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Lab Spotlight: Kousteni Lab

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Each month, Simply Blood spotlights a lab focused on the research of basic hematology, immunology, stem cell research, cell and gene therapy, and other related aspects. Get to know these different labs around the world! This month, we are featuring the Kousteni Lab at Columbia University in New York, USA.


1. How long have you had your lab? 
I started my lab when I moved to Columbia University in July of 2006.

2. How many members make up your lab?  Students/postdocs?
Currently the lab consists of 1 technician/lab-manager, 2 postdocs, 4 associate research scientists and one assistant professor. The summer is our busiest time of the year since we host undergraduate trainees from the SPURS program of the Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics for underrepresented students, a teacher trainee from Columbia’s Summer Research Program for Science Teachers, undergraduates from NYIT and visiting scientists or postdocs from various Universities.

3. What is the major research theme of…

Lab Spotlight: Trowbridge Lab

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Each month, Simply Blood spotlights a lab focused on the research of basic hematology, immunology, stem cell research, cell and gene therapy, and other related aspects. Get to know these different labs around the world! This month, we are featuring the Trowbridge Lab at the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, ME.

How long have you had your lab?
7 years

How many members make up your lab?  Students/postdocs?
We currently have 2 postdocs, 1 Ph.D. student, 1 intern and 2 research assistants.

What is the major research theme of your lab?
My lab focuses on the biology of hematopoietic stem cell aging and understanding why aging is the major risk factor for developing clonal hematopoiesis and hematologic malignancy, specifically focusing on myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML).

What is the most exciting project in your lab right now?
This is like asking which of my children is my favorite! Of course, they are all exciting! In my lab, we regularly re-evaluate ongoing pr…

Project Management, Part I: Goal Setting

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All of us know goal setting is important, and we’re undoubtedly goal-oriented individuals. However, understanding how to set goals effectively is crucial for a number of reasons. First, personnel, money and time are finite resources. It is dangerous to squander them in projects that cannot be translated into papers or new grants, or that are inconsistent with one’s career development mission or the core values of a lab. For these reasons, before identifying goals it’s critical to address a more fundamental question: what is your mission? What are your values? What is most important for you to accomplish, either as a trainee or group leader? Where do you want your career or research program to go in five years or longer? Understanding these key points allows you to develop goals that are consistent with the wider context of your scientific interests, expertise, and available resources. They also allow you to move beyond simply ‘doing more and faster’ and instead establishing clear prio…

Lab Spotlight: Yoshimoto Lab

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Each month, Simply Blood spotlights a lab focused on the research of basic hematology, immunology, stem cell research, cell and gene therapy, and other related aspects. Get to know these different labs around the world! This month, we are featuring the Yoshimoto Lab at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.


How long have you had your lab? 
One + three years. I was a non-tenure track Research Assistant Professor at Indiana University since 2011. I obtained my own lab space when I was awarded NIH R56 in 2015. I hired one post-doc and the two of us worked together. In 2016, I was awarded R01 and was recruited to my current position at University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston.

How many members make up your lab?  Students/postdocs? 
Five people. One Assistant Professor (my husband), 3 research assistants, and me. One post-doc just finished and returned to Brazil, so my lab is open for a new student/post-doc.

What is the major research theme of your lab?
Develo…

Faculty Job Interviews Part 2: Visiting the Institutes

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In this two-part blog about my experience with the interview process for academic faculty positions, I previously covered the application process. This post will be about the ten visits I went on. In most places, the first visit will be one day with a seminar and one-on-one meetings with current faculty. Sometimes the first visit also includes a chalk talk. Some institutes organize a symposium where all the applicants give their talk, followed by one-on-one meetings with the search committee.

For your seminar and your chalk talk, the key is to prepare early and practice many times. Practice with colleagues and anyone you think might listen. The search committee will most likely include people that are not in your field, so make sure the big picture comes across clearly. Ideally you can convey a trajectory of research from your graduate work to your postdoctoral work. This should logically progress into your future research plans, which can be addressed with a few slides at the end of …

Faculty Job Interviews Part 1: The Application Process

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Having been through a number of academic faculty interviews this year, I thought it would be a good time to convey some useful tips about the process. The blog is split into two parts: how I got academic faculty position interviews and how to handle the visits.

I went on the job market 4.5 years into my postdoc with a K99 award and good publications. Knowing how competitive the field is, I wanted to apply broadly. The two main ways I applied for interviews was (1) responding to ads on job boards, university and research institute websites and (2) talking to people in the field, asking if they knew of any open positions. To my surprise, the first approach was relatively ineffective. I responded to some 20 job openings and did not hear back from most of them, and got few interviews. Several university websites are out of date and the most promising openings were just not on there. My second approach, networking, was much more successful. In particular, I got three interviews through pe…

ISEH Annual Scientific Meeting 2019 – Highlights from the New Investigators Committee

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The ISEH 48th Annual Scientific Meeting was recently held in Brisbane, Australia. The meeting was excellent: the latest and greatest science in the field, catching up with old friends, meeting new ones, and all in a beautiful location.
For those of you that could not attend, here are some highlights of the meeting from the perspective of the students, postdocs and junior PIs of the ISEH New Investigators Committee.

Outstanding science
The program of speakers at this year’s meeting was outstanding. Leaders from across the field freely shared their latest data and discussed new ideas. One highlight was David Scadden’s (Harvard, USA) description of a gel scaffold that is injected under the skin to promote T cell progenitor growth, which improved immune responses in bone marrow transplant recipients. Another great moment was Adam Wilkinson (Stanford, USA) describing a remarkable expansion of haematopoietic stem cells in culture after the addition of children’s craft glue!

Brilliant days of…