From Mice To Men And Other Stories

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Transcript From Mice To Men And Other Stories

Jumpstarting A Laboratory Research Career December 6, 2007 Elizabeth M. Jaffee, M.D.

The Dana and Albert “Cubby” Broccoli Professor of Oncology

Issues to Consider

• Stay where you trained or go elsewhere • Identifying mentors • Deciding on a research focus • Leveraging small grants, getting the big one • Building a team to work for you • Balancing the work versus home life

Should you stay where you trained or should you take your first job at another institution?

Pros for staying

– Implies you have a supportive mentor – Implies you have a project of interest to others in your institution – Experience with the institutional systems – Experience with who might be good colleagues • Start Up Time Is Shorter •

Pros for leaving

– Cuts the apron strings so that you are not in competition with your mentor at same place – Likely to get more space and resources due to negotiations – Likely able to get good students with less competition in your field • No Identity Complex

Identify a mentor(s) for the most difficult stage in your career

• Cheer leader, promoter, encourager • Sounding board for fine tuning ideas • Devil’s advocate whose not afraid to give you the opposite view • Editor of paper’s, grants, and presentations • Guidance counselor to help you navigate through tough issues • Referral Agent who sends you qualified student/postdoctoral fellow applicants • Introduces you to leaders in your field

Your parent in the workplace

Develop A Five-Year Plan Time interval goal between Assistant and Associate Professor

• What research questions do you want to focus on?

• What do you need to get you to where you want to be at 5-years • Is it feasible now? At 1, 2, 3, and 4 years later?

• Revisit each year with your mentor to make sure you are on track • How many grants and papers do you plan to submit?

Considerations in choosing how to focus your research

• Choose areas that make you want to come to work – Desire, Desire, Desire!

• Choose a 5-year plan that will help you develop an identity separate from your mentor’s • Consider several related areas - one high risk and and one or more low risk • Choose areas that have more than one funding source

Grants: If only it were the 1990’s Again!

• Apply for more than one – Can submit same grant to several funding agencies or similar ones that overlap • Apply for career development grants first • Pursue institutional grants and foundations if appropriate • Spend 3 or more months writing your first grant – Have a draft available 1-2 months before due date – Ask mentor and other colleagues to review – Have a scientist in a related but different field read the grant for clarity of presentation of ideas • Go for the R01 by the end of the 5-year plan

Building a Team That Works For You, Literally!

• Learn to lead – You will make mistakes - learn from them – Take leadership development courses – Listen to your team – Show trust and faith in your team members!

– Mistakes are made by all of us. Be forgiving and continue to trust.

– Don’t let emotions or sense of insecurity get in the way of doing the right thing for your team (we all have this starting at all stages of our career).

• Lead by example • Identify individuals you can influence – Make sure they have the personality to take direction from you – Make sure they have qualities you value – Make sure you can lead them to be the best they can be

Get the right people on the bus!

Key Point

• There are no special deals when it comes to people resources. Make sure they have the right experience to contribute to your team • People resources are the single most important ingredient to success • Develop a healthy work environment • If you can’t do it on your own, hire someone to be your lab ambassador • Get as many references as possible • Ask everyone in your group and others with successful labs to interview candidates • Reward valued team members with lunches, meetings, etc.

• Provide career development to your valued team members.

Healthy environments attract more good people to help you build and maintain a productive team!

Develop a reputation for leadership and fairness early!

You Are Your Best Advocate

• Promote yourself – Discuss ideas with others – Let colleagues know about your successes – Offer to participate in meetings, etc – Let colleagues know you are willing and available • Let your boss know of your important successes – Grant awards – Accepted papers – Abstract acceptances of high impact • Develop a national reputation – Get invited to national meetings by telling colleagues of interesting work – Offer to present locally and at national meetings for visibility – Get introduced to prominent individuals in your field

Senior scientists delight in interacting with enthusiastic, intelligient, honest, and creative young scientists who are the next leaders!

Women still have special issues (I can tell some stories!)

• My graduate student’s experience • Women in science (am I the only one?) • Postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty I know who get taken in by charming individuals disguised as mentors • Our generation of men and women are making a difference

Pearls of Advise On How To Succeed in A Man’s World

(from The Godfather)

Just when I thought I was out, they pulled me back in!!!

If you are going to fight for something, pick the right battles!

You can’t possible win them all!

Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer!!!

If you don’t like someone, nominate them for something important!

It ain’t personal, just business!!!

If someone does something bad to you, don’t allow your emotions to get in the way of how you deal with the situation!




Don’t forget about a home life!

Physician-Scientist, Wife, and Mom


• Roadmap to successful

Role Models or Mentors Hardwork Focus Determination A balancing act!

Integrating a successful career with a home life

The road to success in anything is easier when you have a supportive partner!

Kids are the ultimate reminders of what is important in life!

Animals can be less demanding but loving substitutes!