What do sword fighting, fruit fly experiments and a fascination with protein aggregation in the brain have in common? They’re all activities that have consumed Dr. Elaine Pirie. A fencing enthusiast at young age, the St. Paul, Minnesota native started her scientific journey researching retinal degeneration in drosophila at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her desire to discover the cause of protein aggregation in ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases and an interest in genetics inspired her graduate and pos-graduate work, including three years as a research assistant in the lab of Nobel Prize-winner Dr. Bruce Beutler. At Ionis, Elaine’s research is focused on understanding the activity of GLP-1 conjugated antisense oligonucleotides in the beta cells of the pancreas. The goal: identifying and advancing new targets for Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
So, what is “innovation” to Dr. Elaine Pirie?
“It’s when we turn a problem to the side and explore it from a completely different angle. The solutions that come from looking at it in a different way, that’s innovation.”