Your Questions Answered – Meet the Crossley and Quinlan lab (III)

This week we have our final installment of Your Questions Answered. If you aren’t all caught up, you can see the previous posts here Your Questions Answered – Meet the Crossley and Quinlan lab and here Your Questions Answered – Meet the Crossley and Quinlan lab (II).

This week we have Gabbie, Annalise, Henry and Sarah!

 

 

GABBIE (you can read more from Gabbie here: A Day in the Life of a Scientist II)

 

Question 1: Describe who you are to the Crossley and Quinlan lab 

My name’s Gabriella Martyn (known as Gabbie to my fellow lab mates). I first joined the Crossley Lab in 2012 while completing an undergraduate research project. I stayed for my honours research year, completed my PhD last year and now I am working as a post doc in the lab.

 

Question 2: Describe your research using emojis

🧬🧪💉💊🔬🧩👩‍🔬

 

Question 3: Now actually describe your research

My research in the Crossley Lab has focused on understanding the mechanism behind a cluster of naturally occurring regulatory mutations which elevate foetal haemoglobin in adult life. We are interested in these mutations and reactivating foetal haemoglobin as it has the therapeutic potential to alleviate symptoms of haemoglobin disorders such as Sickle Cell Anaemia. Over the years we have been putting the pieces of this puzzle together!

 

Question 4: What made you want to be a scientist?

Science was one of my favourite subjects in high school. I remember doing one of those tests which highlight what careers are best suited to you. I came out as a geneticist! However at the time, I wasn’t exactly sure what area of science I wanted to study at university so I enrolled in a broad Bachelor of Science degree. By the end of second year, I knew I really loved molecular biology! In hindsight, I guess that test was pretty accurate!

 

Question 5: What answer did you get in the DOPE personality quiz – do you think it suits you?

I’m a dove with a hint of peacock. The dove is described as being ‘especially people-orientated, deeply loyal, friendly, hardworking and a great team player’, all qualities which are important in a lab environment!

 

Question 6: Do you have an example of the highs and lows of research?

Highs

There are so many highs during research. Seeing your research published as a paper online after years of hard work, is definitely one of the best highlights! Celebrating that achievement with the lab and all of those involved is also a great feeling. Also being able to work with such a talented team of individuals over many years, learning from one another and the friendships you make along the way is also a highlight of research.

 

Lows

The endless troubleshooting and dead ends you sometimes feel you experience while pushing forward with projects. But that is just a part of science. We always remind ourselves, if it was easy it would already be done!

 

Question 7: Weird fact about you that only your nearest and dearest would know?

On weekends I’m a volunteer life saver down at Bondi Beach! The reason I joined the surf club to train in my Bronze Medallion and to learn about the surf and water safety was because I was rescued in an open water ocean swim myself a few years earlier!

 

Question 8: What experiment do you think is your ‘expertise’?

I don’t think I have one experiment, over the years I have done many many gel shifts which is an assay where we test proteins binding to specific sequences of DNA. I’ve also had years of experience with ChIP assays and editing the genome of cell lines using CRISPR/Cas-9 technology.

 

 

HENRY

 

Question 1: Describe who you are to the Crossley and Quinlan lab 

​I am the Crossley labs most youthful PhD student, Henry. I’m in my first year.

 

Question 2: Describe your research using emojis

🤒💉☠️ 🤔 👶💉👍 🧐 🤒💉➡️🧬💊➡️👶💉🙂 ❓❓❓

 

Question 3: Now actually describe your research

My research is based on the fact that people whose foetal haemoglobin persists into adulthood are less affected by the genetic blood diseases, sickle cell disease and beta-thalassaemia. I’m looking at the different ways we could recreate these effects, either by designing gene therapies or finding drug targets to stimulate the re-expression of foetal haemoglobin.

 

Question 4: What made you want to be a scientist?

I realised when I was in high school that I had a knack for science, and I also liked to make things. I wanted to be an engineer at first but math didn’t excite me. Instead I was captured by the intricacy of life, and how I could use different parts of that to solve problems like disease.

 

Question 5: What answer did you get in the DOPE personality quiz – do you think it suits you?

I’m an owl in the dope test. I think it shows in my lab work where I can get very caught up in the details

 

Question 6: Do you have an example of the highs and lows of research?

One of my lows recently has been from stepping out on my own in my PhD, trying new experiments that are out of my comfort zone, and having less hands on help from more experienced lab members. When nothing works it can be miserable and the imposter syndrome hits hard.

It comes off as a high though when things start to work and you gain confidence.

 

Question 7: Weird fact about you that only your nearest and dearest would know?

I’ve got a LOT of hobbies. From target shooting to targeting a city2surf personal best. Bending the bow at archery to avoiding the bends as I surface from the ocean. Exploring the coast on my bike to exploring the farm when I get the chance to go to the family home.

 

Question 8: What experiment do you think is your ‘expertise’?

I spent a lot of time last year repeating a qPCR experiment which was giving erratic results, thinking I was making technical errors somewhere in the process. In the end I found it was an analytical error and once that was fixed, all my results were perfect! so after that I think I’ve gained expertise in qPCR.

 

 

SARAH

 

Question 1: Describe who you are to the Crossley and Quinlan lab 

 

I’m Sarah, a 2nd year PhD student

 

Question 2: Describe your research using emojis

👩‍🔬💉🧫🔬🧬✂️👍

 

Question 3: Now actually describe your research

 

In my research I am working on mutations that cause individuals to be immune to genetic blood disorders and trying to identify how they are able to confer this immunity. I use the gene editing technology known as CRISPR to cut the DNA in cells attempting to recreate these mutations in order to study them in the lab. I am hoping to find key regions of importance in the mutations that may lead to a treatment for patients with blood disorders.

 

Question 4: What made you want to be a scientist?

 

I have always had an interest in science and my interest in genetics developed when I was around 7 and I first learned what DNA was. Even though I didn’t understand it at all at the time, it fascinated me to known that I was made up of stuff that I got from my mum and dad. I didn’t know for a long time that I wanted to pursue science as a career, and for that I basically just followed my interests and ended up really enjoying research.

 

Question 5: What answer did you get in the DOPE personality quiz – do you think it suits you?

 

I am an owl in the quiz. I think it suits me pretty well. I am a very logical thinker and I am a somewhat of a perfectionist.

 

Question 6: Do you have an example of the highs and lows of research?

 

I think the best highs for me have been when you hypothesis ends up being right. I have had a couple of experiments which have been pivotal l in either reinforcing or contradicting my hypothesis and when results are in line with my hypothesis it is always high. Lows for me have been when whole experiments get lost by circumstances outside your control like contamination of cells.

 

Question 7: Weird fact about you that only your nearest and dearest would know?

 

I am terrified of zombies. Yes I KNOW they are not real, but I have a really irrational fear of them.

 

Question 8: What experiment do you think is your ‘expertise’?

 

I would say that I have more expertise in RNA work and deletional CRISPR.

 

 

ANNALISE

 

Question 1: Describe who you are to the Crossley and Quinlan lab 

 

My name is Annalise Psaila and I am currently studying a Bachelor of Advanced Science majoring in Genetics and I am completing my Honours project in the Crossley/Quinlan lab.

 

Question 2: Describe your research using emojis

🤷🏻‍♀️🍩🍕🍟🥗🍎🥑🧫🧬🔬🤦🏻‍♀️

 

Question 3: Now actually describe your research

 

I study transcriptional networks within adipose eosinophils in the hope of finding novel druggable targets to increase the cells beneficial effect, for the treatment of obesity and metabolic syndrome.

Question 4: What made you want to be a scientist?

My dad. He is a physicist and has always been very passionate about science. I grew up with him doing fun at-home experiments and he taught me to question the world around me, and now I can’t stop.

 

Question 5: What answer did you get in the DOPE personality quiz – do you think it suits you?

 

I got 25% Dove, 25% Owl, 25% Peacock and 25% Eagle, making me a very strange hybrid bird… I suppose that suits me.

 

Question 6: Do you have an example of the highs and lows of research?

 

I hit an all-time lab low just last week when for some reason I thought my cells would survive my 4 day weekend and when I looked under the microscope all I saw were grey blobs. Push me to the edge, all my cells are dead. 

 

Question 7: Weird fact about you that only your nearest and dearest would know?

 

Fun fact about me, I’m hella good at karaoke.

 

Question 8: What experiment do you think is your ‘expertise’?

 

As an honours student I can’t say I have an expertise just yet, but I have done a few ChIP-qPCR experiments, so let’s just say that.

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