ADSE Virtual Seminar

Ash, our grad assistant researcher, successfully presented her research during #ADSE ‘s virtual seminar today. Congrats on your successful presentation !






#AAAS #scicomm #SciEngage #PhD #brooklyn #lablife #project365 #365today #womeninstem #chemistry #biochemistry #STEM

January 29th, 2021|

Why do I write as a scientist?

Alara Tuncer

Drip. Drop. Drip. Drop. 

Perhaps I was three, maybe four, sitting in a tub, soaking in bath water. The first memory I have of my existence is one where I am sitting surrounded in bubbly splendor, holding tiny little tubes filled with color. My already large eyes grow in the reflection of the glass bottles as I hold them closer, observing the color and viscosity changes as the contents drip, drop, drip, drop. I remember it so well; the photographic evidence taken by my parents has likely helped. I’ll spare you the sight of seeing baby me—in my birthday suit. Feeling like something between a magician and a cook, it was then that I realized—sitting and mixing little hotel shampoo bottles—that I was going to become a scientist. Now that I’ve lived enough to have strong and informed opinions, I hate people thinking of science as magic. All I want is to write about how science—completely un-magical—can solve all our problems and shape the world we live in for the better.

A few months ago when President Trump was asked about climate change after the California wild-fires he stated comfortably: “It’ll start getting cooler, you just watch.” The corresponding officer responded, “I wish science would agree with you” to which Trump replied, “I don’t think science knows, actually.” The group of experts laughed, tittering nervously. What can you do when the President of the United States—one of the few people in the world who has the power to dramatically alleviate the world’s climate change problems—doesn’t trust science? The urgency of the situation has become crystal clear, even Pope Francis gave a TED talk, calling for action on [...]

January 9th, 2021|

Great way to end the year !

This year wasn’t what we expected it to be, we made the most of it. From birthdays to a thesis defense even our holiday gift exchange was a success. Happy New Year from all of us at Montclare lab.   Image   #2021 #AAAS #scicomm #SciEngage #PhD #lablife #project365 #365today #womeninstem

December 31st, 2020|

Help! The Tricky Task of Communicating to a Broader Audience

By: Jay Kang

“This is it! This is the moment I have been waiting for!” I thought loudly, as I waited in front of my research poster for the Montclare lab. I was finally ready to present my work at the 52nd MACUB Research Conference. Looking around, I saw students standing in front of their posters, each displaying interesting results, schematics, and graphs. As attendees began to mill about, I was excitedly preparing bits of what I might say to an interested viewer. I got my hopes up as someone seemed to approach, but at the last minute they settled into conversation with a nearby presenter. I tried, but failed to wait patiently in front of my poster.

Finally! After what seemed like half of the session, a woman holding a clipboard approached my poster. Suddenly, I was concerned. My thoughts started running, “How do I explain so much information concisely?” I was comfortable explaining my work to colleagues, but had absolutely no experience conveying my message to someone outside of my specialty. My stressed stream of consciousness continued, “Does this person understand amino acids? Do they know the objective of circular dichroism experiments? Do I have to explain part 1 of the schematic, or should I skip to part 2?”

Wanting to start simple, I began by explaining blindness, how it can be treated using a drug called DENAQ, and the obstacles faced in delivering this drug. Then, I transitioned into the specifics of our research. As I was explaining how we genetically engineer novel protein Q, I noticed that the viewer was still reading the abstract of my poster. She stopped me and asked, “What are rods and cones?”. I was [...]

December 8th, 2020|

The Not So Final Version !

By Priya Katyal

After months and months of performing arduous experiments and data analysis, the time finally comes when you turn a disorganized pile of results to something orderly and beautiful. You sort and group results and put together all your scientific discoveries, piece by piece. And after multiple writing sessions that includes writing, rewriting, revising and writing again (and again!!), you get a full draft of manuscript ready. As you read through the draft, you feel pretty darn proud of yourself. This is it, the time is now to submit the final version to your PI.

Your PI reviews the draft with a critical eye and sends you a collection of edits. As you go through the comments, you start to feel that:

“Oh, how did I miss this?, and that too”, “did I send the wrong version?”

You too realize that there were some key concepts that you thought you explained, only to find that important pieces of explanation were missing; in next round of edits you realize that you forgot to refer a critical article, next you observe examples of redundancy.  As weeks pass by, you come across new literature article that needs to be included in your manuscript. As you are going through multiple rounds of edits, you start creating new names for your doc. The nomenclature includes various adjectives, short phrases and even time of the day as you are continuously editing the draft. A personal favorite of mine was “2018mmdd_manuscript_430am_livingroom_coffee3_HereWeGoAgain”.  After endless rounds of edits, you finally chop off the jargon and replace it with “FINAL” and the manuscript is ready to be sent out to [...]

November 9th, 2020|

The start of a new life .. & it Involves STEM

By Jason Chen

In the city of Urumqi, China, my grandparents spoiled me with everything my little heart desired. I was sent to a good pre-school, where I played with Legos, happily sang nursery rhymes, and ran around the playground.

Unbeknownst to me, my carefree life in China would soon be uprooted to join my parents who were busy establishing a life in America. One month after my fifth birthday, I would arrive in Elmhurst, New York, just in time to enroll in kindergarten. Intimidated by the new language and atmosphere, I would seek refuge in music, but it would be another decade before I found myself.

During my first two years in the states, my days were limited to going to school and going home. No more games, no more toys, no more fun. I was constantly reminded to study hard and get good grades in school. Unfortunately, school was far from my definition of fun. More often than not, I spent my school day daydreaming about being back with my grandparents in China. Although I was making friends in America, I felt a strong bond to my hometown in China and rejected forging a new life here. At the time, I was unable to understand my mom’s struggles to achieve the American dream and unwilling to accept the adversities of our low-income lifestyle. As a result, I fought learning English and my attitude towards America remained sour.

By my seventh birthday, I was finally speaking and reading English fluently after taking nonstop English as a Second Language classes. Content with this small step towards assimilation, my mom decided to enroll me in violin lessons. Surprisingly, I quickly grew fond of this [...]

October 12th, 2020|

Fierce Electronics

Professor Jin Montclare was featured in an article for Fierce Electronics, regarding her and her research teams development of an at home rapid #covid19 test.

Check out the feature and what Montclare has up her sleeve:


#NSF #Covid #Testing #research #BioChemistry #protein #engineering


October 8th, 2020|

Livin’ Like a Protein

Livin’ Like a Protein

Joshua Senior

Would you believe me if I told you that during Career Day in fourth grade, I told my homeroom teacher I wanted to be a protein when I grow up?


Neither would I. That is why I’m saying it now.


Don’t worry, you read that correctly. As a seventeen-year-old, I currently dream of becoming a protein when I grow up (even though I’m ‘grown’ in my sister’s eyes). Now, you’re probably thinking to yourself, “This kid’s absolutely insane.” My answer? Maybe. See, this isn’t the typical profession you would fill out a job application for, yet this hasn’t inhibited my imagination from chasing the impossible.


Sadly, my career aspirations of becoming a fully-functional protein don’t involve physically interacting with DNA histones or translocating across numerous cellular membranes. In fact, my fascination with becoming this macromolecular complex rests not in the specific operations of the protein molecule, but simply in its multifaceted nature.


Similar to proteins, my intellectual building blocks significantly contribute to my profound attachment to science. Since the age of eight, I’ve always been captivated by science. It wasn’t the vibrant school science fairs or the endless Bill Nye episodes in science class that caught my interest. No, my love for science came in the form of storytelling. Equipped with her daily experiences in the OR, my mother’s “bedtime tales” were engaging recounts of hospital cases she handled. Her medical sagas not only intrigued my sprouting scientific imagination, but her soothing voice always put me fast asleep.


As I grew older, this budding curiosity for science soon flourished, folding like proteins into an extensive love for Biology. During high school, I have [...]

September 14th, 2020|

We Must Change How We Fund Grad School

In @aaas latest op-Ed @jkmontclare & her #LeshnerFellow colleagues, discuss how funding could help diversify Grad school. This could help increase STEM fields !!
#AAAS #Scicomm #sciengage #lablife #meetascientist #phd #chemistry #biochemistry #Stem
September 2nd, 2020|

Using Science as a Foundation

Lizbet Rodriguez

If I had been asked to categorize myself before this summer, I would have responded, “student” or potentially “intern”. I wouldn’t have dared to define myself as a scientist. During my summer internship with the Montclare Lab, my mentor often referred to my lab partner and me as scientists. I was uncomfortably aware of my feeling as an imposter. However, being labeled as a scientist did get me thinking about who can be a scientist; I was reminded of an experience I had years ago.

When I was seven, I remember my dental hygienist asking my dentist, “What made you want to become a dentist?” Contrary to what I had imagined he would say, the doctor responded, “Actually, I chose to become a scientist first”. As many do, I overlooked doctors as scientists. Doctors might have a different specialization, but they are first trained in the field of science. Some doctors even dedicate their time solely to scientific research! I had defined too narrow a scope for scientists, both excluding my doctor and myself.



                  ARISE participant Lizbet Rodriguez presenting her virtual poster

 I never imagined I could possess the knowledge it takes to become a scientist. However, as I explored deeper into my lab assignments, I came to the beautiful realization that being a scientist does not necessarily mean being the most brilliant. Being a scientist means having the patience to conduct thorough research and experiments. It means having the ability to persevere despite setbacks or flaws. It means being an inquirer about the [...]

August 26th, 2020|