MENTORSHIP Eric Smith Lab for Synthetic Biology and Cellular Engineering
I am deeply committed to the growth and success of each trainee that joins the lab. I believe that mentorship is not something that happens in the background as trainees pursue their research, but should be intentional, thought out, and personalized for each member of the group.
As a junior faculty member I have the time to meet trainees' individual needs. In weekly 1:1 meetings with all trainees, I not only guide their scientific growth, but also focus on career goals and development. Our research is multi-disciplinary and exceedingly collaborative. To this end, a mentorship plan will often involve a senior faculty collaborator with complimentary expertise to provide co-mentorship for a trainee's project or grant. Trainees will further benefit from my prior experience translating cell therapy inventions from the lab to the clinic, which has resulted in 9 awarded or pending patents, licensing/collaborations with industry, and multiple products stemming from our lab work reaching patients.
The adoptive cellular therapy field is currently undergoing explosive growth. In 2013, when my colleagues at MSKCC published the first report of CAR T cell efficacy in adults with B-cell ALL, investigation was limited to a handful of academic institutions. Since that time the number of organizations spanning academia and industry pursuing translational cell therapy goals has rapidly increased. Because of the excitement of the field and the dearth of truly qualified scientists, trainees pursuing this area of study can be highly successful obtaining grants, and sought after by both potential academic or industry employers once training is complete.