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5 Things About Me: Geneticist Edmond Byrnes

AAAS member Edmond Byrnes loves to go running on both nature trails and in cities. He thinks running is one of the best ways to explore a new city. Here he is in Monaco. (Photo: Edmond Byrnes)

Edmond Byrnes,
AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow
Office of Strategic Coordination
National Institute of Health
Washington, D.C.

Background: I am a microbiologist/geneticist by training. My doctoral studies at Duke University were focused on the examination of an emerging and fatal fungal outbreak in the Pacific Northwest region of North America. My broad interests lie in the dynamics of infectious diseases, particularly as it relates to emerging outbreaks. I am currently an AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow at the National Institutes of Health. Specifically I work in the Office of Strategic Coordination within the Office of the Director. Our office manages the NIH Common Fund, which supports cross-cutting, trans-NIH programs.

Question 1: Share a story from your past that led to your choosing your field of work
When I was about six years old I asked for a microscope. Once I received it I tried to examine everything I could. I would borrow slides from our school science teacher and make my own and was fascinated by the world we can't see with our naked eye. From that point on I was hooked, hence my career as a microbiologist.

Question 2: What fuels your passion for your work?
In my current position, one of my major responsibilities is outreach through new media (primarily Facebook and Twitter). I have a passion for communicating science not only to other scientists, but also to broader public. I find this fundamental for continued support and enthusiasm for science, which is critical for fueling novel discoveries.

Question 3: Tell us about a hobby or passion outside of work.
My main hobby is running. I have been running competitively and non-competitively since middle school. I find it invigorating and refreshing. I also find that it helps clear my mind. I particularly love running on trails to enjoy nature and through new cities as a way to explore!

Question 4: If you could have one day in another profession, what would you want to do?
Another hobby I have is brewing beer. If I had the opportunity, it would be fascinating to be a brewmaster at one of my favorite breweries (Brooklyn Brewery and Dogfish Head come to mind). I could then take an already great beer and add something new and different to make a unique batch.

Question 5: What's playing on your iPod/music player?
I'm currently listening to Jay-Z. Recently I have been listening to his collaborative album with Kanye West (Watch the Throne) and The Blueprint 3.  I like Jay-Z because he has consistently put out good and complete albums over a long period of time, something not all that common in the genre.

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