71, Biologist and Lab Director at Salk Institute, La Jolla
Tell me a little about what you do at Salk.
I’m interested in how hormones act as ways to communicate between different tissues to organize body functions—what we call physiology. When you exercise, essentially a switch turns on and off to activate that motion. But in some cases, that switch gets stuck on either position, which increases the risk for health issues. My lab studies what risk is, why good things are good, why bad things are bad. Why is a high-fat diet “bad”? Why is exercise “good”? We’re interested in what’s behind those words.
How do you get over any mind blocks?
I pace and look out the window—it helps to get me thinking. My office overlooks a beautiful canyon and the ocean beyond. It never gets old.
What do you have to have close by in your office?
A guitar is mandatory. A lot of science is in your head; I think about it all the time. The best way to turn it off is to pick up an instrument. When I play guitar, I can’t think of anything else.
What have you been playing recently?
Willie Nelson, some James Taylor, Dylan… I like fingerpicking styles because they require both hands working in a rhythm together.
King Phillips- Gwyn
10, Fourth Grader, Valencia Park
What’s the one thing people should know about you?
Probably that I can run really fast. When I was little I used to call myself The Cheetah, and all my friends would call me that, too.
What do you like to do after school?
I like to go outside. Most of the time I’ll play cops and robbers or sharks and minnows with my friends—you don’t get to run really far with that game, but I’m still good at it.
Who inspires you?
My dad and my mom; they both do amazing things. My mom runs an art gallery. At first I was more of a drawing person, but after seeing some of the paintings in the gallery, I like painting now, too.
Do you want to be an artist?
It’s a possibility. But mostly I draw just for fun or to help pass the time. I like to doodle or create whatever pops into my mind. What’s the best piece of advice you can give me? It’s what my mom always tells me: Don’t let what other people say stop you.