​Spotlight Archives

February 2018 - Jeffrey Morton


Jeffrey Morton
Immunology, 2004; lab of Michael J. Holtzman

Attorney at Snell & Wilmer L.L.P.

What was your career path like after graduating from Washington University? 
Following my graduation from Washington University DBBS, I earned my law degree at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. After receiving my JD, I worked for two law firms in Vancouver where I began to focus my practice on biotechnology law. In 2014, I moved to Palo Alto to work for a large international law firm that focuses on biotechnology clients. In 2016, I joined Snell & Wilmer L.L.P., the largest law firm in the Southwest, where I work out of their Phoenix and Orange County offices. My practice at Snell & Wilmer is focused on patent counseling and licensing transactions for clients in the life sciences industry.

Why did you choose Washington University DBBS for your PhD training?
I chose Washington University DBBS because of their outstanding immunology program, world-class faculty and first-class facilities.

How did your time at WashU prepare you for your current career?
WashU has and continues to set the bar high in terms of what is expected from faculty and students. Working in that environment for ~5-6 years as a graduate student prepares you for working in other top-tier environments where there are high expectations to perform on complex scientific issues.

What are some of your favorite memories from your time at WashU? What was your favorite part about living in St. Louis?
Favorite memories include the usual cultural highlights of living in St. Louis: attending Cardinals games and spending time in the Central West End -- but at the end of the day, my favorite memories go back to the great people that I met during my 6 years in St. Louis, many of whom remain my closest friends.

What hobbies do you enjoy?
Traveling with my family, cycling and golfing.

Who is your biggest role model?
I do not have one main role model as I try to learn from everyone I interact with. That said, I feel extremely fortunate to have carried out my PhD work in the lab of Dr. Michael J. Holtzman. Michael is the Director of the Pulmonary Division at Washington University School of Medicine, and is not only a great scientist, physician, and administrator, but is also kind and patient which are important attributes to learn for any career, whether in academia or otherwise.

What advice would you give to both prospective and current graduate students?
I would advise prospective students to go to graduate school if they really have an interest in what they are researching. For current graduate students, I would not spend too much time worrying about the future as you will be just fine coming out of the Washington University DBBS program. I also think it is important to see that there are many extremely rewarding careers that can be pursued that do not require a post-doc. I would be happy to speak with any Washington University DBBS students who are considering a career in law after they complete their PhD.

January 2018 - Aparna Deora

​​Aparna Deora.jpgAparna Deora
(Molecular Genetics, 2000)
Lab of Dr. Lee Ratner
Senior Director leading Quality Control, Stability and Microbiology in BioTherapeutics Pharmaceutical Sciences at Pfizer

Honors and awards: Pfizer Individual Achievement Award (2005) 
What was your career path like after graduating from Washington University? After leaving Washington University, I moved to an industry position at Pharmacia. I worked in a discovery group that looked at Cox-2 inhibitors and cancer. The work included academic collaboration and was not totally unlike work I had in academia. I then shifted into drug development as Pfizer. I had the unique opportunity to be at the start, as Pfizer embarked on building a biological portfolio that has transitioned from a small molecule company to a company with biologics in development.  
My roles have changed over the past 15 years at Pfizer, and I have had the amazing opportunity to work on developing a range of therapeutic modalities from mAbs, vaccines, cell based therapies and gene therapy from early toxicology studies, through clinical development and even achieving a few successful commercial products.
Why did you choose Washington University DBBS for your PhD training?
In looking through the faculty profiles during the application process, I knew I would have an opportunity to choose to work in a great lab and have the opportunity to do some amazing research. I remember being very impressed by the faculty and students I met during the interview and that helped finalize the decision. 
How did your time at WashU prepare you for your current career?
WashU is wonderful training. I learned so much about how to do a "smart" experiment, think critically and perhaps most importantly how to communicate scientific research. It is also amazing to build a network of friends and scientists across the world. 
What are some of your favorite memories from your time at WashU? What was your favorite part about living in St. Louis?
The camaraderie in the lab and with my fellow students will never be forgotten. While not easy, it is a rare time when you can focus on science and be supported by all around you.
Amazingly, my classmates even have an annual "Wall Party" reunion held each year around the country. Great to catch up and see what is going on across with old friends.  
I still live in St. Louis and love it. It is a great city with a lot of cultural activities and good food. I love that there is so much free stuff to do like the zoo, Science Center, museums, concerts. etc. It was great to have so many options on the grad school stipend. 
What hobbies do you enjoy?
Travel, reading, cooking and yoga.
What is your favorite quote?
“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” - Eleanor Roosevelt 
What movie would be greatly improved if it were made into a musical?
Princess Bride would be a fun musical. I would love to see a horror musical as well, maybe The Exorcist?
Who is your biggest role model?
My parents. 
What advice would you give to both prospective and current graduate students?
Grad school isn't easy but it really is worth it. You will do some great science but perhaps more importantly you will learn about yourself, and it is an accomplishment you can be proud of achieving.  
Most importantly, don't forget to have fun!

2017 - Jennifer Lodge

Jennifer Lodge.jpgJennifer Lodge
Vice Chancellor for Research

Plant Biology, Ph.D. Received 1988
Thesis Advisor: Douglas E. Burg, PhD 


Jennifer K. Lodge, PhD (’88), associate dean for research and professor of molecular microbiology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has been appointed vice chancellor for research for the university. Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton; Larry J. Shapiro, MD, executive vice chancellor for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine; and H. Holden Thorp, PhD, provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs, made the announcement.
Lodge, whose appointment is effective July 1, succeeds Evan Kharasch, MD, PhD, the Russell D. and Mary B. Shelden Professor of Anesthesiology and professor of biochemistry and molecular biophysics. He is stepping down after serving in the role since 2009.
“We are extremely pleased that Professor Lodge has agreed to lend her considerable talents to this important role, and very grateful to Evan Kharasch for his years of distinguished service,” Wrighton said. “Our research enterprise is an integral part of the university’s mission, and I am confident that, under Jenny’s leadership, our ambitious goals in this critical area will be met and exceeded.”
Lodge will assume a dual role and continue as associate dean for research at the School of Medicine, a position to which she was appointed in 2009. Since then, she has coordinated efforts to advance research at the School of Medicine, with a particular focus on interdisciplinary projects involving multiple departments and core facilities that serve a wide variety of researchers. She has assisted faculty in identifying potential funding opportunities and maximizing the benefits of school-wide investments in research.
“Professor Lodge’s demonstrated success in leading sponsored research administration makes her exceptionally well-qualified for this position,” Thorp said. “Her passion and determination will be tremendous assets as we push to grow our research enterprise and translate the results of these efforts into benefits for society.”
“We are committed to pursuing research that will lead to innovative solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges,” Shapiro said. “Jenny Lodge has the vision, expertise and enthusiasm to help researchers at the university achieve these efforts.”
In her new role, Lodge will serve as an officer of Washington University and a member of the University Council. She will be the chief officer responsible for the university’s research mission, overseeing more than $600 million in annual sponsored research and managing the development of research policies, grants and contracts, and the continuing education of faculty and staff regarding research regulations.
Lodge previously served as associate dean for research and professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine; had postdoctoral fellowships at Monsanto Co. and Washington University; and served as a research assistant at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and at Harvard University. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio, and her doctorate in biomedical sciences from Washington University in 1988.
Lodge was named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2011 and a fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology in 2010. She has published more than 50 papers in peer-reviewed journals and holds a U.S. patent for virus-resistant potato plants. She continues to pursue NIH-funded research on mechanisms of fungal pathogenesis, anti-fungal drug discovery and vaccine development.

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