Balancing a Scientific Career with Raising a Family
BY MICHELLE BOND, LAURA S. CARTER, ANNE DAVIDSON, CLARISSA JAMES, AND EMILY PETRUS
Everyone deals differently with how to balance raising a family with moving forward in a career, but such jugglers share common problems and use similar techniques in juggling the demands of family and research. For this issue of the NIH Catalyst, we interviewed NIH scientists of all types, at all levels of their careers, and at all stages of raising their families—from having infants to having grown children.
Hanging in my Building One office is a reproduction of a Marc Chagall painting that shows a fiddler carefully poised on two rooftops, managing to stay upright and make beautiful music at the same time. This image represents the challenge of being a parent and a scientist at the NIH: How does one maintain equilibrium and productivity while juggling two such important responsibilities?
“Today we are going to consider the ultimate bridge from the farthest reach of the cosmos to the smallest molecule,” Irwin Arias, the organizer of the DeMystifying Medicine lecture series, told the crowd that gathered to hear presentations from NASA astrophysicist John Mather, who studies the stars, and former NIH senior scientist Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz, who studies the inner workings of cells.
Tucked away behind the nondescript walls of Building 12 lies a computational behemoth known as Biowulf. The state-of-the-art supercomputer enables scientists in the NIH IRP to analyze massive datasets and attempt projects whose sheer scale would make them otherwise impossible.
The NIH Clinical Center welcomed its new chief operating officer Pius Aiyelawo (pictured); Alex Azar II,the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, visted the NIH where he met with institute directors, investigators, and patients, and participated in a town hall meeting.
The “Autotherapies: Enhancing Our Innate Healing Capacity” symposium held at NIH in January 2018, featured presentations on autotherapies, which are treatments based on the body’s natural ability to heal itself. These approaches may harness innate processes—such as the body’s immune responses or its regenerative potential—to treat multiple diseases and conditions.
Read about recent intramural research advances: how stem cells from hibernating mammals may have medical applications; ADP platelet hyperreactivity predicts cardiovascular disease; lack of sleep may be linked to risk factor for Alzheimer Disease; new technique makes heart-valve replacement safer for some high-risk patients; neurodegenerative disorders may speed up aging process; and more.
You’re likely to soon see a flux of young, energetic new faces in your laboratory. That’s because it’s time for summer internships. So what’s in it for the mentors—most of them postdocs—who train them?
Christian Anfinsen and Michael Potter grace the halls of the NIH Clinical Center once again. In May 2018, the Office of NIH History and Stetten Museum is scheduled to open twin historical exhibits in tribute to these two NIH legends.