NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard Medical School – Boston, MA
Pennsylvania State University
Title of Ph.D. Dissertation
Application of mass spectrometry to study pluripotent cells.
The biochemistry program at UW is highly funded. Knowing those resources would be there played a big role in my decision, and of course the school’s high rank was appealing. Especially because I was interested in biochemistry, I was attracted to the variety of labs available during first-year rotations and the collaborations possible with other—it seemed like a really intellectually stimulating environment.
“Most concretely, I learned how to be a mentor from my great mentors and teachers in the program, and how to write well—especially grants—two skills I’m currently using as a post-doc.”
What brought you to the Coon Group?
I wanted to work in a technology-driven lab. It was cool to have cutting edge technology at my fingertips, and it was amazing to be able to put out a couple of important papers with the group and see how they changed the field, see them referenced by other scientists. Also, the Coon Group can provide great opportunities for collaborations. I was able to work with Jamie Thomson’s stem cell lab, for example, which helped me get to my current position.
Where are you now?
I’m a postdoctoral fellow at MGH-Harvard (Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Med school), doing stem cell research, working on cell identity and reprogramming.
What aspects of your graduate training have you found most valuable in your work at MGH-Harvard?
Most concretely, I learned how to be a mentor from my great mentors and teachers in the program, and how to write well—especially grants—two skills I’m currently using as a post-doc. More broadly, I came into the Coon Group with almost no knowledge of mass spectrometry. Understanding proteomics and applying MS technology to learn about biology has opened a whole world of questions I wouldn’t have been able to ask before. Even now, while I’m not doing mass spectrometry, it still shapes the way I think about problems and how to answer them. In general I think graduate school teaches you how to think critically in this way: how to ask questions, see them from different angles. This was a huge difference from undergrad, and has become invaluable to me as a scientist.
Earn your Ph.D. with us
The Coon Group is always on the lookout for new members. Professor Coon accepts students from several UW-Madison doctoral programs including Chemistry, the Integrated Program in Biochemistry (IPiB), and Cellular & Molecular Pathology.