Molecular Biologist in the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases


(MUSIC) So my name is Heardley Moses Murdoch and we are in the Laboratory of Host Defenses at the
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease. So we work on a disease called Dock-8
Deficiency, which is a genetic disease that causes
susceptibility to infections, particularly skin infections. Some of them eventually get cancers, really
bad allergies, food allergies and other types of allergies.
And we’re trying to understand what exactly is wrong with the immune system, the part of our body that
fights off infection in these patients. So I’m originally from
Florida and my family’s from Central America, so
they moved here right before I was born and all throughout middle school and
high school I had teachers who were really passionate about science, who
really helped me in my journey. I took science classes and my professors took time out of their own day to
show me the microscope, and show me how exciting it is to look at the cells in the human body. And later on in
college I also had amazing professors who allowed me to work in their lab. And
eventually I got really interested in medicine, but also really interested in science and trying to find a way to mix these two
long-term and so I came here to the NIH to do exactly that. It really…it gets me excited. Well this lab actually discovered the
disease and we’re now trying to figure out more
about what is it about these cells that are in our skin and in our
bodies…that’s wrong with them. And so we’re making videos of the cells and trying to study them in the lab to see
if we can explain why these people have the infections
that they do. This lab is really interesting and unique I think because we are
able to study human cells. And so I really like the fact that I can look at cells from normal people,
and look at them under the microscope look at them here at the proteins that are
inside of them, pipetting things…that sort of work. I have a mentor that really helps me along.
We have patients from around the world that come here from everywhere from Turkey to various
places in the Americas and so you really get to see a wide
range both patients, but also people who are working on the problem. It would be amazing if we could take
what we learn about why the disease is happening and find a way
to treat these patients. Currently it’s transplants and most of them… most of the patients that get transplants
do really well, but if we can find a less invasive way to do it, or more targeted way to do
it…that would be fantastic. And also just to understand in healthy people, how do we…you…me…and everybody around us
deal with these microbes that are in the environment. I
think more and more we’ll be understanding both in this disease and other genetic
diseases, how our immune system works and hopefully ways to prevent the infections that are not
unique to this particular patient population, but in all people. Find older than you who is willing to take
you under their wing and be comfortable with failure. It’s really hard when something doesn’t
work out, but moving through that and having someone to support you as
move through that I can take you really far. (MUSIC) (MUSIC) (MUSIC) (MUSIC)