Each month, Look Who’s Talking features voices from across BWH answering the same question. This month, with the arrival of new interns, fellows, postdocs and other trainees approaching, BWHers offer advice to the next generation of researchers and clinicians. If you would like to add your voice to the conversation, please submit a comment at the bottom of the page.

Kristina Liu

“My advice to new trainees is to fully embrace this period of change. The amount of new knowledge to acquire may feel insurmountable at times. But if you approach this transition with a growth mindset – by that I mean, not being afraid to ask questions, allowing oneself to be vulnerable and open to help – the process becomes infinitely more fun.  A related point is to be more present in the experience of training.  Because of the structure of medical and scientific education, these parts of our careers – residency, fellowship or post-docs – can end up feeling like mere stepping stones, or parts of our academic lives to ‘get through’ until we start our real careers. What I only fully realized in hindsight is that residency was a unique and transformative experience that deserved savoring in its own right.”

-Kristina Liu, MD, MHS, director, Dermatology Simulation Education, Department of Dermatology


Francine Grodstein

“The best advice I could give anyone beginning their career in medical research is to stay persistent and keep an optimistic attitude. It is natural for your career to have some ups and some downs over time, and in the end, your resilience will keep you on course!”

-Francine Grodstein, ScD, epidemiologist, Department of Medicine


Hadi Shafiee


“First off, huge congratulations on joining a dynamic, fascinating environment with many talented individuals full of energy and excitement with whom you can potentially work and learn from. It is now up to you to fully embrace the fast-paced environment at BWH and the possibility to connect and team up with some of the best minds in clinical practice and research, not only within the hospital but also through other hospitals (MGH, Beth Israel, etc.), universities (MIT, Harvard, etc.), and industries (Novartis, Pfizer, etc.) in Boston. I admit that it was overwhelming for me when I joined BWH and know many others who shared the same experience, but without a doubt, I found the challenge to be invaluable and I am sure you will, too! You will come across great minds and people who have had incredible success, but never forget that greatness is not only for some of us, but exists within us all.”

-Hadi Shafiee, PhD, Division of Engineering in Medicine and Renal Division of Medicine


Po-Ru Loh

“BWH and the greater research community at Harvard Medical School and in Boston offer a wealth of potential collaborations with top-notch investigators, and you should capitalize on these opportunities. At the same time, you should be careful to focus your time on the work that matters most to you.”

-Po-Ru Loh, PhD, research fellow, Division of Genetics



Ulf Dettmer

“First of all: Welcome to all newcomers, short-term or long-term! My advice for summer students: Enjoy your summer in Boston and work hard towards a true accomplishment, e.g., solid data on an important scientific question; it will feel very rewarding. Fellows/postdocs: You may have to make important decisions, e.g., what scientific question do I want to work on? Think about it carefully, maybe during long walks when exploring Boston. You will find yourself in an exciting and inspiring new environment and you will have amazing new colleagues. Don’t hesitate to ask them for help getting settled and thrive in your new role here. You will also find plenty of resources at BWH for further growth as a researcher and/or clinician, such as career seminars, etc. Keep your eyes open (internet, posters, flyers…) and ask senior colleagues about it, too. When I was a postdoc here, I was a member of the Postdoc Leadership Council (PLC), which I enjoyed and found meaningful. Maybe you’d like to consider becoming a member, too!”

-Ulf Dettmer, PhD, Department of Neurology