Trainee at GlycoNet: Jil Busmann

Posted: March 19, 2021

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

I am currently a PhD student in Dr. Vocadlo’s laboratory, studying molecular biology and biochemistry at Simon Fraser University (SFU).

Tell me about the project you’re working on.

For my main project I am working on identifying protein interactors of O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT). No one really knows yet how this enzyme is regulated and how it selects its protein substrates from a huge pool of hundreds of proteins. This makes working on this project exciting. To investigate protein interactors, I take a mass spectrometry-based approach.

Other than glycomics, what areas of research do you think is important in advancing healthcare?

I think it will be key to conduct research that promotes equal access to healthcare to everyone independent of ethnicity, age, and gender. In addition, I believe that research focusing on social factors that influence overall well-being in the population as for example child neglect will make considerate headway in advancing healthcare.

Tell us a “Eureka!” moment in the lab.

I didn’t have a proper “Eureka” moment yet but finding conditions that allowed my western blots to start looking good were quite “Eureka-like”!

Use one word to describe a main take-away from the GlycoNet Symposium and/or the Webinar Series.

Networking – some events offer great opportunities of networking, even if you just catch up with colleagues you haven’t seen in a long time through the private zoom chat.

What do you do when you are not in the lab?

I like to go skiing in the winter, biking in the summer, and doing yoga all year around.

How do you fight procrastination and stress?

I sit down and ask myself what emotion or thought makes me want to procrastinate. Once identified, procrastination and stress are easier to handle. 

If you had to choose a completely different career path, what would it be?

Professional volleyball player!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I would love to stay in academia.

About Jil

Jil did her honours thesis back in Germany with Dr. Christoph Rademacher at the MPICI. She then started her grad studies in Dr. Vocadlo’s laboratory in Vancouver after finishing a summer internship in Dr. Fraser Hof’s laboratory in Victoria, BC. Jil is the vice-chair of the Women in Chemistry (WIC) group at SFU and is the co-coordinator of the Vancouver chapter of the Canadian Association for Girls in Science (CAGIS).

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