• Aria Attia

    Aria Attia.Hometown: Northport, New York
    Undergraduate Institution: Georgetown University, Washington, DC

    Before coming to UC, I worked as a lab technician for 3 years. After deciding to pursue a career in science, I chose the University of Cincinnati and specifically, the Molecular and Developmental Biology program for several reasons. Most labs are located within and/or somehow connected to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, meaning clinician-researcher interactions are numerous and robust. Cincinnati Children's is perennially a top 3 funded institution by the NIH. Aside from being home to high-quality research, UC has proven to be an environment of collaboration and collegiality. Everyone is willing to help, from senior students to post-docs and more often than not, labs across the hall publish papers and write grants together.

    Diversity is another well-known characteristic of the MDB program at UC. Students hail all the way from South America to East Asia. There is no shortage of social gatherings to acclimate students to Cincinnati Children’s as well as to Cincinnati in general.

    As I begin my fifth year in the program, I can reflect on my growth as a scientist. The techniques that I have accumulated and my understanding of the field have vastly grown. My project involves a gene that is most commonly found in cis or trans to pathogenic alleles in ciliopathies (diseases resulting from dysfunctional primary cilia). Patients are prone to numerous craniofacial defects and mice harboring a deletion of Ttc21b get cleft lip and palate, hypertelorism, and micrognathia among other defects. Using a dual genetic and biochemical approach, I am working on a mechanistic model of disease and attempting to rescue the phenotype in vivo. Truly, the excitement builds with the more data one accumulates.

    Finally, Cincinnati is a charming city with a plethora of activities for the typical graduate student. From restaurants to bars to theme parks and shopping malls, Cincinnati offers a broad range of options for weekend fun. Having grown up in New York, it was quite a change of pace. But I can truly say that I am pleased with my transition as well as my choice in graduate institution.