We are Brandeis Science: Jenny Klein

There is no rule that says scientists have to look or act a certain way. Scientists can be funny and outgoing, athletic and artistic. They come from all different backgrounds and have all different interests. At Brandeis, our scientists are as diverse as the groundbreaking research they engage in. This on-going series is inspired by This is What a Scientist Looks Like

This post was written by Jenny Klein, a research technician in professor Nelson Lau’s biology lab.

 The thrill of discovery

Jenny Klein and her sister after skydiving
Jenny Klein and her sister after skydiving

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

As a really little kid I wanted to be an artist, and then I wanted to be a vet because I love animals. But I actually knew partway through high school that I wanted to be involved in research science.

What do you research?

I study the CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing system. It is the latest generation of genome editing technology that allows the researcher to create specific mutations in the genomes of their model systems. This allows you to understand what a specific gene does and why it is important. I’m working to improve the efficiency of the system to add in specific mutations.

How do you define discovery and how does it make you feel?

Discovery means being the first person ever to see a result or data trend — and recognizing that it means something. I get an absolute thrill from making a discovery — it’s better than any other adrenaline jolt out there (and I’ve gone skydiving a couple times). The quest keeps me motivated, especially during the stretches when nothing seems to be working with my project.

Besides science, what do you nerd out about?

Outside of the lab, I love science fiction/fantasy books, movies and TV shows. I even took a class in college called “Tolkien’s Middle Earth” — it was pretty awesome, especially since our homework most of the semester consisted of reading “The Lord of the Rings.”

What’s one, non-career goal?

I’d love to become totally fluent in Spanish. I’ve studied it for years and have spent time in Spain, so I would still describe myself as proficient. I’m planning a trip to South America soon and hope I can get over the hump there.

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