Early Career Leadership Spotlight: Jadson C. Santos (Jall)
Jadson C. Santos (Jall)
Career Development Subcommittee
University of São Paulo
I have carried out research in various scientific areas—among them, human genetics, bioinformatics, structural biology of proteins, and molecular immunology. I’ve always been passionate about science, but the molecular world sparked my imagination and attracted me more than any other area.
Currently, as a third-year PhD student in genetics, I integrate computational and experimental methodologies to understand the impact of pathogenic mutations on the 3D structure of proteins important to the immune system. In parallel, as part of my MBA in project management, I conducted research on leadership and working in scientific teams to understand the main interpersonal challenges that those teams face in scientific projects.
As a PhD-trained scientist, you have many career options. What interests you the most?
As a scientist, my main interests are in transdisciplinary research, which integrates different areas of knowledge in the search for innovations and discoveries that can solve complex world challenges, such as biodiversity loss, species extinction, the climate crisis, education, water scarcity, and global health.
To this end, I find myself applying the transferable skills I’ve learned during my scientific journey—combined with the management and leadership skills I’ve gained over the past four years—to connect knowledge and people with a common purpose. More specifically, I’m interested in working in management positions of international scientific societies to increase the visibility of science and its social impact, as well as catalyze scientists’ potential to innovate and discover “new worlds” through well-designed and well-executed projects.
Additionally, I am deeply interested in work that involves the career development of scientists and early career professionals. Therefore, since 2020, I have been mentoring undergraduate and graduate students on skills and career development in my country. This activity is a service of great social value and brings me immense satisfaction in knowing that I am directly contributing to the lives and careers of other scientists along my journey.
As a project consultant and trainer in project management, leadership, and communication, I aim to develop professional activities for scientists and research groups around the world. I am deeply fascinated by the academic/scientific environment. In my career vision, I will have the opportunity to visit different research groups and universities around the world, witnessing firsthand the places where knowledge arises while contributing to this process throughout my career. In short, I see myself as a scientist working to create the project, management, and leadership structures that can catalyze the results of scientists and generate impact beyond universities and research institutes. Science plays a central role in the development of the world and being involved in this development inspires me to do my best daily.
In addition to your research, how do you want to advance the scientific enterprise?
The collaborative nature of my PhD research made it clear to me that we need to continuously improve our interpersonal and intercultural skills. In most scientific and technical fields, more than 90 percent of research project studies and publications are collaborative, with collaboration skills being a prerequisite for scientists. Also, the increasing internationalization of scientific research makes such skills crucial in this environment.
In recent years, I’ve focused on training that can enhance my management and leadership skills to make a solid contribution to science by helping scientists strengthen their collaborations. This investment in learning outside academia was crucial to my understanding of the complexity of the challenges we face not only as scientists but also as individuals with different cultures, values, and life/career goals.
My broader career goal is to contribute to the creation of a more collaborative and productive scientific culture. Such a challenge requires a broad integration between science and other areas of knowledge. Likewise, it is essential to understand the dynamics of research teams and groups—an understanding that is facilitated when we live in this scientific environment. For this reason, my scientific journey forms the basis of my career, as it allows me to deeply understand the day-to-day challenges that scientists face in their research. I am also developing my collaborative knowledge and skills by writing a newsletter on leadership and collaboration in the research environment (with 8,000 subscribers, mostly graduate students and postdocs) and managing a community of more than 900 scientists and professionals interested in collaboration in life sciences. Being part of GSA’s Early Career Leadership Program is therefore a great opportunity for fostering a collaborative environment and improving my skills in this area.
As a leader within the Genetics Society of America, what do you hope to accomplish?
Before officially joining the program, I was already collaborating with GSA. In 2021, I was an organizer and moderator of the Portuguese Multilingual Seminar Series, along with two other Brazilian partners. At another scientific event, I hosted a virtual room for Portuguese-speaking scientists to integrate them into the event via their native language, thereby strengthening networking.
As co-chair of the Career Development Subcommittee, I look forward to continuing to learn from my partners inside and outside the subcommittee. Additionally, I intend to bring to our projects a vision from beyond academia that improves existing processes to better support the professional development of the scientific community.
The events that I have already organized together with the subcommittee members have proven relevant to the scientific community, especially early career scientists. I often receive positive feedback from my professional connections, informing me how crucial our content was to their lives and careers. This positive impact on the community motivates me to continue improving my ability to create value through my activities at GSA.
In the long term, I intend to broaden my experience in management and leadership in a multicultural environment and establish long-lasting collaborations with my Early Career Leadership Program partners. These long-term collaborations will be essential, allowing me to continue learning, engaging with the GSA community, and generating value for early career scientists and society.
Previous leadership experience
- Founder and Mentor for Career Development, SSK Mentoring, 2020 – Present
- Community Manager, Leadership and Collaboration in Science (Virtual Community), 2021 – Present
- Advisor, Mendeley Community, 2020 – 2021
- Tutor, theVirtual University of São Paulo, 2019 – 2020
- Expert Volunteer, Science Buddies Ask an Expert Program, 2018 – 2019