Dr Nafisa M. Jadavji

Medical Genetics & Neuroscience
McGill University, Montreal, Canada, 2012
Tell us a bit about yourself – what was your PhD about and where did you study?

I completed my PhD at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. My PhD research combined the fields of nutrition and neuroscience. I investigated the role of one-carbon metabolism (e.g. folic acid) on adult brain function, as well as maternal contributions on offspring neurological function after birth using a mouse model.

What do you do now? What did you decide to do next after gaining your PhD?

I am an Assistant Professor. I do a mix of research, teaching, and service. After I completed my PhD I moved to Berlin, Germany to do start a postdoctorate. I also completed a second postdoctorate in Canada.

Has having a PhD helped in developing your career? If yes, what has been the biggest impact? If no, why do you think that is?

Yes, having a PhD has helped me develop my career. My PhD gave me the foundation and I have built on it with additional training. To expand my skill set and become an effective professor, I have completed additional training for teaching, managing a lab, and writing effectively. I took a few courses during my postdoctorate training at the Cold Spring Laboratory, their Leadership in Biosciences course (lead by Science Management Associates) course has helped me greatly during my first year on tenure track. For example, I had to hire a new Research Assistant and used the resume and interviewer score sheets.

What’s one piece of advice that you’d offer prospective students considering a PhD?

A PhD is a marathon, not a sprint. Do things outside of school and research. Take regular breaks. These will help you work more effectively.

And what one thing would you suggest that new PhD graduates should do next?
The academic job market for faculty positions is hard. It will test your in several ways. If this is something you want to do, know the path will not be easy, you be rejected more and often. If you do get a faculty job, it will be just as if not more challenging to do well in it, than being on the job market. A career in academia requires a tick skin. If you are in a relationship, make sure your partner is supportive and understands the demands.

Lastly, what’s your favourite memory from your time as a PhD student?
I really enjoyed weekly lab meetings, especially meetings when we had cake!

Want to find out more about Nafisa?

Check out her lab website and follow her on Twitter using the links below:

Lab Website | Twitter

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