MDI Biological Laboratory

The Josephine A. Sollano Graduate Student Fellowship: Supporting Students and Advancing Scientific Discovery

  • April 14, 2020

“I wanted to do something to help our early-career faculty and at the same time support meaningful educational experiences for students…”

Jo Sollano, M.P.H, Dr.P.H

In 1995, Jo Sollano was a graduate student at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. “I remember working really long hours for very little pay and feeling tremendous pressure to succeed. But I also remember how much I loved the work and how inspired I was by my mentor. It was a defining experience,” said Sollano.

Today, Sollano, M.P.H., Dr.P.H., is a biopharmaceutical consultant and member of the MDI Biological Laboratory’s board of trustees.

“As someone who has spent my entire career in the healthcare sector, and as a patient who has benefited from cutting-edge medical advances, I know firsthand the importance of basic research,” said Sollano. “But I also know how challenging it can be to succeed in science today, and this is why I want to do all I can to provide faculty and students at MDIBL with the resources they need to be successful.”

Combining her passion for education with her dedication to the research programs at the MDI Biological Laboratory, Sollano has established the Josephine A. Sollano Graduate Student Fellowship to support outstanding graduate students working with MDI Biological Laboratory faculty.

“Graduate and postdoctoral students are the lifeblood of any research lab,” said Dustin Updike, Ph.D., assistant professor at the MDI Biological Laboratory. “They are highly skilled and serve as our partners in conducting experiments, in developing new ideas and knowledge and in mentoring other students in the lab. We rely heavily upon them to help us reach our research goals.”

“There is a lot of competition to attract outstanding students to work in the lab,” Updike continued. “The Sollano Fellowship will help us attract and retain the very best. Not only is it an important honor, it will allow the recipients to attend conferences or pursue experiments that otherwise would be cost-prohibitive.”

“I wanted to do something to help our early-career faculty and at the same time support meaningful educational experiences for students,” said Sollano. “Creating an endowed fellowship fund to support graduate students was the perfect solution.”

Jo’s passion for science education was clear to anyone who met her, and her legacy will live on through the Josephine A. Sollano Graduate Student Fellowship. 

Your contribution to her fellowship fund will not only honor her, but will help create the next generation of critical thinkers, problem solvers and science innovators. Thank you.