Interview with Julie Nardone

March 7, 2022
Yasmina Ibsen

Julie is a Principal Scientist at EMD Serono and a long-time Studylog user.

Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school?    

I am a life-long Bostonian and got my AB and Ph.D. at Harvard University.

What sparked your interest in Science?

I had very engaged science teachers in both middle and high school, and I found the subject interesting. When several family and friends were diagnosed with cancer, I became motivated to combine my interest with trying to prevent others from going through what they did.

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

My parents were wonderful role models and taught me to love learning, work hard and enjoy life. I had awesome mentors and role models in Patrick Hogan and Anjana Rao (both now at La Jolla Institute for Immunology), who showed me how world-class research is done.

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

Go for it! Even if you don’t land where you expect, you will learn how breathtakingly complex organisms are and get a chance to prevent, cure or mitigate serious diseases.

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

People, especially my family, are most important to me.

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

Abstract concepts (like “study management”) have always been difficult for me. I must spend a lot of time and effort in understanding what they mean in a concrete and practical way. I like to think that that has given me a useful perspective on the support that our scientists need when we ask them to change their ways of working, for example, from Excel to Studylog.

What did you think when you first saw Studylog?

I was delighted to see all of the dictionaries. It is so important to have controlled vocabularies for cell lines, animal strains, etc.

How has Studylog impacted you or your team?  

Our results in Studylog are well-organized. Scientists and group leaders can find data and generate reports quickly.

Has Studylog saved you time?

It is hard to estimate time savings. What Studylog has brought to our groups who were not previously using study management software is a safe, centralized, and standardized repository for data.

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

Excel is great—I use it every day—but it is not the place to keep animal studies. Take, for example, a study with 4 scientists running different tasks on it. How many copies of that Excel file are there? How are they kept in sync? Which one is the most complete version? How do you ensure that the measurements have been captured or copy/pasted correctly? There are so many things that could go wrong.

What is your favorite Studylog feature?

The reports and Prism tool are my favorites. They are user-friendly, fast ways to get data out in useful formats!

What do you do for fun outside of the lab?

Travel, books, movies.