Joseph Skeate joined the PIBBS program in fall 2015 and is currently part of the Medical Biology PhD program. Joseph started his career at USC working at the Beckham Immune Monitoring Core at USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, in the laboratory of W. Martin Kast, PhD. He applied to PIBBS because he experienced and enjoyed the program’s collaborative environment. Joseph knew that PIBBS was a good fit for his career goals. What inspires Joseph the most about science is witnessing a student suddenly understand a scientific concept that they had been struggling to grasp. He also believes that everything in science is just a working hypothesis, and this keeps him humble.
Joseph feels that the PIBBS program office fosters a collaborative atmosphere among the PIBBS community and encourages graduate students to develop deeper personal relationships with their peers. He believes that two particular skills — collaboration and networking — are valuable in whichever field you decide to join after graduation. Like many graduate students, Joseph has a full schedule. Outside of his lab research, Joseph teaches science to 6th through 12th grade students through the USC Neighborhood Academic Initiative (NAI). Throughout his time in the PIBBS program, Joseph has published 15 papers and received several awards. Most recently, he won best poster in the human papillomavirus basic science category at the 31st International Papillomavirus Conference and was awarded the American Association of Immunologists Young Investigator Award by Immunology LA. Joseph manages the pressures of graduate school by biking to and from school, experimenting with new recipes and maintaining a very strict budget.
A typical day for him consists of going to the gym, riding his bike to school, working on experiments, maybe attending an evening social event and journaling before heading off to bed. In the next five years, he plans to continue researching immunotherapy while also pursuing youth STEM education. Over time, Joseph has found that the more he teaches and mentors youth in science, the more he is driven toward youth STEM education.