Joe Dubis, Ph.D., J.D. ‘08 portrait

Joe Dubis, Ph.D., J.D. ‘08

Patent Lawyer at Merchant & Gould, P.C.
Degree
UST Biology Major, Minors in Chemistry and Math

What were some of the benefits of attending UST for your undergraduate career?

“The Math and Science Departments at the University of St. Thomas provided me with the means to investigate and discover that helped to shape my career going forward. At St. Thomas, I had the ability to have discussions, both academic and social, with professors that I doubt I would have had at larger "state" schools. Through those interactions, I was able to increase my intellectual understanding as well as receive invaluable career advice. St. Thomas provided me with the base of knowledge that helped me to excel in graduate school, law school, and, now, in the legal profession.” 

 

What co-curricular activities were you involved in during your years at UST?

“Tri-Beta Biology Club, Chemistry Club, Math & Actuarial Science Club, Residence Life, Brady Hall Council, Class of 2008 Class Council, School of Arts & Sciences Curriculum Committee”

 

A career in law is less common for scientists. What led you to this field?

“When interviewing for colleges in 2003 and 2004, I had hopes of getting a bachelor’s degree, attending law school, and becoming an agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. After learning at the age of 19 that I have a mild form of color blindness that would preclude me from all law enforcement positions, I needed to rethink my career trajectory. At that time, math and science, particularly biology and chemistry, were areas of study that I enjoyed while psychology had been my favorite subject in high school. I began to consider research-oriented paths involving investigations of the human brain as well as medical-oriented paths such as neurology.

 

In an effort to determine whether I wanted to do an M.D. or Ph.D. after my time at St. Thomas, I did a number of things. First, I joined the research laboratory of Dr. Jayna Ditty. There, I studied the circadian rhythms of cyanobacteria, a single celled organism. This gave me the opportunity to research a topic, develop experiments to test a hypothesis, collect data, and present findings at scientific symposia. I worked in Dr. Ditty's laboratory for 2.5 years including the summer between my sophomore and junior years. Between my junior and senior years, I did a Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR) at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. There, I spent a summer investigating the relationship between an individual's color vision genes and his or her performance on select color vision tests. To further investigate the medical field, I volunteered at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota. Collectively, these experiences led me to an interest in biomedical research.

 

After graduating from St. Thomas in 2008, I enrolled in the Neurosciences Ph.D. program at Washington University in St. Louis. There, I hoped to use functional magnetic resonance imaging, the same technology used to diagnose an ACL tear in the knee, to identify how the human brain acts during specific tasks. I spent five years in St. Louis completing my Ph.D. My thesis studies focused on how regions of the brain encode task instructions throughout a task and whether such encoding differs for a simple task, such as a perceptual recognition task, versus a more complex task that requires intermediate steps. 

 

While working on my Ph.D. and contemplating what the next step along the career path would be, I was introduced to patent law, a hybrid between law and science. After doing numerous informational interviews, I decided to complete my Ph.D. and then enroll in law school in hopes of becoming a patent lawyer. I returned to St. Paul, Minnesota and enrolled at William Mitchell College of Law. During my three years of study, I focused on intellectual property topics including patents, patent litigation, and trademarks. Due to my degrees in both science and law, I had job offers from major Twin Cities law firms as well other top intellectual property law firms from across the country. In September 2016, I joined Merchant & Gould, P.C., a nationally recognized intellectual property law firm based in Minneapolis, Minnesota where I hope to concentrate in patent litigation.”

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J-Term 2018 Courses

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