Meet Postdoc Jessica Carriere, PhD
Meet Our Postdocs is an occasional series featuring our postdoc students
Jessica Carriere, PhD, is a postdoc in the laboratory of Christian Stehlik, PhD, MS, and Andrea Dorfleutner, PhD, MS, professors of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Cedars-Sinai. Carriere, who was previously a fellow at Cedars-Sinai, investigates inflammasome signaling and its regulation in the context of inflammatory diseases.
Last year, Carriere won first place in the art-in-research contest during National Postdoc Appreciation Week. Her image showed the activation of inflammation in immune cells.
Here, we learn more about some of Carriere’s greatest scientific achievements and challenges.
What inspired you to become a scientist?
I originally wanted to work in forensics when I was kid and even started studying for it. But during my undergrad studies, I had the chance to follow a very thorough and intense training in a variety of research fields, such as microbiology, chemistry, immunology, etc. Then, I was introduced to research through an invitation for my fellowship and deeply enjoyed it, specifically the investigative and troubleshooting part of it.
What has been your greatest scientific achievement in your career so far?
So far, I would say my biggest scientific achievement is one of the projects I worked on during my PhD. It was on a very new topic for me, and I had the opportunity to start it from scratch in the laboratory. Although taking on this task as new PhD student was challenging, it led to one of the earliest publications on the role of exosomes in the context of Crohn’s disease.
What has been your greatest challenge?
The biggest and the hardest challenge of my life and career was losing my PhD mentor during my second year. She was a great role model and one of the first women to really succeed in research in France. She made significant discoveries in our field: Her lab identified and characterized species of pathogenic E. coli bacteria colonizing Crohn’s disease patients. Sadly, she was diagnosed with cancer and passed away a year later.
Thankfully, my next mentor was a wonderful scientist who helped me get through these difficult times and provided me with the best training any PhD student could wish for.
What has been your favorite discovery in science?
There have been many great discoveries, but if I had to choose one, it would be that of Bruce Beutler and Jules Hoffman, who were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2011. Their discoveries concerning the activation of innate immunity through the activation of Toll-like receptors is of utmost importance to immunology.
What are your hobbies outside of the lab?
I enjoy working out, traveling and exploring this beautiful country, cooking, playing the guitar, and drawing portraits.
If it wasn’t for science, what else would you see yourself doing?
Well, I always wanted to work in science, whether it was in forensics, astronomy or volcanology. But I guess if I were to do anything else, I would open a French bakery or restaurant.
How do you want to change the world?
I’ve always been interested in studying host-pathogen interactions and inflammatory reactions in multiple human diseases. As much as I love and enjoy working in fundamental research, I would love for my work to lead to the development of therapeutics that ultimately benefit patients one day.