Dr. Nels Elde joins the Board of Scientific Advisors

June 2, 2022

Dr. Nels Elde has joined the Board of Scientific Advisors. Dr. Elde is an Associate Professor and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator in the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Utah. In addition, Dr. Elde is a MacArthur Foundation Fellow and was previously a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Investigator, Kavli Foundation Fellow, and a Pew Scholar.

The Elde Lab examines evolutionary and selective forces on cellular processes by observing ongoing molecular “arms races” between infectious microbes and their hosts. Dr. Elde views the process of science, including the personal growth and career development of trainees, as being just as important as the end results and scientific insights that are generated through this process.  He recalls the feeling of “growing a couple of inches” as a scientist and as a person while putting together a successful postdoc fellowship proposal. Dr. Elde looks forward to being a part of this growth process for future JCC fellows and sees the personal interview process at JCC as a unique and powerful way to establish connections between JCC Fellows and Board Members.

Dr. Elde encourages JCC fellows to be mindful of the process of doing science, and suggests that it is the responsibility of all to “widen the circle” of people doing science so that scientists will be representative of the broader population as a whole. Thus, he encourages JCC fellows to invite and to delight in doing science with people who have been historically marginalized from scientific spaces.

In addition to his more traditional academic activities, Dr. Elde cohosts the podcast “This Week in Evolution” (TWiEVO), which he describes as an experiment in talking about science to bigger and broader audiences. Dr. Elde credits hosting this podcast with helping him stay up to date on the latest science and increasing his confidence with broader areas of science outside of his own expertise – two areas in which he sees clear parallels to his work as a JCC Board Member.