Postdoc Spotlight - Drs. Fouquerel and Perkins

November, 2016

Dr. Fouquerel - Questions:

 

What is your area of specialization?

I obtained my PhD in the field of molecular and cellular biology from University of Strasbourg (France). My work focused specifically on a group of proteins involved in DNA repair mechanisms. Initially, my interest was in cancer diagnoses and human sample analyses. But over time I became more interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms of cancer biology so that I could eventually contribute to finding a cure for it, or preventing its occurrence.

 

What is your current research project?

I am currently working on oxidative DNA damage repair at telomeres. Telomeres play a very important role in protecting our chromosomes. Their accelerated attrition is associated with age-related diseases and cancer, and it occurs when our cells are exposed to oxidative stresses. Thus, deciphering the mechanisms by which oxidative DNA damage is repaired at telomeres is crucial. The first goal of my project is to establish an innovative technique that locally induces oxidative DNA damage at telomeres and then use this tool to decipher the mechanisms involved in their repair.

 

Tell us about a great experience or opportunity you’ve had in the past year.

I had the opportunity to apply for a K99/R00 grant that I have been awarded in august 2016. It is wonderful that in the US, Postdoctoral scientists are given the opportunity to write their own grants to help them to launch their lab.

 

What do you hope the next step in your career path will be?

I hope to become a professor and establish my own lab within the next 2 years.

 

If not a scientist, what would you be?

I would be a vet, or a nature and wildlife photographer.

 

*****

 

Dr. Perkins - Questions:

 

What is your area of specialization?

My PhD research was in pulmonary molecular biology, more specifically, molecular effects of pathogenic occupational and environmental dusts in the lung. I began in a M.S. program with the opportunity to work with a leading researcher in the realm of asbestos-related disease at the University of Vermont. This lead to collaboration with researchers in Maastricht, The Netherlands, where I truly became fascinated with the how the respiratory system defends the body from external insults, which all humans are susceptible to.

 

What is your current research project?

My current research project is investigating the role of the receptor of advanced glycation end-products in asthma and allergic airways disease. More specifically, mechanisms in which RAGE regulates recruitment of type 2 innate lymphoid cells to the lung and consequent type 2 inflammatory responses.

 

Tell us about a great experience or opportunity you’ve had in the past year.

One great experience this year I had was applying for and being named a fellow on a training grant in pediatric pulmonary medicine through the Department of Pediatrics. This has allowed me to provide external funding for my project, and will connect me with a number of leading scientists in the field here in Pittsburgh, to guide me through a successful post-doctoral project.

 

What do you hope the next step in your career path will be?

I hope my next step will be obtain and F32 post-doctoral fellowship grant, to allow to continue my research project with the eventual goal of applying for and obtaining a K-award to transition to a faculty position.

 

If not a scientist, what would you be?

I absolutely plan to continue as a scientist in pulmonary research.