CRS Scientist Spotlight on Katy Trotter
Katy Trotter, MS, is a laboratory technician in Dr. J. Julie Kim's lab learning about microfluidic in vitro culture and to develop an in vitro murine model ovary for study of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Katy is a recent alumna of the MS-RSM program, class of 2020.
What brought you to join the CRS community and what is your current position?
During my experience as an undergraduate student at North Carolina State University, I was given my first glimpse into reproductive science when completing an honors research project related to breastfeeding and infant nutrition. This interest further piqued when I joined the Neonatal Intensive Care Nursery at Duke University Hospital where I was given the opportunity to be involved in special cases, deliveries, and treatment of babies with rare diseases. Caring for these infants and their families sparked a passion in me that I continued to fill by pursuing a masters degree in reproductive science and medicine here at Northwestern. After experiencing comradery with others who share these same passions, I decided to stay involved with the CRS community both as a MS-RSM alum and as a laboratory technician in the Kim Lab while I plan my next steps.
Could you describe what your work entails?
As a lab tech in the Kim Lab, I wanted to make use of my time by absorbing as much knowledge and perfecting as many skills as possible. With this in mind, I have been working alongside Dr. Hannes Campo to optimize his microfluidic culture system, Lattice, and with Asia Ingram to develop an in vitro murine model ovary for study of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Working with these individuals has allowed me to get firsthand experience with developing protocols, designing experiments, troubleshooting, and problem solving when things (often) do not go as planned.
What aspect(s) of CRS do you find most valuable?
The most valuable aspect of CRS is the community itself. Everyone wants to see you succeed and will help you determine and execute the steps necessary for you to reach your goals. I place so much value on this aspect of the community because it is something I never had before coming to Northwestern.
What has been the most valuable aspect to your work in reproductive science?
I think the most valuable aspect to my work in reproductive science has been scientific communication and public speaking. Before entering the MS-RSM program, I was not confident in my ability to communicate with the scientific community, especially within big groups. I think the real turning point for me was when I signed up to be a moderator for the 2021 CRS Summit. I realized then that everyone gets nervous (even prominent scientists and instructors) and that I needed to get comfortable with speaking in meetings if I wanted to be successful in the science world. After the Summit, I presented my research at graduation and also moderated RRU, so I guess you could call me a professional at public speaking.
What would you recommend to students and young professionals in order for them succeed in their careers?
I recommend connecting with as many people as possible during your time here at Northwestern. When you find someone’s research or presentation interesting, reach out to them and let them know. Making a simple connection like this could bring opportunities that you would never have been given if you did not reach out. Along with this, do not let titles intimidate you. Science is all about collaboration, and conversation with a diverse group can bring great perspectives.
What do you think will be the next big contribution in the reproductive biology field?
I think the next big contribution in the reproductive biology field will be in vitro culture models that involve patient-specific tissues in the terms of personalized medicine. Hopefully, we can achieve that with Lattice in the future.
What hobbies do you have outside of the lab?
I enjoy baking and exploring the city.