How did you get into science?
- In high school, science was her best subject. She took this as a cue to pursue it in college.
- In her 3rd year of college, she discovered she loved her virology class (in comparison to other biology subjects like zoology, microbiology, etc.)
- In her third year, she did HIV lab work and recommends us to get research experience (valuable).
What are the current projects your working on?
- She mostly is working on influenza.
- Study how the body responds to the virus by looking at gene expression changes before and after the virus.
- The study consists of volunteers who go to the hospital, get influenza, correlate immune response and antibodies (?)
- Goal: understand what is required for someone to be immune- we don’t understand what it requires for vaccines…
- Pathogenesis, co-infections, virus and bacteria synergy- understand mechanisms of that
- Use data to find biomarkers that would predict how long people who have the virus and who will develop serious vs not serious illness (something clinicians want to know)
- Has grant on Francisella- bio thread, very infectious, high mortality
- Working w Harborview Medical Center
- The airborne version is most severe, find which cells it interacts with first
- Sepsis: computational biomarker project, funded by the military,
- Goal: predict who will get sepsis
- Very heterogeneous= hard to study, no good animal model
- Small ebola project
- A medical worker in Sierra Leone contracted Ebola
- Flown to the US, NIH for study
- Were able to get samples from him every day
What are some of the most exciting moments you have seen while working on a project?
- Really exciting moments are few and far between
- eureka moments don’t happen that often, it’s more of a gradual building on of knowledge
- It is exciting when you get the results you were expecting or not expecting (interesting)
- One example was when she was in grad school, grad work with a clinician (infectious disease doctor for hepatitis B)
- He was working on developing the first oral drug for hepatitis B, allowing for the treatment of transplant patients
- Was able to see the impact on the first patient treated (a moment of ‘Ok, this is why we’re doing it’- impact)
- baby steps
How do you multitask all your projects?
- “Sometimes I don’t”
- Driven by deadlines, especially the milestones set for military funded projects
- Schedule sometimes depends on the availability of reagents
- Just have to set some things aside and work on what’s at hand
Where did you go to school?
- She is originally from Edmonton, Canada
- Undergraduate and Graduate School: University of Alberta (Canada)
- Postdoc at UW – micro department
- Then went to ISB and has been here ever since.
What advice do you have for high schoolers like us who want to pursue science in the future?
- Try and get as many hands-on experiences as early as you can.
- Test out research because even some people that like science don’t like research.
- Research (academic) is a difficult track, funding, competitive.
- Sometimes you don’t have the flexibility to work on what you want.
- There are many different avenues of a scientist: consulting, teaching, industry
- Feel them out, try them out.
- A lot of writing and reading as a researcher
- Recc: Kathie in school: as an undergrad, microbiology= major, english=minor because writing is used as a scientist
- You have to like writing to be in science.
Other career avenues in science:
- Consulting: biotech company
- Regulatory affairs- liaison between research and FDA
- Mixes science and translational – works towards getting a drug on the market for patients
What do you like about ISB?
- ISB gives a lot of independence.
- Good at giving you the freedom to do what you want so long as you get the funding to do it.
- 1 advantage of academics, if you have funding, you have freedom.