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Renata Mazurek '09

Major: Physics
Company: Yale Cardiovascular Research Center
Title: Postdoctoral Fellow
Field of Work: Science/Research

What do you do?

I am currently on a postdoctoral research fellowship in cardiovascular and developmental biology. My work is focused on exploring mechanisms of pulmonary vascular disease via various genetic and histological techniques.

How did you become interested in your field?

Over medical school I began to see more value in the collaboration and integration of research with clinical practice, in terms of expanding the information we have to work with in dealing with diseases and in our efforts in medicine to do better.

What, if any, additional education (degree, discipline, institution) have you earned?

MS in human nutrition, Institute of Human Nutrition, Columbia University; MD, Medical School for International Health, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

What skills are vital for success in your field?

Though research and clinical work differ, both are time- and energy-intensive. What I have learned on each side is that being focused, staying knowledgeable, working efficiently, and maintaining good organizational and interpersonal skills are all important.

What experiences, internships, study, or previous jobs helped you get to your current position?

Being introduced to research through my master’s year was helpful to me in re-approaching research. My educational background from U of R, graduate school, and medical school certainly developed a critical foundation for me in the idea of pursuing and in beginning basic science research, despite essentially starting from scratch.

What advice do you have for current students interested in your field?

From both clinical and research standpoints, confidence, enthusiasm, and perseverance count a lot, especially because demands and responsibilities increase over time. Medicine is a high-stress field, so just becoming mentally prepared and keeping a good attitude can very much make a difference in your experience and in how you choose to develop your career. On a practical level, making connections, talking to people to gather insights on the day-to-day work, and trying to actively engage in your area of interest can give you a starting point and an idea for what the work involves—the more exciting and inevitably less exciting components—and also help you find a particular interest that you may like to follow through on.