By Veronica E. Tremblay, 2019
“You should always choose a postdoc position where you think you can do great research. That is never a problem at KAUST.”
Dr. Jonas Croissant first came to KAUST at the recommendation of his former supervisor, Dr. Jeffrey Zink at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA), who suggested that he pursue a joint postdoctoral fellowship with KAUST Associate Professor Niveen Khashab.
Croissant’s postdoctoral fellowship at KAUST led to fifteen scientific publications and one US patent involving nanocomposite membranes used in water distillation, a remarkable output for three years of postdoctoral work. Croissant also performed tasks such as mentoring eight students, which helped him to build the professional skills necessary to succeed as a professor. He credited his postdoctoral fellowship supervisor, Prof. Khashab, with allowing him to gain this experience at KAUST.
“You can have a great resume, but first you need someone to look at it.”
To current and prospective postdoctoral fellows, Croissant offered the advice that they take advantage of all the facilities and resources available at KAUST. However, they should also use this opportunity to work on presentation and networking skills. Croissant discovered both the KAUST postdoctoral program as well as his first position of Research Professor at the University of New Mexico through word of mouth: connections, colleagues and recommendations.
“KAUST is one of the best places – maybe the best place – in the world to do a postdoc.”
The one-time Los Angeles resident appreciated that KAUST’s compact organization meant there was “no commute,” allowing him to spend more time with his family than he would have been able to elsewhere. Professional and recreational facilities were all nearby. For a father of three (now four) children, the benefits provided by KAUST, such as housing, were extremely competitive. The financial stresses of the EU or US, where it can sometimes be difficult for a postdoc with a family to break even, could make it difficult to focus on research. With this concern alleviated, Croissant was able to “publish aggressively” on relevant, impactful topics, which was key to obtaining his faculty position at a US university.
Dr. Jonas Croissant worked as a postdoctoral fellow from November 2014 to July 2017 under KAUST Associate Professor of Chemical Science Niveen M. Khashab in the Physical Sciences and Engineering Division (PSE), Advanced Membranes and Porous Materials Center (AMPMC), after graduating from his Ph.D. program at the University of Montpellier, France, in 2014. He is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, NM, USA. His current responsibilities include teaching and research in the fields of nanoscience and nanomedicine. Since leaving KAUST, he has obtained a second patent for a hydrophobic and transparent self-cleaning windshield coating. He also continues his research on nanoparticles for cancer-drug delivery.