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Ph.D. Candidate Catherine D’Addario Finds Fulfillment in the Lab

Ms. D’Addario had childhood dreams of being a scientist and is working towards a Ph.D. in pharmacology to fulfill those aspirations.

May 09, 2022
Catherine D’Addario

What inspired you to pursue your degree?

Since I was a child, I have always been interested in science. I always asked for the newest science activity kits that National Geographic used to sell and would immediately try them out. When I experienced my first lab course in my undergraduate studies, I was immediately hooked on benchwork. I loved being hands-on with science and having the opportunity to make discoveries of my own. I began to teach and assist in various lab courses that Stony Brook University offered and decided I wanted to continue performing research, which is why I decided to pursue my Ph.D. at NYMC.

What type of research have you been involved in during your time at NYMC?

During my time at NYMC, I’ve been involved in research focusing on pulmonary hypertension, a deadly cardiopulmonary disease that currently has no cure. My work specifically looks at the role of an orphan G-protein coupled receptor, G-protein Coupled Receptor 75, in the development of pulmonary hypertension.

What has helped motivate you along your educational journey? Have you encountered any challenges along the way?

The support of my friends and family has always been a huge motivator for me whenever I felt I was struggling. My family members are my biggest supporters and gave me the support I needed during any challenging times I faced. There were times where my workloads would be too much to handle, but I pushed through those difficult times and changed my habits in order to prevent my work and stress from piling up. I honestly do not think I could have done all of this without the support of my friends and family, as well as the moral support my rabbit, Mr. Beans, gives me.

After you graduate, what is your dream career?

I want to continue to do research while making science more accessible and fun. I feel that it is important to make science less intimidating for people so there can be more public interest and more people involved in science.

What made you choose NYMC?

A big reason as to why I chose NYMC is because of its size. Since NYMC is a smaller school, there is a good relationship between the faculty and students, which makes for a collaborative and friendly environment that I really enjoy.

What has been your favorite aspect of being an NYMC student?

My favorite aspect of being an NYMC student is the community we have. The students are all very supportive of each other and we try to plan events to decompress from our stress and talk about and troubleshoot our experiments. The faculty members at NYMC are also super friendly and helpful, which promotes a collaborative environment across labs and departments.

What faculty member has had the greatest influence on you here?

My mentor, Dr. Sachin Gupte [M.D., Ph.D., professor of pharmacology and director of pharmacology graduate program], had the greatest influence on me here at NYMC. His advice and mentorship have not only helped me become a better scientist, but also a stronger person. I really appreciate all of his help throughout my time in his lab.

What advice would you give applicants or incoming students?

My advice for incoming students is to reach out to the staff and faculty  if you have any questions. They are willing to work with you and help you with any problems you may be facing in your classes, and they are good way to find out about opportunities. If you are interested in research, reach out to your professors whether in person or e-mail and ask them if they have any available positions in their lab or if they know anyone who does. If you are looking for advice on how to progress in your field of studies or career, reach out. Everyone here is always willing to help, so please do not be afraid to ask people.

Outside of your studies, what are your hobbies or interests?

In my free time I enjoy playing video games and crafting. I find they’re both good ways to decompress after a long day and video games help me connect with friends who are far away.

What is a fun fact about you?

I may have a slight obsession with Pokémon.