We’re so thrilled to announce that WiSE co-founder Jacqueline (Jackie) Giovanniello – ahem – I mean DOCTOR Jackie Giovanniello is PhDone! On Friday October 3, Jackie successfully defended her thesis – “Characterizing amygdala-pallidal circuitry and its role in a 16p11.2 microdeletion model of ASD.”
Jackie’s project, carried out in the lab of Dr. Bo Li, focused on characterizing specific brain circuits that are altered in a mouse model of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), using various electrophysiological, optogenetic, and molecular biology techniques to examine the circuits controlling repetitive behaviors.
Jackie was raised here on Long Island, New York, and graduated from Brown University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Human Biology, with a focus on International Health, in 2012. She then worked as a Research Technician at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center before joining Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL)’s WSBS graduate program to pursue her PhD.
Jackie was one of the first people I met at CSHL (I met her during a lunch at my interview weekend) and she inspired me from the start – I overheard her telling people about a new group she had helped start to support female scientists – CSHL WiSE (Women in Science and Engineering) – and I was intrigued to say the least.
We didn’t have much time to talk then (those weekends are jam-packed with interviews!) but Jackie gave me her contact info and encouraged me to reach out – and I did – almost as soon as I received my WSBS acceptance letter I contacted her to chat. She graciously offered to Skype with me and she answered all of my questions about the school and about WiSE – and she encouraged me to get involved if I decided to matriculate here – needless to say I did – on both fronts! So I had a friend I “knew” before I even arrived on campus and this connection made the cross-county transition a lot more comfortable.
Soon after I entered grad school here, Jackie introduced me to the other WiSE co-founders, Lital Chartarifsky-Lynn and Alex Ambrico, and they created a board position for me – Social Media Chair. Throughout my own PhD journey, Jackie has provided me with a strong sense of support and she has inspired me as she tirelessly advocates for diversity in science while also doing fascinating neuroscience research.
Jackie and Lital co-founded an organization called STEMpire, whose mission is “to empower scientists and engineers to pursue high level STEM careers through tailored personal and professional development workshops and resources.” They offer workshops and webinars tailored for students, postdocs, and early-career researchers on topics including “Beating Burnout,” “Building Networks,” and “Navigating Difficult Conversations”
Jackie also serves as Symposium Director for the Scientista Foundation, a non-profit organization that brings together and fosters collaboration between campus organizations for females in STEM from around the country.
What’s next for Jackie? She’s headed to UCLA to start a postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Kate Wassum studying the brain circuitry behind habit formation. Congratulations Dr. Giovanniello – we can’t wait to see what more great things you’ll do!