This session is aimed to help postdocs interested in academia to better prepare themselves to reach their career goal. This session aims to help the audience benchmark their steps towards a faculty position. The topics that will be discussed in this session can be broadly divided into three sections: 1) pre-application preparations such as funding application and scientific communication; 2) challenges during transition period such as shaping ideas for research project for their own lab and maintaining healthy relationship with postdoctoral mentor; and 3) practical considerations involved in setting up an independent lab such as team building and establish collaborations. Our panelists are all fresh hires from prestigious research institutes with broad background and research interest, covering bioengineering, biochemistry, immunology as well as neurobiology. This session is mainly Q & A based. Our panelists will share their perspective and experience regarding questions and concerns raised by moderator and the audience. Ultimately, we hope this session can help our audience achieve a more efficient postdoctoral training.
Dr. Jeffrey Moffitt received his PhD in Physics from the University of California Berkeley under the direction of Dr. Carlos Bustamante, where he developed novel optical manipulation methods to study molecular motors. He received postdoctoral training from Dr. Xiaowei Zhuang at Harvard University, where he developed methods for transcriptome-scale imaging in single cells. He is an Assistant Professor in the Program in Cellular and Molecular Medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital and the Department of Microbiology at Harvard Medical School. His laboratory develops and uses highly multiplexed single-molecule imaging methods to create atlases of gene expression within intact tissues, which in turn reveal novel cell types and their spatial organization in a wide range of systems.
Lauren Orefice received her Ph.D. from Georgetown University, where she studied the role of local BDNF synthesis in dendritic spine morphogenesis under the guidance of Dr. Baoji Xu. For her postdoctoral work, Lauren joined Dr. David Ginty’s Lab at Harvard Medical School and has focused on understanding somatosensory alterations in mouse models of autism spectrum disorders. Her work has identified that peripheral somatosensory neurons, outside the brain, are dysfunctional in multiple mouse models of ASD and contribute to the development of some of the major, core symptoms of ASD. Her most recent work has focused on targeting peripheral somatosensory neurons to improve tactile and behavioral phenotypes in ASD. Lauren has received multiple grants and awards for these studies, including most recently a K99 Pathway to Independence Award and the Regeneron Prize for Creative Innovation. This January, Lauren started her own lab as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School. Her lab studies the somatosensory circuits that mediate the sense of touch and sensations from the gastrointestinal system. The lab is interested in how sensory experience, beginning with peripheral sensory neurons, influences the development of circuits in the spinal cord and brain.
Ankur Jain is a Member of Whitehead Institute and an Assistant Professor of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2018. He received his bachelor’s degree in Biotechnology and Biochemical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, and a doctorate in Biophysics and Computational Biology at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. His lab investigates how membrane-free cellular compartments such as RNA granules form and function.
Emrah Altindis received his B.S. degree from Ege University (Izmir, Turkey) and completed a M.Sc. at the Middle East Technical University (Ankara, Turkey). He then moved to Italy to work at Novartis Vaccines and to start his PhD at Bologna University (Bologna, Italy). During his PhD, he developed a novel vaccine discovery tool (Protectome) and identified new immunogenic proteins for two important human pathogens. In 2011, he joined the John Mekalanos’s Lab at Harvard Medical School (HMS) for his first postdoctoral training position to identify new virulence factors in Vibrio cholera (2011-2014). Because he became more interested in microbiome field, he started a second training in the C. Ronald Kahn’s laboratory at Joslin Diabetes Center (HMS). In Kahn lab, he discovered the presence of bioactive viral hormones and characterized viral insulins for the first time. He also worked on two additional projects to explore the role of gut microbiome on metabolic syndrome and Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). During his training he was awarded the Mary K. Iacocca Postdoctoral Fellowship and recently got an NIDDK-KO1 Mentored Research Scientist Career Development Award. He is a new Assistant Professor at Boston College Biology Department since September 2018 and his research focus is functional characterization of viral insulins and understanding the potential role of gut microbiome on onset of T1D autoimmunity.