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Thank you for attending the 2018 Reproductive Science and Medicine Summit! One More Spotlight on CRS Summit Speaker – Dr. Carole LaBonne!

By: Chelsea Castleberry, CRS Program Assistant, June 7th, 2018

The 2018 Reproductive Science and Medicine Summit was a great success! The annual event took place last Friday, June 1st, in Prentice Women’s Hospital, Chicago. With over 100 attendees, the day included 42 poster presentations, a special panel lunch on “Communicating Science to the Public”, 7 distinguished speaker lectures, and 3 trainee oral presentations. We have one last interview to share – spotlight on Dr. Carole LaBonne!

Carole LaBonneCarole LaBonne, PhD, Professor, Department of Molecular Biosciences, Northwestern University Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences

Dr. LaBonne, who presented in Session #3 “Key Players in Reproduction & Development” was interviewed by Yucheng (Sophy) Gao, a Graduate Student in the Gius Lab:

What science topic are you the most excited to see develop in the future?

Quantitative biology. We just received a big center grant from the NSF and Simons Foundation to apply mathematics to understanding embryonic development. We want to understand how cells make designs about what I think there are many big discoveries to be made, and now is the ideal time to attack such a challenging goal.

Why/how did you choose your current career path?

I was that child that was curious about everything…questioned everything…took everything apart to see how it worked. I am not sure I am suited to do anything other than be a scientist!! That said, I was only the second person in my family to go to college so it was not an obvious path for me to take. I was fortunate to be a Pell Grant recipient, and receive a lot of financial help to pay for college otherwise it would not have been possible. It’s one reason I am so committed to efforts to make college and advanced degrees attainable for students from economically diverse backgrounds.

What is your worst lab mishap?

A late-night acid spill when I was a graduate student at Harvard. It’s possible my shoe prints are still burned into the floor of my old lab…

What hobbies do you have outside of the lab?

Spending time with my two kids and two standard poodles. Also, cooking - which is a bit art and a bit science.


Carole LaBonne, PhD, is a leader in neural crest cell research who has made groundbreaking discoveries using Xenopus as a model system, including uncovering parallels to embryonic stems cells that have provided novel insights into the evolution of vertebrates. Dr. LaBonne is the Erastus O. Haven Professor of Life Sciences, and Chair of the Department of Molecular Biosciences at Northwestern University.