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Congrats to current & former lab members Nilgun Tasdemir and Matthew Sikora for securing independent K99 funding!

Nilgun Tasdemir, Ph.D.

I have been very lucky to carry out my postdoctoral training in the Lee/Oesterreich Lab and I could not imagine a better fit for myself both scientifically and personally. Steffi and Adrian have established a lab at the cutting edge of breast cancer research and recruited many smart and talented people to build a collective intellectual mass that is very conducive to innovative and collaborative research. What is unique in the Lee/Oesterreich lab is that this great scientific environment is coupled with a very warm and welcoming social culture that makes you feel right at home. Based on my prior experience and observations from colleagues elsewhere, this is a rare combination! I moved to Pittsburgh from New York City and I could not have been more pleasantly surprised by the friendliness of its people, the amount of social activities, the quality of life and the affordability it offers compared to big cities. During my time here, Steffi and Adrian have helped me build skills to carry out impactful research, publish scientific articles and secure research funding. They continue to fully support me in my ongoing efforts to become an independent breast cancer researcher. I have no doubt that they will remain as my life-long colleagues and mentors.  

Matthew Sikora, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
University of Colorado Denver

Training in the Lee-Oesterreich Lab: I came to train with Steffi, Adrian, and the WCRC over offers at ‘high profile’ labs because they made me feel like they would go above and beyond in not only helping me grow as a scientist, but helping me learn how to be a principal investigator. This could not have been more true. Steffi and Adrian have a special talent for tailoring their mentorship style toward the needs and goals of their trainees, and they helped me develop as a leader, mentor, manager, and every other hat that a PI must wear. Steffi and Adrian are selfless of their time as mentors, and selfless in promoting our advancement – Steffi never hesitated to let me take the strongest findings from my work with me to build my own lab. Even though I left years ago, they continue to actively mentor me and keep me on the right path as I develop my own research program. Training in the Lee-Oesterreich Lab without a doubt is the reason that I feel capable and confident in my abilities to drive my own lab.

Living in Pittsburgh: I’ll admit, there was skepticism about living in Pittsburgh, and I got a LOT of sideways looks from friends and family after I shared the news. Every pre-conceived notion you have about Pgh is wrong. It’s a beautiful, livable, affordable city with incredible amenities. My wife and I were extremely comfortable in the city on a postdoc + adjunct salary, even after we had  our first child and rolled daycare costs in to the mix. We loved the city both as a young couple and as new parents. It helped that you might not find mentors that are more supportive of families, and of the reality of family life during academic training, than Steffi and Adrian!