Dr. Shelley Ann des Etages
Senior Principal Scientist, Pfizer
04:00

An Interest in Literature

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Dr. Des Etages works at the cutting-edge of science, and science fiction gives her a glimpse of what might be on the other side.

Dr. Shelley Ann des Etages

Born in Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Shelley Ann des Etages immigrated to the United States in 1986 and received her B.Sc. in Biology from Pace University and a Ph.D. at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. Now a Senior Principal Scientist at Pfizer's Global Research & Development headquarters in Groton, Connecticut, Dr. des Etages seeks to understand the mechanisms of disease and cellular processes, using molecular and cellular biology. This allows her to assist in the identification of potential drug targets and biomarkers that help validate the effectiveness of new drug candidates in treating disease.

Outside of the laboratory, she regularly participates in educational outreach in the local schools through Career Day, tutoring, science demonstrations and Junior Achievement programs. Dr. des Etages is also a supporter of Writers Block Ink, an organization that helps instill drive in young people through creative pursuits. Additionally, she enjoys photography, painting, and gardening, and even plays a little piano.
Transcript

Question: Why do you like Dr. Who?

Shelley des Etages: He was a scientist who's traveling through space and time without limits.  And he is problem-solving as he goes through the universe.  So he's really a physicist, if you want to try to pick a science.  But it was a television show that I loved as a child growing up, and they've resurrected it now.  And so there's a new version.  They're on the third Dr. Who.  And the ideas and the concepts that it introduces in terms of what are all the possibilities out there?  We always hear about the possibilities.  I like sci-fi in general.  I have seen every episode of Star Trek, The Next Generation.  But it's all about possibilities.  What are all these enormous possibilities out there?  And what are all these questions we can try to solve, whether it's a social question, and ethical question, a scientific question.  These shows pose these problems before you and say, "Hey, how are you going to work your way through this?  How does this society work?  How does this concept work?"  That's the part that I love about them.

Question What would your Dr. Who episode be like?

Shelley des Etages: I would want him to come find me in the lab, because I would want his input on some of my experiments.  But what would it look like if Dr. Who came along on an episode and followed me for a couple of weeks?  They'd see me coming in to work. They'd see me trying to figure out what can we extract as possible targets from some of my data sets?  And he'd comment on whether or not he thought what I was doing was a good idea or a bad idea.  He might drop me a hint now and then.  And then he'd follow me as I headed off home.  He might catch me working with some kids in the community on poetry.  He might catch me at the dojo meditating and hang out and see if he got anything out of the meditation practice.

Question: What is Writer’s Block, Ink?

Shelley des Etages: Writer's Block, Inc. is a local group that works on using performing arts to help kids to be able to react to their society and be proactive about the change they want to bring about in society.  So they write poetry.  They choreograph dances.  They sing.  My connection to the organization, the two reasons, when I was in high school I was in a performing group.  And I enjoy writing poetry, so it's a way to help some other kids get a little bit of experience with something that I experienced when I was growing up that I found very helpful.  So every year the kids come up with an idea for a show.  What's it going to be?  Last year's show, we did two shows last year.  The summer show was called "The Road to Home."  And the whole concept was that you had a group of kids who were relocated from New Orleans because of Hurricane Katrina.  And so they were living in Connecticut, and while here living in Connecticut they heard about the refugees in Darfur and wanted to have a benefit to try to benefit the kids in
Darfur.

Recorded on: 06/25/2008

 


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