Deric Griffin graduated in 2010 from Louisiana State University with a B.S. in biology. During the summer of 2008, he participated in the EXROP program, investigating treatments for Duchenne muscular dystrophy in the lab of HHMI investigator Louis Kunkel. He is a Ph.D. student in translational biology and molecular medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.
Q. What is it about science that appeals to you?
A. I think of a Ph.D. scientist as a problem solver. We see that something is lacking in a field of knowledge and we want to try and fill that gap to better understand the processes of the world. I love doing the work, I love getting these questions and trying to figure out different things. However, I also have an interest in trying to make sure what I do helps people. I ddin’t want to go into a field in which I would develop more knowledge that isn’t beneficial to any people. That is why I decided to do translational biology, because we gear our research towards human pathological conditions and trying to understand more about disease and how we can better treat it.
Q. Why do you think diversity in the sciences is important?
A. I had never met a minority scientist or really had exposure to scientific research where I came from. I didn’t have exposure to scientists at all, or really understand how one became a scientist until I was well into my first year of college. I think it’s important to have people from multiple backgrounds and multiple ethnicities in order to show students that science isn’t open to only one type of person, but that this is something we can all benefit and learn from.
Q. What role do you want to have in the scientific community?
A. One thing that I would like to do when I have my own lab is to be able to open it up to really motivated high school students. In science, if you’re not already in the know, it can be hard to break into it for undergraduates and especially high school students. So I think that trying to expose more young people to science early on is very important. I think that one of the things I had a problem with in high school was that we were given these textbooks that are full of scientific knowledge, but there’s no emphasis on how this knowledge was generated and so I took it for granted. Being able to expose high school students to research early on would help them to understand the science better, develop a richer appreciation for the field and hopefully even drive some of them towards pursuing a career in science.
Photo: Paul Morigi/AP Images for HHMI