Assistant Professor, Pediatrics
UCSF School of Medicine
What impact did the Sarnoff Fellowship year have on your career?
My year as a Sarnoff Fellow had a very important impact on my current career. I had really enjoyed lab research as an undergraduate, but after starting medical school, it was also clear to me that I really enjoyed clinical work as well. My Sarnoff year was a crucial factor in helping me to decide on a career as a physician-scientist, and to pursue further training in both clinical medicine and basic science. Spending that year immersed in my project and in a lab community was really important for understanding what a career in science entails. Although I chose neonatology as a clinical specialty, I have kept in touch with the network of peers and mentors that I met during that time. The Sarnoff community has such a rich and diverse group of people doing interesting things in all aspects of medicine and science, and I have relied on that community time and again as I have progressed in my career.
Why should medical students consider the Sarnoff Fellowship apart from other programs?
Though many programs include elements of mentorship, the Sarnoff Fellowship really follows through on its commitment to ongoing mentorship, support, and career development. An especially unique aspect of the program was the time and funding that was provided in order to find an ideal mentor. I ended up connecting with a mentor during my Sarnoff year (Dr. Mike McCune) who has been by far the most important professional mentor in my life. I returned to UCSF after finishing pediatrics residency to complete a post-doc with Mike while I was also doing my neonatology fellowship, and I continue to benefit from his mentorship as a faculty member.
What are your professional aspirations?
I am a practicing neonatologist at UCSF, and I continue to enjoy caring for critically-ill infants. I am also running a basic and translational research lab focusing on the development and function of the fetal and neonatal immune system. We are working to understand why infants are susceptible to infection, and how fetal immune responses may contribute to preterm birth. My ultimate goal is to make a significant contribution to this field, and my hope is that our findings will one day lead to the development of therapies that will protect infants from infection, and prevent preterm birth.
What is your greatest professional accomplishment?
The most exciting development for me recently was having the opportunity to establish my own independent lab at UCSF. It has been the most fun and challenging year of my life, but it is incredibly exciting to see the lab grow as people join the lab and become excited about the work we are doing.
What is your most memorable Sarnoff moment?
There are so many that it is hard to choose – but they all involve the great people in my Sarnoff Fellow class. I’m sure that every class thinks that theirs was the best – but mine was pretty amazing! The Annual Scientific Meeting was definitely a highlight for me, especially the incredible opportunity to interact with the dedicated faculty that give so much of their time and energy to make the program what it is.
What are your hobbies?
I love to play and write music. I also enjoy running and yoga. Living in the SF Bay Area, there are endless opportunities for hiking and getting outdoors, and I try to do that as much as possible. I also love to try the great restaurants in the city and head north to wine country.