Faculty conversations: Stephanie Watts
Stephanie Watts, a Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology professor and assistant dean in The Graduate School, is in her laboratory by 5 a.m.
Watts runs a major research lab and is also responsible for the university series in Responsible Conduct and Research, a workshop that offers information about research misconduct, conflict of interest, data management and other topics required both by law and by university policy for graduate students to learn about.
“What I always tell people is that kind of knowledge of doing the right thing in science is just as important as knowing how to use a pipette,” Watts said.
Watts is also involved in The Graduate School as a principal investigator of the Broadening Experiences in Scientific Training grant funded by the National Institutes of Health.
The BEST grant will allow Watts, co-P.I.s Karen Klomparens, Manoochehr Koochesfahani, John LePres, Julia McAnallen and Richard Schwartz and analytical specialist Kevin Ford to conduct an experiment to determine whether graduate students and postdoctoral scholars in the biomedical sciences program are prepared for careers that could take them outside of conventional academic research.
“There are only 17 programs across the country that will ever get this award,” Watts said. “All of the cohorts have been awarded, so MSU and The Graduate School have done something special.”
Watts said she misses being in the classroom, but enjoys teaching in her lab.
“Research can be scary, so if I’m there, I’m sort of their champion and she-leader to move forward,” Watts said.
Watts has never been rejected when asking for help, collaborators or ideas during her time at MSU.
“I think you’ll hear a lot of people say that the barriers for being able to work with one another are low, so that means you really have no excuse to go out and try some new ideas and reach out to your next door neighbor.”