Spotlight on Alumi Carreers - Clement Chow

Clement Chow, Ph.D., Graduate 2008


Clement Chow (PhD, 2008) began as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Utah this fall. Clement’s thesis work (“Mutations in PI (3,5) P2 Signaling and Neurodegeneration in Mouse and Human”) was guided by Miriam Meisler, and published in Nature. His postdoctoral work was with Andy Clark and Mariana Wolfner at Cornell University, and it focused on quantifying male-female interactions in Drosophila. Clement cited his three advisors as his inspirations. “All three of my mentors are very different, but together they have inspired me in different ways,” Clement said. “One common way they have really inspired me is their ability to run with a question that is not immediately a ‘home run.’ In many cases, these new questions were unfamiliar to them, but almost always paid off.” Clement said he is driven to do research by the thrill of seeing a phenomenon that no one else has documented before. He also believes that research will eventually lead to applications that are useful for patients. “Some of the most motivating questions and moments are when we realize that our work might be useful to patients,” Clement said.

He did note that pursuing a career in academia is challenging, and recommended that students should explore their career options early, especially because a tenure track job is not the default choice for PhD degree holders. Clement emphasized taking advantage of the resources offered by professional organizations (e.g. ASHG), having backup plans, and “having fun” with whichever path they choose.