Students, fellows, and early career professionals all have the opportunity to engage with the endocrine community via the Endocrine Society. Dr. Aditi Bhargava, Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Center for the Neurobiology of Digestive Diseases, recently shared her perspective on engaging young people through mentoring and committee service. Bhargava, a dedicated mentor to students participating in the Society’s early career programs, currently serves as a member of the Research Aff airs Core Committee and previously served on the Minority Aff airs Committee (MAC).
How did you get started in The Endocrine Society and what advice do you have for young people wanting to get involved?
I got started by signing up to serve on the MAC at one of the Endocrine Society annual conferences. Instead of simply writing in my name, I specifi ed why I was particularly interested in being part of the MAC. The rest is history. I would strongly recommend that students and fellows interested in committee service talk with other members who serve on the committees and with the Society staff. Both can provide invaluable suggestions that can help you decide which committee might be the best fit for you.
What is your area of specialty and what initiated your interest in this area?
I specialize in the area of molecular neuroendocrinology. Molecular biology has always fascinated me, but understanding molecular mechanisms in the perspective of physiology is what makes molecular biology relevant. The work I started as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Drs. David Pearce and Mary Dallman at UCSF, that dealt with understanding the molecular actions of mineralocorticoid and glucocorticoid receptors in sodium homeostasis in the kidney and neuronal function in the brain, really caught my attention. It was fascinating to me as a molecular biologist, that acute activation of the stress hormones/ axis could have protective effect in the short-term, but can be pretty detrimental to the cell’s physiology in the long-term, if activated chronically.
What have been some of the most rewarding and challenging moments of your career?
Research is my passion, so every time an experiment works, and we prove our hypothesis, those moments are always rewarding. The most rewarding was receiving the Quest Diagnostic Award for my presentation at the Endocrine Society and the Young Investigator Award from the American Physiological Society. The most challenging moment was establishing myself as an independent investigator and fi nding adequate funding for research. Unfortunately, as an early-mid-career investigator, this challenge still remains.
What would you recommend to a student in search of a good mentor?
Talk to other mentees. Make sure that the mentor has the time for you and is willing to help. Sometimes, you may want to have more than one mentor—one for your career and the other for personal advancement.
What specific Society programs would you recommend for young endocrinologists?
Get involved with the Trainee and Career Development Core Committee and participate in trainee and early career programs, both during the annual meeting and throughout the year. The Early Investigator Workshop in the fall is a great program for early career investigators.
CONGRATULATIONS FLARE WINNERS
The Endocrine Society would like to congratulate the winners of the FLARE Internship and FLARE Mentoring Network Travel Awards. These awards recognize the early achievements of young endocrine students and fellows and provide resources to help them expand their leadership skills through a year of service on Society governance committees or personalized mentoring. To see a list of these future endocrine leaders, and to learn more about the program, please visit www.endo-society.org/FLARE.