Interviews with Scientists: Chloe Connor
It’s time for another of our Interviews with Scientists, and this week we spoke to Chloe Connor, a Bioethics research fellow at the NIH Department of Bioethics, Maryland, USA. We met Chloe at the recent NIH Research Festival 2023 where she was the lucky winner of our $100 charity prize draw!
We wanted to find out more about her career so far, her plans for the future, and her reasons for choosing the Four Diamonds childhood cancer organization as the charity to be supported by her Hello Bio $100 donation.
Hi Chloe, please can you tell us a little bit about your current role at the NIH Department of Bioethics?
I am on a two year fellowship in the NIH Department of Bioethics, where I conduct mentored bioethics related research. Right now, I am conducting research on genetic testing but my research will span a broad range of topics over the next two years. In addition to research, our department also runs a clinical ethics consultation service at the NIH Clinical Center, where we assist with ethical queries in research and clinical care.
What excites you most about the work that you do?
I really enjoy the practical application of bioethics work which can take the form of empirical projects or clinical services such as the consultation service, which helps people in real time make decisions related to research and clinical care.
Did you always want to work in science when you were younger, and if so why?
I did not always want to work in science, but I did want to be a neuroscientist or neuropsychologist for a few years. Eventually I realized that what I really enjoyed about neuroscience was pressing societal questions and neuroethical issues. This lends itself better to a career involving bioethics as opposed to wet lab work.
What do you think are the biggest challenges facing life scientists today?
Especially during the pandemic we have seen increased politicization of science and research. Life scientists today have to grapple with political and societal implications of their work more than ever before.
You recently attended the NIH Research Festival 2023 - how was it?
I only recently started working at the NIH so this was my first festival, but I enjoyed talking with people at the different tables.
You were the winner of the Hello Bio $100 charity draw - which charity did you choose to donate to and why?
I chose Four Diamonds, a childhood cancer organization, because I was actively involved in THON for four years while I attended Penn State. THON is a fundraising organization that raises money for Four Diamonds but also connects college students with families impacted by pediatric cancer. While at Penn State, I had the opportunity to get to know four wonderful families that worked with my cross country team. I have fond memories of raising money for Four Diamonds in the form of a 46-hour continuous treadmill marathon where my teammates and I tried to run as many miles as possible within the allotted time. We also participated in a 46 hour no sitting no sleeping dance marathon, which was always a fun weekend filled with performers, activities, and spending time with families impacted by childhood cancer.
What’s the most important lesson you have learned in your career so far?
Always shoot your shot! Take every opportunity you can to connect with and work with admirable professionals in your field. The worst thing that can happen is someone will say no.
How do you see your career progressing in the future/where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I see myself moving towards public health law and policy. I hope to combine my science and public health background with an understanding of law and policy to work in some capacity towards ethical and efficacious public health policies and practices.
Outside of your career, what do you enjoy doing most?
Outside of work I am an avid runner and enjoy training and competing with my running team.
And finally, what do you think is the greatest scientific discovery of all time?
John Snow's work during the 1854 cholera outbreak was a pivotal moment in public health. He provided compelling evidence that cholera was waterborne and not transmitted through "bad air" as was commonly believed at the time. His discovery laid the foundation for modern epidemiology and our understanding of the importance of clean water and sanitation in preventing infectious diseases. His work also contributed to improvements in public health practices and the development of sanitation systems to prevent the spread of waterborne diseases.
Thanks for a great interview Chloe! We’re very pleased to help your chosen charity, and we wish you and all at Four Diamonds the very best!
Connect with Chloe:
- LinkedIn: Chloe Connor
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