Meet a Local Scientist: June 2017

Dr. Michael Feigin

Dr. Michael Feigin

Where do you work and what is your position?

I am currently a postdoctoral fellow at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in Cold Spring Harbor, NY. Starting in July, I will be an Assistant Professor of Oncology in the Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY.

Describe your work.

I try to understand the genetic causes of pancreatic and breast cancer through analyzing patient data, and then perform experiments to determine how these genetic changes promote cancer formation. Hopefully we can use this information to develop better therapies for patients.

Where did you go to school? Describe your path to your current position.

I went to college at Cornell University where I studied molecular biology. Then I earned my PhD at SUNY Stony Brook in pharmacology, the study of drug design.

What is the best part of your job?

I love being able to make new discoveries about cancer — finding out things that no one has known before. It's also fun to interact with other scientists who are excited about their own work, and finding ways we can work together.

Describe a typical day at work for you.

I typically spend some time reading new scientific papers, doing experimental work in the lab and talking with colleagues about their progress. Each day is different, which keeps the job interesting.

Why do you love science?

I love science because there are always new questions to answer. All of the best discoveries lead to hundreds of new questions to explore.

What advice would you give to people interested in a career in science?

There are so many amazing science careers that don't involve working in a lab (although that is also a good option). You can work in academics, industry, law, policy — too many to name. I think it's important to keep this in mind as you consider a career in science.

What is your favorite scientific fact?

I'm always amazed about the number of bacteria and other tiny things living on and in our bodies. There are at least as many "bugs" (mostly harmless or helpful) living on/in us, as there are human cells in our body. (Check out the amazing book, I Contain Multitudes, by Ed Yong for tons of cool information on this topic! While I'm suggesting reading material, Lab Girl, by Hope Jahren chronicles Hope's career path and is one of the best science books I've ever read. Both books are for a general audience.)

Tell us a bit about yourself that is not related to science.

I like to garden in the summer. It's good exercise, my daughter loves playing in the dirt, and we get to eat the results.

What is your favorite thing about Long Island?

The ability to get good bagels and pizza around every corner!