A Day in the Life of a CDoT Research Scientist

Jason, CDoT Research Scientist in Translational Pharmacology

“Every day at CDoT is different and I don’t feel like I’m just turning the crank on something. On average, I spend about 50% of my time in the lab, designing assays and working to obtain proof of concept.  I get to work in scientific areas where no path has yet been carved and therefore, I have to come up with a way to do something new. I also spend time mentoring junior lab staff in assay execution, supervising execution, and helping to interpret their results.

The other 50% of my time is non-lab work, which includes my activities as a Project Team Leader. As a Project Leader I am responsible for planning project activities, determining the essential experiments and deciding what tools and resources are needed. I also have to work out how best to communicate our progress. In all these activities, I work with my project team partners in our pharma collaboration, and really value the back and forth intellectual dialogue with them.

I also get to spend time discovering Broad science, through Broad-wide seminars, talks and events. These give me a window into academic research at the Broad, which can have a different flavor than therapeutics. I get to see where the scientific edge is at the Broad and have an idea about what new science is coming next.”

 

Jen, CDoT Research Scientist in Biochemistry/Biophysics

“My day-to-day can be so different, but I mostly work in the lab, designing, optimizing and executing assays. I also do research on methods, and am always learning new methods and instrumentation (such as SPR). I get excited about the opportunity to learn new things - things are changing all the time. I also maintain some of the equipment in the lab and train staff who want to learn how to use this equipment. Everyone at CDoT is approachable - however busy anyone is, they will always take the time to help you and the CDoT and Broad Scientists are high quality. I appreciate having these strong resources to help me continue to grow and learn. In addition to working in the lab, I also prepare and make presentations to my project team. Deciding how to communicate complicated assay results clearly and simply is a good challenge, and I like using my communication skills this way.

There are many reasons I like working at CDoT and Broad. I’ve been on about 16 papers in the 8 years since I have been here, so there are opportunities to get your work out and feel good about your work. Another reason is the work-life balance. CDoT scientists have other passions - people are interested in things other than science and have time to enjoy these passions. Finally, I like that, as Eric [Lander] says, I am ‘having an impact bigger than myself,’ for example we have come so far in psychiatric diseases and cancer research because of the work we do here.”

Steve, CDoT Research Scientist in Medicinal Chemistry

“My time in the lab fluctuates depending on the needs of my project. My role typically consists of a lot of trouble shooting and working on the unconventional and difficult chemistry with the aim to help investigators validate potential new therapeutic targets in disease areas of high unmet need. Here at CDoT I have accountability to deliver results but the freedom to do it - no one is micro-managing me and I really enjoy being at the forefront of compelling science.

When I am not in the lab, I’m often working with my collaborators. I am a project lead and as a result I am responsible for consolidating and updating the project team members on new and interesting biological and molecular data. I prepare slides, lead discussions, develop project plans (including assays and resources) and follow up on action items. My collaboration partners are very receptive to Broad expertise, and to our perspective and approach to drug discovery.

Working at CDoT and the Broad gives me the benefits of both industry and academia, all in one place. It really is an open, collaborative, fun place.”

 

Guillaume, CDoT Research Scientist in Structural Biology/Protein Science

“There’s no normal here at CDoT - every day brings something different. It’s not just ‘rinse and repeat’. I’m responsible for achieving the scientific objectives for my drug discovery project. This includes determining how - for example I write protocols and develop constructs - as well as the timeline.

I particularly enjoy the ability to learn new things and then apply them to my job. For example, I’m working on an initiative to automate the protein screening process with a liquid handler. At CDoT we have lots of knowledgeable, competent people and lots of instruments. In addition, the PIs (Primary Investigators) are proximal and accessible - this gives me access to world experts in technologies.

It’s compelling to get to work with the research labs that are discovering novel targets. Broad really is at the forefront of target identification. Another great aspect of working at CDoT is the flexible working hours. CDoT and Broad are very family friendly.”