We’re taking time over the following weeks to get to know the members of the GSA’s Early Career Scientist Committees. Join us every week to learn more about our early career scientist advocates.






Elaine Welch
Career Development Subcommittee Liaison
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Research Interest:

I study vertebrate embryo patterning using the zebrafish as a model. My project aims at understanding the establishment of the primary vertebrate embryo axis and how the microtubule cytoskeleton is implicated in mediating the transport of maternal factors within the early zygote, a process necessary for dorsal axis formation. I have also been examining how microtubules themselves become organized into parallel bundles and what gene products are important for this process. The scope of this project is important because it helps us understand the maternal factors that are important for proper development of the organism, and it also helps us understand the evolutionary relationship between mechanisms acting to pattern the early embryo in different species.

As a PhD-trained scientist, you have many career options. What career paths interest you the most?

I am interested in pursuing a position as a research scientist in industry, where I can use my technical and leadership skills to contribute to a research team. It is my goal to eventually lead research and development projects in pharma or biotech.

I also think that a career in academic administration directing an educational outreach program and working with underrepresented students could be a great fit. I enjoy mentoring students and helping them navigate the challenges that face students with diverse life experiences while striving to reach their academic and professional goals.

In addition to your research, how else do you want to advance the scientific enterprise?

As an African American, immigrant, female scientist, I am considered an underrepresented minority. I am committed to encouraging more students like myself who have a passion for any of the STEM disciplines to passionately pursue their goals. I want to see an increase in the number of underrepresented minorities who obtain doctoral degrees and subsequently make significant impacts in their fields, in science policy, and in science communication.

As a leader within the Genetics Society of America, what do you hope to accomplish?

In my leadership role with the GSA, I am working to build connections with professionals from different workforce sectors, including industry, policy, and science writing. By doing this, I hope to highlight the scope of career options available to individuals trained in the genetics community.

Previous Leadership Experience:

  • GSA Trainee Advisory Representative – Membership Committee
  • Student Representative – University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Agriculture & Life Sciences Equity and Diversity Committee
  • Peer Mentor – University of Wisconsin-Madison Science & Medicine Graduate Research Scholars