Sunday, June 30, 2013

Top Seven Secrets

Here are some secrets (my opinion only) summarized on one page based on a more than a decade of experience with scientific colleagues in and out of academia. You may read more about each in detail on my other posts.

1. To save a few years in the academic track, use your PhD as a base when deciding on the postdoc. Either stay with the same technology and apply it to a different model OR stay in your area of research and learn a new technology to expand it. For example, my PhD was in the genomic mapping of a pediatric illness. A good postdoc geared towards an academic career would have been to expand my genomic mapping skills to another illness OR performed proteomics (next step) for the same illness. Some postdocs do change everything in it entirety - but then be prepared to spend more time as a PDF. Remember however, if you take some part of your PhD with you, find an agreement with your advisor so you are not competing with each other in future work. 

2. Optimize your PhD - try to make it the best in science and collaborations so that you might even start an innovation, patent, or company from it.

3. Find mentors 5-10 years your senior so they can tell you which grants to apply for as a postdoc and a young professor or which biotech companies have good science and good people.

4. Read everything so you know what is going on in this world. Figure out the need, combine your passion and scientific background and CREATE something good. Talk to the right people who can advise you on the marketability. Communications is key. Here is an inspirational example of baby Embrace started by Stanford grad students which I have spoken about: 
Everyone of you have this potential.

5. If you are pursuing an academic postdoc and you realize you are off to industry, publish more collaborative papers. Industry looks for collaborative, excellent scientists.

6. Maintain research integrity, know the legal issues which revolve around science patents and company partnerships.

7. Creativity again is essential in integrating the rest of life, especially when having children. Create and propose a shift in your career that works for both you and the company/institution. 

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