"Why I Became a Scientist"

Nicholas Marsh-Armstrong, PhD talks about what inspired him to become a scientist. Nick is one of four principal investigators in the Catalyst For a Cure, a collaborative research consortium funded by the Glaucoma Research Foundation.

Dr. Marsh-Armstrong is Assistant Professor, Departments of Ophthalmology and Neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Kennedy Krieger Institute, in Baltimore, Maryland. His laboratory studies molecular mechanisms involved in gene regulation, development, and disease of the central nervous system, focusing principally on the retina.

Video Transcript

Nick Marsh-Armstrong, PhD: Looking back to my formative years, at why I got into science, it was in some senses, a coincidence. I was a good student — I ended up being placed in a laboratory during a summer when I was in high school, and I was hooked — at that point, I was hooked.

Knowing that you can do what is actually very hard work that requires a lot of discipline and a lot of intellect, and that you can do that work and contribute, it's something that is pretty awe inspiring.

I think it's hard work, it's not for everybody, but that's one of the reasons I feel that I want to take students into my laboratory when they're at an early age. I take high school students and I see how they do, because most people who come into a laboratory say, "this is not for me," but some do, some get hooked. And I think that's why I became a scientist.

Now, to think that I would now be studying glaucoma and potentially helping millions of individuals preserve their vision, it still gives me shivers thinking that what we're doing in our laboratory, which is basic science — we're trying to answer fundamental questions about how the brain works, and we're very motivated because we want to understand; that's what drives us. But to think that that understanding has the potential to affect millions of people is, as I said, awe inspiring.

Last reviewed on June 21, 2013

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