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 Madelen Díaz, PhD student in professor Michael Rosbash’s lab.
The music of the mind
Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Miami, Fla. after my parents emigrated from Cuba.
What do you research?
I currently research the neuronal circuitry responsible for circadian rhythm in the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster). Why do we use the fruit fly to study circadian rhythm? Fruit flies sleep at night and even sleep the siesta during the afternoon. Several of the molecular proteins responsible for these behavioral oscillations are conserved across species. We use complex genetic tools, behavioral assays, and several imaging techniques to see how these circadian neurons coordinate with each other to produce their active/sleep cycle throughout the day.
What is your biggest passion outside of science?
My passion outside of science has always been classical piano. I’ve been playing since I was 6 years old. There is something incredibly relaxing about immersing yourself into the music that you forget that ever-growing “to-do” list.
How do you define discovery, and how does it make you feel?
I would term discovery as obtaining an unexpected or controversial result. It’s very exciting thinking of the possibilities of a new discovery and how this can potentially contribute to the “big picture.” It can also be nerve-wracking because of the uncertainty of not knowing what to do next or where to look. The most difficult part of graduate school is to continue working through all of the uncertainty.
What do you do to unwind, after a long day at the lab?
After a long day in the lab, I most commonly relax by baking desserts or playing piano. On weekends, I like to go out salsa dancing or traveling New England.