I spent almost five years at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center pursuing a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. The mentorship that I received from the dedicated faculty of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology as well as from those throughout the University enabled me to successfully compete for a Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund Postdoctoral Fellowship in the laboratory of Nobel laureates Michael S. Brown and Joseph L. Goldstein at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, TX. Since completing my postdoctoral fellowship with Drs. Brown and Goldstein, I have remained at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center as an Associate Professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics and an Early Career Scientist of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. As an independent investigator, I have been named a W.M. Keck Foundation Distinguished Young Scholar in Medical Research and an Established Investigator of the American Heart Association. I can say without hesitation that my tenure in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center was instrumental to my research career.
In the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology under the guidance of the chairman, Dr. Paul Weigel, graduate students were encouraged to participate in weekly journal clubs. These experiences were intimidating in that students were required to select a paper from the literature that was not related to their research, thoroughly read the paper and become familiar with all of the techniques and approaches, and finally present the results to an audience of both faculty and students. Although I did not realize it at the time, this exercise was one of the most critical aspects in my development into a basic scientist; I learned how to ask important questions, design experiments to test hypotheses, interpret results, and effectively communicate my findings. These journal clubs also introduced me to the work of my eventual postdoctoral mentors. To this day, I am grateful for the leadership provided by Dr. Weigel and for the mentorship from various members of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Without their assistance, I am convinced none of the accomplishments I have achieved thus far in my career would have been possible.
Russell DeBose-Boyd, Ph.D.
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology