Taproot S5E5: STARTing out as a PI, Pivoting During COVID, and Advocating for Change

In this episode, our guest is Aman Husbands. Aman is originally from Canada and got his undergraduate degree from the University of Toronto. After completing his PhD at the University of California Riverside, he moved to Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories. In 2018, he moved to The Department of Molecular Genetics at the Ohio State University where he is an Assistant Professor. Aman’s research group focuses on uncovering the properties that allow complex biological processes, like development, to occur reproducibly.

Aman shares the story behind a recent publication from his lab entitled “Identifying Cancer-Relevant Mutations in the DLC START Domain Using Evolutionary and Structure-Function Analyses”  by Holub et al. 2020 in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences. He describes how his lab was able to identify new funding opportunities outside of plant sciences–and the different cultures of cancer research.

We talk about why it is important to tune in to the projects you enjoy doing and discuss the responsibilities PI’s have to their labs and the people that come next. Aman says that it is important to deliberately create an atmosphere within the lab, clearly communicate priorities, and foster collaboration and communication with the group. We also talk about the value of connecting with and getting feedback from those outside your immediate research area. Aman also shares some of the ways he is working to address racism and equality, both on individual and systemic levels.

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Read Episode Transcript



Holub AS, Bouley RA, Petreaca RC, Husbands AY. Identifying Cancer-Relevant Mutations in the DLC START Domain Using Evolutionary and Structure-Function Analyses. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2020; 21(21):8175. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21218175

Community TV show pizza fire GIF http://gph.is/VwCaKS

Twitter Handles 

Aman Husbands Twitter @AmanHusbands

Liz Haswell Twitter @ehaswell

Ivan Baxter Twitter @baxtertwi

Taproot Podcast Twitter @taprootpodcast


The Taproot is the podcast that digs beneath the surface to understand how scientific publications in plant biology are created. In each episode, co-hosts Liz Haswell and Ivan Baxter take a paper from the literature and talk about the story behind the science with one of its authors.

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Questions, feedback, suggestions?  Contact us at taproot@plantae.org.


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