IPN Alumni Profile: J. Andrew Dixon

To say I spent most of my masters in the microscope room would be an understatement. My research, under the guidance of the incredible Dr. Heidi McBride, involved looking at the cytoskeleton and cell biology of developing oligodendrocytes- the myelinating powerhouses of the CNS. My research was concerned with answering the question of how a mitochondrial and peroxisomal anchored protein is involved in the development of oligodendrocytes and myelination.

My work has implications for understanding white matter diseases such as multiple sclerosis and as such, led to incredible opportunities including the privilege of receiving the Grosjean EndMS Masters Studentship from the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada. This studentship afforded me the opportunity to participate in a nation-wide conference where patients, researchers and clinicians put our heads together to share experiences and insight in order to move the field forward. One of my most memorable experiences from the IPN was working with a fellow EndMS Studentship recipient – Diane Nakamura from the Tim Kennedy group. I learned valuable lessons such as failing forward while enjoying this fruitful collaboration.

When I wasn’t looking at slides in the microscope room, you could have found me in Thomson House. Interested in giving back to the graduate student community, I served as the Health Commissioner for PGSS for the 2016-2017 academic year. During this time, I gained valuable experience while negotiating insurance plans, advocating for students’ health needs and helping students navigate the health care system on and off campus. During my time working at PGSS I had the privilege of working alongside some of the most dedicated and hardworking people you could find.

One of the people I worked with at PGSS, a fellow IPN grad named Danielle Toccalino reached out to me for a chance to work at a start-up. For my next step after grad school, I was interested in an opportunity where I could have an impact in the world of medicine and work with a close-knit team where I could flex my leadership muscles. TrendMD fit the bill. I work with publishers around the world to accelerate medical research - one article recommendation at a time. My work involves building meaningful relationships and being able to communicate complicated technical lingo in a way that everyone can understand - all skills I developed during my time in the IPN.

Favorite:

IPN memory: Holiday party of 2015

IPN location: MNI Library – a hidden gem

Lab Technique : Fluorescence Microscopy