I have made it to the end of year 2 of being on the tenure track; it’s been a world-wind. The global pandemic has not made things easier. Overall, I feel like I am even more behind on what I hoped to accomplish, so I am taking some time to pause and reflect on the accomplishments and challenges of this year.
In terms of accomplishments, this year the lab put out 4 publications. One data paper, 100% of the experiments were done in my independent lab! This paper was a collaborative effort in terms of getting samples with Jaci Green and others at the Midwestern University Downers Grove campus. The work was also led by very motivated students, Calli Bennett and Neha Kwatra.
The lab also put out 3 review papers and contributed to a book chapter, this was a result of lots of student involvement, which I think is great! In terms of grants, it’s been a year of rejections, we got one maybe (waiting until September 2021) and then a COVID-19 supplement for one of our current grants.
Several students have been involved in research and we also have two research staff, which has kept me busy! The students and staff have pushed me to keep things moving in the lab and not get stuck behind my desk writing. Our first graduate student, Gyllian Yahn, MBS, defended her thesis in May and graduated. She will be starting dental school in the fall; I could not be prouder!
I had the opportunity to participate in a NIH study section, which was beneficial and a great learning experience. I was resubmitting my R15 around the same time, so the knowledge I gained was invaluable. The PO was very helpful and met with me prior to the study section and gave me feedback on my reviews. I learned so much from those two days of attending the study section, I would highly recommend this to anyone who is writing an NIH application. If you are a new PI, you might qualify for the NIH Early Career Review Program.
Several collaborative projects outside the lab also came to fruitarian this year (aka we made it through peer review and published them). Most of this work was during my time as an eLife ambassador. I was a co-author on a fair funding paper, mentorship and writing effective letters of recommendation. We published the Reproducibility 4 Everyone paper. I am very proud of these publications, and I hope they are helpful to others and help move towards changing the culture of academic research.
The challenges of the past year have been plentiful. Rather than listing them all, I want to focus on the fact that a lot has been done despite everything and that doing a little bit everyday adds up.
The Jadavji Laboratory is two years old!
We are excited to see what the next year will bring!