I think when you haven’t written a blog entry in almost six years, it’s inevitable that you’ll have a lot to catch up on.
I’ll start here: Hi, I’m Mollie! I’m one of the five or six(?) original bloggers, and I was the first to graduate — I graduated with degrees in biology and brain and cognitive sciences in 2006. For those of you doing the math at home, that means I’ve had both my pi reunion and my mole reunion, and I’ve been wearing my brass rat flipped upside down for just over eight years now.
After I graduated from MIT, I went to graduate school at Harvard. I did my Ph.D. in cellular and developmental biology in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences program, and my dissertation research was on two genes that specify subtype and area identity in the projection neurons of the cerebral cortex of mice. (I wrote a review! And drew the pictures for it!) I defended my thesis on October 29, 2012, which you may recognize as the day that Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast. So, in a fairly literal sense, I defended my thesis come hell or high water.
I hung around my Ph.D. lab for a few months to finish up work on some papers, and started my postdoctoral fellowship last July at Children’s Hospital Boston. I’m still studying brain development, but I’ve switched model organisms — I work with human brains now. My lab studies the genetics of brain development, primarily by finding children with neurodevelopmental disorders like microcephaly (small brain) or lissencephaly (smooth brain), then finding the gene responsible for causing the disorder and studying its function. We can learn a lot about how the brain puts itself together by studying what happens when some small process goes wrong. If all goes well, I’ll be here for another four or five years, and then I’ll start looking for an academic faculty job.
(If you’re keeping track, my postdoc at Children’s means I’ve done lab work at MIT, Mass General, Harvard, and Children’s Hospital Boston. If there’s some sort of collect-‘em-all card for Boston-area animal facilities, I am so close to winning.)
When I started blogging for Admissions, I was dating a very cute course 16 major named Adam, who is now my very cute aerospace engineer husband. (He proposed to me in Killian Court, and there was an entry up about our engagement on the blogs within about half an hour, because Ben Jones is a notorious gossip.) We had our wedding reception at the Museum of Science with all of our MIT friends in attendance. Adam had been working at an aerospace company in Kendall Square since graduation, but he got a job offer last year from Google[x] that was too good to turn down, so we’re doing the long-distance thing for a few years while he Googles and I postdoc. It’s really weird living apart, because neither of us has actually ever lived alone — we started dating when he was a freshman and I was a sophomore, and we moved in together not too long after.
But! Adam being in California means that I needed to move, so I’ve moved out of the suburbs (where we’d been living since we got married) back to a cozy little one-bedroom apartment near Central Square in Cambridge, just a quick walk from MIT.
I was walking home from the Star Market behind Random Hall a few weeks ago, wearing my favorite sundress (purchased junior year on Newbury Street), listening to my summer music playlist from college, and I realized that I could have been wearing exactly the same outfit and listening to the same music in the same spot almost a decade ago. And it hit me that, although I live in the same place (and, apparently, wear the same clothes and listen to the same music…), there’s been so much that’s happened in my life in those ten years. It’s been a fantastic decade. Here’s to the next one.