Even though malaria has been around for at least thousands of years, we know very little about the parasite that causes it.
What do you do? I’m a postdoctoral scientist at Seattle BioMed in Stefan Kappe’s lab, where our focus is malaria vaccine research. I design and conduct experiments, share the results of those studies in papers and presentations and write grants in order to obtain funding. We are very keen on discovering new things about the malaria parasite. Even though malaria has been around for at least thousands of years, we know very little about the parasite that causes it, making it extremely difficult to fight.
How did you get that job? I’ve always liked problem solving and scientific discovery, but craved being able to apply that to global problems. During graduate school at Harvard, I listened to anyone who was willing to talk to me about infectious disease research, and began to follow the research in Stefan’s lab at Seattle BioMed. Finally, I emailed him and introduced myself. I’ve been here since May 2010.
What’s the best part of the job? I love my job! What I like most about being a scientist is the first moment you discover something, and you are the only person in the world who knows that one thing. Then of course the next thing you want to do is tell everybody! You just don’t get that in other jobs.
What would surprise people about your job? I spend a couple of hours every week dissecting mosquitoes, taking out their salivary glands to access the malaria parasites for my research. I think people would also be surprised at how much I write and how necessary it is to be a professional learner because the field of science moves at such a fast pace.