Olaf Bodamer, MD, PhD

Haig Kazazian, Jr., MD

Professor of Human Genetics
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

ASHG: What academic or extracurricular activities were you involved in during your training that helped you stand out among your peers?

Dr. Kazazian: I did a genetics fellowship with Barton Childs at Hopkins, but at that time much of the fellowship was spent taking basic genetics and biology course at the JHU undergrad campus. This coursework was excellent. After 19 months of fellowship, I was fortunate to become a staff associate with Harvey Itano at NIH. Both the fellowship and NIH experiences helped to make me a marketable researcher for a clinical department.

ASHG: If you could go back to when you were a trainee, what is one piece of advice you would give yourself for your current career?

Dr. Kazazian: Keep doing exactly what you are doing and keep attending seminars and journal clubs to make your research interests as broad as possible. Keep learning to do science with as much independence as possible while at the same time discussing your work with many colleagues at all stages of training.

ASHG: Can you describe your transition from trainee to working professional? How did you land your first “real” job?

Dr. Kazazian: After four years of training in molecular biology and genetics, I had published four good papers and I was ready to take a position in a pediatrics department. I spoke about a job with the Chairs at Pittsburgh and UCSF, but I wanted to return to Hopkins and got an offer from Bob Cooke, the Chair, to run a lab in the new Children's Medical and Surgical Center. However, I decided to put off that offer for one year and take a third year of pediatric residency in case I could not sustain a career in genetics research.

Want more interviews? Join the ASHG Trainee Forum (Facebook/LinkedIn) to keep up with new ones!