Month: November 2020

Nadia Holden, PhD

Career Development Strategies E032 Science Writing PhD in the National Cancer Research Center

Dr. Nadia Holden is a cell biologist by training. In 2015, she earned her PhD from Stony Brook University, New York. She studied the role of lipid kinases in endocytosis and autophagy.

During graduate school, Nadia had a “mid-PhD crisis” when she realized she wanted to leave academia but didn’t want to leave science. Finding a lack of good career development resources for PhD students at her university, she decided to create her own. She designed a 9-step career development program for busy graduate students, called the PhD Career Ladder Program. In 2014, Nadia gave a TEDx talk called “Reimagining the PhD” to spread the idea that PhD training can no longer be viewed as a one way ticket to tenured professorship. The talk was watched over 250k times to date!

After graduating, Nadia transitioned to a career in science writing. She is currently a science writer/editor for the National Cancer Institute, where she writes about advances in all fields cancer research. She also helps create videos, graphics, and other educational materials dedicated to this topic.

Fabio Gori, PhD

Career Development Strategies E031 How to Develop a Career in Data Science as a PhD? How to Shine at the Job Interviews?

Dr. Fabio Gori is a multidisciplinary professional, using his mathematical and data science skills to tackle industrial and biomedical challenges. While completing his degree in mathematics at the University of Pisa (IT), Fabio began researching the biomedical field; he liked it so much that he decided to keep working in the experimental sciences.

Therefore, Fabio began a PhD in Bioinformatics & Data Science at Radboud University Nijmegen in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. The focus of his research was developing computational methods or the analysis of microbial communities. After completing his doctorate, he became a Research Fellow at the University of Exeter (UK), where he was using quantitative methods (bioinformatics, differential equation modeling, control theory) to study antibiotic resistance.

He later decided to move to the industry, and so he worked in the German biotech for precision oncology as a bioinformatics data scientist. He moved back to the Netherlands to work as a data scientist at the AI startup Machine2Learn, where he works both on industrial and biomedical projects.

Career Development Strategies E030 Grant Advisory for PhDs – Is Grant Advisory at Universities a Career Path You Should Consider?

Dr. Irina Sheftel (Simanova) is a neuroscientist with ten years of experience in neuroimaging research, as well as in coordination and management of research projects. She holds an MSc degree in human physiology (2008, Moscow University) and a PhD in cognitive neuroscience (2014, Radboud University). During her PhD and postdoc at the Donders Institute, she studied multimodal perception and object recognition in the brain. Last year Irina worked as Grant Advisor at the Vrije University Amsterdam, and she is about to start a new job as a Grant Officer at One Planet Research Centre. In this new position, she will develop public-funded projects within the program Precision Health, Nutrition and Behaviour.

Next to her research career, Irina is a yoga teacher and yoga educator . She has been teaching hatha yoga since 2014. Irina works on integrating contemplative traditions and innovative research. In 2018 she joined Network Yoga Therapy, an international platform for education and support of healthcare professionals, where she helped to organize the Yoga Therapy Conference and several other science courses. Currently, she contributes as a guest teacher to the Yoga Teacher and Personal Development Training for Healthcare Professionals in Amsterdam.

“I will be happy to talk about my experience in the field of grant advice/research support. I do not consider my path as a failure of a science career. Instead, it’s a shift to a new role that allows me to stay in the academic world, and fits my personality well. For a long time, I did not know that was possible. I will also be happy to answer questions about yoga and yoga therapy.”

Career Development Strategies E029 PhDs in Photography – How to Start? Business Development for Dads

Dr. Matthias Hombauer has a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology but decided to follow his passions, music and photography, and became a self-taught Rockstar Photographer. After his two kids were born, he decided to become a stay at home dad and built the most significant online community of concert photographers around the world from his bedroom. In his latest project, Dadpreneur (, Matthias is inspiring other Dads to turn their passion into a profitable business while gaining precious time for their family.

In this episode, Matthias told us how he launched his business as a concert photographer, and how he turned to helping dads with businesses. He also shared his views at how to effectively convert your passion into a job.


Career Development Strategies E028 Coaching for PhDs in Transition to Industry & How to Gain Social Media Following as a PhD

Dr. Jennifer Polk, is an entrepreneur, career coach, and expert on PhD careers. She earned Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts titles from Carleton University. In 2012, she earned her PhD in history from the University of Toronto.

In 2013, she launched From PhD to Life, a career coaching and speaking business. Since then, she’s worked 1-on-1 and in groups with graduate students and doctoral degree holders based in Canada, the United States, the UK, Australia, and elsewhere.

Jen has spoken on university campuses and at academic and professional conferences throughout North America on issues related to graduate education and career outcomes for PhDs. Her writing has appeared in the Globe and Mail, University Affairs, Inside Higher Ed, the Chronicle of Higher Education’s Vitae portal, and Academic Matters. Her University Affairs blog, From PhD to Life, won three gold awards at the Canadian Online Publishing Awards. She’s also contributed essays to two books: Moving On: Essays on the Aftermath of Leaving Academia, and Reflections on Academic Lives: Identities, Struggles, and Triumphs in Graduate School and Beyond.

She created and hosted Self-Employed PhD, an online network of freelancers, independent consultants, entrepreneurs, and small business owners. For three years Jen hosted #withaPhD chat, a twice-monthly Twitter discussion. She co-founded Beyond the Professoriate (2014-20) and in that capacity (among many other activities) produced online conferences attended by hundreds of graduate students, PhDs, and career education professionals.

Jen is actively engaged in online conversations about careers for PhDs, especially on Twitter (you can follow her at @FromPhDtoLife).