March 30, 2018: Translational Therapeutics (Jason Rohde)

Jason did about a 40-minute presentation to a group of about 30 students over lunch. He has a unique background that he went over, including his experiences with his advisors and how he arrived to where he is now. Jason briefly went over his undergraduate experience, and his transition to graduate school. He explained his interactions with his Ph.D. advisor (Erik Sorensen) and how his research progress was great, but he also ended up never publishing anything from his graduate studies. He then went on to talk about how he got a post-doc with Larry Overman, where he completed a total synthesis of Actinophylic acid. He contrasted the mentoring styles of his post-doc advisor and his Ph.D. advisor and how both were styles that were able to help him become a more productive research scientist. He next talked about the great mentorship he received as a Med Chemist at Ironwood, a small biotech company. After his stay in industry, thinking he wanted to become a professor, he pursued a second post-doc with John Hartwig.

Jason was thoughtful and polite in all of his descriptions and stressed the importance of picking an advisor. He explained how important it was to make friends and connections, because he essentially only heard of the position at the NCATS through a friend, which is where he went after his post-doc with John Hartwig and has been there since. Jason expressed his feelings on the toughness of grad school and how to leverage the people you know to push through the tough times. He certainly gave very good insight into the process of a Ph.D. and the importance of the advisor.