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Meet Anna E Beaudin - New Investigator Award Winner 2013

Posted By Connections Editor, Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Updated: Monday, December 23, 2013

Anna E Beaudin
Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Biomolecular Engineering
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 the future.

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 research?

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 exciting?

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 contribute towards.

Who is your most influential senior investigator mentor and how did he or she help you?

I have 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 mentor.

What are your future career plans?

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.

How were 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 doing so.

What is your favorite ISEH Annual Scientific Meeting memory?

The evening cruise through the Vancouver Bay in 2011 was amazing.

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