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Elizabeth Mushaben has a specific focus in her research. The fifth-year PhD student in Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center’s Molecular and Developmental Biology Graduate Program is investigating a gene and the role it plays in asthma in children.
It wasn’t specificity, but rather breadth, that brought Mushaben to Cincinnati Children’s.
“The thing that attracted me up front was that there was such a wide variety of research opportunities,” she says. “The vast array was probably what first drew my attention.”
Mushaben says her goal – studying the genetic roots of asthma – is helped along by the close relationship between clinicians and scientists at Cincinnati Children’s.
“Just seeing how your research can affect the lives of little children, that was another thing that interested me,” she says, adding that she sees that attitude helping advance science as much as it helps children in need.
Her colleagues here “want to see science getting better as a whole. No one who’s going to do science does it all by themselves.”
And she notes the collaboration doesn’t end with in-house clinicians and scientists. Mushaben is working to develop “knockout mice,” lab animals that lack the gene expression she’s studying. In the course of her research, she says it’s not uncommon for scientists at Cincinnati Children’s to send mice and other research-specific items to other institutions.
“The collaboration goes beyond this building,” she says.
And the sense of teamwork has turned the twisting halls of Cincinnati Children’s research facilities into a welcoming home for the young researcher.
“I don’t feel inferior to the principal investigators,” she says. “They try to work with you; they don’t want you to fail, they want you to succeed.”
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