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Krista Bledsoe, Ph.D. (BMB ’14), is a scientific editor of two journals. She completed a Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology at Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Science but determined early on that bench work wasn’t going to be her career. It was too narrowly focused and moved too slowly. She likes the fast pace of publishing and the conversations she has with authors — both seasoned experts and newbies alike. “We tell younger investigators that we’re happy to talk to them about whether their paper might be appropriate for one of our journals and help with a plan for revisions and reviewer comments. It’s very much a collaborative effort.”
“I’m involved in the Association for Women in Science and am treasurer of the Massachusetts chapter. I’ve found good mentoring in the organization. It’s easy to become insular when you network only with people you work with — people who do the same thing you do. It’s refreshing to interact with people who have similar training but different jobs — entrepreneurs, consulting, industry, academic science, business.”
I went to a performing arts high school and planned to be a ballet dancer. Then I had an injury. In college I started as a double major in dance and biology and thought I’d go into dance physical therapy. I worked in a lab, became interested in research and decided to pursue my Ph.D.
I participated in the SURF (Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship) at Mayo Clinic and worked in the lab of Fergus Couch, Ph.D. (PATH ’97, chair, Division of Experimental Pathology and Laboratory Medicine). I liked Mayo enough to apply for graduate school.
I had a great experience at Mayo Clinic. Although I worked in basic science, I enjoyed seeing how my research could eventually translate into patient care.
When I was at Mayo Clinic, I attended a seminar featuring an editor of Nature Medicine. I liked to read, write and think more broadly about science. I got the idea to become an editor from that speaker — Randy Levinson, who’s now a scientific editor at Cell Metabolism. I already knew I didn’t want to stay in bench work.
After graduate school at Mayo Clinic, I completed a yearlong postdoctoral fellowship at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, investigating BET inhibitors for the treatment of Ewing’s sarcoma.
After my fellowship, I did some freelance editing and writing. My first experience in publishing was in the University of Pennsylvania’s Postdoctoral Editors Association. I proofread and edited grants, abstracts and manuscripts of faculty, students and postdoctoral students. Then, I became a science writer for Cancer Discovery, a publication of the American Association for Cancer Research.
For more than a year, I’ve been a scientific editor for Cancer Cell, which is a monthly publication, and Molecular Cell, which is published twice a month. I handle more than 300 manuscripts per year, make the initial decisions about them, select reviewers and oversee the review process. I attend scientific meetings to recruit papers, meet potential authors and reviewers, and observe trends in the field. I also manage the Twitter accounts for both journals.
I like the fast pace of being an editor and talking to experts who are excited about science.
I need a Ph.D. and strong scientific background for my job. The journal clubs, seminars and grand rounds on a variety of topics at Mayo helped prepare me.
I’m an assistant editor, and I’d like to continue to advance to associate editor, senior editor, deputy editor and, eventually, editor-in-chief of a high-impact journal.
Think about different career paths. Don’t hesitate to take advantage of opportunities even if they’re only tangentially related to your research. I joined a postdoctoral editors association and the Association for Women in Science. Being involved in those groups didn’t directly advance my research, but I knew the others involved could help me. Don’t do only what is immediately beneficial to your career.
I swim laps before work. I love going to dance performances and touring Broadway shows. I like to hike and travel. I’m going to Alaska in May.
I’m involved in the Association for Women in Science and am treasurer of the Massachusetts chapter. I’ve found good mentoring in the organization. It’s easy to become insular when you network only with people you work with — people who do the same thing you do. It’s refreshing to interact with people who have similar training but different jobs — entrepreneurs, consulting, industry, academic science, business.
See past New Chapter stories here.