Dr. Jeffrey C. Glennon’s story is very different from typical career stories in academia. After completing his PhD in neurophysiology at University College Dublin, for nearly 10 years, he was working as a pharmacologist in the pharmaceutical industry post-PhD at Solvay Pharmaceuticals. He developed a successful career in this area, but decided to continue his career in academia.
In 2010, he returned to academia in the Netherlands and later in Ireland. Today, he works as a Senior Conway Fellow and Assistant Professor at the University College Dublin. He is a neuroscientist linking experimental psychology to biological mechanisms with a track record in industry and academic settings. His academic interests are in rule making / rule breaking processes in cingulate cortex that govern rational versus emotional decision making. As a translational neuroscientist, he seeks to implement basic and preclinical efforts into clinical practice relevant to patients. On a more fundamental level as an experimental neuropharmacologist interested in disease mechanisms, he has been examining the role of insulin signalling and particularly a class of potassium channels regulating insulin release in relation to behavioral inflexibility.
His interest in cross-disciplinary teams has resulted in the leadership as lead-Principal Investigator of a 5.4 mln Eur Dutch public-private consortium (funded by TI-Pharma) encompassing Dutch universities, university hospitals, and pharmaceutical partners. Further, he has led a 4.5M euro EU Commission FP7 funded consortium (MATRICS) on conduct problems. In addition, he has been involved both as work package leader and partner in six Horizon 2020 / Marie Curie ITN funded / EU Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) II consortia focused on neurodevelopmental disorders, adult psychiatry and psychiatric conditions in neurological and somatic disorders (type I myotonic dystrophy and type II diabetes).
In summary, Jeffrey is an integrator. This pertains to people, research groups, complementary expertise, research ideas, and visions. This ability to integrate across people and topics to create platforms in which they can create new research together. Today, his wide contacts in both academia and industry allow him to build international networks across a range of expertise areas both in academia, in small-medium enterprises (SMEs), and major Pharma. This has led to novel translational treatment opportunities not only in Pharma but also in robotics. On a personal level, he has an innate curiosity over science and people, what motivates them, and how to develop them both as a person and as strong members of productive, effective multi-disciplinary teams.
In this webinar, Jeffrey told us about both his transitions: to the pharmaceutical industry and back. Why did he choose academia after all? What are the pros and cons of this choice? How does he stay positive no matter what? How to create your own opportunities?