Q & A with WLA
Q: What is your early inspiration of doing science?
A: I became interested in science because of my curiosity and love for the environment. I decided to be a scientist when they cloned the sheep in 1996 (I was in high school).
Q: Do you have any scientific hero(es)? If so, how did he/she inspire you?
A: I admire the people who pursuit science despite hurdles and lack of role models. For example, women who studied science even when they were banned to do so. Those who were told that they couldn’t do it but did it anyway.
Q: What is the best advice that you have received?
A: To separate my personal life from my work life. It has helped me not to take criticism of my work as criticism towards me as a person. I can always improve the work I do, and I know that the quality of a grant or paper I write has nothing to do with my worth as a person.
Q: What is your greatest achievement so far?
A: I am proud to have become a professor and lead a major research group funded by NIH in the United States, even when I was not born nor studied in this country. Being born in a low-class family in a third world country, my odds of becoming a professor in any country were very low. To have achieved that in the states is a major accomplishment. I am where I am because I worked hard and because people believed in me and gave me opportunities and scholarships.
Q: What is your research goal?
A: My research goal is to generate personalized therapeutics for lung disease in women. My laboratory studies the molecular mechanisms involved in asthma and COPD in women, and how female sex hormones influence lung disease development and progression throughout life.
Q: What is the best part of your job?
A: The best part of my job is to work with people from may science backgrounds, countries of origin, ages, and racial/ethnic groups. I enjoy mentoring individuals and helping my trainees achieve their professional goals.
Q: Would you like to share with us some of your unforgettable experience?
A: Studying science has brought me many benefits. I was able to travel outside of my country (which most of my family members never did). I met people that were very different than me and learned a lot along the way. I gained knowledge that I now share with others, students, community members, friends. I became a dual citizen and science “ambassador” in more than one language. I am proud of what science has brought to my life and I am excited for what the future will bring.