MIT Biology and Whitehead Institute are vibrant communities on the leading edge of science. They offer scientific seminars, career panels, and active postdoc associations. I’ve had lots of opportunities to meet people at various companies and get advice and insight. In the Page lab, I’m constantly re-learning that scientific research doesn’t fit neatly into distinct disciplines and fields. It can be very powerful to think beyond the bounds of a specific project and see how a problem looks from a different angle.
I came to Michael Laub’s lab because I find his microbiology research inspiring, and the lab members are intellectually supportive. I have a chemical biology background. Many on-campus core facilities have provided punctual, flexible, and thoughtful services to my project, which is critical for me to make full use of my skills. The rapid progress of my project, which is communicated on the department website every time it reaches publication, has helped build my confidence. I’ve also participated in a postdoc mentorship program, and learned from junior faculty about their job search experiences to prepare for my own independent research career.
My background is in chemistry, and I chose the Imperiali lab because Professor Imperiali is a world-class chemical biologist. It has been rewarding to learn so many new things while conducting research in this department. Since starting at MIT Biology, I’ve realized how many fields are interconnected, and how they can overlap with each other to foster amazing and progressive research projects. I continue to benefit from the department’s supportive environment as I become a more well-rounded researcher.
Arriving at MIT Biology, I was excited to join a high-performing department full of thoughtful, motivated people from top to bottom. My expectations were surpassed in this regard. Yet I was also prepared to navigate big egos and face a difficult time getting collaborations started. On these issues I was very wrong: faculty here are generous, compassionate, and best of all they don’t take themselves too seriously. Starting and developing collaborations has been far easier than I expected.
Before I came to Boston, I imagined MIT would be full of bright, highly competitive scientists. The people at MIT are contagiously passionate about science and actually very helpful, that’s what kept me here. I am grateful to be part of this wonderful community, and happily involved in many projects across different labs. Plus, two of the leading experts in my research field, Drs. Jaenisch and Sur, are just across the street from each other, and have complementary expertise to help me to reach my research goals.
MIT Biology encourages me to ask challenging questions and provides state of the art technology to answer them. My lab offers an exciting environment where translational and curiosity-driven research can co-exist. I’ve had the chance to mentor a UROP student, and share the skills I’ve learned with the next generation of scientists. In the future, I hope to have a career in academia, fostering a team of researchers armed with the motivation, energy and discipline to address major health problems in our society.
I was drawn to MIT Biology because of the breadth of knowledge and strength of the research across the department. I’ve also been pleasantly surprised by the postdoc community; I was excited to find there are many postdocs working to improve the sense of community and opportunities for professional development on behalf of their peers. I’ve gotten involved with the Building 68 Postdoc Association, and found it to be a great way to meet postdocs in other labs and feel connected to the broader MIT community.
I chose to pursue my graduate and postdoctoral training at MIT because of its interdisciplinary nature, and because cutting-edge and boundary-pushing science happens here. What amazed me was the fluidity with which different disciplines collaborated — I could go where my interests carried me without fear of discouragement or judgment. My postdoctoral research has led to the discovery of a new cell type in the mouse retina — pretty cool! All that I know about doing science, I learned at MIT.
Burge Lab ● Post-MIT: Assistant Professor, Boston University
Before coming to MIT, I thought it was among the best places in the world to answer biological questions. Now, from the inside, I am sure it is. I’ll be sitting in a seminar, and realize the person next to me won a Nobel for discovering a phenomenon I have studied my entire academic life. I’ve found colleagues who share a passion for molecular life, and an interdisciplinary environment where science is the first priority. In the future, I aim to establish my own lab. Hopefully MIT Biology will take me there.