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Showing posts from May, 2018

Making the Leap, Part 6. Prepare for Landing

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Faculty interviews are over. You’ve negotiated your offers and decided on an institution that fits your needs. Your signed letter has been sent back and (importantly) has been approved by the dean(s) or other institutional heads, making it official. Maybe you’ve made or have scheduled a couple of additional visits to your future scientific home. The end of your post-doctoral training is in sight. Now what? I made my final decision to join the faculty of University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus in July of 2015, with a planned start date at the beginning of November that year. The intervening time was full of excitement and anticipation, and plenty of work to tie together loose ends in my postdoc and set the stage for my faculty position. Now that you’ve made the leap, here are a few things to consider as you prepare for landing.

1) Celebrate. Don’t overlook this. You’ve worked hard and all of the effort has borne fruit. It’s worth getting your friends, colleagues and mentor(s) …

Things Nobody Told Me about Being a PI - Part 2

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In part 1 of this series we covered financial/administrative management.  The second major thing I was completely untrained for in becoming a PI was personality management.  In the very beginning, I was always frustrated that projects and experiments were not progressing at the rate I was accustomed to.  What I had to learn very quickly was to stop projecting my expectations onto the people working in my lab.  When I was planning the new projects in my lab, I would lay out timelines based on my own level of production, and then I would get frustrated when these deadlines were not met.  One thing you have to realize is that the people who go on to run their own lab are a different breed.  To get a PI position, you have to be a highly motivated and dedicated post-doc who is used to working independently to maintain high productivity.  It is unfair to expect these standards from everyone working in your lab, and I had to adjust my expectations accordingly.  That’s not to say that everyon…

Stories of a Non-traditional Career Path

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Not everyone's career path is traditional.  Gabriel Leung and April Apostol are "more seasoned" graduate students in the Quantitative and Systems Biology program at the University of California, Merced. Here, they share their atypical trajectories to graduate school, and why they think embarking on a PhD a bit later in life better prepared them for the road ahead.

Gabriel
Growing up, science always had a place at the table;  Growing up, science always had a place at the table; my dad made a habit of interjecting notes about science into our dinnertime conversations. My dad had a small scientific library, in my early teens I loved to explore them and see how far I could read before I was completely confused. Included in this collection was, “the Molecular Biology of the Gene”, by James D. Watson, 1965, first edition. Amazingly, I was able to understand it and, by the time it was required-reading for my undergraduate eukaryotic molecular biology class, I was also amazed at h…

Getting a Job at a Primarily Undergraduate Institution

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In my last post, I spoke about my transition from functioning primarily as a researcher to becoming a professor that has more teaching responsibility at a primarily undergraduate institution (PUI). What’s different about life at a PUI? Well, the main focus is on undergraduate education. As we are scientists, much of our scholarship is still focused on performing impactful research. The difference? We are less dependent on soft money and integrate undergraduate students into our research whenever we can. I also integrate my research into the classes that I teach to get more students exposed to hematology and immunology. After all, it is a proven best practice for students learning science to actually do science! As you might imagine, it is a much different process getting a job at a PUI compared to obtaining a research position. Here are some tips for preparing and getting a job at a PUI.

Prepare for the career change. Think you want to teach? You should try it out! Some suggestions? T…

Lab Spotlight: Ott Laboratory

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Simply Blood Lab Spotlight
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 Ott Lab at Massachusetts General Hospital.

How long have you had your lab?
We opened the lab here at the MGH Cancer Center in September, 2017.

How many members make up your lab? Students/postdocs?
Currently the lab is staffed with a lab manager and two research technicians - one in charge of running high-throughput small molecule screening assays and another in charge of functional genetic assays using the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technology. We also have a computational analyst in our group who is responsible for processing and analyzing genome-wide transcriptomic and epigenomic datasets. Currently we are in the process of recruiting several postdoctoral fellows, including a synthetic organic chemist and a m…