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CRS Scientist Spotlight on Dr. Jessica Hornick

My advice to junior scientists is to spend some time considering what it is they love most about science and then figure out a way to get a job doing that thing.”

Jessica Hornick, PhD

Dr. Jessica Hornick, PhD is an Research Associate Professor and the Operations Director for the Biological Imaging Facility (BIF) on the Northwestern Evanston campus. She joined the CRS community in 2009 as a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Teresa Woodruff's laboratory and is heavily involved in CRS and MS-RSM activities and take time to mentors CRS trainees.


What brought you to join the CRS community and what is your current position? 

I joined the CRS community as a postdoctoral scholar in Teresa Woodruff’s lab. I spent 5 years as a postdoc before moving into the Biological imaging Facility in Evanston as a Confocal Specialist. In 2016, I was promoted to the facility manager and a Research Assistant Professor. I am currently the Operations Director for the Biological Imaging Facility and a Research Associate Professor.   

Could you describe your research? 

Currently, I do not run my own research program but rather, I support the research of my colleagues at Northwestern in a variety of ways. As the facility director, I train users on the microscopes and provide consultations on sample preparation, image acquisition and imaging data analysis. Additionally, I consult with colleagues on grant writing and manuscript preparation. I also have the good fortune to put my reproductive biology experience to good use collaboration with CRS co-Director, Francesca Duncan 

What aspect(s) of CRS do you find most valuable?  

I really appreciate the community that CRS provides. Since I no longer run my own research projects, I love being connected to current research through CRS members and the research projects that the MSRSM students are involved in.  

What has been the most valuable aspect to your training as a reproductive scientist? 

Working in a lab with many different levels of scientists was a really great experience. It enabled me to see the many ways of progressing through a scientific career and see the many possible careers that people could end up in.  

What would you recommend to junior scientists in order for them succeed in their scientific careers?  

My advice to junior scientists is to spend some time considering what it is they love most about science and then figure out a way to get a job doing that thing. Academic faculty and industry research are not the only jobs that we can do! I would also recommend to anyone that does want to move into a research leadership role to take formal course work on management and finance. It’s an underrepresented part of the training a life scientist receives and yet, it is really critical in being successful leading a research group.  

What do you think will be the next big contribution in the reproductive biology field? 

I’m very excited about a male contraceptive that is temporary/reversible. I think it could give a whole new perspective on pregnancy and childbirth and provide some valuable options for family planning.    

What hobbies do you have outside of the lab?

I am a real believer in work-life balance and keep myself as busy at home as I do at work. I have two daughters that are 9 and 13. I’m very involved in my children’s school and our synagogue. I also love crafting-knitting, sewing, needlepoint, etc. Basically, anything to keep my hands busy. As a family, we love bike riding, camping and movie & popcorn nights!