Interview with Julie Janes

July 20, 2023
Yasmina Ibsen

Julie is an in vivo Pharmacology Scientist and an experienced Studylog user.

Where did you grow up?

I grew up in a rural Northern California town, Red Bluff. It was rare for people in my small town to attend college, but my mom strongly encouraged me to attend and make something of myself and have a successful career. I liked the idea of learning more and continuing my education.  

Where did you go to school?  

For my bachelor’s degree, I attended Whittier College, a small liberal arts college in Whittier, CA. I knew exactly what I wanted my Major to be; Biology Pre-Med with a Minor in Anthropology. I continued with my Master in Science at CSU, Chico in Biological Sciences, and that's where I discovered working with rodents. I loved my thesis project investigating the hippocampal synapses of rats after a stereotaxic surgical model for Alzheimer's Disease using the Transmission Electron Microscope. I was so excited to find out I could get a job after school doing the kind of work I was doing for my MS studies, and get paid to do it!  

What sparked your interest in science? 

I have always been curious about how things work and that includes biological systems including plants and animals. I couldn't wait to open a fish when I went fishing with my Dad as a kid and looked inside the stomach to investigate the contents to see what it had been eating. In high school, my favorite class was Biology; I liked it and was good at it so I knew exactly what I wanted to study in college.  

Did you have any specific role models? If so, who were they? 

My most influential role models have been my family members. My Nana (age 96), my mom, and my dad have always encouraged me to keep going, keep achieving and stay grounded in what is really important, being happy in life and enjoying it while being successful. Life is so short, we need to enjoy our time.  

What would you say to a young person considering a career in science?

If you are excited about science, curious, and passionate about learning then you should find your niche by doing something you like to do.  You'll need to try many things in science to get your niche figured out; but if you are curious and willing to try, you'll find your passion. It is the only way to really enjoy your career and celebrate your success fully.  

What is important to you personally? I.e.what things do you value most in life?  

I value spending time doing the things I love to do. I love animals and working with them but I also have several pets at home and relish the time I get to spend with my dog, cats and chickens.  

What are some of the challenges you have faced either in your career or personally that you feel have helped you become the successful scientist and person you are? 

Challenges are hard to face when you're in the midst of it. By persevering and thinking about solutions or seeking alternative viewpoints one can use the challenge to grow and become more confident in your abilities to overcome. My career has been challenged most often by job loss, more than four lay-offs in a 5-7 years. I see it as a step toward success or a conduit to find new abilities and talents I might discover.  Not every lay-off was this way, but more than once I have worked myself out of a job.  Because I work in drug discovery, I work with newly created compounds or treatments for disease. I get to know the result in the animal models prior to anyone else. It's exciting to be the first to know if it worked, if there was efficacy? Through the success of my work in the animal models, the compound will move on to the clinic when it proves to have the desired effect (efficacy), PK, tox profile, etc. Since I've worked at mainly smaller companies, when the compound moves along in the drug development process, so does the money, thereby my position is eliminated or no longer needed. I use these challenges as a stepping stone to move on to something else or develop new skills and meet new people.    

How has Studylog impacted you or your team?  

I was introduced to Studylog by a previous supervisor. I was resistant at first to using it. It's hard for me to change my previous ways of working, but because there was effective help and training (from Studylog) to learn the program and find out about all of the capabilities it has, my acceptance and use dramatically increased. I like using the program and have used it with small teams (1 person) and larger teams (10+). It improves the ability to capture data, share the data and quickly see the data in a graphed format. I also like the tracking of the program to see which team member did what and exactly at what time. The ease of creating a study once a template study is created actually speeds up the study completion but keeps the details and data accurate.  

Has Studylog saved you time, and if so, can you estimate how much?  

Studylog saves scientists time upfront (study commencement) but also in the back-end when analyzing the data or writing a study report. Because Studylog captures all the details and processes, the information from the study is easily attained by those that did not complete the study but can ascertain the process and procedures to run the study by reading through the studylog reports.  I cannot calculate the time saved; it's immeasurable.    

What would you say to people who prefer to use Excel because it is free?

Imagine the dataset as an iceberg. The visible tip of the iceberg is data that can be captured by using Excel, what lies below the water line and is 100 times bigger than what is seen above the water is data that is captured by Studylog. As a scientist, I prefer to capture a full dataset. I want to see the whole iceberg in one shot.  

What is your favorite Studylog feature?

I really appreciate the ability of Studylog to follow one animal ID from study to study.  Because science is unpredictable and there are always new questions, one must be able to pivot on a dime and go with the flow. Therefore, I might have captured data from animals in one study but they need to be moved to a new study. I can move the animals into the new study and their old data stays with them, it is not lost and can be repurposed. I like that flexibility and ability to keep the dataset together and accurate.  

What do you do for fun when you’re not in the lab? 

When I am working and in the vivarium doing research I hardly get to look out a window or even know what the weather is doing that day, because I can't see it and can't experience it. Therefore, when I am not at work I like to be outside going fishing, taking my teardrop trailer for a camping trip or paddle boarding with my dog and friends in Half Moon Bay or a lake.  

Julie is currently open to new employment opportunities. Please connect with her on Linkedin.