Women in Science Profiles: Text Alternative

Amrita Mandal, Ph.D.

Women in Science quote from postdoctoral researcher Dr. Amrita Mandal: “Science to me is seeking truth. It gives me a thrill to know what I do at work every day could someday solve an unknown mystery of nature. It makes you curious, patient, and humble all at the same time.”

Dr. Amrita Mandal is a postdoctoral researcher currently studying mitochondria, an organelle that supplies cells with energy. Abnormal mitochondrial health is associated with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

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Carrie Nobles, Ph.D.

Women in Science quote from postdoctoral researcher Dr. Carrie Nobles: “Epidemiologists ask questions at the population level. We think of communities as a whole. What research-based strategies can be implemented early on to prevent the development of a disease or problem?”

Dr. Carrie Nobles is a postdoctoral fellow who studies how environmental factors, such as air pollution and extreme temperatures, affect reproduction and pregnancy.

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Marissa Lightbourne, M.D., M.P.H.

Women in Science quote from DIR staff clinician Dr. Marissa Lightbourne: “Every discovery involves persistence, determination, resilience, mentorship, collaboration, and, sometimes, being in the right place at the right time. I’m motivated by the need to understand how the body functions so we can treat and cure diseases.”

Dr. Marissa Lightbourne leads a new clinic at NIH that helps teenagers and young adults with endocrine disorders transition from pediatric care to adult care.

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Anshika Jain, Ph.D.

Women in Science quote from NICHD postdoctoral researcher Dr. Anshika Jain: “My favorite aspect about research is troubleshooting—the constant challenge of overcoming roadblocks to make new discoveries. Making sense of otherwise confusing data and fitting them into the story is very rewarding.”

Dr. Anshika Jain studies a rare disease called multiple mitochondrial dysfunction syndrome, or MMDS.

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Yvette Pittman, Ph.D.

Women in Science quote from DIR Office of Education director Dr. Yvette Pittman: “I’m driven by my passion of science, service, and mentorship. I want to make an impact, always helping young scientists reach their goals!”

Dr. Yvette Pittman is the director of DIR’s Office of Education, which supports the training needs of scientists, postdocs, postbacs, and graduate and summer students who work in NICHD laboratories.

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Jing Yu, Ph.D.

Women in Science quote from Dr. Jing Yu, postdoctoral researcher in NICHD’s Social and Behavioral Sciences Branch: “Conducting research constantly reminds me to be humble and curious because every discovery opens the door to a room full of more unknowns. To enjoy this lifelong journey, it is crucial to keep your passion for learning and not get easily frustrated.”

Dr. Jing Yu studies how racial and socioeconomic disparities affect early child development.

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Alejandra Boronat-Garcia, Ph.D.

Women in Science quote from NICHD postdoctoral researcher Dr. Alejandra Boronat-Garcia: “Science is a way to channel creativity and imagination to solve problems and understand nature. I really enjoy the constant back-and-forth between observing, experimenting, and interpreting.”

Dr. Alejandra Boronat-Garcia explores how the brain gathers, transforms, and organizes sensory information, a process that allows people and animals to know what is happening in their environment.

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Larissa Erben

Women in Science quote from NICHD graduate student Larissa Erben: “What I love the most about research is the moment of clarity when contrasting data suddenly add up. I like the intellectual freedom science permits, and I enjoy the independent and flexible nature of research.”

Graduate student Larissa Erben studies how neurons in the brain communicate using the Neuregulin/ErbB4 signaling pathway. Genetic differences in these two proteins can increase a person’s risk for schizophrenia.

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Afrouz Anderson, Ph.D.

Women in Science quote from NICHD postdoctoral researcher Dr. Afrouz Anderson: “Science is play: the toys are now instruments and the capes have become lab coats. Science gives me the exhilaration and imagination I felt on the playground. I dream of passing the excitement of science on to the next generation!”

Dr. Afrouz Anderson uses a non-invasive optical imaging method called near infrared spectroscopy to understand brain function and development in children with genetic disorders.

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Sara Young-Baird, Ph.D.

Women in Science quote from NICHD postdoctoral researcher and National Institute of General Medical Sciences Postdoctoral Research Associate Program fellow Dr. Sara Young-Baird: “I approach understanding cell biology like solving a puzzle from nature, where each of my experimental results provides a piece of that bigger puzzle.”

Dr. Sara Young-Baird studies MEHMO syndrome, a rare intellectual and developmental disability that affects males.

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Mona Orr, Ph.D.

Women in Science quote from NICHD postdoctoral fellow Dr. Mona Orr: “My favorite things about research are the rush you get when you find something new that nobody else knows and working with younger scientists. It’s amazing to see students gain confidence in the lab, start designing their own experiments, and taking ownership of their research.”

Dr. Mona Orr’s research explores whether small bacterial proteins play a role in antibiotic resistance, particularly in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

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