Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Biomolecular
University of California, Santa Cruz
Phone: (831) 502-7317
Anna Beaudin has spent three years studying
hematology and stem cells as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of
Biomolecular Engineering at UC Santa Cruz. She has been an ISEH member for two
years, beginning in 2011 when she submitted an abstract and made a short
presentation in Vancouver. Her areas of expertise are hematopoiesis, stem
cells, development, neural development, nutritional science, and metabolism. Her
educational credentials include a PhD in Nutritional Science and Molecular
Nutrition from Cornell University, a M.Sc. in Psychology from Brown University,
and a B.A Magna Cum Laude in Psychology from Cornell University.
Anna enjoys attending the ISEH Annual Scientific
meetings for the scientific content, the format, and the fact that there are
ample opportunities for young investigators to present their work. She values
that she has made a lot of good connections and hopes to continue doing so in
Anna kindly answered some questions for ISEH.
Tell us broadly about your post-graduate
education and about the experience of being a post-graduate fellow.
I have had an unusual graduate and
post-graduate education in that I have switched fields several times. I did my
bachelors and masters’ degrees in behavioral neuroscience, my PhD in folate
metabolism and molecular nutrition, and now my postdoctoral training is in stem
cell biology and hematopoiesis. In some ways this can be seen as a
disadvantage, but I feel that it has given me a breadth that is somewhat
unusual and helps me to see the bigger picture in my daily research.
Who has most influenced you to become a scientist, and
how did they influence you?
My husband is
probably the person that has most influenced me to become a scientist. A
scientist himself, he has a very sincere love of science and discovery, and
shared this with me at an early stage of my training.
How did you
find your way to the hematology and stem cells scientific field?
After my PhD, I wanted to move into stem cell
research, and I initially became involved in research on cardiac stem cells. However, once I was in the stem cell
field, it didn’t take long for me to realize that the hematopoietic system was
the best system for studying stem cell function.
What is the overall aim of your research?
I am generally interested in studying developmental
hematopoietic pathways and how perturbations of developmental hematopoietic
pathways influence immune development and disease outcomes.
Tell us a little
about the subject of your presentation.
My presentation focused on the discovery of a novel, developmentally
restricted hematopoietic stem cell that I have found can support long-term
multilineage reconstitution upon transplantation into an irradiated adult
recipient but does not exist in situ in an adult. I’ve also shown that this novel HSC is
responsible for generating unique subsets of immune cells during development. We
discovered this stem cell population using a lineage-tracing model recently
characterized in our lab.
What is the most exciting or intriguing result
you’ve gotten so far?
One exciting implication of my recent finding is
that we’ve shown with our lineage tracing model that just because a cell can reconstitute the blood system of an
adult upon transplantation does not necessarily mean that it is an adult stem cell. I think this
finding challenges the paradigm that we’ve used to define when and where adult
stem cells arise during development.
What's the biggest challenge you've faced in your
Being patient and realizing it always takes longer
than you anticipate. I’m also a perfectionist, so I have always been my worst
enemy and my worst critic and have had to learn to deal with myself!
What are you working on most intensely right now?
I’m working very hard to wrap up a few last experiments
to publish my paper. This project was also recently funded by an RO1 so there
are many new avenues that I am very busy investigating, including developmental
origin and lineage potential of this novel HSC population.
There are a
lot of interesting aspects of this scientific field; what do you find the most
I’ve always been interested in development for a
reason – I think development is fascinating because there is still so much to
learn. We have learned so much about developmental hematopoietic pathways over
the last couple decades, but I think the difficulty inherent in studying
development makes it that much more exciting.
In your field, what do you hope we will know in five
or 10 years that we don’t know now?
One of the biggest challenges and aims in the field
is to be able to derive definitive HSC from pluripotent cells. I am a firm
believer that we will only achieve that goal by better understanding and
defining developmental hematopoietic pathways, and that is a goal I hope to
Who is your
most influential senior investigator mentor and how did he or she help you?
been very fortunate to have had a series of fantastic, supportive mentors
throughout my training. That includes my
current mentor, Dr. Camilla Forsberg. She provides me with a ton of support but
also allows me the independence and flexibility to be creative and enjoy my
science. I couldn’t ask for a better
What are your future
I hope to have my own lab one day soon.
What general advice
would you give a young person considering a career in science?
Find a research topic that matters to you! If you’re not
interested in your research topic, it’s going to be a very long haul. I have always been very excited about what
I’m doing, and when I wasn’t – I’ve switched fields!
What are the results
of a scientific career that makes it worthwhile and exciting?
I truly enjoy the daily intellectual challenge that a
scientific career brings. Being able to use my brain in new and exciting ways
every day is a real treat.
you introduced to ISEH?
I became introduced to ISEH when I first attended
the Vancouver meeting in 2011. I was new to the field and I submitted an
abstract and gave a short talk – I thought it was a great meeting.
What do you
find most valuable about ISEH?
ISEH is highly focused on reaching out to young
investigators. As a young investigator I have made a lot of connections with
more established investigators through ISEH, which I really appreciate.
Why do you
attend the ISEH Annual Scientific Meeting?
I really enjoy the scientific content, the format,
and the fact that there is ample opportunity for young investigators to present
their work. I also really like the people and the atmosphere – very collegial
and friendly. I have made a lot of good connections and I hope to continue
your favorite ISEH Annual Scientific Meeting memory?
The evening cruise through the Vancouver Bay in 2011