Dr. Sandra Schmid finishes her term on the Board of Scientific Advisors

June 2, 2022

Dr. Sandra Schmid has completed her service as a member of the Board of Scientific Advisors. Dr. Schmid recently became the Chief Scientific Officer at the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub after serving as Chairman of the Department of Cell Biology at UT Southwestern Medical Center, and as Professor and Chairman of the Department of Cell Biology at The Scripps Research Institute prior to that. She is a Member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Past President of the American Society for Cell Biology, and has received the Arthur Kornberg and Paul Berg Lifetime Achievement Award, the Sir Bernard Katz Award, and the William C. Rose Award.

Throughout her career Dr. Schmid and her lab have made substantial contributions to the understanding of endocytosis – the process by which cells internalize molecules in order to communicate with their environment and with surrounding cells. In addition, Dr. Schmid has a keen interest in the science of doing science; she has completed a Master’s of Science in Executive Leadership and frequently presents mentorship lectures and workshops to graduate students and postdocs on methods for making the most out of their training experience. Furthermore, Dr. Schmid is a Founding Member and co-author of the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA), which encourages researchers, funding agencies, institutions, and publishers to assess scientific research based on the scientific merit of individual articles rather than on the citation metrics of the journal that the article was published in.

Dr. Schmid draws on her experience visiting the Galapagos Islands as an analogy for how the requirements for succeeding in science change over time. “The flora and fauna varies immensely from island to island … consequently, the animals on each island have evolved to be ideally suited for their unique situations.” By analogy, Dr. Schmid suggests that JCC Fellows starting their own lab soon will face a unique environment and set of challenges compared to her experience. In this time of intensely competitive grant funding, new investigators will need to develop excellent communication skills in order to clearly articulate a vision of their science to a broad audience. Dr. Schmid encourages JCC Fellows to identify a big and important problem, and to dissect that big problem into smaller goals that are achievable in one to a few years.

Dr. Schmid’s longstanding commitment to mentorship and excellent science continues in her new role as the Chief Scientific Officer of the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub. She sees the Biohub as the future of science in terms of the encouragement for collaboration between interdisciplinary teams, the commitment to open science that is accessible to all, the connection building between adjacent institutes, and the longer-term and stable funding required for making progress on big scientific problems.

For further advice from Dr. Sandra Schmid see “Selective Pressures on the Evolving Scientist”.