Taproot S2E2: Minding the Gap with Elizabeth ‘Toby’ Kellogg

In this episode, Ivan and Liz talk with Elizabeth ‘Toby’ Kellogg about her research interests and career path. Toby received her Ph.D. from Harvard University, then completed a postdoc with R.A. Howard, also at Harvard University. She worked at the Harvard Herbarium before being becoming an Associate Professor of Biology at Harvard University. From there she became E. Desmond Lee and Family Professor of Botanical Studies at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. In 2014, she joined the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center where she currently resides as a Robert E. King Distinguished Investigator.

Toby’s research group is focused on understanding the biological basis of similarity and diversity amongst rice, wheat, maize, and other cereals. We talk about the surprising findings of a paper she published in 1995, “Intraspecific and interspecific variation in 5S RNA genes are decoupled in diploid wheat relatives” (Kellogg et al., Genetics 140.325-343, 1995).

Scientists, and women scientists in particular, often feel compelled to choose between focusing on their careers or their family. In this episode, we hear how Toby was able to take an extended break from academia in order to raise her children while remaining connected to her research interests, and how she secured an NSF grant without a formal academic appointment. We talk about the importance of publications and how Toby used them to bridge the gap between her postdoc and appointment as Associate Professor at Harvard University.

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Intraspecific and interspecific variation in 5S RNA genes are decoupled in diploid wheat relatives (Kellogg et al., 1995) http://www.genetics.org/content/140/1/325.short


Research Fellowships for STEM professionals returning to their careers after a break: http://www.daphnejackson.org/fellowships

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The Taproot is the podcast that digs beneath the surface to understand how scientific publications in plant biology are created. In each episode, co-hosts Liz Haswell and Ivan Baxter take a paper from the literature and talk about the story behind the science with one of its authors.

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Questions, feedback, suggestions?  Contact us at taproot@plantae.org.

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