Emily Growney Kalaf
Lab meetings are fun, especially when you get to talk about all the hard work you've done!
Catholic University of America (Bachelors of Biomedical Engineering, 2009), Saint Louis University - Master's of Science (Biomedical Engineering, 2013) and PhD (Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering, 2017)
I'm an engineer, a microscope wizard, and a qualified researcher with a doctorate
Saint Louis University (microscope technician), National University of Ireland (Whitaker International Postdoctoral Scholar)
Marie Curie Medtrain Postdoctoral Fellow, Centre for Research in Medical Devices, National University of Ireland Galway
Favourite thing to do in science: anything that has to do with microscopes!
I'm super tall, I love to hike, and my favorite thing to do is travel and take pictures!
I’m an avid reader since I could hold a book – I remember my dad reading “The Hobbit” to me and my brother and sister for our bedtime stories and to this day I’m obsessed with anything Tolkien (except maybe the new hobbit movies). I’ve been drawing since I could hold a crayon and to this day I love sketching (I always include something I draw in nearly everything I present!). I remember the first time I stole my parent’s waterproof film camera and started taking and staging pictures of our two dogs – of course we put dressed them in a homemade dress and tux and married them and I was the wedding photographer.
I’ve hiked mountains in the Himalayas and the Rockies, and I’ve lived on 3 continents and visited 21 countries in the past 10 years; I would consider traveling one of my greatest loves in life, especially when it’s centered around food 🙂
I'm a biomedical engineer working on nanowires that can act like neurons!
Sciencey Explanation: The major aim of my work is to emulate neuronal function, including synaptic connectivity, by reproducing memory and time-dependence in a nanowire-based neuromorphic network. From this, we can create a “neural memory prosthetic” that can then be tuned to characterize and therefore help to determine the mechanisms underlying neurogenic and neuropathic pain and potentially stimulate an analgesic effect when implanted into a model of neuropathic pain reduction by deep brain stimulation.
What it means: I want to make tiny wires act like neurons in the brain so I can create a device that can record signals from neuron cells to study them and figure out why some people feel pain all the time and see if we can try to stop it. This involves a lot of work with cells and chemistry and a dash of engineering and my favorite – microscope work!
My Typical Day
Read a paper, do some experiments, write about what I did, and then plan the next steps!
<– The lab
<– pipettes! <– cells in a sterilized cabinet
What I'd do with the money
I would donate the money to Soapbox Science Galway to promote outreach and women in science!
If I were to win, I would donate the money to Soapbox Science Galway, which is an outreach activity where women of all branches of science go into the city and give little demonstrations of their science to the public! With this money, Soapbox Science will be able to advertise and even record some of their sessions!
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Scientist, Optimist, Advocate
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Iron & Wine
What's your favourite food?
Soft serve vanilla ice cream with chocolate sprinkles
What is the most fun thing you've done?
What did you want to be after you left school?
I've always wanted to be an astronaut - I'll get there someday
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Someone has to keep the teachers on their toes :)
What was your favourite subject at school?
Three way tie: Art, French, and Biology
What's the best thing you've done as a scientist?
I was able to present my research at a conference in Japan!
What or who inspired you to become a scientist?
The book "The Hot Zone" by Richard Preston, and I've loved reading about science since I was little
If you weren't a scientist, what would you be?
Probably an animal worker, or an astronaut
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
I wish for grant money, I wish that all stray dogs find a loving home, and I wish that I could eat as much food as I want and still be healthy!
Tell us a joke.
What do you get when you mix a joke and a rhetorical question?