Kate Bredbenner

“I grew up in rural PA where my grandparents have a farm. I’m the first person in my family to go to college and the first person in my extended family to go for a PhD. My family is always amazed that I can live in NYC, but I love it here. I’m a diehard foodie, so NYC is the place to be. Plus it isn’t too far from home when I want to go back.”

“There’s a lot of conflict in science and not a lot of communication. There is the stuff your boss wants, the stuff you want, the stuff people in your field want, etc. It can get really confusing and feel like you’re being pulled in a lot of different directions. You just have to keep your goals in mind and be confident and flexible.

If you could give one piece of advice to young scientists or students, what would it be?

Have clear goals for yourself. Know what you want. They don’t have to be big goals all the time. It can be something as small as passing an exam or asking your teacher why they got into teaching. You can also have big goals like get into college or publish a paper. It is impossible to know what steps to take if you don’t have a goal in mind.”

Have you ever made something explode or otherwise wildly go wrong in lab?

“I once broke a window in a very expensive research building with a stray magnet. I was building a Rube-Goldberg device where a balloon with a magnet in it was popped to set off a Newton’s cradle, but when the balloon popped, the magnet shot into the window and cracked the whole thing. I am now banned from building Rube-Goldbergs.”

Along with studying HIV as a graduate student in the Laboratory of Cellular Biophysics at Rockefeller, Kate runs a YouTube series called Simple Biologist where she takes new papers or topics of research and breaks them down via whiteboard. Kate is also involved with a variety of science outreach organizations, including the BioBusBraiNY, and Know Science. Her goal is to make a career of talking to the public about science in a fun and informative way.

“An estimated 1.5M scientific papers are published a year. That’s ~3 papers per minute! I’ve spent a long time developing the ability to read and understand these papers, and I think there’s a lot of interesting and important stuff out there that people would want to know.”

Check out Kate’s video on HIV below:

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