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Former Postdoc Fellow Dr. Araujo: 'We Each Hold a Piece of the Puzzle'

"We were able to carry our results from the blackboard to the bench and finally to the clinic," said Arturo Araujo, PhD, reminiscing on his days as a postdoctoral fellow at Moffitt Cancer Center.

Arturo AraujoWhile finishing his doctorate degree at University College London, Dr. Araujo attended a seminar and met Dr. David Basanta, an Associate Member in the Integrated Mathematical Oncology (IMO) department at Moffitt. "I had been a fan of his early work. After a friendly chat it turned out that he was aware of my own efforts on understanding cancer computationally and invited me to interview for a postdoctoral position in the IMO department," recalls Dr. Araujo. He then proceeded to start his postdoctoral fellowship at Moffitt in 2012.

During his time at Moffitt, Dr. Araujo worked hard to achieve optimal communication and collaboration with a variety of individuals. "My mentors were the best, but I also learned from my elder and younger peers, other faculty, administrative personnel, patients and anyone that works at Moffitt including the health professionals and the chefs at the cafeteria. We each hold a piece of the puzzle, in my opinion."

One key skill that Dr. Araujo developed at Moffitt was how to successfully collaborate with people that had different skills than his own. He attributes this to the unique ability to be able to have the theoreticians, experimentalists, clinicians and the administrative team under the same roof. Effective communication was another key skill Dr. Araujo worked at every day, as he believes a lot of progress can be made very quickly if you take the time and effort to communicate effectively.

As a postdoc, when Dr. Araujo wasn’t working on his research project, you could find him shadowing a clinician, attending lab meetings with biologists, joining department meetings with mathematicians, and participating in after-hours activities with other students and postdocs. This kind of environment allowed Dr. Araujo to prioritize research communication, which led him to gain great input from the scientific community.

Presently, Dr. Araujo is an Assistant Professor at Roehampton University in London. He teaches computer science at a bachelor's and master's level. The University has also granted him protected time to focus on research. He is currently developing computational tools that will allow him to incorporate complex information and data into new computational models that he hopes will reveal important biomedical insights.

Dr. Araujo enjoys working with young people from all over the world and helping inspire and shape future generations of scientists. He still collaborates with Moffitt and most recently, he gave a talk to the IMO department as part of the IMO seminar series.

When asked what advice he would like to give current trainees, Dr. Araujo said, "Set goals and develop an idea of what your life could look like in five years’ time; aim to make your research sustainable; find regular time to reflect on your work with supportive colleagues, and prioritize your physical and mental health."

If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Araujo’s research or would like to reach out to him, check out his website.