Author: [AUTHOR] Published on 7/1/2021 12:00:00 AM
Joseph Jilek, PhD, Postdoctoral Student, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona
What Professional Accomplishment Are You Most Proud Of?
Being awarded Paper of the Year in Toxicological Sciences. This was an immense honor as the work in this paper represented my master’s thesis. It was also a very collaborative project and was my first first-authored paper. This also exemplified the importance of recognizing and uplifting trainee accomplishments.
What Has Been the Greatest Challenge in Your Career?
In graduate school, I found it difficult to find a work-life balance. Even without pressure, it was very easy to become work-obsessed and slip into spending long hours, 7 days a week, in the lab. Furthermore, I’ve found it is challenging in science to coordinate careers and navigate changes with my partner. I’ve learned stepping back and looking at the big picture, prioritizing life values around research ambition, and remembering that as long as you continue to work hard, that the science will get done and opportunities will always be there.
Do You Have a Favorite Tip or Trick for Clinical Practice or Research That You Want to Share With Fellow Members?
The most productive research tip I’ve learned as a trainee is that mentoring is a dynamic process. Your mentors cannot read your mind, so it is extremely important that you let them know where you need help—communication and an open dialogue are key! Additionally, we scientists are inherently skeptical, and it can be very easy to obsess over any tiny flaw in our data. I’ve found that designing rigorous experiments and presenting data with as much transparency as possible is the best way to have confidence in what I present.
When You Aren’t Working, How Do You Spend Your Free Time?
I love spending time outside and living in Arizona is the best place for that (at least when the temperature is not above 110 degrees!). You might find me hiking, squeezing in some weekend warrior travel, or trying to improve my mediocre golf game when I’m not in the lab. It can be tough to check my scientist side at the door, so you might find me experimenting with new home brewing recipes at home!
What Was Your Childhood Dream Job?
I’ve always held that if I were not a scientist, I would be a pilot. I think aviation is fascinating, my cousin is a pilot, and I love the idea of traveling for your career.
Dr. Jilek has been a member of ASCPT since 2020.