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Career in biology: Tips / advice From a Scientist Part -2

What would you say to a graduate student about how to prepare for an academic career?

“Choose a new, high-impact area but hedge with a side project that is lower risk. Then pursue your research passionately, and publish well. Finally, lead the way – do not wait for your advisor to suggest every next step.” —Krishna Shenoy, PhD, Stanford University, USA

“Develop a solid foundation in an area of your choice.Learn to write proposals early.Practice teaching skills.” —Dominique Durand, PhD, Case Western Reserve University, USA

“It is important for the graduate student to start as early as possible to prepare for an academic career. Of course, this requires a great deal of maturity and soul searching to determine whether a career in academia is the right path. Once this decision has been made, the graduate student must focus on a few ‘must haves’. These include a number of highly influential publications in prestigious journals, excellent letters of reference from mentors and colleagues who are respected in academia.Also, it is important to pick a research direction that is futuristic, and to have a clear and viable plan of the future direction of research.”
—Ali Khademhosseini, PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA

“Today almost all research is collaborative or interdisciplinary. Frame your research goals,and focus on making yourself visible. Become part of the research community by meeting people who will be your peers and collaborators in the future. Pick the low-hanging fruit first. Do not be so focused on the long-term goals that you fail to publish the intermediate steps along the way. Make a habit of carrying projects through to the point of journal publication.It is very easy to do things halfway,maybe to the point of conference publication, and then fail to follow them through to journal publication.”
—Cameron Riviere, PhD, Carnegie Mellon University, USA

“A post-doc experience is not essential if your graduate training is extensive and you have good mentors to help you transition to an academic position. However, doing a post-doc allows you to get more experience and publications under your belt before taking on a hectic faculty position. That extra time and experience will give you a leg up when getting your own research career underway.” 
—Dawn Taylor, PhD, Case Western Reserve University, USA

“Once in a while you see someone truly brilliant who can enter academia without doing a post-doctoral stint. Still, you wonder if that person might have been even more spectacular if he or she had branched out and learn another field before building a own research program. I would very strongly encourage my students to do post-doctoral training before going into academia.”
—Kam Leong, PhD,Duke University, USA