How does your Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences education compare with previous education that you have received at other institutions?
Mayo Clinic is a unique place to train. The focus here is on providing the best possible patient care, and the research reflects this focus. The graduate students are not expected to serve as teaching assistants for large undergraduate courses. Stipends are covered by the graduate school and are not the responsibility of the principal investigator, which allows graduate students to pick labs based on the scientific questions being asked and the personality of the principal investigator and lab. Should students want to teach, there are plenty of opportunities; however, the focus is on providing opportunities for graduate students to learn and conduct strong research.
What opportunities have you been introduced to since being at Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences?
My Ph.D. mentor and my thesis committee have introduced me to a number of opportunities. I have been awarded a predoctoral research fellowship from the American Heart Association. I have been awarded two smaller research awards, one from the American Heart Association, one from the American Medical Association. I have had the chance to present at a number of international meetings and to meet other investigators in my field. I have traveled to two different collaborating labs to foster collaborative research projects during my Ph.D., as well. I feel like I don't have a single Ph.D. mentor. I have dozens of them.
Why did you choose Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences?
I initially chose Mayo Clinic because of the strength of its clinical training, but I was also impressed by the depth and breadth of research that is done here. The resources that Mayo provides graduate students are a real strongpoint of the scientific training here. The microscopy core facilities and DNA synthesis and sequencing core facilities have been some of the resources I've used most. The ability to do next generation sequencing, real-time polymerase chain reaction and microarray-based assays through the core facilities are also huge strengths at Mayo Clinic. They have significantly advanced a number of my research projects.
How would you describe the atmosphere of Mayo Clinic?
There is a real feeling of teamwork that is inherent to Mayo Clinic which permeates the clinical side, as well as the basic research side of the institution. I've never hesitated to ask for advice from other principal investigators, post-docs or graduate students, and both my training and my research have benefited from it.
What are your plans for the future?
I hope to have both a clinical practice and a basic science research focus in my career. I am interested in pediatric cardiology and would like to study electrophysiology and the cellular mechanisms of cardiac remodeling.
If you could describe Mayo Clinic in one word, what would it be?
With what activities are you involved in Rochester?
I do kendo, Japanese fencing, at the local Y. The instructor actually works in the lab next to my Ph.D. laboratory. It's a great workout and a unique sport.
How does Rochester differ from your hometown? College community?
Rochester is a great place to raise a family. The cost of living is low, and the city is very safe. There are bike paths near my house and lots of playgrounds that my kids love. There is a real sense of community in Rochester, which makes living here as enjoyable as working at Mayo Clinic.