Stephen Riffle.Hometown: Rohnert Park, California
Undergraduate Institution: University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, California

Having received my Pharmacology degree from UC Santa Barbara, I was nervous to join a Developmental Biology program owing to the fact that I had never taken a developmental biology course. However, while progressing through my undergraduate work I was lucky enough to work in the lab of Dr. Les Wilson and Dr. MaryAnn Jordan. It was during this time that I began to see that a life as a scientific researcher was a life I wanted. There is a special excitement that one can only get when looking at good data that no one else in the world has ever seen. Science allows us to challenge more than just our own thoughts but rather it empowers us to challenge the questions that have dogged mankind for centuries. At times we all wonder what more there is to discover amidst such vast swaths of knowledge. Yet today, as I write this, there will be a great number of papers published around the world that attempt to answer this question, which will call out to us with new questions and new frontiers to explore. It was this excitement that pulled me to the Molecular and Developmental Biology program here at UC/Cincinnati Children's.

As I mentioned earlier, I was nervous to join a Developmental Biology program having not been exposed to this topic but this nervousness gave way to excitement as I began to recognize the opportunity before me. To become a competent scientist capable of pursuing and answering important questions, it is vital that I have a diverse understanding of biology. What better time to push my boundaries and be forced to integrate concepts and knowledge gained in pharmacology with that of developmental biology. I have since experienced challenging courses, which have broadly expanded my knowledge base, and I have also taken up residence in the lab of Dr. Rashmi Hegde. Under her guidance I am working to explore the role of the Eyes Absent proteins in cancer progression from multiple perspectives and I aim to evaluate its validity as a target in the treatment of cancers. Exciting opportunities lay ahead!