CAREER PROFILE : PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR
1. Name:Yalda Jamshidi
2 Job: Principal Investigator/Group Leader and Head of Centre
3. A levels :Maths, Chemistry, Biology, Physics
4. Undergraduate degree and all other further qualifications:
BSc Human Genetics; PhD Genetics; Post Grad Cert Healthcare Education
5. Journey in 3 words : Focussed, Ambitious, Hardwork
6. Briefly describe your role?
I lead a research group investigating the genetics of rare and common disease. In this role I drive and lead specific projects within the genetic disease area, this includes putting together funding applications to obtain financial support for the work, providing support and training to colleagues working in the group, and sharing findings with the wider scientific and non-scientific community.
I also head the Genetics centre at my institution which means I am responsible for line-management, staff development, personal and performance review and workload planning of members of the centre (e.g. other principal investigators/group leaders, and centre members which include Masters students, PhD students, early career researchers, technicians and associate members involved in genetics teaching within the institution).
Together with the Director(s) of the Institute, the role also involves co-ordination of Institute and Institutional strategy.
7. What motivated you to pursue a career in science?
Curiosity about how human diseases develop and can be recognised and treated as well as a love for genetics.
8. Work- Life Balance?
My institution supports flexible working and with a young family this is really important. It does mean that I do find myself working at odd hours but if this means I can spend quality time with my family when I need to then that is fine.
9. What advice would you give someone wanting to follow the same path ?
Study Medicine first then go down the academic/PhD science route. Jobs in academia and science in general are in high demand as they are few and far between – particularly at the top. This means that there is very little job security. However, with a medical degree there are lots of opportunities to fall back on should the scientific career be a little slow. Additionally, translational research is an increasingly large target market and a medical background provides additional opportunities for research funding, jobs and career development.
10. What advice would you give your younger self ?
Study Medicine and data science to ensure employability/job security.
11. Where do you see yourself in 5 years ?
I’d like to be in a more senior position directing research focus and projects across a department/institute, and have greater involvement in science communication to a wider non-scientific audience.
12. How do you feel the Science world has evolved throughout your career? ( what are some hard truths you have had to face?)
In the genetics field which I work in technological advances have made it essential to have a background in data science, and to be prepared to evolve and learn new methods quickly. As for hard truths I’ve had to face – there has been increasing focus on medical applications and translational medicine. Coming from a non-medical background I have had to be assertive and demonstrate how my skills and background are just as valuable.
Connect with Yalda on twitter: https://twitter.com/YaldaJamshidi