Trainee at GlycoNet: Ashley Brott

Posted: February 1, 2018

Where do you work, what is your position and who is your supervisor?

I am a PhD candidate at the University of Guelph working under the supervision of Dr. Anthony Clarke.

Which project do you work on?

I work on the Carbohydrate Acetylation in Pathogenesis Project, focusing on characterizing the inhibition of PatB, a peptidoglycan O-acetyltrasferase from Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

If you have previously attended the AGM/Symposium, what was your experience?

I have been lucky enough to attend the AGM/Symposium in both 2016 and 2017, and my experiences at these meetings have yet to be matched. They have by far been the most useful and enjoyable meetings I have been able to attend. As a trainee these meetings have allowed me the opportunity to network and discuss my research with fellow trainees and PIs who’s work closely relates to mine. The value in being able to brainstorm and learn from these individuals cannot be described. Extra value in these meetings also exists in the workshops that we have the opportunity to attend which cover a wide range of career topics that are not commonly stumbled upon in daily lab life. I consider myself very fortunate to have been able to attend and am looking forward to the meeting in 2018.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

After completing my PhD I hope to remain in the glycomics/enzymology fields by completing a Post Doc overseas.

What does glycomics mean to you?

To me glycomics is a way for me to pursue my passions. I am fascinated by biology, and in knowing that there are so many secrets to how systems work that have exited far longer than we’ve even been aware of them. The idea of uncovering these mysteries is thrilling and the opportunity for discovery by studying carbohydrate acting enzymes seems endless.

What is your favorite quote?

You’ve just got to focus on the moment. You can’t look at the outcome because it doesn’t work that way.” – Jennifer Jones (Olympic Gold Medalist, women’s curling). This has been my favourite quote for over a decade. I even have it posted on the wall beside my lab bench. It serves as a reminder that we shouldn’t let ourselves get overwhelmed by wondering if we are going to get that award or what papers we will publish. Instead we should break those larger goals down into smaller, manageable tasks, and by worrying about what we can do right now we will reach our larger goals.

Based on your experience what advice would you give to junior trainees?

Don’t be afraid to get out there! Networking can make people nervous but the more you do it the more natural it becomes. It’s a valuable skill and one that will bring great rewards within the GlycoNet community.

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