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Women in Science Day 2021 – Elisabeth Marnik and Juyoung Shim

  • February 11, 2021

To mark Women in Science Day on February 11, 2021, we’re sharing the stories of female scientists, past and present, at the MDI Biological Laboratory.

Elisabeth Marnik and Juyoung Shim: Training the Next Generation of Academic Researchers

MDI Biological Laboratory’s robust postdoctoral training program provides young scientists with the training they need to launch successful professional careers. We are proud that two of our most recent fellows have accepted faculty positions in Maine, expanding the state’s capacity for biomedical research, and fostering the next generation of scientists, physicians and entrepreneurs.

Top: Elisabeth Marnik, Ph.D. Bottom: Juyoung Shim, Ph.D.

Elisabeth Marnik, Ph.D., while training with Dustin Updike, associate professor at the MDI Biological Laboratory, focused on understanding the factors that allow germ cells (cells that make up sperm and eggs) to turn into all other cell types. Studying C. elegans, a microscopic roundworm, Marnik is particularly interested in understanding how these factors, when misexpressed, contribute to the formation of cancer.

A first-generation college student, Marnik credits her undergraduate mentors with giving her the support and encouragement she needed to graduate and ultimately pursue her Ph.D. Inspired by their example, Marnik’s goal has been to pursue a faculty position at a primarily under- graduate institution where she could provide the same kind of mentorship to the next generation of scientists.

In August 2020, she accepted a position as an assistant professor in molecular biochemistry at Husson University in Bangor, Maine. She plans to continue her research with C. elegans, using it as a platform to provide hands-on research experiences for her students.

Juyoung Shim, Ph.D. completed her post-doctoral training with Dr. Aric Rogers, assistant professor at the MDI Biological Laboratory, while studying the role of dietary restriction on gene regulation and lifespan extension in C. elegans.

Arriving in Presque Isle, Maine as an international student in 1994, Shim has completed all stages of her education within the state, earning her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Maine in 2018.

In September 2019, Shim accepted an assistant professorship in the biology department at the University of Maine at Augusta. She hopes to expand her understanding of aging biology and toxicology, both of which she studied while at MDI Biological Laboratory. Her work seeks to understand how adaptive responses and associated gene regulation maintain healthy tissue function.

Congratulations to Marnik and Shim as they take these important steps in their professional careers and help strengthen Maine’s research capacity.