Symposium focuses on building an academic research career

Trainees from across the Texas Medical Center gathered at Baylor College of Medicine on July 20 for the Academic Research Career Symposium.

The symposium revolved around four major themes that are necessary to launch and sustain an academic research career: funding, grant writing, career transitions and collaborations. During the event, 20 speakers participated in sharing their experiences and knowledge to the attendees.

Derek Haseltine, director of the Career Development Center at Baylor and chair of the event, partnered with administrators from MD Anderson and UT Health to offer the symposium. A planning committee consisting of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows from the three institutions helped organize the events, recruited speakers and moderated all sessions.

There were 130 individual trainees from seven different institutions in attendance. They heard from keynote speaker Dr. Maria Bottazzi, professor of pediatrics and associate dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor, on “The Building Blocks for Transformational Leadership: Curiosity, Courage, Commitment and Community.” She shared experiences from her career path in Honduras to the U.S., talked about the challenges and successes she and her team faced in vaccine development and stressed the importance of science advocacy.

The symposium also provided an opportunity for trainees in the medical center to connect with peers and faculty leaders to solicit valuable information and advice to help them advance their career in the right direction. In addition to panel discussions and workshops, there also were several networking opportunities throughout the day.

This event was the first of its kind here at Baylor College of Medicine, and an event that the Career Developmental Center looks forward to building on next year. Other BCM faculty that served on the committee included Drs. Amy Ku, Fotis Nikolo, Jyoti Kapali, Marina Martinez-Vargas and Roopa Holehonnur. Additionally, Angelica Almarez from the Career Development Center coordinated the logistics.

By Cameron Shih