Judy Lieberman, senior investigator at the Immune Disease Institute and the program in cellular and molecular medicine at the Children’s Hospital Boston, came to be a physician through an unusual pathway. Before attending medical school, Lieberman earned a doctorate in theoretical physics, but turned to a career in medicine so she could directly impact peoples’ lives. “I wanted to do something more socially useful,” says Lieberman, also a professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. So she began researching HIV/AIDS. After reading the 1998 paper by Andrew Fire and Craig Mello describing RNAi, she continued asking questions to see if their work would help suppress HIV. She describes what she’s found on p. 42.
Rice University sociology professor Elaine Ecklund is interested in how the public views scientists. “The popular image is that scientists are godless atheists, and that science had turned them away from religion,” she says....
Lauren Urban is finishing up her master’s in atmospheric science from Creighton University, writing a thesis about remote sensing of organic matter in coastal U.S. waters, but what is really grabbing her attention now is teaching. She scratched that itch as a contributor to a daily radio program at Creighton about atmospheric and environmental science, and has now come to The Scientist as an editorial intern. At the radio station, “it was a lot of fun to explain a topic and present information in a short and concise way,” she says. Now, contributing to The Scientist online and print is “putting into use classes I thought I’d never need,” she says. Meanwhile, Urban is taking classes to earn a secondary education certificate,and hopes to eventually complete her PhD.
Andrew Meehan has been contributing to The Scientist since 2004 as an illustrator/designer, and says drawing for life scientists is a “nice break” from his everyday work—such as designing for companies, branding, producing Christmas cards, and designing vehicles for video games. Meehan says working for The Scientist is “challenging—in a good way.” His background is in automotive design, but in this issue, he tackles the topic of mouse design—specifically, the efforts of scientists to design a mouse that mimics human cancer, on p. 34.