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Dr. GPCR Podcast

Self-Learning, Collaboration, and Delegation in Science with Dr. Badr Sokrat

About Dr. Badr Sokrat


"After completing my undergraduate studies with an internship in the laboratory of Dr. Christian Baron studying bacterial secretion systems, I joined the molecular pharmacology laboratory of Dr. Michel Bouvier at the University of Montreal. There, I completed a PhD in biochemistry exploring the non-canonical functions and possible novel mechanisms of regulation of β-arrestin following GPCR activation.


Among other projects, I studied the role of β-arrestin in G protein trafficking, the impact of GPCR ubiquitination on signaling and β-arrestin functions, and the characterization of novel β-arrestin interactors. At the end of 2023, I joined the research group of Dr. Nigel Bunnett at the NYU Pain Research Center as a postdoctoral researcher.


My current research focuses on investigating GPCR signaling and trafficking in the context of inflammation and chronic pain. I am particularly interested in spatial signaling bias or how GPCRs can redistribute to different subcellular compartments to trigger distinct signaling events."



Dr. Badr Sokrat on the web



 

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Quick Recap


Yamina and Badr discussed their backgrounds in science, their experiences in education, and the challenges of competition and mental health in their home province of Quebec. They also discussed Badr's career trajectory, the importance of self-learning, collaboration, and delegation in scientific research, and the need for a well-organized lab manager in their global scientific team. Lastly, they highlighted the challenges scientists face in academia and industry, the importance of projection and careful communication, and the potential for future collaboration.


Next Steps

  • Badr will continue focusing his research on GPCRs involved in pain and inflammation during his postdoc at NYU.

  • Yamina and Badr will create a virtual genealogical tree mapping the connections between researchers in the GPCR field.

  • Yamina will continue to develop and manage the Dr. GPCR University podcast, focusing on collaboration and learning opportunities for the GPCR community.

  • Yamina will balance her scientific work with personal interests and activities to maintain a healthy work-life balance.


Summary


Podcast Recording and Science Backgrounds

Yamina and Badr discussed recording their podcast with Samary Eye, who made a humorous error in transcribing "Edmond" as "agendie". They then shared their backgrounds and interests in science, with Badr recounting his journey from struggling with math in an engineering physics degree to excelling in biology and obtaining a Master’s degree in biochemistry. Badr worked in various science labs, including Dr. Christian Badr’s and Dr. Philip Woozab’s, focusing on bacterial secretion systems, GPCRs, and bioinformatics. Yamina, who also attended the University of Montreal, confirmed her interest in science and mentioned their shared passion for the subject.


Education, Competition, and Mental Health Discussion

Badr and Yamina shared their experiences about their education, with Yamina sharing her struggles during her first trimester in college and her eventual success due to the support of a theater group and a good teacher. They both discussed the intense competition in their home province, Quebec, and its impact on students' mental health and university admission prospects. They also talked about the negative aspects of this competition, such as students putting others down, and how it can be toxic. Lastly, Badr shared his transition into the field of GPCRs.. Badr recounted


Badr's Journey, Multiplexing Assays, and Collaboration

Badr shared his learning process and early tasks at Michelle’s lab, which involved creating stable cell lines and identifying potential protein interactions. He described a significant moment when he confirmed a previously uncertain interaction, underscoring the importance of confidence and motivation in scientific discoveries. Yamina emphasized the potential of multiplexing assays in expanding the scope of scientific exploration and finding new protein interactions. They also discussed the concept of serendipity in scientific research, illustrating with examples of Kathleen Curran and her father. Lastly, they concurred on the collaborative nature of the scientific community, where scientists build upon each other's work.


Badr's Postdoc Plans and GPCR Research

Yamina and Badr discussed Badr’s career trajectory and his decision to pursue a postdoc abroad after his PhD. Badr shared his passion for GPCR signalling and regulation, specifically in the context of pain and inflammation, and how his PhD research on non-canonical GPCR roles laid the foundation for his postdoc work. He also explained his strategy for finding a suitable postdoc lab, which involved reaching out to labs whose recent research aligned with his interests. Lastly, Badr emphasized the importance of choosing a city one would like to live in for several years when deciding on a postdoc position.


Badr’s Journey to Overcoming Confidence Fluctuations

Badr shared his journey of overcoming fluctuating confidence levels during his PhD journey, emphasizing the importance of viewing failures as valuable learning opportunities. He highlighted that he had to regain his confidence after a period of three failed experiments. Yamina expressed interest in understanding how Badr’s experiences influenced his current role, and Badr stressed the need for individuals to develop challenges outside of their work environment to foster greater confidence. Additionally, they both agreed on the importance of mentorship in building confidence, with Yamina sharing her positive experience of being advised by her supervisor, Nikolaos.


Self-Learning, Collaboration, and Delegation in Science

Badr and Yamina discussed the importance of self-learning and scientific confidence in managing projects and conducting experiments. They highlighted the significance of collaboration and delegation in scientific research, noting that knowing when to ask for help and when to delegate tasks can lead to more efficient and successful results. Yamina shared her experiences of starting a project independently and then delegating tasks, while Badr shared his plans for his current project, which involved learning certain techniques himself and delegating others to colleagues. They both agreed on the value of these strategies.


Yamina’s Podcast Journey and Career Advice

Yamina discussed how her podcast on chemokine ligands led to new collaborations and published work. She emphasized preparation and understanding guests’ backgrounds for engaging interviews. Yamina shared her experiences at Rockefeller, where she studied chemical receptors. She aims for Dr. GPCR to serve as a global hub for the GPCR community. Badr expressed interest in broadening his skills beyond the lab, such as project management and effective communication. Yamina advised him to consider career options after his postdoc and adapt to different systems. She highlighted the importance of learning behind-the-scenes skills and staying informed through resources like GPCR news.


Improving Scientific Communication and Support

Yamina and Badr discussed the need for a well-organized lab manager to facilitate communication within their global scientific team and ensure scientists could focus on their research. They identified the challenges scientists, particularly students and researchers, face, such as imposter syndrome, constant pressure from administrative tasks, and difficulties in maintaining a work-life balance. Yamina and Badr agreed on the importance of individuals struggling with imposter syndrome learning to set aside their fears and doubts to move forward. They also highlighted the benefits of maintaining a supportive network and engaging in non-lab activities for mental processing and relaxation.


Academia and Industry Strategies Discussed

Yamina and Badr discussed the challenges and strategies of a scientist in academia and industry. Yamina highlighted the need to project a certain presence and balance one’s actions against others in the field. She also mentioned the importance of careful communication, especially when working with a boss who has a different approach. Badr agreed to reach out for a future collaboration, and they discussed the possibility of meeting in Boston. Yamina committed to sending her contact details to Badr.

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