Current job title: Postdoctoral Fellow, Quantitative Clinical Pharmacology
Degree, year of completion: PhD in BME, 2017
Why did you choose to attend Johns Hopkins?
Largely because of ICM! ICM has such a concentration of researchers in my area of interest that I was confident I’d find a lab where I would be happy. Additionally, people at Hopkins are very friendly, and I felt like a would fit in.
Can you share any special memories from your time at JHU (in the classroom, lab, etc.)?
I really loved my lab mates and the community at Hopkins. They were very supportive of my love for Christmas decorations, and formed a great support network, which is really key to thriving in grad school. As far as science, there were a few “a-ha” moments where after staring at something for months (years), things finally came together due to a combination of hard work, persistence, talking to the right people, and probably also luck. That feels great. The absolute best moments, though, are when your students or mentees get excited, and are inspired to start something new, based on your interaction with them. Those days are the best.
How did you get interested in your current professional field? What interests or circumstance drew you to it?
It’s been a process. I knew entering grad school I loved what we’re now calling “systems pharmacology” modeling, based on research and an internship I did as an undergraduate. Nearing the end of grad school, I was leaning towards an academic postdoc, but thanks to a fellow ICM-er, I did an internship with AstraZeneca that was very “up my alley” scientifically and geographically, which led to my current position. It’s a great fit for me because I get to use the technical skills I learned in grad school, but also learn new methods, and work on the clinical/population data side of things. So, very complementary to my PhD work, but also giving me a lot of room to learn and grow. Not exactly what I expected to be doing, but I’m really enjoying it, so that’s a win!
Please describe some of your career highlights.
I don’t feel like I’ve been out of grad school long enough to have career highlights! Well, the work I’ve been doing as a postdoc was selected as a “Key Presentation” for AstraZeneca at the American Diabetes Association meeting in 2017. That was particularly exciting because it’s a clinically-focused conference, so it was a great chance to learn about how the science I do fits into the larger picture of patient care. Recently, I’ve helped to get an additional postdoc project funded to do some really cool machine learning analysis on huge clinical trial data sets within AstraZeneca.
What are your most notable/interesting professional (and/or personal) accomplishments?
The awards that have meant the most are those that come from people I know and respect. So, in grad school, receiving the Yue Research Award in 2017. In undergrad, it was being selected as the commencement speaker for the College of Engineering. But more than any award, the meaningful accomplishment is seeing how much I’ve learned and grown, both in scientific skills, and in confidence to jump into something new and count on my ability to figure things out. It’s amazing how much better reviewer responses are to your fourth paper than your first.
Do you have any advice to offer aspiring engineers?
Don’t be afraid to follow wherever the data or science or life opportunity is leading you. You probably won’t end up where you planned, but as long as it’s interesting, meaningful, and fun, there’s nothing wrong with that!
Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?
Well, my usual random fact is that I love to run with my crazy, tennis ball-obsessed lab/border collie. However, my dog and I are currently out of shape thanks to the arrival of my incurably happy, morning-loving daughter Alexandra in March. These days I balance my time between math and making silly faces at a laughing baby. It’s great!
Do you still feel connected to the Hopkins community? Would you like to be more involved?
I still feel connected to ICM because I still know and interact with people there, as well as assorted alumni. Being a recent grad who lives in Maryland, I don’t feel far away because I’m not. I hope to continue feeling connected in the future.