When I was a small child, I was always fascinated with the natural world. By the age of eight, I was collecting and examining insects, rocks, leaves and all variety of flora and fauna. During my early formative years, my family lived in Bethesda in Maryland, home to the US National Institutes of Health – a major biomedical research facility, with hundreds of laboratories.
I remember going for walks and peering into the laboratory windows as I passed, fascinated by the complex machinery and glistening glassware, and itching to learn more about what went on inside. There was such an aura of mystique and exploration about the laboratories. Many of our neighbours were scientists, and I was able to get summer jobs in laboratories which introduced me to research.
From my first experience in a laboratory, studying haematopoiesis, I was thoroughly hooked on research. I was fortunate to have several mentors who appreciated my great enthusiasm for science, and encouraged me to pursue studies in college which would enable me to become a researcher myself. Following college, I worked in a laboratory studying biochemical mechanisms in cystic fibrosis – a positive experience, again with a warm and encouraging mentor, that solidified my goal of becoming a scientist.
Graduate school and postdoctoral fellowships completed my initial training, following which I have been happily employed in academic research for the past 10 years. The excitement associated with the pursuit of scientific discovery has never abated for me.
See Jennie Luebke‘s website.