The Buck Institute held an open house on Wednesday October 15th, which featured a panel of three talented women professors at the Buck Institute: Dr. Judy Campisi (Professor), Dr. Shona Mookerjee (Adjunct Assistant Professor), and Dr. Julie Andersen (Professor). The event was organized by the Buck Postdoc Association in collaboration with the Association for Women in Science (AWIS).
The panelists discussed their scientific research focus, and why they decided to work at the Buck Institute. They also talked openly about they challenges they have faced as women in science and gave advice on how to be successful in your scientific career. Below are highlights from the panel discussion.
Judy Campisi: Studies the molecular and cellular links between cancer and aging. Her lab focuses on the tumor suppressive response termed cellular senescence and its relationships to DNA damage signaling.
Shona Mookerjee: Studies mitochondrial function and the role of mitochondria in cellular metabolism.
Julie Andersen: Studies environmental stressors as they relate to mitochondrial dysfunction associated with Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions.
Why the Buck?
Judy: “I joined the Buck Institute when it started. I’ve watched it grow up over the years, and it’s been a terrific journey! The Buck started the momentum that healthspan is important and its integrated approach drives a complete understanding of aging.”
Shona: “I was attracted to the investigative nature of the Buck’s setup. There is less restriction because there are no department titles, and as a result, people can think about science in a more organic way. I think the Buck is a great model of how aging research should be conducted in the future.”
Julie: “The research interests at the Buck Institute are very diverse. We have a uniquely collaborative environment here, and my lab is part of many exciting collaborations that might not be possible elsewhere.”
Greatest Challenge in your career?
Judy: “Challenges change constantly over different age-groups and over your career path.”
Shona: “Learning how to work with different types of people.” She also talked about her experience being a junior faculty and facing the question of whether her peers take her seriously.
Julie: Mentioned how she used to be very shy when she was younger and how she had to work very hard to assert herself around other scientists (especially men) and make a name for herself in her field.
Best Advice you’ve received?
Judy: “Sometimes in your career, you might not get the credit you deserve and you should learn to be OK with that. It’s your work that defines who you are and your success.”
Shona: “Science should be one of your hobbies, something that you enjoy and are interested in. Your career won’t be successful if you aren’t passionate and excited about what you do.”
Julie: “Learn how to say no. Saying no can be a challenge but it is a must for the success of your career.”