Seventh Set of Scientists

The Graduate School of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research launched its seventh year with six predoctoral researchers whose interests in science were sparked in a variety of interesting ways. Get to know this intriguing group better by visiting


Kaelan Brennan

Purdue University

Kaelan Brennan’s earliest curiosity about science-related topics began in a garden, when his mother explained that even though the plants couldn’t move or talk, they were still very much alive and growing, just like he was. That sparked many questions and a future interest in biology. In high school, he even took AP Biology twice because he found it was so much fun.



Luciana Castellano

National University of General San Martin

Everything about nature, from planets to individual cells, interested Luciana Castellano when she was a little girl in Buenos Aires, Argentina. But it was her high school biology and genetics classes that solidified her desire to one day pursue a career in scientific research.




Aubrey Kent

William Jewell College

Aubrey Kent says that if anyone told her six years ago she would be working on a PhD, she would have laughed. Home-schooled during high school, Kent wasn’t exposed to much science until she decided to pursue higher education in her 20s. That’s when she discovered her passion for the biological sciences.

Originally, Kent enrolled at a community college with the aim of becoming a radiology technician. A general biology course got her hooked.



Yue Liang

Wuhan University

While earning her bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from Wuhan University in Hubei, China, Yue Liang spent eight months at the Australian National University’s John Curtin Medical School. There, she studied DNA double-strand breaks and the role histone proteins play in the correct transfer of genetic information. This experience fueled her desire to pursue basic scientific research as a lifelong career.




Emma Moore

University of Houston

Emma Moore caught the research bug during high school when she interned in a marine biology lab. She had always enjoyed science, but this formative experience made her appreciate the level of discussion and thought required to perform research. After that first lab experience, she continued to find internships that exposed her to different kinds of research.




Sajjita Saha

Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Kolkata

As an 8-year-old, Sajjita Saha wanted to understand how her pet dog knew she was coming home from school and would be waiting at the door with a toy so they could go out and play. Her mother explained that her dog’s sense of smell was more powerful than a human’s, but that answer didn’t satisfy the curious Saha. Such childhood questions led her to major in science.