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Dr. Eric Jones receives 2020 Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship
I am a physicist that enjoys studying ecological systems. Specifically, I am interested in how the composition of the gut microbiome can be controlled, and I approach this question using models from theoretical ecology in conjunction with novel dimensionality-reduction tools.
I grew up in Colorado, and went to the Colorado School of Mines for my undergraduate degrees in engineering physics and computational and applied mathematics. Then, I moved to California to receive a PhD in physics from UC Santa Barbara, where I worked with Jean Carlson in the Complex Systems group. Once I arrived at UCSB I immediately approached and was welcomed by the theoretical ecology community. While at UCSB I also studied pedagogy, teaching an upper-division physics course as instructor of record and receiving a Certificate in College and University Teaching. I enjoy skiing, through-hiking, playing music, and reading.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RESEARCH TO A FAMILY MEMBER?
Everyone has a gut microbiome, full of trillions of microbes, that influences our health. One person’s microbiome might give them a stomach ache, while another person’s might help them metabolize food more efficiently. I want to figure out how “medicine for the microbiome” works-- how can a sick person’s microbiome be made “healthy”? Specifically, I am interested in how external interventions (e.g. fecal microbiota transplantation, probiotics, or a modified diet) influence microbiome composition.
WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR RESEARCH AT SFU?
I am not yet at SFU, but I expect I will very much enjoy being near so many ski areas. I am also excited to interact with other biophysics faculty, the rest of the Sivak group, and other postdoctoral researchers.
HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR FUNDED AWARDS?
As a graduate student I received the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, which provided funding for three years of my PhD. This award enabled me to spend more time focused on outreach and mentorship at UCSB (I also took several quarters of Russian). My postdoctoral research is supported by a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship (2 years) and a PIMS Postdoctoral Fellowship (1 year). These fellowships will enable me to focus entirely on research without needing to worry about funding, and I look forward to the productivity this will enable.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR POSTDOC POSITION TO SOMEONE STILL SEARCHING FOR A POSTDOC POSITION?
I am an external postdoctoral scholar at SFU, supported by fellowships from national agencies. I applied for these fellowships using a research proposal I wrote with my postdoctoral supervisor David Sivak. Fellowship funding is nice, since it allows you to have more agency over your research project.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR PROSPECTIVE GRADUATE STUDENTS/POSTDOCTORAL FELLOWS?
Apply for things early and often, since deadlines come up fast. The more times you apply for things, the more polished your statements will become. Use your existing network to find supervisors that might be a good fit-- I only met David because we were introduced by a mutual colleague.
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE?
I’m very excited to join the SFU community this Fall!
LINKS TO PUBLICATIONS/AWARDS:
Contact Eric: firstname.lastname@example.org