My Experience as a Postdoctoral Fellow - Patricia Jaaks

Wellcome Sanger Institute
Patricia Jaaks, Staff Scientist, Wellcome Sanger Institute
Patricia Jaaks, Staff Scientist, Wellcome Sanger Institute

When you join us as a Postdoctoral Fellow you will benefit from a unique learning environment. We are proud to produce and analyse genetic and biological data on a scale unmatched by other institutes in Europe. Below Patricia Jaaks, now staff scientist, shares her experience of being a Postdoctoral Fellow at Wellcome Sanger Institute.

What was the most rewarding aspect of doing a postdoctoral at Sanger Institute?

Doing a postdoctoral project at Sanger Institute gave me the unique opportunity to work on very collaborative, large-scale projects. Working in a team gave me the feeling of “we can achieve this together” while I learnt many scientific and transferable skills on the way.

What led you to your current position?

My initial postdoctoral fellow project evolved into me being responsible for multiple important drug screening projects in our team, including taking on the leadership of a collaboration with a major pharmaceutical partner. My current staff scientist position reflects my extended responsibilities and gives me more autonomy.

Tell me about your current role at the Sanger Institute?

I’m currently responsible for the analysis of multiple large-scale drug combination screens that our team has conducted in hundreds of cancer models. Working with a great team we aim to uncover vulnerabilities in cancer which can be exploited for new anti-cancer therapies.

What do you enjoy most about your role? 

I enjoy the balance of independence and teamwork the most. Being a staff scientist gives me the freedom to approach challenging questions in a creative way while working together with a fantastic team to achieve the goals that we have set.

What are the major challenges you have faced since taking up your new role?

To be able to lead a multidisciplinary team I had to learn new transferable skills. Luckily, Sanger Institute offers various transferable skills courses, which have helped me greatly in managing multiple projects, communicating with the team and leading challenging discussions.

What advice can you provide to those finishing their postdocs?

Always look for new challenges and opportunities and do what really interests you. In my opinion, tackling a new scientific question whilst building new skills is hugely rewarding.