Faces of Cedars-Sinai: Researcher Janine Bilsborough

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Potrait of Janine Bilsborough, PhD

Meet Janine Bilsborough, PhD! She’s the director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Drug Discovery and Development unit at Cedars-Sinai.

We spoke with Janine to learn more about how she’s making waves in the science world and her source of inspiration.

How are you making an impact on science?

Janine Bilsborough: I lead a team of research scientists and clinicians who are working to develop new drugs to help the millions of people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) achieve long-term remission.

Many drugs have been developed, but most haven’t been effective. Approved drugs don’t work for everyone, so we’re taking a precision medicine approach by selecting treatments for patients based on their particular disease characteristics.


Read: What is Precision Medicine?


What advice would you give to your younger self?

JB: I would have said to focus on understanding other people’s points of view. When we’re younger, there’s a tendency to want to make your point and convince others of your way of thinking.

If you want to move a project forward and achieve your goals, the people you’re working with need to know their opinions matter and that you understand where they’re coming from.

By putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, contentious or counterproductive interactions can usually be avoided.


Read: Is It IBS or IBD?


Are there any women in science who inspired your career path?

JB: I don’t have a famous science heroine, but I’ve had amazing women mentors who’ve had a tremendous impact on me.

Two former supervisors immediately come to mind. When I encounter challenging situations, I ask myself, “What would they do?”

By putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, contentious or counterproductive interactions can usually be avoided.

Their personalities are very different and I’ve been able to draw on strengths I observed in each of them. One has strong opinions but presents them in a calm, rational way that forces people to consider what she’s saying. The other is more of a people person, always upbeat and empathetic, which makes her very approachable.

Different situations call for different strategies and I’m fortunate to have learned from the best.

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