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Claudia Averbuj

I have been here for two years. I finished my Ph.D. in Israel at Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology. I wanted to have the experience doing research in one of the most famous places in the world where the research is really [conducted] at a high level.

I came with my husband and two kids. We were at a hotel for seven days while we were trying to find an apartment. I started to work a few days after that. My husband came here and his company in Israel organized a job for him here.

My husband is American, so this job was also an opportunity to be in America and to know a different place. I wanted to see if this could be a country for us. And we like it here, so we’re planning to stay. I am now looking for a job. Biotechnology companies, probably.


Patrick Hildbrand

Before I came here, I was finishing my M.D. in Switzerland, at the University of Berne. During medical school I was always working in a lab, doing all these little things. My mentor back then knew my P.I. I met [Associate Professor] Dan [Salomon] once at a meeting, and we talked a little bit. I was always interested in science, especially in basic science. I think it’s important for an M.D. to have knowledge of basic science.

I’ve been here for two and a half years. I will stay here six more months and then do my internship and residency, then I will go back to academic research.

The last thing I remember about Switzerland is saying goodbye to my family at the airport and all that stuff. Hugs and kisses, see you soon, and take care. Father and mother telling me, "Look out that you eat regularly." But my wife was coming with me, so it was OK.

I like the weather and the beaches and the people here. Open minded. I like the mentality here. Everybody is working hard, but it also has this other side, this relaxed side. It’s really nice.


David A. Ellis

Before I came here, I did a Ph.D. with David Hart at Ohio State in synthetic organic chemistry. I wanted to broaden my scientific background a little bit. I’m really interested in rational drug design—chemistry with a medicinal spin—looking at the functionality of the molecule with regard to its biological activity and trying to understand the relationship between the two. [In other words], how its biological activity is derived through its functionality. Dr. Boger does that in his lab. I’m studying an analogue of an anti-tumor antibiotic.

I’ve been here a little over a year. I packed everything into a U-Haul and drove out here dragging my car behind. It was insane.

My plans are to go into industry. Big Pharma. I would prefer to go to a big pharmaceutical company rather than a start-up.


Thomas Paul Jahn

I came in April of last year. This is my second postdoc. I did one for three and a half years in Denmark. I met [Associate Professor] Jeff [Harper] in Copenhagen when he came to visit. He was the attraction for me, rather than Scripps. Eventually, I will go back to Europe, probably Denmark, to do research and teaching at a university.

The last thing I remember about Denmark is the rain. It was a rainy day. We got our heat shock in Texas-Houston-where we changed planes in the middle of the night.

My impression of the area of science here in the United States: everything is going pretty much into proteomics and high-throughput screening. That has been the most striking difference to me from Europe, where we are still used to working on particular problems on single proteins. Here everything is designed to immediately attack hundreds of proteins.


Felizabel Garcia

I completed my Ph.D. graduate work at Loma Linda University in the Center for Perinatal Biology, which focused on the fetal coronary vasculature. After finishing up a summer project there, I came to The Scripps Research Institute for my postdoctoral fellowship.

Two important factors that influenced my decision to choose Scripps were: 1) TSRI had a vascular biology department with prominent scientists and 2) my family and fiancée are here in San Diego. I looked on the web and saw the different descriptions of the science going on here at Scripps, and I knew I wanted to come here. I was particularly interested in the research in [Associate Professor] Lindsey Miles’ lab, which focused on the regulation of plasminogen, a key component of the fibrinolytic system. I've been at Scripps for 18 months and I enjoy working with my PI and mentor, Dr. Lindsey Miles.

Adrian Huber

I arrived last June. I was finishing my Ph.D. in Zurich at ETH. I was in the biology field as well. Phage display technology. Before that I was at the University of Zurich, where I finished my M.D. My childhood was in the Swiss countryside, in Lucerne.

People are more friendly here than in the bigger towns in Switzerland. Not the countryside—people are friendly there as well. Here people say, "Hello" wherever you go. And they probably don’t even want to know how you are doing, but they ask you at least. I like it very much here. Americans are more prudish than European people, but something like Mardi Gras you would never see in Europe. All the flashing.

The last thing I remember about Switzerland? I was in such a hurry. I should have told my boss my job here started one month earlier. I had to pack everything. We brought everything we didn’t take here to the grandparents. I got married one month before we left. I had to write my thesis and defend it that month. And I baptized my son two weeks before we left.

I wanted to go to a good protein engineering group. I had seen the papers of Dr. [Carlos] Barbas, and they looked pretty good. So I wrote Carlos about a position. There was some interest, and he wrote me back, "Just apply." Everything went very easily and very fast.


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