Women in Science Profiles: Text Alternative

Laura Pillay, Ph.D.

Women in Science quote from postdoctoral researcher Dr. Laura Pillay: “During college, I was torn between science and the arts until I took a developmental biology course in my junior year. I was fascinated by how a single cell can develop into a multicellular organism with multiple, complex organ systems.”

Dr. Laura Pillay studies the genetic and molecular mechanisms that regulate blood vessel development and integrity (i.e., what makes vessels “leaky”) in the brain.

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Marion Ouidir, Ph.D., M.Sc.

Women in Science quote from postdoctoral researcher Dr. Marion Ouidir: “The first 1,000 days after conception is a critical window for lifelong health. Studying how the environment affects fetal growth and the development of chronic diseases is essential to improving the health of the next generation.”

Dr. Marion Ouidir studies how environmental exposures affect fetal growth and the development of chronic metabolic diseases, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

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Perdita Taylor-Zapata, M.D.

Women in Science quote from program officer Dr. Perdita Taylor-Zapata: “Know who you are and be confident of what you bring to the table, even if it’s different. That difference has unique value.”

Dr. Perdita Taylor-Zapata oversees projects on pediatric drug development. This includes the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act program, which helps doctors prescribe drugs for children in the safest and most effective ways.

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Candace Tingen, Ph.D.

Women in Science quote from program officer Dr. Candace Tingen: “It’s my job to think about the science, talk to experts, and help direct where the field is going. Being a program officer allows me to step outside of the lab and use my expertise to improve women’s health in a completely different way.”

Dr. Candace Tingen oversees research grants focused on female reproductive health and gynecologic conditions, including uterine fibroids and menstrual disorders.

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Karen Plevock Haase, Ph.D.

Women in Science quote from postdoctoral researcher Dr. Karen Plevock Haase: “Research helps us understand the complex world of biology to create a better future. I love being part of the larger scientific community, working together to solve important biological questions.”

Dr. Karen Plevock Haase studies aging in the gut using Drosophila, or fruit flies, as a model organism in her work to identify genes involved in maintaining the health and integrity of gut tissues.

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Keewan Kim, Ph.D.

Women in Science quote from postdoctoral researcher Dr. Keewan Kim: “Epidemiology covers a broad range of basic science, data analysis, and lifestyle and policy changes, all to improve population health. I’m thrilled to be a researcher who explores the role of modifiable factors in fertility.”

Dr. Keewan Kim explores how nutritional and environmental factors influence couples’ fertility, including pregnancy, pregnancy loss, and live birth. Her work addresses questions common to couples who are pregnant or are trying to become pregnant.

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Marina Venero Galanternik, Ph.D.

Women in Science quote from postdoctoral researcher Dr. Marina Venero Galanternik: “Basic science is the foundation of scientific research. As a developmental biologist, I get to witness the biological processes that lead to the formation of a living organism. Investigating how these processes can fail is my passion.”

Dr. Marina Venero Galanternik’s work focuses on vessels in the meninges—the protective membranes that line the brain and spinal cord. Problems in the meninges can disrupt the blood-brain barrier and allow harmful substances or disease-causing microbes to enter.

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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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