Klausner suggested she might move on to a new approach. “Maybe a normal postdoc would have just said yes to him,” Lippincott-Schwartz says. Not her. She was too intrigued by what she was seeing. Lippincott-Schwartz pressed on, collecting more data. Eventually, she realized the drug she’d been using was causing an organelle called the Golgi apparatus, which packages and moves proteins around the cell, to fall apart and return its components to the ER.
When she went back to Klausner with her new results, she says he was immediately convinced. “He thought big,” she says, and he juggled a wide range of projects. It’s a style she’s obviously embraced, and to great effect.
One reason Lippincott-Schwartz moved to Janelia is because she’s ready for a new challenge. “I’m very intrigued with looking at neurons, looking at the brain,” she says. “It’s a system that’s pretty new to me.”
Plus, Lippincott-Schwartz is always willing to take on something a little bit unconventional. “She’s incredibly creative and open-minded,” says postdoc Chris Obara. At times perhaps too open-minded, he adds, which is why she surrounds herself with group members who know when to rein her in if she’s getting too far out.