April Woods


Hometown:  Los Angeles, CA

Undergraduate education : San Francisco State University, 2003 B.S. Cell and Molecular Biology

Work experience before MLML:  

Prior to coming to MLML, I have worked as a lab technician in an immunological lab studying the innate immune system and ocular inflammation. Before that, I was a lab tech in a structural biology lab, working on protein crystallography of nuclear receptors.


Q: Why did you decide to pursue marine science?

A. I definitely did not set out to become a marine scientist when I began my undergraduate education. Starting with an appreciation for nature and botany in particular, I began taking introductory science courses and kept an undeclared major until I began learning more in depth about cellular biology. I knew I wanted a scientific career studying biological processes at the molecular level and pursued this in various forms for several years after graduation. Being an avid reader with a diverse interest and access to a wealth of scientific literature, I read and read and continuously found myself returning to topics on oceanography. I have always lived near the ocean and love it deeply, but it took me a long time to make the connection between my scientific interests and the potential for a  viable career in marine science. I cannot point to any defining moment that brought me to marine science, but now that I am here, I cannot imagine a better place to be.


Q: What experiences and opportunities have shaped your path to get you where you are now?

I have a strong foundation in basic science research and have been fortunate to work with some tremendously inspirational scientists. Watching these people engage in their work with obvious and genuine excitement has rooted in my mind that science should be a fun and exhilarating process. I strive to bring that level of quality and engagement to my own work.

Q: What are you studying and why is it interesting and important to you?

A: I will be studying Biological Oceanography. Specifics are in the works, but I am interested in plankton physiology and abundance and their relationship with global processes.

 Q: What are the most rewarding and challenging aspects of graduate school?

A: The reward is building a career that is centered in scientific discovery and getting to work on the ocean. I suppose the challenging part will be putting the work in to make those discoveries.

Q: What advice do you have for someone who wants to get in to marine science?

A: All science begins with the same fundamental coursework; chemistry, physics, biology and math. Study hard in these classes and really try to get it, because you will see the same concepts over and over. It will make the work so much easier as you progress if you have a strong foundation in the basics. Also, do not be intimidated to approach labs or professors whose work you find interesting. There are so many amazing opportunities to be had and sometimes all it takes is an email or an introduction.




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