A video game air craft fights off pathogens

Career Path for Joshua LaBaer

Fast Facts:

  • Number of years in school: 26
  • Favorite class / subject: Molecular Biology
  • Hardest class / subject: English
  • First Job: Newspaper delivery
  • Dream job as a kid: Detective
  • One word you would use to describe your current job: Busy
chemistry lab equipment, including test tubes with different colored solutions inside

Many scientists enjoy trying new things in experiments, and seeing what happens. Image by bdyczewski via Pixabay.

A young man stands at a lab bench in a white coat and large goggles. He carefully tips one ingredient after another into a test tube. As he adds in the ingredients the color changes in the solution and it grows cloudy. His eyes grow wide with excitement. He is doing a chemistry experiment and he can’t wait to see what happens. Joshua LaBaer first found his love for research in a lab like this. And this is where he realized that whether you are doing an experiment or another project, you may have to keep trying different things until you succeed.

LaBaer went to college thinking he was going to be a doctor. He wanted to help people. That moment in his organic chemistry class changed things for him, though. He started volunteering for research projects and fell in love with discovery. He still went to medical school and graduated, but he took the difficult path of pursing a Ph.D. at the same time. LaBaer has always challenged himself, and believes that without risk of failure one cannot find their place in the world.

A stethoscope hanging around a male doctor's neck

LaBaer liked helping his patients, but missed research. Image by Paul Ang via Pixabay.

Once he graduated, LaBaer worked as a doctor. His first position was in Boston where he went into cancer care. There, he found that while cancer care can be sad, there was a lot he could do for his patients. He liked that he was able to build relationships with his patients and work with them toward getting better.

After some time working as a doctor, LaBaer missed the discovery of research. Harvard offered him a position where he could work in research in his own lab, but still help patients. In this new job he was able to bring together his desire to help patients with trying to discover better ways to do so.

LaBaer was eventually offered an opportunity in Arizona to expand his research, and to work with students. Though he no longer works with patients, he is still helping them from a distance. He built his own center focusing on medical devices like blood tests to find cancer.

Joshua LaBaer working in a research laboratory in Biodesign Institute at ASU

LaBaer working in lab with his colleagues and students.

LaBaer enjoys working with students and encouraging them in their own research. He tells them that if a project isn’t failing 90% of the time then they probably aren’t doing it right. It takes a lot of false starts and failures to find success. He wants his students to understand that you just have to keep trying new things until you find the answer to the problem in front of you.

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Bibliographic details:

  • Article: Career Path: Joshua LaBaer
  • Author(s): Challie Facemire
  • Publisher: Arizona State University School of Life Sciences Ask A Biologist
  • Site name: ASU - Ask A Biologist
  • Date published: May 5, 2021
  • Date accessed: September 24, 2021
  • Link: https://askabiologist.asu.edu/career-path-Joshua-LaBaer

APA Style

Challie Facemire. (2021, May 05). Career Path: Joshua LaBaer. ASU - Ask A Biologist. Retrieved September 24, 2021 from https://askabiologist.asu.edu/career-path-Joshua-LaBaer

American Psychological Association. For more info, see http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/10/

Chicago Manual of Style

Challie Facemire. "Career Path: Joshua LaBaer". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 05 May, 2021. https://askabiologist.asu.edu/career-path-Joshua-LaBaer

MLA 2017 Style

Challie Facemire. "Career Path: Joshua LaBaer". ASU - Ask A Biologist. 05 May 2021. ASU - Ask A Biologist, Web. 24 Sep 2021. https://askabiologist.asu.edu/career-path-Joshua-LaBaer

Modern Language Association, 7th Ed. For more info, see http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/08/
Joshua LaBaer at the Biodesign Institute
Whether focusing on cancer or COVID, Joshua LaBaer loves his research on ways to improve the detection of human diseases.

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