GMS Alumna Chadene Tremaglio, PhD, Talks Careers in Science, Teaching, and Balancing with Parenthood

Chadene Tremaglio, PhD

Boston University Broadening Experience in Scientific Training (BU’s BEST) hosted GMS alumna Chadene Tremaglio, PhD, for a lunchtime Alumni Career Talk with Graduate Medical Sciences students. The event, hosted on Tuesday, Dec. 5, in L-403, filled the classroom with 36 registrants for Tremaglio’s visit.

Tremaglio’s presentation, titled “My Adventures in Balancing a Career in Science and Motherhood,” discussed her assistant professor position at USJ, her career path from her own undergraduate years until now, and advice for GMS students forging their own professional and academic paths.

Tremaglio is fourth-year tenure track assistant professor of biology at the University of Saint Joseph, a primarily undergraduate institution (PUI) in West Hartford, Connecticut.

She teaches courses on introductory and advanced cell biology, microbiology, scientific writing and grant writing for biology, nursing and health sciences majors. She also maintains a small, undergraduate-driven lab that works on viruses.

Tremaglio’s presentation took students on a journey through her academic, professional, and personal life. She studied at the University of Connecticut, earning her Bachelor of Science in Molecular and Cell Biology in 2008. At UConn, Tremaglio “fell in love with research,” working in a lab that studied bacterial biofilm formation in the gut of the medicinal leech.

From 2008 to 2014, Tremaglio pursued her PhD in Microbiology at BU, where she worked in the lab of Rachel Fearns, PhD, professor of virology, immunology & microbiology. In the Fearns Lab, Tremaglio studied the mechanism of replication and transcription of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). She also developed an interest in teaching and took on several TA positions.

From 2014 to 2016, Tremaglio completed a two-year post-doctoral fellowship at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where she studied a putative tumor suppressor of ovarian cancer and worked on a epigenetic reprogramming platform. In 2020, she took on the assistant professorship position at USJ.

Chadene Tremaglio, PhD, speaks with the attending students.

Prior to USJ, however, Tremaglio tried a variety of different careers after realizing she was not happy at the bench anymore. She tried being a stay-at-home mom for her children, who were born while she was in graduate school and her post-doc. She also tried blogging, podcasting, freelance science writing, and freelance science illustration.

From these experiences, Tremaglio learned that to feel fulfilled in work, she needs to interact with people and see the downstream impacts of her work. Those lessons are what inspired her to enter adjunct teaching in 2018. Starting with introductory biology labs, Tremaglio quickly realized that teaching allows her to interact with people, allows her to see the impact of her work, and allows her to use her degree in meaningful ways.

Tremaglio encouraged students to build their networks and collect mentors as they make their way through academic and their professional careers. She also advised students to reflect on their values and how they want to spend their time as they decide what direction to take.

Ultimately, she emphasized to not let fear stop you in your path. Instead, it’s important to embrace the fear and “do it anyway,” because “we all feel like imposters sometimes.” At the end of her presentation, Tremaglio engaged the attending students with a lively question and answer session.

Thank you, Dr. Tremaglio, for returning to talk with our students!