Author: Dom Smith

Dom Smith chats with Jenna Aronson about her own entrepreneurship goals while working toward her PhD at MIT (in the Brain and Cognitive Sciences), as well as how useful the Martin Trust Center can be for students.

Can you introduce yourself?

My name is Jenna, and I am a First Year PhD Student in the Brain and Cognitive Sciences Program, here at MIT. Since I am a First Year Student, I am still progressing through what I would call different rotations of labs where I get to experience different options before I commit to my thesis lab.

What are your goals?

I want to make the world a better place. Prior to being at MIT, I was in a lab at Massachusetts General Hospital where I was using human stem cells grown in 3D to actually model Alzheimer’s Disease, so that we could understand the molecular mechanisms and work towards effective therapies that are sorely lacking. Knowing that I am doing work that will directly impact people’s lives, it makes me very excited to continue working in this space where I can move towards therapy for neurodegenerative disease, or just addressing healthy aging. Also, the infusion of technology on campus into everything is what drew me to this school. Because of that, I’m working with people from strong engineering backgrounds, and so, because of that I’m figuring out how we can develop better methods, and use innovative techniques to reach answers for questions that we just don’t have right now.

What have you learned about yourself through your work?

I have realized that science is never done in a vacuum, and it’s best done in a multi-disciplinary environment where you can engage with other people. Then, they can lend their expertise and together you can do something more. I know that team work is really important, and obviously I myself have learned a lot of technical skills that relate to Molecular Biology and cell culture techniques! At this point I can design and execute experiments, but at this point, the question is now, ‘How can I use all of these new resources that are available to me here on campus to change the world.

Listen to the full interview below: