This is the fourth post in our “Meet a Scientist” series. Next up is Jaclyn Welles, who will be starting her graduate studies at Penn State College of Medicine this fall.
Let’s get to know you a bit! Where are you from, what did you study in college, and what is your role at Penn State College of Medicine?
I am from Bronx, New York. I went to college in Atlanta, Georgia at Clark Atlanta University where I completed my B.S. in Biology. Afterwards I completed a research post-baccalaureate program at the University of Alabama – Birmingham where I studied transcription factors and metabolism.
Why did you decide to become a scientist?
I have always known that my life would lead me to a career in either medicine or science. It took me two internships and a post-bacc, however, to fully appreciate all that research had to give. It was at my research pos-bacc that I ended up in a transcriptional genomics lab, and for the first time, I felt at a loss for words. I couldn’t believe that I had never encountered functional genomics, transcription factors, and metabolomics before. Everything clicked into place, and I just knew that molecular genetics was the area toward which I had always been striving.
What do you research at Penn State, and why is it important?
Since I am now entering Penn State this summer as a graduate student, I have yet to actually choose a lab. However, I believe that when I do find a lab, I will aspire to continue pursuing research in molecular genetics. I am also very interested in the personalized medicine facilities here. It is one of the reasons why I fell in love with Penn State to begin with.
The genes found in our bodies are not only fundamentally important because they help make us who we are, but also because many of the diseases in existence today only exist due to slight differentiations within our genetic makeup. I truly feel that the keys to solving most diseases will all be found within the map that is our genome, and that it will be up to scientists like us to discover them one day.
What are some of your hobbies outside the lab?
I am first and foremost a huge foodie! I will try any food at least once with pleasure. I am also a bit of an adrenaline junkie. I just recently tried kayaking & although my arms hated me for it 4 miles later, I loved it! I also love to run. I ran track for four years and the habit never left me.
Tell us three random facts about yourself!
- I love scary movies. Come Halloween, I will be your go-to girl!
- My entire family is from Ghana, West Africa.
- I love to dance!
Stay tuned for a new interview next week! And if you’re a Penn State College of Medicine scientist interested in participating, you can sign up here.