Written by Lucia Capano, PhD candidate
This blog post is provided as part of Careers in Aging Week, April 17-23, 2022, which brings greater awareness and visibility to the wide-ranging career opportunities in the field of aging.
When I started my PhD, I knew I loved studying the brain, but I didn’t realize the conundrum that studying age-associated neurodegenerative diseases (like Alzheimer’s Disease) posed to basic researchers. We can’t get live brain tissue from living adults and mice don’t get these diseases naturally.
Until recently, scientists couldn’t make them in a dish, but my primary investigator discovered a method to replicate brain cells that maintain their age, allowing us to dissect the mechanisms of diseases that affect 30 million people worldwide. Now that I’m in the field of aging, well, I’m hooked.
If you’re considering a career in aging and you’re a basic scientist like myself, read some review articles on the things we do and do not understand regarding aging. You can find these by searching the keywords “aging” and “review” on PubMed.gov. You may find they pique your interest on a certain topic! Then, email and reach out to those scientist authors – we love when people read our work and have follow-up questions. Who knows where those conversations can lead?
Lucia Capano is a PhD candidate in the lab of Dr. Andrew Yoo at Washington University in St. Louis. She received a B.S. in both Biology and Neuroscience from Brandeis University. For her PhD, she studies the family of neurodegenerative diseases known as tauopathies (the most common of which is Alzheimer’s Disease.) Her work defines a new model for studying the adult protein expression which leads to aggregation and disease. She is an avid science communicator, participating in the 3-Minute Thesis competition and she is a student in the Science Communication Credential pathway.