Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Dr. Hector Sandoval Interview


Can you tell us about your career thus far?

Dr. Hector Sandoval is a post-doctoral fellow in the lab of Dr. Hugo Bellen at the Baylor College of Medicine. He received his B.Sc. in Biology from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. His research interest in dendritic-cell based vaccines led him to join the department of Immunology at Baylor. Under the guidance of Dr. Jin Wang, he initiated a new project in identifying targeting of mitochondria to autophagosomes during terminal stages of RBC development by a known apoptotic protein called Nix (BNip3-like protein X). He then decided to pursue his research interest on regulators of dysfunctional mitochondria or mitochondrial quality control in neurons. He began his postdoctoral studies in the laboratory Dr. Hugo Bellen with a strong desire to do mitochondrial research in the Drosophila. He identified a complementation group that mapped to the Drosophila homolog of mitofusins called Marf. The focus of his project is to elucidate the role of Marf in synaptic development and to study the mechanisms by which these mutations cause a neurodegenerative phenotype. He can be contacted at

What was your experience at SACNAS and what inspired you to learn more about the IDP?

I was accepted to the 2013 SACNAS Summer Leadership Institute which main goal is to cultivate the leadership skills of SACNAS members by helping them identifying and reaching their goals or vision statements as a scientist and as a leader in the SACNAS community. It was a unique experience in we had scientist at different levels of their careers and together we were able to help each other in developing our vision statements. We used a number of exercises and activities to reach our goal of developing our leadership plan. So, when I return to Baylor I decided to use some of the same tools to develop team-based individual development plans or IDP.

What is an IDP?

An IDP is an individual development plan that helps in framing your career goals by identifying them and setting a timeline to achieve them. You should also discuss your IDP with your PI, so both of you are aware of your career goals.

Where can we learn more about IDP?

There are a number of places on the web to look for starting an IDP but for our purposes we can ask Dr. Gayle Slaughter, her staff or myself. They will provide you with a IDP template that they use when renewing NIH minority grants. View website for more information.

Do we really need to have an IDP?

An IDP is designed to help you achieve your career goals. I believe you should always have your goals written down and to share them with others to make them a tangible property. If you and others know you goals then you are motivated to achieve them since you have declared them publically.

How does an IDP plan impact us?

If you implement your IDP then you will achieve your personal career goals or at the very least get closer to them. Now, if you implement an IDP that will have a broader impact than yourself as the SACNAS Leadership conference taught me, then you create a multiplier effect. This will not only impact yourself but others around you creating a broader change.

What is your personal experience with IDP?

At first I believe that an IDP was not necessary for me since I knew what I needed to achieve my goals. Now, I believe that an IDP keeps you on track and gives you multiple milestones that keeps you motivated in achieving your bigger goal. Furthermore, if you include how you can broaden your IDP to influence the community then you realize the impact you can have in society.