Reflecting on 2019

It’s the first day of 2020 and I thought I’d kick it off by reflecting on the year that was: 2019. This was a huge year for me because I literally moved to the other side of the world to start the next chapter of my career as a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard Medical School. Here’s a summary of the highlights and accomplishments of 2019.

  1. Career
    1. Graduated my PhD on cataract on December 12th 2019 from the University of Sydney, Australia
    2. Started my postdoc in the Saint-Geniez Lab learning about mitochondria and metabolism in retinal eye disease
    3. Learned how to run Seahorse assays
    4. Passed my fellowship exam and became a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry
  2. Built my online presence
    1. I now have over 7000 followers on Instagram and over 2000 followers on Twitter
    2. Interviews
      1. Interviewed by Jennifer van Alstyne from The Academic Designer on how I use social media (Twitter and Instagram) to share my scientific research journey here.
      2. Interviewed by Labstep on my three top tips for surviving a PhD here.
      3. Interviewed by Labstep on my PhD journey and how to make the most out of your PhD here.
      4. Interviewed by It Grl Empire and announced “It GRL of the Week” here.
    3. Features
      1. Featured by Thermo Fisher Scientific as a Gibco Cell Culture Hero and presented a webinar on the use of a rat lens epithelial explant system here and on the Life in the Lab magazine by ThermoFisher Scientific in the “Let’s get cellular” article on Women in Science (here).
      2. Blog post for “Dr on What” on “A Day in the life of” series here.
      3. My TGF-beta signaling pathway is featured as a template available for users to edit on Biorender here.
      4. Featured on YouTube channel Scientifically Explained talking about the cornea and eye diseases affecting the cornea here.
      5. TheAddictiveBrain featured my profile for their International Women’s Day collage on their Instagram.
      6. Stem For Fem featured my profile on their Instagram.
      7. Lucky Science Education featured my profile on their Instagram here and here.
      8. Lab.Hack featured my lab trick on reusing gloves on their Instagram.
      9. WomenThinkScience featured my profile on their Instagram.
      10. Biorender featured my scientific schematic diagrams on their Instagram.
      11. She Can Do Both featured my profile on their Instagram.
      12. Instagram takeover for Techgalogic here.
    4. Wrote two blog posts for my website
    5. Started a fun new science communication outreach project called “Emojifying Research” for scientists to share their research through emojis with 30 scientists getting on board and participating.
  3. Academic Activities
    1. Invited to review for the following journals: Molecular Vision, Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Optometry and Vision Science, Clinical Experimental Optometry
    2. Invited as an Expert Reviewer to examine the Honours Thesis for the Department of Anatomy and Histology at the University of Sydney, Australia
    3. Worked on the Communication Team of the Harvard Medical School Postdoc Association
    4. Took up the role of Postdoctoral Resesarch Fellow Representative at my institute, Schepens Eye Research Institute
    5. Worked on the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) Advocacy and Outreach Committee and helped organize the next workshop for ARVO 2020 on “Increasing the impact of your research: Social media, new metrics and beyond”
    6. Worked on the International Society for Eye Research (ISER) Young Investigator Committee
    7. Joined the American Society for Investigative Pathology (ASIP) and worked on the ASIP Committee for Career Development
    8. Volunteered for the ARVO High School Vision Program: showed highschool students around the exhibit hall and posters at the ARVO annual meeting in Vancouver as part of the Diversity Initiatives Commitee (Link)
  4.  Conferences
    1. Presented a talk at ARVO on “Non-canonical TGFβ-signaling pathways in lens EMT: interplay between EGFR and p38 MAPK ” (last one from my PhD studies)
    2. Presented in a Twitter conference for the first time: Cells in the ocular lens communicate via a complex interconnected network of signalling pathways. Bosch Young Investigators Twitter Conference
    3. Presented a talk at the American Academy of Optometry Annual Meeting on “Metabolic reprogramming during TGFβ-induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in retinal pigment epithelial cells” (first one for my postdoc)
    4. Presented at the Schepens Eye Research Institute Trainees’ Work in Progress Seminar on “TGFβ and the retinal pigment epithelium: integrating metabolic reprogramming with epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT)”
    5. Invited to speak on the SciComm Panel for Northeast Symposium on Biomedical Optics at MIT here. Moderated by Prasha Dutra from the podcast, Her STEM Story.
  5. Publications
    1. Two first-author papers: one from my Summer research internship in the Zeiske lab in 2018 and another was the final and third chapter of my PhD thesis
      1. Shu DY, Hutcheon, AEK, Zieske, JD, Guo, XQ. Epidermal growth factor stimulates transforming growth factor-beta receptor type II expression in corneal epithelial cells. Scientific Reports. 2019; 9.8079: 1-11. (Link)
      2. Shu DY, Lovicu, FJ. Enhanced EGF receptor-signaling potentiates TGFβ-induced lens epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Experimental Eye Research. 2019; 185: 1-9. (Link)
    2. One book-chapter from my PhD studies
      1. Lovicu FJ, Wishart TFL, Mao BP, Flokis M, Shu DY. The ocular lens epithelium: modelling growth factor signalling in physiological and pathological conditions. Advances in Medicine and Biology Volume 146 2019; 1-66.
    3. Conference proceedings from my PhD supervisor who attended a conference in Japan for Cataract Research and presented some of my work on cataract
      1. Lovicu FJ, Flokis M, Wojciechowski M, Mao B, Shu D. Understanding fibrotic cataract: regulation of TGFβ-mediated pathways leading to lens epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT). Journal of the Japanese Society for Cataract Research 2019; 1-12.
  6. Awards and Grants
    1. Awarded the DMM Conference Travel Grant by The Company of Biologists to attend the ARVO Annual Meeting 2020 in Baltimore, GBP400
    2. Won my first equipment grant, the Cancer Research Foundation Cell Imaging Grant for the EVOS M7000 Imaging System (AMF7000), USD$59 950, Thermo Fisher Scientific (Link)
  7. Travelling and social events
    1. Went on a Yoga and Meditation retreat in Nicaragua hosted by Morning Marjolaine and SuitYogi
    2. Maid of honour and Bridesmaid for two weddings
    3. Visited DisneyWorld in Orlando, FL
    4. Ran the Martha’s Vineyard Half-Marathon
    5. Ran the Cambridge Classic 5k Summer and Winter editions
    6. Ran the Narragansett 10k

I’m very excited for 2020 and will continue to share my scientific research career journey with you all throughout the year!


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