TL neuro

March 31, 2019

Taffe Laboratory 2.0

Filed under: Careerism, Lab Alumni — mtaffe @ 1:39 pm

Following 19 years of operation at The Scripps Research Institute, the Taffe Laboratory is moving to the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego, effective April 1, 2019.

I was first appointed Assistant Professor at TSRI in August of 2000.  I had been a postdoc at TSRI from December 1996 and my lab head departed the institute in early 2000, leaving me in charge. TSRI provided the opportunity for me to be promoted to faculty if I could get a major grant funded. My first NIH R01 was funded September 11, 200 and I have been running a laboratory ever since. In that time I have published 69 items indexed on PubMed, including a few datasets leftover from my postdoctoral work, a couple of commentaries and a couple of reviews. The laboratory survived a major change in research models somewhere around 2008 and has remained (touch wood) funded by the NIH. I am intensely grateful to the taxpayers of the United States for supporting our work over the years.

In February of 2019, I accepted the UCSD Chancellor’s offer of a Full Professor position in the Department of Psychiatry. This offer capped an 18 month recruiting effort spearheaded by the Chair and Vice-Chair for Research of the Department of Psychiatry. It required considerable effort on their part, was far more complicated than just the part that affects me and my laboratory and I am grateful that they sustained the effort. It has been…illuminating.

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My new work home

Today is my last formal day at TSRI and tomorrow I begin the next stage of my career as an academic scientist. This is a fantastic opportunity and will be a tremendous step for my Laboratory as it is now, and as it will be in the future. It is almost unbelievable that I have been able to avoid the nearly inevitably academic nomad requirement through two postdoctoral appointments, an initial faculty appointment and, now, the mid-career jump. This just does not happen in academic scientific careers.

As I said on a Facebook post, I am brought to this new opportunity by the contributions of everyone who has worked in my laboratory over the years.

The Taffe Lab has always been a group effort and I would never be in this position without the heroic work of my technical staff including Amber and Stef and Chris and Glen and PK and Yanabel and Kevin and of course (cue fanfare) Sophia. Simon was a great first postdoc to help a noob prof. Becky and Jerry and Michelle and Shawn and Jacques and Mehrak and Eric and Arnold have all built this Lab with their efforts. We would not have accomplished much without them.

For those less familiar with the academic career in science, my job will not change all that much. I am still expected to get extramural research grants, to generate data, publish papers and help to advance the careers of younger scientists. I will continue to have a heavy focus of my laboratory on the problems associated with recreational drugs, including opioids, stimulants and cannabis.

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