In honor of National Postdoc Appreciation Week, all this week we’ll be sharing profiles of just a few of our amazing Mass General postdocs to highlight their research and what inspires them.
Our fourth and final featured postdoc this year is Amy Tsurumi, PhD, a research fellow in the Rahme Lab.
Where did you get your PhD from?
University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry
What questions are you asking in your current research? What do you hope to find out?
My research is elucidating epigenetic mechanisms of host susceptibility and response to infections using Drosophila, mice and tissue culture Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection models. I hope to identify specific histone post-translational modification marks and genomic loci that are relevant and explore the possibility of alleviating the negative impact of pathogenic encounters by reversing these epigenetic marks. Given the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria, developing host-targeted methods as an alternative approach may be significant. I also conduct epidemiological and biomarker studies for prediction of vulnerability to infections and infections-related outcomes in burn and trauma patient cohorts.
What drew you to this field?
My father was a physician-scientist with a microbiology research background and fascination in human genetics, so I grew up being curious about the field of biomedical sciences. As a graduate student, I learned about epigenetics for the first time and studied histone lysine demethylases, a relatively novel class of epigenetic regulators back then, which I found to be absolutely exciting. I was thrilled to join the Rahme lab where I was lucky to have been given the opportunity to continue to conduct epigenetics research that I am interested in, but shift from the context of Drosophila development to host-microbe interactions using a variety of model organisms and also incorporate patient cohort clinical research.
What is a typical day like for you?
It is difficult to define a “typical” day, which I actually enjoy. Most days, I spend the majority of the time running experiments on the bench or conducting patient data analyses. When there are grant/fellowship deadlines, I spend the day focusing on writing. I find myself to be extremely lucky that there are many different types of experimental methods I get to do and various model organisms available in the Rahme lab. The variety of techniques offered has given me an incredible learning experience thus far.
What do you like most about being a postdoc at MGH?
I am awed by the highly collaborative environment at MGH. The Rahme lab is diverse in terms of scientific background (and home countries!) and I am very thankful to my mentor for the excellent mentorship and also to other postdocs around me, especially labmates and floormates for the invaluable input and help I receive daily. I also feel fortunate to be part of collaborative projects with various PIs within MGH and around the globe, as well as the vast amount of resources offered by neighboring labs, MGH core facilities and other Harvard campuses. All the research that goes on every day at MGH is stimulating and my mentor and colleagues I have the opportunity to work with are inspiring.