“There’s this underlying fire that I have. I think what fuels it is just this constant need to know more.”
In junior high, Katherine Aird, PhD, read a book about how researchers and others fought to stop an Ebola outbreak. It inspired her to one day work in science.
“There’s this underlying fire that I have,” says Dr. Aird, an associate professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Clinical Biology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “I don’t know where it comes from, and I don’t know if it was born or was ignited. But I think what fuels it is just this constant need to know more. I have maybe an insatiable curiosity.”
Although she originally considered infectious diseases as a specialty, “life is never a straight path,” Dr. Aird says. She found her true calling in cancer research, where she is a principal investigator.
Working in affiliation with the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center, Dr. Aird and her team try to advance cancer knowledge. Their research aims to better diagnose and treat cancers. Dr. Aird has a particular research interest in ovarian and other women’s cancers.
“I always tell people cancer is a very complicated puzzle, and there’s a lot of challenge and excitement in trying to put all the pieces together,” Dr. Aird says.
One part of her job that Dr. Aird appreciates is helping to train the next generation of cancer researchers. She also has an interest in bringing more diverse voices to science and research.
“I’m there to help guide the next generation, mentor them, make sure their science is funded and moving forward so that they can move on and do bigger and better things than even I’m doing,” she says.
At UPMC, Life Changing Medicine means working to solve the problems of today and tomorrow through knowledge.
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