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Meet New Investigators Committee Member Isabel Beerman

Posted By connections editor, Friday, August 25, 2017

Isabel Beerman is a principle investigator at the National Institute on Aging – part of the U.S Department of Health & Human Services. Her work is focused on understanding the mechanisms driving age-associated loss of potential in aged stem cells. Isabel has degrees from both Harvard and Yale University and completed her post-doc under Dr. Derrick Rossi at Boston Children’s Hospital. Her areas of expertise are Hematopoietic Stem Cells, Aging, and Epigenetics.

Dr. Beerman currently serves as an active member of the New Investigators Committee and played an integral role in the planning of the Meet the Expert Mixer and the New Investigators Technology Workshop at the 46th Annual Scientific Meeting. She has been a member of ISEH for four years.

How did you find your way to the hematology and stem cells scientific field?

Although my PhD training was in Genetics, I heard a captivating talk about aging stem cells by a faculty candidate, Dr. Derrick Rossi, and was motivated to venture into HSC research. This was almost a return “home” scientifically for me, as I was introduced to hematopoietic stem cell biology while doing a high-school summer internship at the McLaughlin Research Institute.

And then how were you introduced to ISEH?

Studying HSC biology, I was introduced to ISEH initially through reading hematology publications in Experimental Hematology. The first annual meeting I attended was in Montreal, Canada.

How are you helping to mentor new investigators at your lab/facility?

As a junior PI, I am still able to spend significant time in the wet-lab space with my trainees. There is day to day mentoring, discussions on experimental design, troubleshooting, and thinking through future directions. Since the NIH is not an academic institute, we maintain connections with local universities where my group is invited to attend meetings and journal clubs. I support my trainees’ participation in international societies and encourage them to seek additional mentors (hopefully some within the ISEH community).

What do you find most valuable about ISEH?

The outreach by ISEH to its members, through the Connections Newsletter, the ISEH Blog, and social media postings provides relevant vignettes promoting hematology research and discussing career and life decisions. ISEH’s publications present findings pertinent to developing a strong hematopoietic research program. Additionally, interactions with the international leaders in the hematology field is of immeasurable value.

Why do you attend the ISEH Annual Scientific Meeting?

The Annual ISEH meeting is a forum for cutting-edge hematology research to be presented. It is an opportunity to meet with colleagues with similar interests to develop novel research ideas, new collaborations can be formed, and active discussions with both junior and senior members of the community occur. The meeting also places significant emphasis on mentoring new investigators. This has recently borne out by the addition of the “pre-meeting” for junior investigators providing a mechanism for trainees to get advice and feedback about their projects, presentations, and career goals from senior members of the society. This generates an environment which fosters networking with potential career-long colleagues. I am glad to be a part of an international society that recognizes the excellence of its outstanding senior members, but also promotes and supports its new investigators.

What is your favorite ISEH Annual Scientific Meeting memory?

At last year’s meeting, Dr. Hans Seiburg presented the New Investigator Award in honor of Dr. Christa Muller-Sieburg. While I did not have the opportunity to meet Dr. Muller-Sieburg, my first project in the HSC field involved characterizing the heterogeneity of the stem cell compartment- an avenue of research pioneered by Dr. Muller-Sieburg. I was fortunate to receive this award in 2015, and my outstanding colleague and friend Nina Cabezas-Wallscheid was last year’s award winner. We both had the chance to talk with Dr. Seiburg after the award ceremony and hear about Dr. Muller-Sieburg passion for science and life. Sharing his love and respect for Christa was very touching and made receiving the award more meaningful. I hope my research will reflect her passion and drive for moving the field forward.

 

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