Faculty Profile

Picking the MiNDS of our Faculty

Author: Roohie Sharma

  Dr. Laurie Doering, Ph.D.

    Professor, Pathology and Molecular Medicine (Anatomy Division), McMaster University

    Associate Member, McGill University

Having recently graduated several MiNDS students, the Brainwaves team picked the brain of Dr. Laurie Doering to get his insights on successfully completing a graduate degree.

What piqued your interest in studying FXS and autism?

            My involvement with FXS and autism stems from a successful grant application to the Fragile X Research Foundation of Canada to examine the efficacy of             adult stem cell transplants in the Fragile X mouse model.

What advice would you give to:

        a) Students at the beginning of their graduate careers?
            I tell graduate students to do at least one task each day, whether that be setting up an experiment, reading papers, analyzing data etc. – dont put things off             and say you will do it tomorrow. If you execute a thesis related activity each day with proper supervision you will graduate on time. Students must practice             patience; the data will come!

        b) Students nearing the end of their graduate careers?

            By the time students reach the end of their careers, not too much advice is required outside of thesis defence preparation.

You've recently graduated 2 Ph.D. students and a Masters student what do you think it requires of both students and their advisors to successfully complete their degrees?

            You have to eliminate any source of a problem early. It is important that both student and advisor are on the same page within reason in terms of goals and             expectations. While I let students develop their experimental plan with a good deal of independence, the overall thesis expands from ongoing experiments in             the lab. Integrating good organizational skills into all the activities of graduate school life pays great dividends. Progress checks and good communication             between the student and my open door policy works well.

As a supervisor in the MiNDS program, what qualities do you look for in graduate students? What do you think sets one student apart from the others? (For example, research experience, volunteer work, or a well-written personal statement?)

            I gauge students on the content of the initial e-mail communications and the level of maturity/confidence during the interview process. A concise, relevant             well-written statement of interest is a bonus quality. 

Thank you for your time Dr. Doering! Your expertise and advice are much appreciated by the MiNDS community!