Brady Receives Mentoring Award

Jeannine Brady, Ph.D.
Jeannine Brady, Ph.D.

Jeannine Brady, Ph.D., an associate professor of oral biology at the UF College of Dentistry, was one of four recipients of the 2008-2009 Doctoral Mentoring Award given at the Convocation of the University of Florida Colleges of Medicine & Dentistry Interdisciplinary Program in Biomedical Sciences.

The award recognizes excellence, innovation, and effectiveness in graduate student mentoring. Brady’s application was also selected or consideration among faculty from all college for the university-wide award. This years other recipients were Brian Cain (Biochemistry & Molecular Biology), Maurice Swanson (Molecular Genetics and Microbiology) and Margaret Wallace (Molecular Genetics & Microbiology).

“I am very honored to have been nominated and supported for this award by such high quality people who are and have been associated with my lab. It is heartwarming,” Brady said.

Brady described her mentoring style as “there is no one style. The only common denominators are to coax, cultivate, encourage, and reinforce with humor and optimism.  Each person I have mentored is so different, yet they are all so much the same.  Bright, hard working, self-motivated.”

The nomination was submitted by her current graduate students, Sarah Palmer, and supported by letters from former graduate students. Brady has worked with four students completing their Ph.D.s, three post-doctorate student, three post-baccalaureate students, and many undergraduate and dental students who worked on various research projects.

It is telling that the students Brady mentored all went on to achieve their career goals. Of her four doctoral students, one works in corporate management for a major pharmaceutical company, one is on faculty at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., and the third is a “CSI guy,” working in forensics for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The fourth is still with Brady, working on an academic post-doc.  Three students who worked on post-baccalaureate research with Brady all went on to complete medical school.

Her post-doctoral students have also achieved career success. One is on faculty at a school in his home country of Japan. One is currently a student at the UF College of Dentistry and plans to pursue academic dentistry. And another works for a biotechnology start-up company and is pursuing a master’s in entrepreneurship.

Brady’s Bits
Advice to her Students:

–Learn how to convey your results in a clear and concise manner.
–Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know.”  The best scientists not only know what they know, they know what they don’t know.
–Don’t be afraid to enlist the help of others, both within and outside of your discipline.
–Expand your horizons.  Read, relentlessly.  Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions in seminars, no matter who the speaker is.  You will not get the opportunity again.  Everything you learn will be useful.
–When it comes to the day-to-day grind of the bench, those eureka moments can be few and far between.
–If you’re not excited about coming in the morning get out now.  It should be fun.
–Work hard but take time away.  Some of your best ideas will come at surprising times when your brain relaxes, maybe even brushing your teeth or walking the dog.  –A Ph.D. is not a pre-conceived laundry list of experiments.  Like life, it is a fluid work in progress that adapts as you learn new things.
–Teach.  Give back.  Mentor each other.
–Be positive.  Even negative results tell you something.
–Just because something is in print doesn’t mean it’s true.
–Question dogma.
–Trust in your instincts.  Don’t follow rote protocols.
–In this day of kits, know how things work. 
–There’s no such thing as a dumb question.
–Mistakes are good, as long as you learn from them and don’t make them over and over again.
–Record keeping is a must.  You will be glad you wrote it down.
–Argue.  It is a good skill, and not an adversarial thing.