CRS Alumni Spotlight on Noelle Ozimek
Noelle Ozimek is an alumna of the MS-RSM program, class of 2020. She completed the non-thesis track and conducted research with Dr. Pamela Monahan and Dr. Jessica Hornick. She currently works with the Men’s Health research team at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Name: Noelle Ozimek
MS-RSM Class of 2020
Project title: The Role of Condensin in Chromosomal Aneuploidy.
What is your connection to the CRS community (mentor and position) and what is your current position?
I was a graduate of the 2020 MS-RSM class. During my time at Northwestern, I worked with Dr. Monahan, Dr. Hornick and fellow student Jenna Mazur on a project aiming to learn more about the role that condensins, a group of proteins that organize chromosomes during cell division, have in determining the ploidy status of oocytes. This is important because aneuploid gametes often do not develop normally and therefore may underlie pregnancy loss and infertility. After graduating, I moved to Boston to work with the Men’s Health research team at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a Harvard affiliate.
Could you describe your current research/studies?
We are particularly interested in understanding how to administer testosterone safely to individuals with a wide variety of conditions, including those recovering from prostate cancer, and individuals with spinal cord injuries who may be helped by the ability of testosterone to reduce fatigue and increase muscle mass. However, our work is not limited to studying testosterone. We also run multiple studies which aim to better understand the role of cellular metabolism in COVID severity, and the therapeutic effects of supplementation with NAD+ precursors.
What aspect(s) of CRS did you find most valuable?
Its difficult to pinpoint what aspect of CRS I found most valuable. Receiving a specialized education on reproductive biology is rare, and undoubtedly helped me be a unique candidate during my job search. The dedication and support I received from my mentors challenged me to do my best and helped me realize my potential. While coming into the program, I didn’t have a strong interest in education, my time at Northwestern helped me realize how empowering education can be, and I hope I can give that back to my future students someday.
What has been the most valuable aspect to your training as a reproductive scientist in CRS?
The talks that CRS hosted and invited us to helped me learn about so many specialized areas of reproductive biology. Just being made aware of what different groups were studying opened the door to look into different topics, and helped me become more well rounded.
What would you recommend to junior scientists in order for them succeed in their scientific careers?
The piece of advice that I would share with junior scientist is to never stop looking for new opportunities and building new connections. One of my mentors at Northwestern put it perfectly when he challenged me to “find the people that will give you opportunities.” If you feel like you’re not getting the opportunities you want from the people around you, put yourself out there and extend your network until you find someone who can support you.
What do you think will be the next big contribution in the reproductive biology field?
I hope that we improve access oncofertility services! The field has made incredible strides over the past few years, and now that safe and effective procedures are available, I hope that these services spread to more areas.
Do you have any notable stories from your time in CRS?
For one of our classes we did acting exercises, including delivering monologues from some of the most famous movies that exist. I never thought that a masters in science program would help me improve my (non-existent) acting skills, but I guess so!