The Center for Life Beyond Reed

Division of Student Services

Keith Allen

Class year: 1983
Major: Biology
Company/organization: Syngenta Biotechnology
Job title: Research Fellow
Company URL:

I would love to connect with students. In addition or instead of attending the Schmooze, I am available for one:one meetings during the weekend. Drop me an email and we'll arrange a time to meet. I arrive on Thursday.

How did you get where you are? (e.g., education, brief work history, mentors)

I did graduate work in biology at CU Boulder (oh my god, Boulder), and then did a long post-doc with one of the grand old men of plant developmental biology at UC Berkeley.

Along the way I developed a strong interest in bioinformatics, and made the jump into industry. I worked for two startup biotech companies during the dot-com boom (and collapse), before moving to Syngenta in 2005 as a bioinformatics scientist tasked with building the bioinformatics research program in a large multinational agricultural products company. I was promoted out of the management track, and now do mostly research.

What lessons have you learned along the way that you'd like to pass on to current Reed students?

I discovered early on in my career that what truly motivates me is the science. Scientists love a good story, but most of all, they like telling a good story. I think I've been successful in directing my career in such a way that I'm doing interesting science in the company of really good scientists, and I have lots of great stories to tell.

Figure out what motivates you, and find a way to put it at the center of your career.

In what ways you think you can help Reed students?

advice, most of which will not be particularly sage. I've also been able to connect some dots in networks that have landed folks in internships, so that's good too.

What else should students know about you? (e.g., volunteer engagement, avocations, interests)

I'm involved with the alumni board, and I'm a member of the alumni fundraising steering team. I'm doing a really interesting data analytics project right now to better understand alumni engagement and how it relates to giving behavior in Reed alumni.