Rocio.jpg

Neda Ronaghi

Bioinformatics Scientist - Grail

,,

,,

Don't let anyone, or any hardships get in the way of what you want to pursue!

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I analyze large genomic datasets, to help better understand how to detect cancer early, from a blood draw.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS FIELD?

I moved to the US from Sweden when I was 13. My immediate role model since an early age was always my older brother who is only 2 years older, and as I grew older, my uncle who is a very successful entrepreneur and CTO of a big biotech firm also turned into my role model. As I didn't speak English when I moved here and had a hard time catching up in school, I wasn't exactly sure what to major in once I got to college. My brother decided to follow my uncle's footsteps of entering the Biotech field - and I followed my brothers footsteps solely because of the fact that I knew that if I did end up liking it, I would have both my brother and my uncle's expertise, network, and advice throughout the process. I ended up loving molecular biology and as I started working in a research lab, I discovered my passion of answering biological questions through big data, which is why I entered the field of bioinformatics.

WHAT DO YOU LOOK AT & THINK, "I WISH YOUNGER ME WOULD HAVE KNOWN THIS WAS POSSIBLE?"

Finishing my undergraduate degree in MCD Bio and Bioinformatics one year early, and moving straight into doing my Masters. I wanted to be a pizza baker or a famous singer as a kid, and math and science were not my strong suits as I was a few years behind in those subjects when I moved to the US. I wish the younger me would have known that it is possible to overcome these hardships and be good in subjects you thought you were 'bad' at.

WHY DO YOU LOVE WORKING IN STEM?

I love being able to answer biological questions that can make a positive difference in our world. I have been working for Grail the past 3 years, a start up that is trying to detect cancer early- when it can be cured. Waking up every morning, I am driven by the fact that the work I do- can one day help change the term 'cancer' in this world and revolutionize health care by catching different types of cancers earlier on before they turn aggressive through a blood draw.

BEST ADVICE FOR NEXT GENERATION?

Don't let anyone, or any hardships get in the way of what you want to pursue! Even if you may not be as interested in a subject growing up, or do not think you are suited for it, it does not mean you won't find your own way of being successful in the field and finding your true passion.

INSPO / FUN FACT

“At the end of the day, we can endure much more than we think we can.” – Frida Kahlo