Ashby Morrison, Ph.D. Transcript

 

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Interview question for Dr. Morrison:
Why M. D. Anderson?

Dr. Morrison answers:
Well, first I wanted to do research that I enjoyed. I looked around at some cutting edge innovative cancer research institutions, and I really was intrigued by M. D. Anderson. I wanted to do good cancer research in a supportive environment, particularly supportive for trainees like postdocs, and I did find that at M. D. Anderson.

Interview question for Dr. Morrison:
Tell us about your work.

Dr. Morrison answers:
Okay, well I am working on a project investigating DNA repair mechanisms. DNA repair mechanisms of course, are altered in many cancer cells. So I’m looking to identify new players, specifically ones that interact with DNA, that are involved the protecting of the genome -- the integrity of the genome to prevent cancer.

Interview question for Dr. Morrison:
Why should someone consider a postdoc here?

Dr. Morrison answers:
I would say definitely consider M. D. Anderson. I think you’ll be surprised and pleased with the opportunities that are here. There are a lot of great labs and different locations -- there are some different research institutions in Texas. The one here in Houston is the main research facility and they have a lot of good labs here. There are a lot of urban environments so you have a lot of shops, restaurants and things. And, alternatively, I work in a more rural setting in Smithville, which is located in the State Park and it’s a very peaceful and calming, relaxing environment to work.

Interview question for Dr. Morrison:
Tell us more about Smithville.

Dr. Morrison answers:
Yeah. Smithville. It’s located outside of Austin. It’s about an hour’s drive outside of Austin, and it’s a growing research facility. There are I think, about 30 labs there. There is -- it’s mostly basic research using … model systems, cancer research systems and it’s located in Bastrop State Park -- right in the middle -- and it’s beautiful out there. And, it’s a very friendly sort of small town community within the research facility, and it’s definitely an alternative to consider to living in the city environment of Houston.

Interview question for Dr. Morrison:
Did you choose Smithville?

Dr. Morrison answers:
Well, I really wanted to just go to the best lab. That did happen to be in Smithville, and it was really a pleasant surprise, because the low cost of living in the area allowed me to do a lot more.  I was able to buy a house and you know, have less distractions from work, which makes it for a very productive time period.

Interview question for Dr. Morrison:
Tell us about your postdoc experience.

Dr. Morrison answers:
Yeah actually, my postdoc has been the most productive time I’ve had in my science career. I’ve got very high … publications -- I’ve been very fortunate -- and a lot of that has to do with the lab that I’m working in, in the field right now -- they are very receptive to new DNA repair projects, and DNA -- and investigative DNA repair mechanisms.

Interview question for Dr. Morrison:
Advantages at M. D. Anderson?

Dr. Morrison answers:
Well actually, one of the main reasons why I chose M. D. Anderson, and one of the special things about M. D. Anderson, is the availability of good internal funding opportunities -- particularly the Odyssey Program. So I applied for an Odyssey Fellowship -- I was awarded one, and really, that allowed me time to focus on my research. I didn’t have to spend a lot of time trying to secure money for my salary and my experiments, so I focused most of my time on my research and as a result I’ve accomplished a lot of my goals -- I’ve published a lot -- and I think that will help me in the future to become an independent researcher.