Past Event

Chalk Talk Workshop

May 11, 2016
5:30 PM - 8:00 PM
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Hammer Health Sciences Building, LL204

Are you interested in pursuing a career in Academia? If so, you’ll need to prepare a chalk talk to outline and discuss the plan and goals for your new laboratory as part of the interviewing process. On May 11th, the Columbia University Postdoctoral Society will host a chalk talk career panel and workshop with professionals from different institutions who have experience in academic interviewing both as candidates and on the hiring side. Participants will have a chance to hear about best practices for a chalk talk from the panelists, and then work on their chalk talk outlines in small groups with feedback from the panelists. A networking reception with snacks and drinks will follow.

Line up:

Zoe Donaldson, Assistant Professor of MCDB and Psychology and Neuroscience, University of Colorado Boulder

Matthew Marcello, Assistant Professor of Biology, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, PACE University

Francesco Lotti, Assistant Professor of Pathology & Cell Biology, Columbia University


5:30-5:45 Introduction to chalk talks

5:45-6:45 Panel discussion

6:45-8 Workshop and reception

About the panelists:

ZOE DONALDSON, PhD, Assistant Professor of MCDB and Psychology and Neuroscience

Zoe Donaldson received her BS in Biology from UCLA, her PhD in Neuroscience from Emory University, and completed postdoctoral training at Columbia University. Dr. Donaldson’s lab studies the social and biological risk factors for depression. They take advantage of advanced transgenic techniques in mice to model human genetic variants that have been associated with depression and use partner separation in monogamous prairie voles to better understand this social risk factor for depression and other types of mental illness.

MATTHEW MARCELLO, PhD, Assistant Professor of Biology

Matthew R. Marcello is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at Pace University located in the Financial District of Manhattan.  Dr. Marcello received his B.S. in Molecular Biology and Microbiology from the University of Central Florida in 2003, and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2010.  Prior to joining the faculty at Pace, Dr. Marcello was an INSPIRE (IRACDA New Jersey/ New York for Science Partnerships in Research and Education) Postdoctoral Fellow at Rutgers University.  Dr. Marcello previously taught at CUNY-Medgar Evers College and the Sackler Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at NYU School of Medicine.

Dr. Marcello was named a National Academies Education Fellow in the Life Sciences for 2011-2012.  He has lead scientific teaching workshops at multiple institutions including New York Academy of Sciences, New York City College of Technology, and Rutgers University.

Dr. Marcello’s leads a group of undergraduate researchers at Pace University that focus is on understanding the molecular basis of sperm-egg interactions using C. elegans a model organism.  In recognition for his research accomplishments, the American Society of Andrology honored Dr. Marcello with the Outstanding Trainee Investigator Award in 2011.

FRANCESCO LOTTI, PhD, Assistant Professor of Pathology and Cell Biology.

Modeling human disease to understand pathological mechanisms has been the focal point of my scientific career. To date, I have studied the basic mechanisms that regulate eukaryotic gene expression and RNA metabolism, with a particular emphasis on target identification and design of therapeutic interventions to overcome dysfunctions in gene expression associated with disease. As a Ph.D. student, I focused on development and validation of gene therapy approaches to thalassemia, aiming to robustly express β-globin specifically in the erythroblastic progeny of human Hematopoietic Stem Cells. As a postdoc in Dr. Dreyfuss’ laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania, I used cellular and animal models of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) to investigate the consequence of SMN deficiency on pre-mRNA splicing. During my second postdoc in Dr. Pellizzoni’s laboratory at Columbia University, I identified downstream targets of SMN essential for motor circuit function, establishing a mechanistic basis for the neuronal selectivity of SMA. The long-term research goal of my laboratory is to understand the basic biology of RNA-protein homeostasis and how it relates to disease in general and neurodegeneration.


Attendance 45 people, 3 panelists from different academic institutions (research intensive, mixed and teaching intensive). Networking reception with food and beverages afterwards.