Unique Scientist: Tré Artis

Time to meet Tré Artis (He/him)! Tré is a molecular biologist interested in blood diseases and epigenetics. Tre is currently working towards his Ph.D. degree at Harvard University in the USA!

What kind of scientist are you?
I’m a molecular biologist who conducts research in the field of hematology. I’m fascinated with better understanding the molecular causes of common blood diseases such as leukemia. In particular, I study how misregulation of gene expression contributes to the development of such diseases.

What made you want to become a scientist?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a curiosity about the mysteries of the biological universe. At a young age I would ask myself fundamental questions about how living organisms came to be, function, interact, and ultimately die. As a kid these interests manifested as a love for wildlife but eventually developed through college into a love of the things we can’t see with the naked eye (i.e. human cells and the things within them). Ultimately, my desire to help cure human diseases using the power of science and research cemented my aspirations of becoming a scientist.

“Ultimately, my desire to help cure human diseases using the power of science and research cemented my aspirations of becoming a scientist.”

Tré Artis

What makes you a #UniqueScientist?
I’m black, LGBTQIA+, and first-generation. I also grew up low income in working class/poverty stricken neighborhoods of New York City. Growing up, I never heard the term “PhD” before and didn’t truly understand what it meant until I almost left college. One day I’ll be the first in my family to have one. Unfortunately because of my identity and upbringing, I feel like a unicorn in nearly every academic/STEM space I enter and its often uncomfortable. Now it’s a part of my career mission to change that.

What’s something cool you do outside of work?
I’m a fencer! I’ve been fencing for a little over a decade since I was a teen, and even fenced NCAA Varsity in college. I continue to fence today, going to a club in Boston multiple times a week.

If you had one wish and could change anything in science, what would it be?
Science has an obvious problem with diversity, especially at the faculty level. While hiring practices need to be reformed, I would like to see the pool of scientists expanded to better reflect the diversity of my country. A part of this is increasing the amount of diverse trainees in the pipeline. In order to do this, I would increase access to scientific education and opportunities to conduct science, particularly in low-income communities and communities of color. I would like to see scientific exposure and literacy bolstered significantly in my communities. I believe this will help the diversity problem.

“[…] I feel like a unicorn in nearly every academic/STEM space I enter and its often uncomfortable.”

Tré Artis

Who has inspired you the most in your journey to where you are now?
So many people have inspired me, especially the many women scientists/biologists that I learned from and was advised by during college and thereafter. But more so, I’m inspired by the people who gave me opportunities when many others didn’t. It takes a certain kind of person to see the potential in young students what others can’t see. I aim to be that kind of academic one day.

Let’s end on a high note! What’s something you’ve done this week that you’re proud of?
I conducted my first full length genome editing experiment as a candidate in my thesis lab!


#QueerInSTEM, #BlackInSTEM

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