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5 Questions for a Scientist: Microbiologist Marcus Jones

The gap between the science classroom and a real-life career in the sciences can seem distant for some students. The 5 Questions for a Scientist interview series was created to bridge this gap! We aim to inspire students to pursue careers in the sciences by showcasing the incredible diversity of STEM careers by talking to scientists themselves. See all of the interviews here.


Occupation: Scientist
Institution: Human Longevity, Inc.
Field: Microbiome/Genomics
Focus: Microbiome/microbiology

Marcus is a scientist in the Biome Health division at Human Longevity, Inc., a company that combines technology and genomics, the study of a specific and complete set of DNA, to revolutionize the way diseases are diagnosed and treated. His work looks at microbiology—the study of bacteria, viruses, and other microscopic organisms—and, more specifically, microbiomes—the full collection of genes of all the microbes found in a specific community, in this case the human body. Marcus holds a B.S. from Southern University & A&M College in Louisiana (where he's been inducted into their STEM Hall of Fame) and earned his Ph.D. in microbiology from the New York University School of Medicine. Outside of the lab, he enjoys running and is training for the New York City Marathon in November. He lives in San Diego, California, with his wife. To learn more about Marcus or ask him questions, you can connect with him via LinkedIn.

1. Explain what you do in your work in one sentence (or two!).
I study the bacteria that live on our body to understand how they benefit our health.

2. When did you first become interested in your field?
I became interested in studying bacteria in college after taking a freshman biology laboratory class. The laboratory class provided me the opportunity to learn about all of the microorganisms that live on and in all of us.

3. What is your favorite part of being a scientist or of science in general?
My favorite part of being a scientist is learning more about the world we live in. I get to work with scientists and physicians around the world to help people live healthier and create new treatments and therapies.

4. What is a typical day like for you as a scientist?
As a scientist, I typically work in the laboratory using robots and genome sequencers to study data for human and bacterial genomes. I also spend time working on the computer analyzing the genome data to determine why some bacteria cause disease and other bacteria promote health.

5. Do you have any advice for young people interested in science today?
Take advantage of every opportunity to learn about the world around you. Never be afraid to ask questions.

Photo courtesy of Marcus Jones.

This post originally appeared on Science NetLinks.