Scientist, Covance Labs – Madison, WI
Title of Ph.D. Dissertation
Application of complementary dissociation techniques and refinement of downstream data analysis for global and clinical proteomics.
Why Wisconsin and the Coon lab?
I was dead-set on another school, actually, but it turned out I wouldn’t be able to work with a senior hire there because of technicalities about departmental affiliations. Both the fact and principle of that led me to reconsider, and I started focusing my attention on Wisconsin. Josh called me over the summer, and we spoke for an hour or an hour and a half about the program and life. He convinced me to go to Wisconsin and I was going to be pretty much without question part of the Coon lab. We talked about his research and applications to human disease—this is really what sold me. I had been accepted to medical school while in undergrad, so in turning to PhD programs I was still really invested in biological relevance.
“I learned how to be a self-starter—that no idea is bad, but an idea has to carry weight and momentum to be carried through to see it to the end.”
What aspects of your graduate training have been most valuable for you?
I would say that going to graduate school, in general, really forces you to become an independent worker and thinker. You can take on a lot of responsibility in a short amount of time. I learned how to be a self-starter—that no idea is bad, but an idea has to carry weight and momentum to be carried through to see it to the end. If I have this off-the-wall idea and I have generated some data, all of the sudden it carries more weight. This gives you a lot of freedom and independence.
That said, I would love to say that I would not be where I am without the other members of the group who were there with me. They really helped to shape who I am and the outcome of my graduate school career.
What was the most rewarding part of graduate school?
The most rewarding part of graduate school is the opportunity to interact with people that were very like-minded—I don’t mean they had the same political views. They were like-minded in that they could deconstruct a problem and address it in the same way I could. This was really amazing to me, especially my first year, meeting them for the first time. Speaking to my fellow grad students was just eye-opening in that I knew we would understand each other’s minds on a really deep level.
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.