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Post-doctoral Researcher, Ludwig Cancer Research

Dr Marsha WallaceMarsha wanted to become a scientist after hearing about the human genome being sequenced for the first time, whilst she was in high school in the USA. This discovery inspired her to want to unravel the mysteries of genetics and she therefore studied Biology followed by a PhD in Genetics in the USA. She is currently a post-doctoral researcher in Professor Gareth Bond’s group in Ludwig Cancer Research. Her project is a mixture of computational biology and research at the laboratory bench.

Can you describe a typical day at work?

MW: On a typical day, I’m using programs to figure out how changes in the DNA can lead to disease.  Then, we take what we learn at the computer into the lab to watch it work in live cells. By understanding the biology, we learn how better to treat a disease.”

What do you like best about your career?

MW: In addition to making a positive impact and traveling the world, I love that a career in genetics offers so many other possibilities.  There are projects out there studying almost everything – sequencing the DNA of long-dead Egyptian kings, cloning a woolly mammoth, developing DNA sequencers for rovers to use on other planets, examining genetic diversity in exotic animal populations, finding links between genetics and psychology, engineering plants to survive in harsher climates with higher yields to curb world hunger.

What advice would you give to other women considering a career in science?

MW: Talk one-on-one with a female scientist in a field you’re considering! Talk with several! This is critically important, because there are many considerations to make before starting down this road.