Scientist at poium in an auditorium with several seated people looking on

DNALC Meet a Scientist!

Short lectures for high school and public audiences are your chance to learn about the careers and research of scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and some of our partners.

Fans of the DNA Learning Center all have one thing in common, a fascination with science and all things DNA! We have created an opportunity to learn that is informative and fits into any schedule, Meet a Scientist. Scientists share their stories with you, including:

  • What got them interested in science?
  • What are the most exciting things they are working on?
  • What challenges did they overcome to achieve a career in research?

Join us for this opportunity to learn and be inspired by world-class scientists. 

Past Meet a Scientist Recordings

May 15, 2023

Meet Dr. Stephanie E. Woods
Laboratory Animal Medicine: Bridging the Humane Use of Laboratory Animals and the Advancement of Scientific and Medical Knowledge

My job is to be the voice of animals used in research. I work with a team of dedicated and animal-loving people who are legally responsible for ensuring the health and wellbeing of animals used in training, teaching and experimentation. I am dedicated to protecting animals from harm in research, while maximizing the benefit of this research, not just for people, but for animals and the environment, too.

Dr. Stephanie E. Woods, DVM, MS LAM, DACLAM
Veterinarian and an Associate Director of Veterinary Services and Vivarium Operations in VelociGene, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals

April 20, 2023

Meet Dr. Joel N. H. Stern
A Career Balancing Teaching and Research

My clinical research uses multi-omic analysis of specific immune cells such as B- and T- cells in patients with several immunological diseases, including multiple sclerosis, neuromyelitis optica, and interstitial cystitis. A goal of this research is to identify immune targets for specific treatments. My research on medical education is focused on setting up and delivering new teaching techniques that will enhance students' learning of clinical immunology.

Dr. Joel N. H. Stern
Professor, Department of Neurology, Lenox Hill Hospital
Co-Director, Autoimmune Brain Disorder Research Program, Lenox Hill Hospital
Professor, Neurology, Urology, Molecular Medicine, and Science Education, Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell
Assistant investigator, Institute of Molecular Medicine

March 16, 2023

Meet Terrence Turner
DNA sequencing in the modern age

At Regeneron I use molecular biology techniques to modify genetic sequences in model organisms to support our therapeutic focuses. I also use long read sequencing and data analysis to verify alleles after we engineer them. I am also active in Regeneron’s DEI and STEM outreach efforts.

Terrence Turner
Senior Research Associate, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals

January 19, 2023

Meet Zachary Oberholtzer
The Role of Biochemical/Biophysical Characterization in Drug Development

At Regeneron my responsibility is providing in depth characterization of our drug molecules and their biochemical/biophysical properties. I often liken my job to "fingerprinting" our molecules as each have its own unique qualities. These "fingerprints" are then used to inform decisions about manufacturing, product stability, and clinical performance.

Zachary Oberholtzer
Research Specialist, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals

May 19, 2022

Meet Dr. Jeremy Seto
The omics of vector surveillance

I am interested in vector surveillance and control efforts around New York City. Through dissecting genomes, microbiomes and transcriptomes of common disease vectors in the city, we can identify ways in which we can reshape our urban ecosystems in a more sustainable fashion.

Dr. Jeremy Seto
Associate Professor, New York City College of Technology, CUNY
Adjunct Professor, NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering
Ph.D., Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences of Cornell University

April 21, 2022

Meet Dr. Ullas Pedmale
How plants sense their environment?

Unlike animals, plants neither have specific organs that see or hear various stimuli, yet, plants are sensitive to their surrounding environment and modify their development according to various external signals. My lab studies how the environment of a plant modulates its growth and development. Understanding environmental control of growth will have far-reaching implications for agriculture, energy production, and many other human activities.

Dr. Ullas Pedmale
Assistant Professor, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

March 17, 2022

Meet Dr. Jessica Tollkuhn
Hormonal regulation of sex differences in the brain and behavior

I am interested in how transient events during development program neurons to take on a specific identity and function. More specifically, I am studying how estrogen and testosterone generate sex differences in the brain and behavior.

Dr. Jessica Tollkuhn
Assistant Professor, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

February 17, 2022

Meet Dr. Corina Amor
Hunting Down Aging

As we age our body accumulates damaged “senescent” cells that our immune system is no longer able to effectively eliminate. Senescent cells are responsible for the development of aging and age-related diseases like cancer or fibrosis. My group studies how senescent cells evade the immune system thereby identifying new therapeutic approaches.

Dr. Corina Amor
CSHL Fellow, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

January 20, 2022

Meet Dr. Jeremy C. Borniger
How the brain surveils the body during health and disease

Patients with cancer frequently experience debilitating symptoms that can impair quality of life and reduce odds of survival. These include drastic changes in appetite, sleep/wake cycles, cognitive function, and pain, among others. Our lab aims to uncover mechanistic interactions between the brain and cancer that drive these phenomena. Reciprocally, we investigate how manipulation of specific brain circuits influences cancer processes in the body.

Dr. Jeremy C. Borniger
Assistant Professor, Cancer Center Member, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

December 16, 2021

Meet Dr. Christopher Vakoc
Inventing new cancer medicines

Cancer cells achieve their pathogenicity by changing which genes are on and off. To maintain these changes in gene expression, cancer cells rely on proteins that interact with DNA or modify chromatin. My group investigates how such factors sustain the aberrant capabilities of cancer cells, thereby identifying new therapeutic targets.

Dr. Christopher Vakoc
Professor, Cancer Center Program Co-Leader, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

November 18, 2021

Meet Dr. Doreen Ware
Maize a tale of two genomes–how plants manage fluid genomes to adapt and evolve

When we think of evolution, we often think about physical changes, like a plant developing broader leaves to collect more solar energy. Such evolution actually occurs within the plant’s DNA. I am using computational analysis and modeling to visualize how plant genomes have evolved over time, particularly those of staple crops. We are learning from this work to improve the range and yield of modern plants.

Dr. Doreen Ware
Adjunct Professor, USDA-ARS, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

June 10, 2021

Meet Dr. Peter Koo
Understanding gene regulation through deep learning

Deep learning is a powerful approach to find patterns in DNA and relate them to regulatory functions, such as transcription factor binding or mRNA expression. However, it remains difficult to understand why they make any given prediction, which has earned them a reputation as a black box. My lab develops methods to interrogate deep learning models to access information they learn, with the broader aim of elucidating new insights into biological processes.

Dr. Peter Koo
Assistant Professor, Cancer Center Member, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

May 13, 2021

Meet Dr. Hannah Meyer
Educating the immune system–how T cells distinguish friend from foe

The thymus plays a key role in teaching T cells the ability to distinguish friend from foe. Flaws in the teaching process can lead to autoimmune diseases or immunodeficiency. We use computational and experimental methods to study the teaching process across the thymus and learn principles about thymus physiology that lead to insights about immune-related diseases.

Dr. Hannah Meyer
CSHL Fellow, Cancer Center Member, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

April 8, 2021

Meet Alexa Pagliaro
How maternal experience shapes brain activity

In the Shea Lab, we study the neural circuitry that supports social communication and behavior. The onset of maternal experience and the communication between a mother and her offspring provide an ideal context in which to probe these topics. Newborn mouse pups produce ultrasonic vocalizations when they are separated from their litter, and mothers learn to respond to these cries by retrieving the pups back to the nest. We study the changes in brain activity that underlie this form of learning, and how certain disruptions to these changes impair pup gathering behavior in a mouse model of Rett Syndrome.

Alexa Pagliaro
Graduate Student in the Shea Lab, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

March 11, 2021

Meet Miriam Ferrer Gonzalez
The whole-body response to cancer

I’m interested in studying the interactions between the tumor and the body in cancer. During cancer progression, we observe behaviors such as reduced food intake in the context of irreversible weight loss, as well as metabolic changes in the liver and the immune system. We are aiming to identify and characterize alterations in the whole body that are induced by cancer, and understand the combined effects of candidate cancer treatments on the tumor and the body.

Miriam Ferrer Gonzalez
Ph.D. Student in Residence, Janowitz Lab, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

January 13, 2021

Meet Dr. Lloyd Trotman
Traveling in Organs with Cancer

My lab is trying to understand what makes cancer a deadly disease. Scientists have found that the most dangerous event of cancer is the moment when cells start to move away from a tumor and travel to other sites. To understand this process, we try to make it visible, in 3D. We hope that by seeing these events in full detail, we can begin to think about the right questions to fight deadly cancers. If we fail, at least we'll have some pretty pictures and breathtaking movies.

Dr. Lloyd Trotman
Professor, Cancer Center Deputy Director of Education and Diversity, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

December 10, 2020

Meet Dr. Camila dos Santos
The impact of pregnancy on breast cancer risk

My lab uses animal models and genomic analysis to study alterations to genes that guide normal breast development. Using this approach we found that transitions through pregnancy can block breast cancer development. In fact, an early age of pregnancy in humans has also been correlated with a lower risk of developing breast cancer in women. By studying the signals that control milk production and cellular communication during pregnancy, we have discovered new ways to stop breast cancer cells development, and those that enhance breast oncogenesis independently of pregnancy.

Dr. Camila dos Santos
Associate Professor, Cancer Center Member, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

November 19, 2020

Meet Dr. David Jackson
How studying stem cells in plants can improve crop yields

My lab studies genes and signals in cells that regulate the growth and shape of plants. We have discovered several genes that control plant architecture by exerting an influence on stem cells. By identifying the genes that control the number of stem cells in corn plants, for example, we’ve discovered a means of boosting the yield of that vital staple.

Dr. David Jackson
Professor, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory