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Difference Maker: Susanne Gollin, Ph.D
Professor, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health
Name: Susanne M. Gollin, Ph.D.
Company: University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health
What I do: I am a Professor of Human Genetics, so that means that I teach college students and students in graduate school (which means they already graduated from college and are continuing their education) about cells and chromosomes, the carriers of the DNA, which is the computer program that runs the cells in our bodies. I also do cancer research. In other words, I work in my laboratory and try to figure out why cancer cells are different from normal cells and how to stop them from growing so we can cure cancer. I also work in the Clinical Cytogenetics Laboratory at Magee Women's Hospital, reviewing and interpreting the results of chromosome tests on people whose doctors think they might have cancer or know they have cancer, to assist the doctors in determining whether they have cancer, and if so, what type of cancer.
Quick description: Professor, Cancer Researcher, Geneticist
Describe your work – what you do on a daily basis…
1) I lead a research team trying to understand how cancer cells differ from normal cells, why some cancer cells are resistant to therapy and how to re-sensitize them to therapy. Sometimes I work in the laboratory, mostly I write research publications and research grants to fund the research. I work with my laboratory group comprised of two experienced technicians, two doctoral students, postdoctoral fellow, and three volunteers.
2) I teach graduate school classes on chromosomes and human diseases.
3) I review and sign out clinical cancer cytogenetics reports to assist physicians in diagnosing and following cancer patients or ruling out the presence of cancer cells.
What do you like to do outside work?
Gardening and photography.
How/When did you know you’d be a (scientist) someday?
7th grade. I had a wonderful biology teacher, Mr. Quinn, who really interested me in science. I carried out science fair projects in 7th and 8th grade. Then in freshman year of high school, my biology teacher, Mr. Bonardi, was a great teacher and his class confirmed my love for biology.
What are the most difficult challenges of your work? What are your favorite parts of your work?
The most difficult challenge is getting grants to fund the research. The most fun is finding discoveries that may someday cure cancer.
How does math and science change the world? How are you changing the world?
Math and science are at the basis of all human endeavors, from growing our food, making our water drinkable, building our homes, vehicles, roads, and factories, growing our gardens, art – man-made beauty and the natural beauty around us, helping us remain healthy, and every aspect of human endeavor.
Who was your inspiration?
My 7th grade biology teacher, Mr. Quinn.
What was your favorite subject in school?
What advice do you have for teen girls today?
Go for it. You can do whatever you set your mind to. Remain focused. Learn as much as you can about art, history, science, and all subjects so you can become an interesting person and talk about and appreciate all things, but math and science are achievable for women as well as men.
Describe yourself in one word…
How can we learn more about what you do? Visit my website at http://www.hgen.pitt.edu/show_faculty.php?id=35