Stefan Green always wanted to pursue biology, and fell in love with microbiology as a graduate student. As he advanced through his graduate education and postdoctoral fellowships, he reckoned that everything would come together because he had ticked all the right boxes. Following the pathway of his parents, both of whom are biologists, he earned a master's in environmental engineering and a PhD in microbiology and plant protection, completed two postdocs and has a long list of publications and posters. But — not surprisingly in today's discouraging research-career environment — his drive for a tenure-track position stalled in 2010. He could not get an academic tenure-track position despite his stellar CV. “I did two postdocs. I taught microbial ecology for a semester,” he recalls. “But after several interviews for permanent positions, I wasn't having any luck.”

 

Green gave up the academic-research battle and found a different way to keep his hand in science. During one of his postdocs, Green had tried to find ways to characterize microbial communities without using modern sequencing techniques because the financial and labour costs of the technology was out of the reach of his lab. From this experience, he discovered that he enjoys and has a knack for working with instrumentation. Today, he is director of the DNA-services laboratory at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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