Showing posts from July, 2016

Transition from academia to industry: An interview with Elizabeth Paik

We have all read many articles about the possible career choices of a scientist. The usual dilemma is between industry and academia. We have talked about this in previous blogs but the more information we get the easier it is to make a wise choice. Of course we all have opinions about the pros and cons of such a choice but what I always find best is to ask people who have experienced both. That is why I turned to an old colleague and friend, Elizabeth Paik, and asked her some questions regarding her experiences in both academia and industry.

Can you describe to us your scientific career?
I started my career at Harvard Medical School, as a graduate student in Dr. Len Zon's laboratory. My thesis work focused on understanding a role of CDX transcription factors during embryonic hematopoiesis. Through ChIP-seq, knockdown and overexpression studies in zebrafish, I showed CDX transcription factors control expression of hematopoietic transcription factors - SCL and LMO2.

Towards the end of …

Research: the science of overcoming failure

"Perceived failure can become the catalyst of profound re-invention"
Conan O'Brien

On a cold Spring Sunday morning in western New Hampshire, Conan O’Brien, a Harvard alumnus, stood in front of 1,700 Dartmouth students for a commencement address. After initially teasing them about having an inferiority complex (as part of the Ivy League Colleges) he then said something that was as unexpected as it was wise, “Whether your fear it or not, true disappointment will come, but with disappointment comes clarity, conviction and true originality.”  For those who are not familiar with O’Brien’s work, he is not a scientist, although his speech seemed to be tailor-made for research. He is a very famous comedian that experienced failure shortly after reaching his lifetime goal (O’Brien became the host of the Tonight Show but was fired soon thereafter).

Scientists face disappointment and/or failure on a daily basis; a failed experiment, a rejected paper or grant. However, failure does not…

Science Funding in Developing Countries

I am sure that most, if not all, of you agree with me in that science is one of the most fascinating and exciting activities that we, humans, perform. Indeed, thanks to science we have been able to understand our universe, our world, and ourselves. What we know as science and the scientific method is a relatively recent human activity -“born” about 500 years ago- considering that our species is around 100,000 years old. During the last five centuries, science has moved forward, allowing us to improve our lives in many ways. And during the last six decades, science has been moving so fast, that it is really difficult to cope with all the information that is being generated. Every week, if not every day, we read of advances and achievements in different areas, such as physics, chemistry, biology and medicine. New discoveries are being reported at an incredible speed in hundreds of scientific journals. Today, a new galaxy; tomorrow, a new gene; the day after, a new genetic disorder; and …