Bronx native, foodie, lover of the outdoors/rollercoasters/comics/NY Yankees, working to expose the importance of science in everyday life.
Jeanne spends a lot her workday thinking and writing about how science outreach — both as a profession and a practice — can be better integrated into existing communities. However, it has become apparent that she may never relinquish her pipettes, and when time allows, Jeanne is deeply interested in conducting experiments centered on microbial community dynamics in fermented foods. What is “microbial community dynamics” you say? Basically, this is the study of how different species of microbes, including yeast and bacteria, come together to live (or die) in a specific environment, and is usually studied over time. This interest has lead to a number of interesting collaborations that bridge her collective interests around microbiology, genetics, biochemistry, and food, and typically involves cheese (her favorite food group), kombucha, and wine. You can learn more about this work from the video below.
Jeanne spent her childhood in the Norwood section of the Bronx, where she and her Decatur Avenue crew logged in an extraordinary number of hours playing manhunt, stick ball, scully, kick the can, and other classic neighborhood games. She is the first in her family to attend and graduate from college, having received her BS in biology from SUNY Geneseo in 2001. It was at Geneseo that she fell in love with basic research, leading her to Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, where she earned her Ph.D. in metabolic biology. Under the mentorship of Stephen Sturley, she explored neutral lipid metabolism and cell viability in yeast, and it’s relationship to human diseases. In 2008, she landed at The Rockefeller University, first as a postdoc in the Laboratory of Biochemical Genetics and Metabolism under the mentorship of Jan Breslow. In this lab, she tracked single molecules of cholesterol inside human liver cells to try and figure out how it moves around (TL;DR it’s complicated!). Then, in 2012, she assumed her current position as Director of RockEDU Science Outreach. In this role, she works with the local K-12 community to provide equitable access to authentic biomedical research opportunities and resources through creative programming.
Jeanne is also an avid hiker, home cook, and DIY enthusiast — sometimes all three at once! She considers Maine to be her home away from home, and brings some iteration of a microscope with her everywhere she goes. Images of her forest floor finds can be found in RockEDU’s Parts Per Millions series.
You can find Jeanne social media under the handle @JeanneGarb.