it is OK to say so. It is important to remember that when you are asked a question, if you do not know the answer, be honest and show an interest in learning.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "I have heard the term 'Lewy bodies,' but have not really been educated on what they are or what their possible role in Parkinson's disease is. Diseases of the central nervous system are often so complex. I really look forward to learning more."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "I have done a little studying on Parkinson's Disease and have read about Lewy bodies. What I read stated that some research suggests that the cell's protein disposal system may fail in people with PD, causing proteins to build up to harmful levels and trigger cell death. I also read a study that suggested that there has been evidence that clumps of protein that develop inside brain cells of people with PD may contribute to the death of neurons."

  15. 15.

    Do you have an understanding of the difference between the peripheral nervous system and the central nervous system?

      Although the two systems are interconnected, the peripheral nervous system is separate from the central nervous system. There are a number of differences between the two systems and knowing those is essential if you plan to work with CNS research/medical care. Share some differences between the peripheral and central nervous systems with the interviewer.

      Ryan's Answer #1

      "I have always been interested in the differences between the peripheral and central nervous systems. One major difference between the two involves regeneration of cells. Much of the peripheral nervous system has the ability to regenerate, but the central nervous system does not have this ability."

      Ryan's Answer #2

      "The central nervous system includes the brain, spinal cord, and their associated nerves. The peripheral nervous system is the nervous system outside of the brain or spinal cord. The nerve cells of the central nervous system are shorter than those of the peripheral nervous system."

  16. 16.

    Neurocrine Biosciences has a variety of researchers who work in different areas. Have you ever worked in an environment in which your co-workers were from diverse backgrounds?

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  17. 17.

    What makes you think you will be successful at Neurocrine Biosciences?

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  18. 18.

    Has there ever been a time that you had a disagreement with a co-worker, and if so, how was it resolved?

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  19. 19.

    Neurocrine Biosciences is supportive of employees who want to further their education. Have you ever considered going back to school and obtaining a higher/different degree?

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  20. 20.

    Are you familiar with the use of Deep Brain Stimulation to treat neurological disorders?

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  21. 21.

    Why did you choose medical research as a career?

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  22. 22.

    Acute Disseminated Encepalomyelitis is often misdiagnosed. Do you know what the symptoms are and what it may be mistakenly diagnosed as?

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  23. 23.

    Do you have any knowledge of Alexander Disease?

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  24. 24.

    Neurocrine Biosciences values strong relationships among our staff, patients, and vendors. Do you feel you have strong relationship building skills?

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  25. 25.

    Have you ever studied Canavan Disease?

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  26. 26.

    Have you ever cared for patients with Sundowning Syndrome and what do you know about the syndrome?

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  27. 27.

    Medical research is often a demanding job. Neurocrine Biosciences likes to encourage employees to have a healthy balance between their work and personal lives. What are some things that you do to he

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  28. 28.

    At Neurocrine Biosciences we understand that you may have obligations or responsibilities outside of work. If you could choose a specific schedule or shift, what would that be?

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  29. 29.

    At Neurocrine Biosciences, we have several research projects. Some are long-term projects and others are short-term. Do you anticipate any significant changes in your life within the next 1-2 years that would prevent you from working on a long-term project?

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  30. 30.

    A very common neurologic disorder is migraines. Have you ever experienced a migraine headache or cared for someone who has?

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