Mitchell Jacobs

PhD in Bioorganic Chemistry

Mitchell Jacobs

I liked being given the responsibility to take a project in a direction based on the results of your research. This responsibility forces you to adapt to the world of research which in turn helps you to develop as a good scientist. A PhD is a tough road to take but allowing yourself to develop personally is as important as developing scientifically.

Current occupation: Postdoctoral Researcher

Company: The Scripps Research Institute

 

What route have you taken to get to your current position?

I took an undergraduate chemistry degree followed by a PhD in Bioorganic Chemistry. To find my current role I realised that it was crucial to have something to offer within the specific research field and not to venture too far from your background expertise. Networking and attending conferences is also important as these aspects will allow you to start to discuss and develop your scientific ideas as well as gaining a broad perspective of science research in general.

What does this position involve?

Looking at self-assembling, informational systems in water, with both a forward thinking technological and materials based goals as well as potentially answering fundamental (prebiotic) questions about molecular recognition and self-assembly.

What do you most enjoy about your current role?

I've most enjoyed the chance to become an independent researcher and utilise my creativity in problem solving, as well as driving my research in a beneficial direction.

What did you most enjoy about your course?

I like being given the responsibility to take a project in a direction based on the results of your research. This responsibility forces you to adapt to the world of research which in turn helps you to develop as a good scientist.

What skills/knowledge from your degree have you found particularly helpful in this role?

The most important skill I learned from my PhD is to understand that sometimes research does not work and that this should spur you on to be creative and solve the problem, rather than giving up because a 'negative' result has been obtained; a negative result is still a result. A PhD is a tough road to take but allowing yourself to develop personally is as important as developing scientifically.

What advice would you give to students applying for the same course that you took?

A PhD is very time consuming with there being no real typical hours of work, but it is important to mix work and play equally as an imbalance of one can be detrimental to your research. Being your own person is also extremely important rather than trying to fit the mould of other researchers around you. Everybody has different ways of conducting research and different ways to switch-off. Find your own balance and start the move to become an independent researcher.

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