Stacie Bloom on Getting a Post Doc Lab Job Working for a Nobel Laureate Scientist

In Chapter 8 of 19 in her 2011 Capture Your Flag interview with host Erik Michielsen, Stacie Grossman Bloom answers "How Did Working for a Nobel Laureate at the Rockefeller University Shape Your Science Career?" After earning her PhD, she looks to return to New York City for her post doc. She applies to Rockefeller University and gets an opportunity to work for Paul Greengard, who goes on to win the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine five months later. The Rockefeller lab experience shows her the best of science and what is like to be in a world renown successful laboratory where funding is not an issue. Ultimately, she finds the lab environment was not for her and decides to choose something different.

Stacie Grossman Bloom is the Executive Director at the NYU Neuroscience Institute at NYU Langone Medical Center. Previously, she was VP and Scientific Director at the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS). She earned her PhD in Neurobiology and Cell Biology at Georgetown University and did a post-doctoral fellowship at Rockefeller University in New York City. She earned her BA in Chemistry and Psychology from the University of Delaware.


Erik Michielsen: How did working for a Nobel laureate at The Rockefeller University shape your science career?

Stacie Grossman Bloom: So, that was a pretty serendipitous event in my life. I knew I wanted to come back to New York City and I was applying to post doctoral positions in New York City and a friend of mine at the time who was in New York City said to me, “if you are going to go and do your post doc there, you should go to the best possible place you can go and that’s The Rockefeller University.” And, for people who are not familiar with it, The Rockefeller University is one of the most unique universities you will ever come across. It doesn’t have an undergraduate program; it has a graduate program and an MD-PhD program. It’s small, it has no departments, it has no silos, it’s unbelievably well funded, it’s an amazing intellectual place.

And I applied and got an interview in this guy, Paul Greengard’s, lab. I was interested in the stuff that he was doing. I went on my interview and gave my presentation, went out to dinner with him and got the offer, and five months later he won the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine. And, I never could’ve known that that was going to happen when I accepted my position in the lab. And I always joked with him that it’s good that I got in before he won the Nobel Prize because after he got it, the applications to the lab were skyrocketing and I always thought I would never get in and he always said, “yes, you would still get in, you would still get in.” But that experience showed me the best of science - what’s it like to be in one of the most world-renowned successful laboratories,  what’s it like to be a scientist in a lab where funding isn’t the biggest issue, like it is in most labs.

And for me, even in that environment, I knew I didn’t want to stay in the lab. The fact that I chose a different path, even though I was in this amazing environment was really emblematic of the fact that that environment wasn’t for me and I needed to get out of there and choose something different.