To celebrate International Day of Women & Girls in Science, we spoke to Terry Kelly, Volition's Chief Innovation Officer, about what inspired her into a career in science, her role, and the importance of epigenetics.
1. What or who inspired you into a career in science?
My interest in science, and more specifically biology, stems from my innate curiosity and passion for learning. Understanding biologic regulatory mechanisms is a never-ending puzzle with many questions to answer and discoveries to be made. I can’t think of anything more exciting to do.
2. What does your role at Volition involve?
In my role at Volition, I lead the Innovation team. We are focused on understanding the basic science of genetic and epigenetic regulation and misregulation that occurs during diseases, including cancer. By understanding the “how” and the “why” we can develop the "what" for diagnostics and treatment.
3. Tell us more about Volition’s new Innovation Hub in San Diego.
Volition’s Innovation hub is a truly unique lab, we are fortunate to have a start-up spirit with the backing of a much larger company. We are focusing on high-risk high-reward type projects, bringing together a variety of scientific disciplines and expertise. We are not afraid of asking tough questions or developing the necessary technology. We are passionate about what we do and have a diverse team with expertise to tackle the challenges associated with epigenetics and liquid biopsy.
4. How do you see the field of epigenetics developing in the future?
I view epigenetics as the ultimate answer to the nature vs nurture question.
5. What role can Volition play within epigenetics?
What excites me most is the multi-disciplinary approach that we take. Volition has built an amazing cross-functional team that integrates all aspects of the company in centers of excellence in an effort to improve lives.
6. What are the biggest challenges or barriers we might face?
I think one of the biggest challenges is that we don’t know what we don’t know. This is especially the case with biology. We are making new discoveries that challenge dogma every couple of years, so we must be rigorous in the experiments we perform and be open to new interpretation.
7. If there was one prolific scientist, historical or present, that you’d like to work with, who would it be and why?
Barbara McClintock - she was ahead of her time, steadfast in her commitment to her work, making discoveries many would not appreciate for years.
8. What advice would you give to young women and girls considering a career in science?
Just do it!
Volition is developing simple, easy-to-use, cost-effective blood tests to help diagnose and monitor a range of life-altering diseases including cancer. For more information about Volition’s Nu.Q® technology go to: www.volition.com