I had my first glimpse of a scientist at work when I was very young. My mother, a public health nurse, would spend weekends in housing developments and community clinics, often helping those without health insurance. I saw how she would listen to her patients, apply rigorous logic to their problems, and help solve them – all with great compassion for the people she served.
Not much later in life, I learned the effects of a disease that hadn’t been solved.
I saw three friends suffer and die from sickle cell disease. I couldn’t do anything to help them. But I could learn to help others, and so I pursued a career in medicine, focusing on hematology. Along the way, so many people helped me out. At Brown University, Dr. Pierre Galletti and Dr. Herbert Lichtman let me work in their labs and learn from their expertise. Within NIDDK, Dr. Alan Schechter has been an invaluable mentor to me from the beginning. He offered advice as I wrote the fellowship grant that first enabled me to work at NIH and later helped me learn to do basic and translational science, while Dr. Arthur Nienhuis at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute helped me understand the process of clinical research. More »