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Andrew Olive, PhD, postdoc

Andrew Olive, PhD, postdoc

What is your role and how does it support the overall institution?
I am a postdoctoral fellow at UMMS, which means that I have finished my PhD but continue to do full time research under the supervision of a faculty member. The postdoc position is critical to the success of the research enterprise at UMMS because we are the scientists in the trenches every day designing and executing experiments. As a group, postdocs support UMMS by driving research forward, allowing principle investigators to publish papers and acquire the grant funding necessary to run a lab.

What part of your job brings you the greatest satisfaction?
A career in research science is littered with false starts, wrong turns and frustrating results. But in those moments when experimental results fall together in a way that makes sense, I realize that I am the first person to ever understand a fundamental biological process. This creates a rush of excitement and extreme satisfaction which helps me to push through all of the negative results and reminds me that it is worth it. One day these discoveries may help in the development of treatments that could save thousands of lives.

What brought you to UMMS?
My decision to join the UMMS community two and half years ago was centered around my desire to work with my principle investigator, Dr. Christopher Sassetti. After I completed graduate school I wanted to study the host response to critically important bacterial infections, such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis, that were being investigated in the Sassetti lab. When I was looking for postdoc positions I was quickly convinced by Chris that the opportunities and facilities at UMMS were second to none. Chris and I worked together to develop a research plan that allows me to use the resources of UMMS to both advance his research interests and lay the foundation for my own independent research group. I have not been disappointed!