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Office of Postdoctoral Affairs Meet Clinita Randolph, PhD

Clinita Randolph, PhD

Clinita Randolph, PhD, is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Biology, having earned her PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology from Thomas Jefferson University. Dr. Randolph’s doctoral research delved into the intricate cellular localization and signaling pathways of Gαq, particularly focusing on its mutant form implicated in uveal melanoma progression.

Transitioning to her postdoc, Dr. Randolph is currently investigating the TGF-β signaling pathway's role in axon pruning, a crucial process in neuronal development, using Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism. Additionally, she is deeply committed to STEM education reform, particularly in providing undergraduates with research opportunities. Dr. Randolph is developing and implementing a course-based undergraduate research experience (CURE) to engage students in authentic research and foster scientific inquiry.

What inspired you to choose your current path as a postdoc?

During graduate school, in addition to conducting research, I also had opportunities to teach and learn pedagogy. While I enjoyed research, I really became passionate about STEM education and knew I wanted a career that involved teaching undergraduates. Also, realizing that STEM education research was just as fascinating as bench research, I sought postdocs where I could gain skills in STEM education research. The opportunity to continue doing research at the bench, gain experience in STEM education research, and teach a course-based undergraduate research experience (CURE) are what drew me to my current postdoc position. Drexel was also unique in that it houses the Center for the Advancement of STEM Teaching and Learning Excellence (CASTLE). This also inspired me to choose my current postdoc position as I was excited about the opportunity to meet others involved in STEM education research through CASTLE.

Can you give some examples of how your research affects everyday life?

My research focuses on axon pruning, a neuronal remodeling process that is critical during development for forming a functional adult nervous system. I study axon pruning in the Drosophila mushroom body, which is the center for olfactory learning and memory in the fly’s brain. With this model system, I can visualize the fly’s brain under a microscope to determine if mutations in the TGF-β pathway result in defects in axon pruning. I also conduct behavior experiments to see what effect various mutations have on the fly’s memory. This research can then inform us of potential roles the TGF-β signaling pathway may have in axon pruning and memory in other organisms. Additionally, as mentioned above - providing more opportunities for undergraduate students to engage in authentic research is a major goal of education reform at the national level. My work does this by providing opportunities for students to engage in research for credit through a laboratory course.

What do you do when something doesn’t go according to plan?

When things don’t go according to plan, I like to go for a walk, even if it’s just indoors or up and down the stairs. Walking boosts physical activity, vital for brain health, and often leaves me rejuvenated with fresh ideas related to my work or ways to address setbacks.

Is there anything else you would like us to highlight?

It would be nice to highlight CASTLE. When I was a PhD student, I wish I knew sooner about CASTLE. I was very familiar with IRACDA fellowships, which are NIH-funded postdoctoral fellowships that include a teaching component. However, I did not know there were other ways to pursue STEM education opportunities in a postdoc position. Someone happened to mention CASTLE to me when I was near the end of my Ph.D. program, which sparked my search into postdocs at Drexel. Now I am happy to have met postdocs, faculty, and staff with an interest in STEM education research through CASTLE and the Drexel community.

Contact the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs

Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies
Drexel University College of Medicine
Health Sciences Building
60 N 36th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Natalie Chernets, PhD
Director of Postdoctoral Affairs & Professional Development

For more information, please contact the Graduate School of Biomedical Science and Professional Studies

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