"Deciding to 'leave the bench' and basic research after committing many, many years to graduate school is not an easy thing to do," Katrina Yu begins her essay in the special November 1 issue of Molecular Biology of the Cell (MBoC). "There is real pressure from peers, principal investigators (PIs), even parents, to stick it out and follow a more established career path, either to academia or the biotech industry." But as Yu explains, midway through her PhD in cell biology, she realized that her work at the bench was "a labor of 'like'" but not a passion. What fired her interest was science communication and finding ways to counter "how science was frequently misrepresented in popular culture and the media." Yu details the path that led her from that epiphany to a museum career as a public microscopist at the Exploratium, San Francisco's pioneering hands-on science museum.
Yu's essay, "From Bench to Museum—An Unlikely Journey," is one of three special Perspectives in the Nov. 1 MBoC, looking at career choices in science. Josh Sandquist, Laura Romberg, and Paul Yancey explore "Life as a Professor at a Small Liberal Arts College," while Kari Doyle and Ron Vale look at "Creating Opportunities for Science PhDs to Pursue Careers in High School Education."
The Nov. 1 issue went online today. Also in the issue are essays by winners of the 2013 ASCB Awards. These Perspectives, award essays, and additional Perspectives on career choices for scientists will be collected and distributed in print (on paper!) at the Annual Meeting in New Orleans. The printed issue will also include the 2013 MBoC Paper of the Year, "Visualization of actin filaments and monomers in somatic cell nuclei" by Brittany J. Belin, Beth A. Cimini, Elizabeth H. Blackburn, and R. Dyche Mullins (reprinted from the April 1, 2013 issue).
The special issue is the work of MBoC Features Editors William Bement, Doug Kellogg, and Keith Kozminski under the leadership of MBoC Editor-in-Chief David Drubin.