Dr. Shelley Ann des Etages
Senior Principal Scientist, Pfizer

Outside the Lab

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Under pressure to solve health crises, Dr. Shelley des Etages has learned how to find balance in her life.

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.

Question: How do you relax?

Shelley des Etages: I try to practice meditating.  I do meditate.  I belong to a local martial arts school, Bushido-Kai, and we study Kosho Shorei Ryu, which is the old pine tree school of encouragement with diligence and self-enlightenment.  And within that practice there's the regular physical martial arts, but we also learn about traditional Chinese medicine.  We also learn about brush calligraphy, philosophy.  So I am trying to increase my daily meditation practice.  I'm actually taking a class right now at the dojo where we're looking at Shintoism, Daoism, Phi Bella Mann [ph?] teaching, and the whole integration of them. The meditation is something that's a constant work in progress.

Question: Are you an artist?

Shelley des Etages: I dabble, so there was for about a year and a half, I had my camera with me everywhere I went so that I could capture the moments.  I do enjoy doing that.  I wouldn't call myself a photographer, but I did do some photography.  I do some gardening.  I love crafts, so I do do arts and crafts.  My mom actually trained to teach art and craft as a teacher.  That was her specialty area, and so we learned a lot of crafts at home.  My latest craft project was a diaper cake for a baby shower.  You make the
cake layers out of diapers.  And we also learned to do, this I don't do to relax, but we also learned to do cake decorating.  So making wedding cakes with all the layers and the roses, etcetera, that has a sort of relaxing quality to it, but it's not something you would do unless someone actually wanted a cake.  But it is actually one of the things that I learned to do.

Question: What is the last book you read?

Shelley des Etages: The last book I completed was The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah. , I had heard about that book before and just wanted something completely different to read.  It was cold, that ending was very cold. I had heard a lot about Sister Souljah and never read any of her work, so I was going on a break and I thought, "Let me grab a book to read that I've heard good things about but haven't read the author before."  Audacity of Hope, I chose it because I actually heard Barack Obama speak at an event last year, and I thought he had some interesting things to say.  I want to find out more.

Recorded on: 06/25/2008