Episodes

  • Dr. David Fitzpatrick is Chief Executive Officer, Scientific Director, and Research Group Leader at the Max Planck Florida Institute for Neuroscience. The brain is important for so many aspects of our daily experiences, including what we perceive, what we think about, how we move, the decisions we make, and more. However, we still know relatively little about how the brain works and how it develops. David’s goal is to dive deep into these basic science questions of how the brain works and how it develops. When David isn’t hard at work at Max Planck, he spends his time hiking, biking, kayaking, and immersing himself in nature. He has also become a keen photographer, capturing captivating photos of the natural world and memorable moments in his life. David received his B.S. degree in Biology from Pennsylvania State University and his PhD in Psychology and Neuroscience from Duke University. He conducted postdoctoral research at the Medical University of South Carolina and then returned to Duke University as a member of the faculty. Before accepting his current positions at the Max Planck Florida Institute, David was the James B. Duke Professor of Neurobiology and Director of the Institute for Brain Sciences at Duke University. David has received numerous awards and honors over the course of his career for his outstanding research and teaching, including the 2011 Ellis Island Medal of Honor from the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations, the Alfred P. Sloan Research Award, the Cajal Club Cortical Discoverer Award, the McKnight Neuroscience Investigator Award, and the Excellence in Basic Science Teaching Award from Duke University School of Medicine. David joined us for an interview to share his experiences in life and science.

  • Dr. Jennifer Ramp Neale is Director of Research and Conservation at the Denver Botanic Gardens. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Biology at the University of Northern Colorado and the University of Colorado Denver. The Denver Botanic Gardens is an accredited museum, a public nonprofit organization, and a research institution, so Jenny has a variety of different roles. She oversees the research conducted there, communicates their findings and the importance of science to different audiences, and works closely with land managers/owners to provide information on the local plants to help guide land management decisions. Jenny’s research focuses on applied conservation of plants, particularly rare and endangered species in Colorado. Outside of work, Jenny is a wife, mother, and outdoors enthusiast. She enjoys being active outdoors with her family playing soccer, skiing, camping, hiking, and generally having fun outside. Jenny’s passion for identifying plants and mushrooms is contagious, and as a result, her family has also become quite knowledgeable about the plants of Colorado. She received her B.S. in Biology from Rhodes College and her Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Colorado. Afterwards, Jenny conducted postdoctoral research in community genetics at the University of Colorado. Jenny’s previous positions include Manager of Research Programs and Associate Director of Research at the Denver Botanic Gardens, as well as Conservation Genetic Consultant with LSA Associates and Solano County Water Agency through the University of Colorado Museum. Jenny is the recipient of the 2012 Partners in Mission Recovery Champion Award as part of the Rare Plant Conservation Initiative from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. She joined us for an interview to talk about her experiences in life and science.

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  • Dr. Eric Skaar is Director of the Institute for Infection, Immunology and Inflammation, Director of the Division of Molecular Pathogenesis, the Ernest W. Goodpasture Chair in Pathology, and Vice Chair for Research and a University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology at Vanderbilt University. Eric is a bacteriologist who studies the impact of nutrition on infectious disease. His research examines how the food we eat affects our susceptibility to bacterial infection and how the bacteria that infect us get food once they are inside our bodies. He earned his B.S. in Bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, his Ph.D. in Immunology and Microbial Pathogenesis from Northwestern University, and his M.P.H. in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from Northwestern University. Afterwards, he completed a postdoctoral fellowship in microbiology at the University of Chicago before joining the faculty at Vanderbilt in 2005. Eric has received numerous awards and honors for his research including being named an American Asthma Foundation Scholar, receipt of Vanderbilt University’s Stanley Cohen Award for Excellence in Research Bridging Disciplines, the Pfizer ASPIRE Young Investigator Award, the Vanderbilt Chancellor’s Award for Research, and more. He has also won a variety of awards for exceptional mentorship and teaching, including the Vanderbilt Molecular Pathology and Immunology Graduate Program Teacher of the Year Award, the F. Peter Guengerich, Ph.D., Award, the Vanderbilt University Medical Center Postdoc Mentor of the Year Award, and others. In addition, he is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Microbiology. In our interview, Eric shares more about his life and science.

  • Dr. Ellen Zweibel is the W. L. Kraushaar Professor of Astronomy and Physics, and the Vilas Distinguished Achievement Professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Ellen is a theoretical astrophysicist who specializes in plasma astrophysics. Her studies examine electricity and magnetism in the cosmos, including phenomena like sun spots, the solar cycle, and high energy electromagnetic emissions (e.g. x-rays, gamma rays, and radio waves) from stars and galaxies. Ellen’s interests outside of science include creative writing, art, and exercise. She has recorded her thoughts and sketches in a journal since 1977, and drawing is a wonderful way for Ellen to see details in her surroundings that she might otherwise miss. In addition, Ellen has explored her artistic side through sculpting clay and painting. As far as exercise, Ellen runs at least 45 minutes every day. She received her bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from the University of Chicago and her PhD in Astrophysical Sciences from Princeton University. Ellen served as a faculty member at the University of Colorado for over 20 years before joining the faculty at the University of Wisconsin in 2003. Ellen has received numerous awards and honors during her career, including being elected as a Fellow of the American Physical Society and being awarded the American Physical Society’s Maxwell Prize for Plasma Physics. Ellen joined us for an interview to talk about her experiences in life and science.

  • Dr. Ryan Potts is VP of Research and Head of the Induced Proximity Platform at Amgen that works on ways to bring two or more molecules in close proximity to each other to tackle drug targets that are currently considered “undruggable.” Ryan conducts early-stage research to discover new high-impact medicines for serious diseases that have a high unmet medical need. Their work examines biological pathways, drug targets, disease drivers, and new ways to create drugs that have the desired effects. He also leads Amgen’s Research & Development Postdoctoral Fellows Program. Outside of science, Ryan enjoys spending quality time with his family and his kids. They enjoy exploring the natural world, hiking, and exploring the nearby Santa Monica Mountains and local beaches. Ryan is also an avid traveler and sports fan. Ryan received his BS in biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and he was awarded his PhD in cellular and molecular biology from UT Southwestern Medical Center. After completing his PhD, Ryan served on the faculty at UT Southwestern Medical Center for eight years before accepting a position on the faculty at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. He joined the team at Amgen in 2020. In this interview, he shares more about his life and science.

  • Dr. Pankaj Karande is an Associate Professor in Chemical and Biological Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Pankaj was trained as a chemical engineer, and his research aims to apply engineering approaches and technology to solve problems in biology and healthcare to improve the quality and quantity of human life. Projects in his lab span areas such as drug discovery, drug delivery, biomaterials, diagnostics, and more. When he’s not working, Pankaj loves to cook, and experimenting with different recipes has been a great way to relieve stress. He was awarded his B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Mumbai University Institute of Chemical Technology and his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Pankaj was awarded an Anna Fuller Postdoctoral Fellowship in Molecular Oncology, and he conducted postdoctoral research in the Center for Cancer Research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology before joining the faculty at Rensselaer. Pankaj has received a variety of awards and honors in his career, including the Excellence in Classroom Instruction Award and the Outstanding Teaching Award from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He also received the Alzheimer’s Association New Investigator Research Award, the Goldhirsh Brain Tumor Research Award, and a Bronze Edison Award in the Best New Product in Science and Medical Category. In addition, he has been issued multiple patents in the areas of Transdermal Formulation Discovery and Novel High Throughput Screening Platforms. In our interview, Pankaj shares more about his life and science.

  • Dr. Claire Higgins is a Reader (faculty) in Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine in the Department of Bioengineering at Imperial College London. She is also President of the European Hair Research Society and Vice President of the Institute of Trichologists, a professional association for researchers who study the hair and scalp. Claire teaches and conducts research in the areas of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. She uses skin and hair follicles as models to better understand how tissues respond to injury, heal wounds, and repair after disease. Outside of science, making pottery has been one of Claire’s favorite pastimes since she took her first classes as a postdoc. She enjoys making items like bowls, vases, and lamp bases on her pottery wheel in her studio during her free time. Claire received her B.Sc. in natural sciences and her PhD in skin developmental biology from Durham University in England. Afterwards, she conducted postdoctoral research at Columbia University. She worked as an Associate Research Scientist at Columbia University before joining the faculty and starting her laboratory at Imperial College London in 2014. In our interview, she shares more about her life and science.

  • Dr. Ariel Furst is the Paul M. Cook Career Development Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In her research, Ariel has been using microbes to address problems surrounding human health, environmental remediation, and sustainability. Her lab focuses on energy equity by developing new technologies that are accessible to people who haven’t had access to technology but are negatively impacted by it. She is also working towards energy justice by developing technology and approaches to remediate prior harms to marginalized communities. In her free time, Ariel and her husband enjoy experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen. She also likes to spend time outdoors hiking, jogging, and doing fun activities like apple picking with her lab members. She received her B.S. degree in chemistry from the University of Chicago and her PhD in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology. Afterwards, she was awarded a Beckman Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, and she conducted postdoctoral research at the University of California, Berkeley before joining the faculty at MIT in 2019. Ariel has received a variety of awards during her career, including the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award, the Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, the Marion Milligan Mason Award from American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Women in Chemical Engineering Rising Star Award from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), and the Outstanding Mentor Award from the MIT Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. She was also named a Scialog Fellow for Negative Emissions Science. In our interview, she shares more about her life and science.

  • Dr. Michael Demetriou is Director of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Designated Comprehensive Care Clinic, Professor of Neurology, and Chief of the Division of Multiple Sclerosis and Neuroimmunology at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) School of Medicine. In his research, Mike studies the biological roles of complex sugars called glycans. Glycans are mostly found outside of cells and on cell surfaces. They form a dense forest around the surface of cells and can interact with other proteins to regulate cellular function through interactions with other cell surface proteins. Mike’s lab is interested in how these cell surface glycans influence biology and disease, particularly in autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis (MS) and in diseases like cancer where there are commonly abnormalities in these glycans. Mike is also a big fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team. While he doesn’t play hockey himself anymore, he loves watching professional hockey games and seeing the Maple Leafs play whenever they are in town. He was awarded his MD and his PhD in molecular genetics from the University of Toronto. Mike completed his residency in Neurology at the University of Toronto as well and completed his postdoctoral fellowship at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. He has received a variety of awards and honors in his career, including being named a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in Canada. In addition, he has received UCI’s College of Medicine Committee on Research Award, the Health Science Partners Research Award, the Academic Senate Distinguished Service Award, and the Dr. S. Van Den Noort Research Award for Junior Faculty. In our interview, Mike shares more about his life and science.

  • Dr. Beth Weaver is a Professor in the Department of Cell and Regenerative Biology and the Department of Oncology/McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health. She is co-Leader of the Developmental Therapeutics Program at the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center. Beth studies a group of commonly used chemotherapy agents to better understand how they work, who will respond to these treatments, and how to make resistant tumors more sensitive to these drugs. Outside of work, Beth enjoys spending time with her family. She, her husband, and their two children enjoy making fun group Halloween costumes, and she also brings this creativity into entertaining and hosting themed parties. Beth received her B.S. in biochemistry from Brown University and her Ph.D. in biomedical sciences from the University of California, San Diego. Afterwards, Beth conducted postdoctoral research at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research before joining the faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has received various awards and honors during her career. These have included receipt of the Bothwell Prize and the Women’s Health Research Mentorship Award from UW-Madison. In addition, she has been named an American Cancer Society Research Scholar, a Romnes Faculty Fellow by the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, and a University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center Ride Scholar. In this interview, she shares more about her life and science.

  • Dr. Magdalena Osburn is an Associate Professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Northwestern University. Maggie's research brings together microbiology and geology to understand biological activity in different environments in the past and present. She studies unique microbes that live in extreme environments like deep mines, hot springs, and caves. When she’s not working, Maggie likes to go hiking, backpacking, and generally be outside exploring nature. When she’s able to get away, she loves going on road trips to enjoy the splendor of the mountains in Montana. At home, Maggie also spends her time doing yoga, running, and knitting. She received her bachelor’s degree in Earth & Planetary Sciences and Environmental Studies from Washington University in St. Louis. Afterwards, she enrolled in graduate school at the California Institute of Technology where she earned her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in geobiology from the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences. Next, Maggie conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Southern California before joining the faculty at Northwestern University. Maggie has received a variety of awards and honors during her career. She was the recipient of a Packard Fellowship Award in 2017, she has recently received the Sulzman award for teaching and mentoring from the American Geophysical Union, and she has also been named a CIFAR Fellow by the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research and an AT&T Fellow by Northwestern University. In this interview, Maggie shares more about her life and science.

  • Dr. Erdem Tabdanov is Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology at Penn State College of Medicine and also a Member of the Penn State Cancer Institute. He studies the mechanical and structural aspects of cells to better understand how cells physically move, sense their environments, and accomplish their various functions. This is very relevant to cancer biology and understanding the immune system. Some of Erdem’s hobbies outside of science include working out at the gym, calligraphy, sketching, digital art, and other visual arts. He is also considering adopting a cat. His interest in digital art emerged from his desire to put the story of his research together in compelling figures and schematics for journal articles. He received his bachelor’s degree in biotechnology and his MSc in chemistry and molecular and cellular biotechnology from Lomonosov Moscow State Academy of Fine Chemical Technology (MITHT). He was awarded his PhD in cancer research from L'Institut Curie in Paris. Afterwards, Erdem conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University. He then served in the 82nd Airborne Division of the U.S. army for four years. Erdem completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Minnesota before joining the faculty at Penn State where he is today. In this interview, Erdem shares more about his life and science.

  • Dr. Alexis “Lekki” Wood is Associate Professor at USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center in the Division of Pediatrics-Nutrition at Baylor College of Medicine. Research in Lekki’s lab aims to better understand how food influences our health. She examines the full chain of changes that occur from the moment food is put into our mouths, trough digestion and absorption of particular molecules, to where those molecules go and how they affect our organs. Outside of work, you can find Lekki working out at the gym and spending quality time with her two children and their German shepherd. She is also a Lego builder and a competitive Pokemon card player along with her son. She received her BSc with honors in Psychology and from the University of Warwick. Afterwards, she completed her Postgraduate Certificate in Education at the University of Cambridge. Lekki enrolled in graduate school at King’s College London where she earned her MSc in social, genetic, and developmental psychiatry and her PhD in statistical genetics. Next, she conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Alabama focusing on statistical genetics and epidemiology. Lekki served on the faculty at The University of Texas, Health Sciences Center for about two years before joining the faculty at Baylor College of Medicine where she is today. Lekki has received a variety of awards and honors for her work, including the Young Investigator Award from the International Congress on ADHD and the Young Investigator Award from the Department of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine. In addition, she has received the Scott Grundy Award for Excellence in Metabolism Research and the Mark Bieber Award for Excellence in Nutrition Research, both from the American Heart Association. She was also named a Fellow of the American Heart Association in 2015. In our interview, she shares more about her life and science.

  • Dr. Gareth Fraser is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Florida. Gareth is a developmental biologist interested in how things form during development, how they are recreated during regeneration, and how features develop and persist on evolutionary timescales. His lab typically examines these questions looking at oral teeth and dermal denticles (tooth-like structures) in unusual fish like pufferfish, hammerhead sharks, and ghost sharks (chimaera). When he’s not working, Gareth enjoys being outside in nature, playing soccer, scuba diving, and hunting for fossils in the creek near their home. He and his two young daughters have also been having fun exploring the mysterious realm of cryptozoology and reading books about monsters. Gareth received his bachelor’s degree in palaeobiology and evolution from the University of Portsmouth, his master’s degree in evolutionary biology and systematics from the University of Glasgow, and his PhD in evolutionary developmental biology from King’s College London. Afterwards, Gareth conducted postdoctoral research at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He served on the faculty at The University of Sheffield for about nine years before joining the faculty at the University of Florida in 2018. In this interview, he shares more about his life and science.

  • Dr. Rachel Perry is Assistant Professor of Medicine (Endocrinology) and of Cellular and Molecular Physiology at the Yale University School of Medicine. Rachel’s scientific training focused on how our bodies use nutrients to stay healthy and what goes wrong in diseases like obesity and diabetes. In her current lab, she applies this background to better understand how changes in metabolism (nutrient supply) may affect cancer and how our bodies respond to cancer treatments. In her free time, Rachel enjoys spending time with her family, playing with their Labradoodle puppy, and going on walks in the fantastic fall weather. She is also an avid home chef, and she applies her scientific precision to prepare delicious meals for friends and family. She was awarded her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering and her Ph.D. (with Distinction) in Cellular & Molecular Physiology from Yale University. Afterwards, she remained at Yale for postdoctoral training in internal medicine and endocrinology, and she joined the Yale faculty in 2018. Rachel has received a variety of awards and honors for her research, including the American Physiological Society New Investigator Award, an R37 MERIT Award from the National Institutes of Health, the Translational Science Research Prize from the Yale Cancer Center, the Melanoma Research Alliance Young Investigator Award, the Rising Stars in Cancer Metabolism Award, the Breakthrough of the Year Award from the Yale Cancer Signaling Networks Program, and the Translational Science Research Prize from the Yale Cancer Center. In addition, she was named a Kingsley Fellow of the Yale University School of Medicine. In our interview, she shares more about her life and science.

  • Dr. Susie Dai is an Associate Professor in the Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology at Texas A&M University. She is also Director of the Biomonitoring Program in the Iowa State Hygienic Laboratory, leading the Iowa Statewide Biomonitoring public health surveillance. Susie works at the interface of chemistry and biology, and her research leverages microorganisms like bacteria and fungus to synthesize chemicals of value or degrade poisonous chemicals. This work has important applications for developing sustainable methods to produce chemicals and breaking down dangerous chemicals that are very stable. In addition, Susie’s work also includes biomonitoring where they examine exposure to toxic chemicals from private wells and other environmental sources. When she’s not at work Susie enjoys reading and hanging out with her family, including her two wonderful daughters. Susie received her BS degree in Chemistry from Fudan University, and her PhD in Chemistry from Duke University. Afterwards, she conducted postdoctoral research with the Scripps Research Institute and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Next Susie began working as a Research Assistant Professor and was promoted to Research Associate Professor at Texas A&M in the Office of the Texas State Chemist. Subsequently, she served as Associate Director of the Iowa State Hygienic Laboratory at the University of Iowa and Director of the Environmental Health Division. She returned to the Texas A&M faculty in 2019. In this interview, Susie shares more about her life and science.

  • Dr. Ralph Dewey is the Philip Morris Professor of Crop and Soil Sciences and Adjunct Professor of Plant and Microbial Biology at North Carolina State University (NCSU). Ralph uses the tools of molecular biology to identify and characterize genes of agronomic importance in crop species. When possible, he and his team alter those genes in ways that add value to the crop above and beyond what can be attained with traditional breeding approaches. Ralph and his team have done important work on the genetics of tobacco plants to decrease the hazards of smoking for people who still smoke. When Ralph has free time, he enjoys hanging out with his wife at their nearby beach condo and also watching college sports (particularly football and basketball). In addition, Ralph is working on writing his first novel. He was awarded his B.S. degree in biology from Utah State University, followed by his M.S. and Ph.D. in Crop Science from North Carolina State University. Afterwards, Ralph received an NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Plant Biology to conduct postdoctoral research at the Waksman Institute at Rutgers University. Ralph joined the faculty at NCSU in 1991. He has been issued 34 U.S. Patents for his discoveries in plant biotechnology, with several more pending, and he was awarded NCSU's Philip Morris endowed Professorship in 2009 for his research on harm reduction in tobacco. In this interview, Ralph shares more about his life and science.

  • Dr. C. Denise Okafor is an Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and of Chemistry at Pennsylvania State University. Many of the medications we take work by binding to a particular target and either turning off whatever is causing a problem or turning something on that is not working correctly. Denise’s research examines how small molecules like drugs find and interact with the targets they are supposed to interact with. She is particularly interested in proteins that can be turned on or off by the small molecules/drugs that they bind with. While science is a large part of Denise’s life, she also enjoys reading and writing fiction. Lately, she has been spending much of her free time with her kids, learning dances from Youtube videos and hanging out together. She received her B.S. in biomedical chemistry from Oral Roberts University and was awarded her M.S. in chemistry and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Georgia Institute of Technology. Afterwards, Denise was selected to complete an Institutional Research and Academic Career Development Award from the NIH to conduct postdoctoral research at Emory University and teach at Morehouse and Spelman colleges in Atlanta. Denise has received a variety of awards and honors for her work, including a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award at the Scientific Interface, an NSF CAREER Award for early investigators, and the NIH Director’s New Innovator Award. In addition, she has been named a Keystone Symposia Fellow and a Kavli Foundation Fellow. In our interview, Denise talks more about her life and science.

  • Dr. Laura Kiessling is the Novartis Professor of Chemistry at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Member of the Broad Institute. Laura’s research focuses on carbohydrates, particularly all of the different carbohydrates found on the surfaces of cells. We still know relatively little about the functions of these carbohydrates, and Laura is eager to learn more. When she’s not doing science, Laura likes being active through rowing, kayaking, cycling, lifting weights, or doing yoga. She also likes to spend her free time cooking, hiking, camping, and enjoying art. She received her BS degree in chemistry from MIT and her Ph.D. degree in organic chemistry from Yale University. After two years at the California Institute of Technology as an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellow, she joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1991. She returned to MIT in 2017. Laura has received numerous awards over the course of her career, including the Ronald Breslow Award in Biomimetic Chemistry, the Centenary Prize from the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Tetrahedron Prize for creativity in Organic Chemistry or Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry, the Gibbs Medal, from the Chicago Chapter of the American Chemical Society, the Vilas Distinguished Faculty Award from UW-Madison, and others. Laura is an elected Member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Microbiology, and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and American Philosophical Society, as well as an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, an American Cancer Society Fellowship, a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, and an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship. She is also the founding Editor-In-Chief of the journal ACS Chemical Biology. In this interview, Laura shares more about her life and science.

  • Dr. Nicole Calakos is the Lincoln Financial Group Distinguished Professor of Neurobiology and Chief of the Movement Disorders section in Neurology at Duke University Medical Center. Research in Nicole’s lab examines how the brain learns and adapts to experiences. She studies synaptic plasticity, from the levels of molecules, cells, cell circuits, and behaviors, to understand what goes wrong in disease and how we can harness brain processes to address disease. When she’s not working, Nicole enjoys being outdoors, playing sports, running, going mountain biking, and participating in mountain bike races. Her favorite indoor activities include creative cooking and spending time with family and friends. Nicole was awarded her MD and PhD degrees from Stanford University. Afterwards, she completed an internship in Medicine and Residency in Neurology at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine. She conducted postdoctoral research at Stanford University before joining the faculty at Duke University in 2005. Nicole has received numerous awards and honors in her career, including the 2023 Korsmeyer award from the American Society of Clinical Investigation and being named an elected Member of the U.S. National Academy of Medicine, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a Fellow of the American Society of Clinical Investigators. In our interview, Nicole shares more about her life and science.