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Mara Laslo Interview
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Mara Laslo

Describe the project you’ll be conducting with your GWIS Fellowship funds. What do you hope to discover through this research, and how will the GWIS Fellowship help make this research happen?

With the funds I received from GWIS, I will investigate how limbs develop in a direct-developing frog. Direct-developing frogs bypass the tadpole stage and hatch as mini froglets. Limbs in direct-developing frogs develop early and appear to do so without a need for thyroid hormone. In contrast, most frogs need thyroid hormone to develop limbs. I hope to find out what role, if any, thyroid hormone has in limb development. Funds from GWIS are allowing me to take an unbiased and broad RNA-seq approach.



What’s the coolest thing about your research and/or favorite part of your job?

Watching the frog eggs develop from a small ball of cells to a fully formed, but mini, frog amazes me every time I see it. It renews my interest in understanding this process. I also enjoy communicating my science to museum visitors and working with teachers as part of a professional development series. Their enthusiasm and curiosity always reminds me why I started my PhD in the first place.

What do you like to do when you aren’t working on your science?

I like horseback riding and hiking--anything that will get me out of the lab! I also have a pet bunny, and one of my favorite things is to sit and read a book while he snuggles at my side.

Do you have any words of encouragement or advice for girls and young women who wish to pursue a career in science?

Be positive, and relentless. Foster a sense of resilience; a single failure is not the end of the world (it took me a long time to learn this!) I believe that you will shape our future.

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