Associate Professor of Chemistry at the University of Cincinnati, USA
Biggest challenge? As we learn more and more about the brain and other biological systems, we realize that we have a huge issue when it comes to specificity with electrochemistry. We are really good at looking at a few analytes at a time in very controlled experiments; however, measuring in tissue is not a nicely controlled in vitro experiment. There are likely many other neurochemicals that are signaling that haven't even been discovered yet and that presents a real challenge for us electrochemists who are developing methods to measure biological signaling.
Secret to success? I definitely credit any success that I have to my students and postdocs in the lab, the incredible mentors I have had over the years, and a great support structure at home. I have an amazing team of scientists that work with me; without their hard work and drive, we would not be able to do the science that we do. I’ve also been mentored by some incredible advisors. They have provided me with so much advice and support over the years. And I can’t forget my family. I really advocate for work-life balance, it makes this job so much more rewarding.
Advice? I love to tell those who aspire to do research: “Do not be afraid to take risks.” It is so tempting as a young faculty member to play it safe and do the science that you are comfortable with, especially because of all the pressures we are under to get tenure, be successful, and so on. Of course, it’s smart to be strategic in your early career, but it’s also important to push the boundaries a bit with your research. Some of the best projects going on in my lab at the moment are projects that I would have never dreamed we would be doing a few years ago. Sometimes it’s necessary to get out of your comfort zone and go for it. I have found that that creates amazing opportunities for collaboration across disciplines and raises the overall impact of your work.