Cornell Graduation 2017

Career Outcomes of GGD Graduates

The Graduate School Career Guide provides a list of resources and events for graduate students.  Cornell Career Services also provides resources for planning your career.  The Office of Postdoctoral Studies provides information and services for those students who would like to pursue a postdoc position.

The majority of our graduates obtain a postdoctoral position in a university after graduating.  However, some find employment in government, law and the private sector.  If we look at employment 7-15 years post PhD, roughly 50% of our graduates are in academia, 35% are in industry and 15% are in government positions.  You can explore program metrics on the Graduate School site.

What some GGD alumni are doing now — In Progress

I completed my PhD with Mariana Wolfner and Chip Aquadro in 2008, working on the genetics and evolution of Drosophila reproductive proteins. The GGD graduate program gave me great opportunities to do exciting research, to engage with visiting scientists, and establish collaborations with other students and professors. Beyond the lab, I enjoyed exploring the waterfalls and parks in and around Ithaca. My eldest child was born in Ithaca, and my ongoing love of running started while I was a PhD student.

I am currently an Associate Professor of Biology at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada ( My lab uses experimental evolution and comparative genomics to study evolutionary processes in bacteria. I am particularly interested in the impact of genetic background on evolutionary outcomes. While I have changed study systems since my PhD, many of the major themes and approaches that I use in my current research program have their origins in my time at Cornell.

I was a graduate student in the field of Genetics and Development back in the day, before they added “Genomics” to the name. I had a very positive experience. It was clear to me what the department’s expectations of me were and I feel strongly that the curriculum was thoughtfully designed and helped me build my skills. I did my thesis research on DNA repair under the expert guidance of Eric Alani. I couldn’t have had a better mentor than Eric and I still talk to him regularly. I also felt that the department as a whole had a sincere commitment to training students and to helping us achieve our goals.

In 2016, I started my own lab at The Stowers Institute for Medical Research, where I am an Assistant Investigator ( I am also an Assistant Professor in the Department Molecular & Integrative Physiology at the University of Kansas Medical Center. I utilize the skills and knowledge I gained at Cornell each day and am forever grateful to the department for helping me build the foundation for a fulfilling career.

I defended my PhD in Genetics, Genomics and Development on Halloween 2012 after 4 intense years being co-advised by Dr. Andy Clark and Dr. Doina Tumbar. The department made this program a success and was very supportive and flexible all along the way. First, I got late to the semester due to my program in the UK finishing later than is common in the US. Then I wanted 2 advisors from two very different fields. And third I was interested in many activities outside of the department, like the Cornell Prison Education Program – and everything worked out. GG&D made it possible.

After my time in Cornell I joined a start-up in the Bay area creating a robotic cloud lab, and I have stayed in industry ever since. The experiences and the freedom I experienced with GG&D influence my day-to-day work to date. This program has produced many great researchers and PIs, but we have also started to establish ourselves in the industry. If I’d do it all over again, I’d give myself one piece of advice: the opportunities are endless once you get your PhD from Cornell – so go out and create your future.

I completed my PhD in Genetics and Development with Mariana Wolfner in 2012. My graduate research focused on understanding the function of specific proteases in Drosophila seminal fluid and how they interact with their substrates in the male and female reproductive tracts. The Genetics & Development graduate program (now GGD) was an amazingly supportive and collegial environment in which to pursue my PhD research. I always felt welcome to ask for help or advice from other labs and especially enjoyed our student seminars, which provided a really important source of inspiration for graduate students. I also love Ithaca and the Finger Lakes region and often dream about moving back—even though moving to such a cold place from Tucson, AZ was a bit of a shock the first year!

After a 1 year postdoc at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York city, I decided to leave research to pursue a career as a scientific editor. My first editorial position was as a manuscript editor at Nature Genetics. I am now Chief Editor of a newly-launched journal in the Nature Research portfolio, Communications Biology. The training and guidance I received from Mariana and the whole GGD program provided me with the skills and tools I need every day in my current role. My advice to any new graduate student would be to remain open to different research areas and careers rather than focusing too quickly on one specific track. I believe GGD helps students do this by providing an open and supportive environment and through seminars and other programs designed to help students explore the many career possibilities open to them after completion of their PhD.