Unique Scientist: Crystal Grant

Time to meet Crystal Grant (She/her)! Crystal is a bioinformatician studying DNA changes during aging. She is working towards her PhD at Emory University in the USA!

What kind of scientist are you?
I’m a bioinformatician, so I do computer analysis only (you don’t want to see me in the wet lab)! I study changes to humans’ DNA as we age and how these changes can increase our risk of age-related diseases (like CVD, cancer, neurological diseases, etc). The ultimate goal is to understand aging better so we can find ways to uncouple it from the development of disease.

What made you want to become a scientist?
I’ve always thought genetics was really interesting, the fact that so much about us is encoded in this very simple 4 letter language seems so cool to me. I remember my first semester of college seeing images of fruit flies growing legs where their eyes should be because researchers had moved the gene that says “grow a leg here”. I thought it was fascinating.

“I’m a black woman, and a first generation American working in a field that involves a lot of writing code–which can often make me feel like an outsider.”

Crystal Grant

What makes you a #UniqueScientist?
I’m a black woman, and a first generation American working in a field that involves a lot of writing code–which can often make me feel like an outsider.

What’s something cool you do outside of work?
I love to travel (22 countries and counting) and have a travel blog where I (when the mood strikes) will upload travel tips. I also love to do yoga as often as I can find.

If you had one wish and could change anything in science, what would it be?
I want to change the culture in graduate school of being distant from engaging with non-scientists about science. So many people think science is really cool but are scared off from it because we’re only taught how to speak in science jargon to other scientists. I wish more graduate training was about engaging with the public and getting them to not be so afraid of us scientists.

“I wish more graduate training was about engaging with the public and getting them to not be so afraid of us scientists.”

Crystal Grant

Who has inspired you the most in your journey to where you are now?
My advisor inspires me, she is such a beacon of calmness and encouragement. I’m also constantly inspired by my friends in grad school who are killing it in their respective ways (from fancy awards to getting invited to talks to great publications).

Let’s end on a high note! What’s something you’ve done this week that you’re proud of?
I’ve been trying to make progress on drafting a manuscript and I wrote two whole pages!!!!

#WomenInSTEM, #QueerInSTEM, #BlackInSTEM

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