The Department of Neuroscience recognizes faculty and staff each month whose hard work and dedication contributes to our mission and whom we’re proud to have on our team. Find out more about the spotlight of the month below!

Mifflin_Katherine_720x720June 2021 Staff Spotlight, Katherine Mifflin

Where are you from originally and what led you to Ohio State?

I am originally from Canada and came to work at Ohio State for its excellent research reputation and to expand my expertise/skills as a researcher. 

What lab do you work in and what type of research to do facilitate?

I am currently a post-doctoral research in Dr. Phillip Popovich’s lab where I study how changes in the lung’s immune environment after spinal cord injury may lead to higher risk of infection. 

What do enjoy doing in your free time, outside of work?

In my free time I enjoy baking and being outdoors either biking, hiking, or camping.

What drew you to the field and the role you play in the Department of Neuroscience?

I was drawn into the field of neuroscience after being introduced to the topic in my undergraduate psychology class by a very enthusiastic professor. Her clear love of the topic made me choose to do my first-year research project in the field, and I have been fascinated with understanding the nervous system ever since. My current role in the department is to conduct research as a post-doctoral researcher. 

Who is your biggest role model and why?

My biggest scientific role model is my undergraduate honors mentor, Dr. Jill Chorney. She was the person who encouraged me to apply to graduate school and having a successful and driven female mentor early in my career made me realize that becoming a researcher was something I could do too. 

What is your favorite movie, book, or band/singer/songwriter and why?

I have always been terrible at picking favorites, but books I consistently recommend to friends are Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat by Bree Wilson for fascinating insight into the history of every day kitchen tools, any work by Jane Austen for the witty way she writes timeless stories, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell as the plot design was unlike anything I had read at the time,  and finally The Dresden Files Series by Jim Butcher as it was my first introduction into the fantasy sub-genre urban fantasy.

What is the most rewarding part?

The most rewarding part of my job is trouble shooting experiments that work! 

Do you have any insights or advice to those who are just starting out or are interested in Neuroscience research?

I would advise an individual starting in research to find a research team/lab that encourages teamwork and that supports one another. You will be spending a lot of time in the lab and having co-workers you trust to discuss your ideas with, get feedback from, and to help troubleshoot is invaluable. 

What are some hidden talents of yours?

I have been told that I am like Mary Poppins, as I am surprisingly good at packing a large number of items into small bags/suitcases/backpacks/etc.