Graduate Alumni Testimonials

Rev. Nicanor Austriaco, O.P., PhD ’96

Guarente Lab ● University of Pennsylvania ’89 ● Professor of Biology and of Theology, Providence College; Catholic Priest

The MIT Biology experience shaped how I think. As a biology professor, I often incorporate my MIT education into my pedagogy. My students learn the methods and logic approach to reading research papers that I learned as a first-year graduate student in 7.50. I also run an undergraduate research laboratory, applying what I learned while supervising two UROPs at MIT. I would encourage current trainees to consider pursuing undergraduate teaching as a career; it has been a source of much joy and professional fulfillment.

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Francisco Sánchez-Rivera PhD ’15

Jacks Lab ● University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez ’08 ● HHMI Hanna Gray Fellow, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center ● MSRP Alum

My years at MIT have been truly transformative, both personally and scientifically. Even though I faced some technical and personal difficulties during my graduate studies, I was able to finish with a PhD thesis that I am very proud of. Even though I took longer than the average student, I can honestly say that I am 100% sure that coming to MIT was the right thing for me, and I am 100% sure that doing research and eventually running my own lab in the academic setting is my path in life.

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Eliezer Calo PhD ’11

Lees Lab ● University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras ’06 ● Assistant Professor, MIT Department of Biology ● MSRP Alum


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I was an MSRP student back in summer 2005, so returning as a grad student I was excited about the resources and faculty. I came in with a background in chemistry, and transitioning to biology was very hard. But in the end I was extremely satisfied with my training. I’d advise grads to get to know your classmates; those connections will be invaluable later on. Now as an Assistant Professor, I’d encourage students to interact with faculty and take advantage of all the resources that MIT has to offer.

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Kevin Eggan PhD ’02

Jaenisch Lab ● University of Illinois ’96 ● Professor, Harvard University

Someone once told me, ‘If you want to become as successful as your scientific heroes, follow the paths they took.’ For me, in almost every instance, that included getting a PhD from MIT. I was exposed to cutting-edge technologies and immersed in an environment where new inventions are made every day. The work I contributed to as part of the Jaenisch lab was foundational in many respects, and paved the way for my own lab to later become the first to generate patient-specific induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs).

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Leland Hartwell PhD ’64

Magasanik Lab ● California Institute of Technology ’61 ● Director, Biodesign Pathfinder Center

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One of my first recollections of graduate school at MIT was being called into a room with all the department heads to justify why I wanted to change departments. Salvodore Luria, Jack Buchanan, and Cyrus Levinthal were seated while I stood making my case. It was a bit intimidating but they accepted my reason. At the time, MIT had divided biology into several small departments, Biochemistry, Microbiology, Biophysics. I had applied to and been accepted to Biochemistry thinking that Boris Magasanik would…