Author: Jill Heisler | Category: Final Words... | GSBS Alumni | Neuroscience | March 25, 2016
When did you first become interested in science?
I was interested in science at a very young age and it
was always my favorite subject in school. I really became interested in basic
science research during my sophomore year in college when I joined my first lab
group in the biomedical engineering department.
Why did you pick UT Health Science Center and the neuroscience program?
I matched to UTHSCSA for the dual degree M.D./Ph.D. program. Neuroscience
was an easy choice because I was interested in neurology and neurologic
diseases, so it was the best fit! Not to mention I was able to find faculty
with similar research interests in the neuroscience program.
Tell me more about your career path.
I started the M.D./Ph.D. program in 2008 and graduated in May 2016 from medical school (I earned my Ph.D. in June of 2014!). I am pursuing
a clinical residency in neurology and will be finding out where I have matched
later this month. I am hoping to go to a program that integrates a research
component into their training so that I can keep my finger on the research
pulse, so to speak. The programs I am interested in would allow me the
opportunity to get the best clinical training while also pursuing my research
interests with faculty interested in a variety of neurologic diseases.
Tell me about your current career, what do you do?
I am currently finishing my last few months as a medical
student. I will be graduating in May and starting residency in neurology in
How did the education you get at UT Health Science Center prepare you?
Well, I'm still working on that education at the moment, but
I do feel very well-equipped to handle both my clinical duties in the future
and to pursue my research interests in the future.
The training I received in
graduate school really molded the way I approach questions and I think that I
will be prepared to formulate research questions based on my clinical experiences
which is ultimately my goal in pursuing a dual M.D./Ph.D. degree. I was constantly
challenged to think on my own and come up with creative solutions and think
analytically which I believe has prepared me for hopefully a successful career
as a physician-scientist down the road.
What advice would you give to graduate students interested in following
My biggest advice would be to really find and follow your
interest and passion. If you're really interested in something, it won't feel
like work, cliche but true in my experience. And present your research any
chance you get because communicating your science will be a huge part of your
job and getting comfortable with public speaking can only help! Learning how to
summarize the over-arching goal of your research in a few sentences will also
come in handy.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I enjoy spending time with my husband and family and
friends, outdoor activities like walking my dog, cooking (and eating!), going
to movies, and traveling (although I don't really get the opportunity
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