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Academic Careers ,

Behind the Scenes: Dual-Scientist Couples

We write about dual-scientist couples every so often, since scientists do have a knack for pairing off with each other. This month, we’ve published two articles on dual-scientist couples in which both partners work in the same — or a very similar — field.

Today we’ve posted a profile of physician-scientists Deepali Kumar at Atul Humar, transplant infectious disease specialists at the University of
Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. When I spoke to them earlier this month,
they offered this advice on working with your partner: “If you’re going
to work together as a couple, you really, really have
to like each other and get along well,” Atul said. “A lot of people
tell me, ‘oh, if I had to work with my wife all day, I think I’d go
crazy.’ For us it’s just not the case. I think we work really well

Earlier this month in A Husband and Wife Play Science on the Same Team, we noted that Michael Crickmore and Dragana Rogulja had different interests when they started out in science, but their work and research questions now regularly overlap. An excerpt:

Even as their research interests have converged, Crickmore and Rogulja
have tried to keep their careers and professional identities separate.
They decided, for example, not to include each other as co-authors on
their papers even though “we easily could have been,” Crickmore says.
“Dragana reads my manuscripts more than my boss.” It’s not rivalry,
they say: They simply think they can help each other more if they keep
some distance. “My secret weapon is that Dragana is both my adviser and
my postdoc,” Crickmore says. They even have complementary traits, they
say: Crickmore obsesses over the details of problems whereas Rogulja
likes to zoom out to see the big picture.

You might think we planned these stories around Valentine’s Day, but really it just worked out that way. Eric Berger at the Houston Chronicle did plan his Valentine’s Day article: an excellent profile of Wadih Arap and Renata Pasqualini, both based at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center where they study the unique molecular signatures of blood vessels. Medical oncologist Christopher Logothetis had a nice observation about the couple: “They feed off of
each other and it creates a synergy,” he said in the Chronicle article. “Him being a physician, her being a
pure scientist, he’s more pragmatic, and she’s more of a risk-taker.
Together, they’re a perfect match.”