MemberSeptember 12, 2020 at 9:00 pm
What a great way to ask – what is your flavour as a scientist?!? My first career was as a physiotherapist, which influenced my decision to go into research. My PhD is in biomechanics and public health; I am currently in a neurogenetics lab. My role lies in translating our basic research beyond the bench, both in study design as well as in science communication. Our first area of research is vocal learning, which is a rare trait demonstrated by three bird and five mammal groups. Vocal learning is the behavior of imitating sounds. Every species is born with the ability to produce innate sounds (e.g., dogs barking, cats meowing), but only some have a model in which the parent teaches the child how to vocalize specific sounds via imitating or tutoring, much in the same way that a human teaches a child to repeat “Ma-ma” or “Da-da” to learn how to produce learned sounds. Our second area of research, which is the one I am more closely involved with, is genomics. The project I am involved with centers on generating reference level assemblies for every vertebrate in the world, over 70K. It is massive and inspiring because of the potential to impact all life, especially conservation of endangered species, which is the specific aspect that I am involved with in this project.
Thank you so much for your interest and encouragement, Pippa!