#PostDocAppreciationWeek Feature: Elodie Labit

This week is #PostDocAppreciationWeek. Meet Elodie Labit, a post doc in Jeff Biernaskie lab, and also the winner of the GSA Research Excellence Award in 2021.

Hi, I am Elodie Labit, a post doc in Jeff Biernaskie lab.

How long you have been a postdoc? 

I started my post doc in March 2018, already!

How long have you been in Calgary?

I arrived in Calgary, 3 days before my starting date in the lab. Now that I am thinking about that, I think I was crazy to come to live in a place that I didn’t know at all, but by chance, it was one of the best choices of my life!

What was your path to being a postdoc?

In 2008, I started Cellular Biology and Physiology undergraduate studies at the University of Limoges (France). In 2012, I completed my Master degree in Pathophysiology of Metabolic and Cardiovascular Diseases at the Paul Sabatier Université, in Toulouse (France). Then, I completed a PhD in 4 years (it seems short but it is the rule in France, you should have completed your PhD in less than 4 years !!!) where I worked on adipose tissue metabolism and regeneration, at STROMALab (CNRS, Inserm). Because I encountered some difficulties to find a post doc (I only had one publication as first author, right at the end of my PhD), I decided to go to Madagascar for doing some volunteer, educational and scientific work on cetaceans for a Malagasy association (Cetamada). It was an incredible side volunteer project that gave me the opportunity to study the Humpback Whales of the Indian Ocean daily, during 4 months. Just before flying for Madagascar, Dr. Jeff Biernaskie believed in me (and in my light CV) and offered me a post doc position in his lab. After my 4 months of volunteering in Madagascar and having done some paperwork for entering in Canada, I finally joined the Biernaskie Lab in March 2018!

What does your day look like as a postdoc?

This will sound a bit like a cliché, but each day is different! The common daily things in my post doc day are: i) meeting with my supervisor, or collaborators, or students ii) spending some time to keep track about the new papers in my field of research and iii) spending time in the confocal microscope and being always amazed by tissue organization and regeneration. Apart from these daily tasks, my days are very different depending on my experiments: surgeries, scRNAseq, FACS, conferences, writing.

A photo by Elodie Labit

What do you enjoy the most being a postdoc?

Every day is different, there is no routine! I also enjoy the freedom that we have in post doc, or the freedom that Dr. Biernaskie gives us! Also, doing a post doc in Canada is an incredible opportunity. Indeed, here, the chance is given to everybody and the research funds are way greater than in Europe; you can do more experiments and there is room for having some “experimental mistakes”, as long as you learn from your mistakes, of course!

What advice do you have for graduate students who wish to be a postdoc in the future?

Be passionate, curious and a hard worker! Don’t be frustrated by experiments that don’t work and try again! Also, don’t be afraid to do “bad choices” because I think they don’t exist!

What hobbies do you enjoy besides being a postdoc/researcher?

There is a lot of “things” that I love outside the lab; first, my husband who is very comprehensive and supportive! In Calgary, we have an incredible chance to have the Rockies very close! I love to go to hike, to camp and do photography! I would love to have more time for reading but I always find the time for cooking!