Dr. Katelyn Bruno on Basic Science Research, Myocarditis, and Finding a Good Mentor

 

I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Katelyn Bruno, a post-doctoral fellow at the Mayo Clinic, and we talked about myocarditis, her main research interest. We also talked about how to find a good mentor, her outreach work with the myocarditis foundation, and why she pursued a PhD.

Dr. Katelyn Bruno’s Biography on Mayo Clinic
The Myocarditis Foundation

Myocarditis

[4:01] What myocarditis is, and how Dr. Bruno is working to combat the disease

  • Myocarditis is a disease which affects many young individuals and athletes, and is hard to diagnose
  • Her lab works on developing diagnostic criteria such as biomarkers (severe vs. normal) to analyze whether individuals have the disease
  • New imaging tools using PET scans using animal models

[9:09] Challenges to combating myocarditis

  • Medical schools often overlook myocarditis and they don’t look for the disease, and many researchers do not look for a cure because it is a rare disease
  • Myocardial biopsy—many of the diagnostic tools and imaging may not have the needed resolution to confirm a case of myocarditis

[14:36] Orphan drug designation of Myocarditis

  • Using drugs that have been used in MI (Myocardial Infarction) in order to test their efficacy in myocarditis

Career

[16:15] Talking about How to Find a Good Mentor and How she Found a Mentor

  • She had the same mentor, Dr. Delisa Fairweather for all her working career. She met Dr. Fairweather at an undergraduate conference when she was presenting toxicology research.
  • Dr. Fairweather opened up opportunities for her and encouraged her to apply to the Johns Hopkins environmental health program, which she pursued and loved because of her ability to find a good mentor
  • She was able to become passionate about the work that she did based on the involvement and encouragement of her mentor

[23:51] Her outreach work with the Myocarditis Foundation

  • She was able to get involved in the research section of the foundation to leverage her knowledge of social media and help with the foundation growth
  • Play to your strengths and then the rest will follow
    Why did she pursue a PhD?
  • She was always interested in science, and she solidified her interest by interning in an analytic chemistry laboratory in college
  • She did not want to be a technician and “follow a script,” but rather do something with data and interpret it
  • She gets involved with high school and middle school students, giving back to the community by mentoring high school and college students in order to build their interest in science. It seems like she has come full circle and has become a mentor herself.

[41:08] Pernicious Trends in Research—Applying to Grants

  • Small institution may help propel students due to more personal touch. It is a different world in different institutions (e.g Mayo vs. Hopkins) because it is institution-driven and the culture is different between different schools.
  • For example, it is “One Mayo,” because resources in Minnesota can be shared with institutions in Florida if they are under the Mayo Clinic name.

Future Plans

[47:33] Academic Medicine or Industry?

  • Pursuing professorship through Mayo clinic, and developing her relationship with Dr. Fairweather. She was able to expand and work with Dr. Fairweather in order to develop her own ideas

[51:29] Jacksonville or Baltimore?

[53:13] What gets you out of bed in the morning?

[58:13] Dr. Bruno’s question for me

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