ASM Career Development Grant Helps A Postdoc Develop Science Policy Skills

Dec. 17, 2018

Dr. Candace Rouchon is a postdoctoral fellow at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. She researches biofilm-associated infections caused by the opportunistic pathogen Enterococcus faecalis. She shares her experience at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Leadership Seminar in Science and Technology Policy.  

Congrats on getting the ASM Career Development Grant! What did you use the funding for and how did receiving the grant impact you? 

The benefits of receiving the ASM Career Development Grant for Postdoctoral Women have been two-fold for me. First, I was able to use the grant to attend the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Leadership Seminar in Science and Technology Policy in Washington, D.C. Over four-and-a-half-days, I was able to gain the fundamental skills and knowledge required to navigate science policy. I learned these skills directly from policymakers with integral roles in influencing policy in private sectors, educational institutions, Congress and other areas. In addition, I have a better understanding for the critical need of scientists to become more involved in policy and identified tools to further develop a career in science policy.  The second benefit of receiving the Career Development Grant has been becoming a part of a network of female scientists with a common interest in advancing science and the position of women in science.  

What first attracted you to science?

From an early age, I was intrigued by the problem-solving aspect of science. I loved that questions about nature or the body or disease could be addressed and even answered by experimentation. When I was first introduced to microbiology and molecular biology techniques as an undergraduate, I became even more fascinated with the possibility of observing and manipulating microorganisms. That fascination grew over the years as I learned to appreciate the complexity and importance of bacteria in particular, and also the significant need for new therapeutics for bacterial infections.    

What is your research about?

Currently, I study biofilm-associated infections caused by the opportunistic pathogen Enterococcus faecalis. E. faecalis is a leading cause of hospital-acquired infections that are often difficult to treat due to both inherent and acquired antibiotic resistance. My primary interests include identifying methods to reduce the viability of biofilm cells on both abiotic and biotic surfaces, in an effort to reduce infections and transmission in healthcare settings. In addition, I am elucidating additional pathways by which E. faecalis can evade the host innate immune antimicrobial lysozyme.

What advice do you have for women postdocs in research?

I would advise postdoctoral women to facilitate and cultivate mentor-mentee relationships. As a postdoc, the support of mentors (both inside and outside of the laboratory) is invaluable. Postdocs should not only find mentors for themselves but also serve as a mentor to someone else. Fostering mentor-mentee relationships benefits the entire scientific community by ultimately contributing to the retention and success of generations of female scientists.

Apply for the ASM Career Development Grant for Postdoctoral Women Today! Applications are due January 15, 2019. 

Contributor: 
Dr. Candace Rouchon got her Bachelor’s in Microbiology from the Penn State University, Master’s in Experimental Pathology and her Ph.D. in Microbiology from the New York Medical College. She is doing a postdoc at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences.

Author: ASM Careers

ASM Careers
ASM Careers staff.