Meet a Local Scientist: July 2017

Pamela Moody

Pamela Moody

Where do you work and what is your position?

I work at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and I am the Manager of the Flow Cytometry Shared Resource.

Describe your work.

Flow cytometry allows us to study cells that are moving in a fluid stream. The cells are tagged with fluorescent markers that will glow different colors when they pass through laser beams. These colors are shown on a computer screen which allows us to separate out different cell types based upon the criteria that we selected and label with these fluorescent markers.

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

BS degree from SUNY Brockport, Alternate College program. After a gap year, I went to graduate school at Hofstra University to obtain a Master's degree. I decided to get married and start a family instead of continuing on in graduate school for a PhD.

What is the best part of your job?

Teaching. I love teaching others how to use the flow cytometers, and help them to understand how they can be used in their research projects.

Describe a typical day at work for you.

Arrive an hour early to begin cleaning the cell sorters, answer emails, book appointments and then begin Quality Control of the cell sorters and analyzers. All of these things need to be done before our first appointment arrives around 9:00am. Typically we will work with the scientists for about 3 hours in the morning, break for a quick lunch, and then work with the next group of scientists for an additional 2 hours before we need to begin decontamination and shutdown of the cell sorters. During the day we answer technical questions, sort, analyze data, clean the instruments, order supplies and do whatever needs to be done to keep the facility running smoothly.

Why do you love science?

Why? I have always been curious about things and that was my favorite question to ask my mother — why? After a few times I usually got "Because I said so" but that is not true for science. For every answer opens the door to more questions. Science is rarely dull and it does not lie. You must be willing to accept an answer even if was unexpected and you must be patient. Time and persistence are key in all scientific endeavors. Science is all around us and in everything we do. Why wouldn't we be curious and want to know and understand it?

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

Be Flexible. If you love science and learning then don't be afraid to venture down a fork in the path. It might turn out to be just what you were looking for.

What is your favorite scientific fact?

I have always been fascinated with animals and little known facts around them. For instance, almost all Calico Cats are female and rarely will you see this in a male cat. In order for this coat color to occur in males they would need to have an extra chromosome and be XXY instead of just XY. This usually results in sterility so it is not passed on through the male.

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

I am a wife and a mother of two young men and a newfoundland dog. I love to garden, read a good book, cook delicious meals for my family, bake scrumptious treats for my boys, walk my dog and enjoy my beautiful backyard that my husband designed for me. As a family, we love to fish, go camping, hike in the woods or on the beach. Personally, I have multiple hobbies but not enough time in the day for them all. Photography, soap making and stained glass are my favorites. I also volunteer at an Equestrian center that uses horses as a therapy tool for individuals with special needs.

What is your favorite thing about Long Island?

I love Long Island's South Shore Beaches as well as their numerous Equestrian centers.