Alumni Profile: Mike Kirby
While journeying through his career, Kirby says that his favorite part was the experience of teaching and mentoring PhD students at Cambridge in England while on sabbatical. There he recognized a difference in PhD students, saying, "what distinguishes a PhD student is that they can learn anything on their own, but it's interesting to see a PhD student go back to undergrad material with new understanding."
Mariel Vazquez Alumni Profile
Mariel Vazquez, who earned her Ph.D. in math at FSU, has received a prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award for her research. She applies pure math to the biological mysteries of DNA, studying its entanglement as it packs tightly into living cells. Born and raised in Mexico City, Vazquez became fascinated with math and biology in high school. "I found pure mathematics to be absolutely beautiful but I didn't know how I could apply it to biology," Vazquez said. That changed when she became an undergraduate at the National Autono- mous University of Mexico and attended a series of talks about DNA topology - the application of knot theory to the study of DNA.
Faculty Profile: Nick Cogan
While pursuing his master's at the University of Montana, Cogan got the change to expand that conversation even more by working at the Center for Biofilm Engineering, an interdisciplinary National Science Foundation center that brought together faculty from different departments and funded grad students to work with them. The only hitch? He hadn't studied biology since high school, which didn't bother him but did manage to annoy the microbiologist he was paired with.