DOHaD Africa

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Early Career Researcher / Trainee Workshop: The Right Path for You

Report by Stephanie Redinger, PhD student at the MRC/Wits Developmental Pathways for Research Health Unit, South Africa

The first ever DOHaD Early Career Researcher / Trainee workshop was held on Saturday 19 October 2019. The event was hosted by Monash University.

The workshop consisted of a series of presentations by different experts – both academic and non-academic – which gave trainees an overview of different career opportunities and trajectories.

The presentation that stood out the most was by Dr Francine Marques who spoke about “Life and struggles in academia” She gave a really insightful talk about her academic journey, from her undergraduate studies to now leading her own lab at Monash University. She spoke about the “behind the scenes” trials most academics face, but that no-one sees on a CV – such as degrees taking longer than initially planned, failed grant applications, difficult work environments and trying to maintain a work-life balance.

Other topics covered included:

  • Don’t be such a scientist! Educating, entertaining and exciting people for science by Florienne Loder from Bio 21
  • Academia: A Physician Scientist Perspective by Prof Rebecca Simmons  from University of Pennsylvania)
  • My transition from academia to entrepreneurship by Dr Christos Papadimitriou (Tessara Therapeutics)

The afternoon included a writing workshop presented by Prof Michael G. Ross (Editor of JDOHaD) and Dr Mina Desai (Associate Editor of JDOHaD). Prof Ross gave really practical tips and tricks for writing manuscripts and responding to reviewers’ comments. What stood out from this session were the words “If you submit a sloppy manuscript, it gives the impression that you do sloppy science”.

A number of trainees were also given the opportunity to present their work in five-minute presentations to the rest of the group, followed by a panel discussion. It was a great opportunity for trainees to present to peers in addition to their poster presentations later in the congress programme.

DOHaD Africa Chapter’s virtual home is hosted by the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Human Development in partnership with South Africa’s Department of Science and Technology and the National Research Foundation.

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