RealJobs: Liz O’Day, Scientist & Fashion Designer

Liz O’Day’s work day on Monday, February 8, 2010.

It’s a little after midnight on February 8th 2010 – the Saints just clutched Super Bowl XLIV (sorry Peyton!) and I have just returned from a super bowl bash to head back into the laboratory.  I’m a scientist – well a more accurate description is a scientist in training.  I am currently enrolled in the chemical biology PhD program at Harvard University.  I work in the laboratories of Judy Lieberman and Gerhard Wagner where I study the structure and function of miRNAs and how they relate to stem cells and disease.  I absolutely love my job – I get to ask questions, I get to be curious and I get a chance to explore how the world works.  The current question I am examining is how a particular protein, Lin28, interacts with a small-noncoding RNA, let-7.  This interaction appears to play a critical role in development and cancer progression.  My lab mates and I are trying to tease apart the elegant intricacies of this complex and design new ways we may be able to manipulate it.  Sounds fun doesn’t it?

Since as early as I can remember, I have known I wanted to be a scientist.  In the 7th grade I told my parents I was going to be a biochemist. To be honest, I had no idea what I was talking about, but as I grew up and learned what being a biochemist really meant, I fell more and more in love with the idea.  At BC I was a biochem major where I worked in the laboratory of Dr. Evan Kantrowitz. Dr. K may be one of the greatest people I have ever met, and I fully blame him for my addiction to science.  I started working in his lab as a sophomore, and from day one, Dr. K granted me independence and support to facilitate my development as a scientist. For this, I am forever grateful.  Post-BC, my passion for science led me across the pond, where I did a Master’s of Philosophy in Chemistry at the University of Cambridge.  I had the amazing opportunity to work with Professor Chris Dobson.  Chris, or CMD as we called him, is one of those rare people who not only will impress you with his far reaching intellect, but his grace and poise are equally admirable.  After my jaunt in the UK, I returned to Boston to start my PhD at Harvard, and here I am.  And here, in the lab is where you will find me more days than not, and more hours than not.   But that’s definitely not a complaint.  Raf, Ricard, Judit and myself just got into a bag of cool ranch Doritos, and I am about to set up a few more NMR experiments before we call it a night (note the picture when I say a few more NMR experiments).

Tomorrow, or I guess later today, is going to be incredibly busy.  I have my DAC meeting on Tues and Weds (Dissertation Advisory Committee.)  Basically, this where I present all the million and ten things I am working on (when people ask me how many projects I have “N+1” is always my answer,) and start making progress toward the next the stage of this journey.  OPERATION GRADUATION is underway.

However, all work and no play, would lead to a dull life.  As such, I have decided to engage something else that I also take great joy in—fashion.  With the help of my two brothers, Rob and Chris, I am launching my own fashion company, “Lizzard.”  Surprise, surprise, it will of course unite my love for science with my love for fashion.  Lizzard, makes science fashionable. Since this post is turning into the Odyssey, check out our website for more details.  We are just in the beginning of this, so stay turned for all the drama, excitement, disasters, achievements, and better than you can imagines that I hope are in store for Lizzard in 2010!


One response to “RealJobs: Liz O’Day, Scientist & Fashion Designer

  1. She is the best. Best big sister ever and she is cooler than the other side of the pellow!!!! She should be President someday.

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