Leah Kivivali is a scientific researcher who has worked in a variety of fields, but her focus is primarily on neuroscience. We recently got to talk with her about her unique journey through these many scientific disciplines.
Leah’s fascination with science began at a young age; she remembers always being interested in science and biological activities. She recalls examining insects and spiders as a child and is surprised that she did not end up working in entomology. However, her passion for research work came later while she was working on her Ph.D. in neuroscience. It was during this work that she fell in love with the process, planning, and organization of research.
After earning her Ph.D., Leah accepted a position as a research assistant. Over the next five years, she held different positions and conducted research in the areas of public health, epidemiology, rare disease, and hematology. While different from her original area of study, Leah noted that these experiences were invaluable, for they gave her so many unique opportunities. Looking back on her career so far, one of her favorite moments comes from her work on a project studying rare diseases. Leah was able to meet with patients who have these diseases and see firsthand who her work was helping. These interactions reminded her of the importance of her work, and how research can positively impact people’s lives.
During her time in these many different roles, Leah was also able to network with people she would not have met if she had remained in the neuroscience field, and she has found this to be influential in advancing her career. It even helped her to enter her current role as a research fellow, which marked her return to neuroscience.
Leah is currently working on a project which investigates the communication between the peripheral immune system and the brain. She is studying how this could be manipulated to develop drug targets for diseases that involve neuroinflammation, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and other neurodegenerative diseases. Each day Leah’s tasks vary greatly, some are spent entirely in the lab running experiments; while others are spent at her desk analyzing data, writing grants, and organizing a university-wide Early Career Researcher’s Conference. Leah is very excited about the work she is doing for this event which will feature external speakers, career development panels, interactive activities, and networking opportunities.
Leah also spends a great deal of time reading students’ work and providing them with constructive feedback. After learning about Conseris, she noted that the app would be a really helpful tool for students who are learning how to collect data as well as students who are learning about data analysis itself. Leah especially liked that Conseris’s algorithms produce visualizations, for they can aid and inspire students in their own analysis work.
In addition to helping students learn, Leah also has an interest in making science accessible to the general public. This led her to start a blog, Woman in Science, for readers who may be interested in learning more about science, but don’t know where to begin. Leah hopes to break down the preconceived images and notions people may have about scientists. Her blog features posts about all areas of science she finds interesting, not just the fields she works in. Leah’s favorite part of writing for the blog is breaking down dense scientific information in accessible ways.
It is amazing to hear about a researcher’s skills being applied across so many different fields. At Conseris, we are passionate about helping researchers like Leah and her students collect data more efficiently. Try a free 30-day trial today and let Conseris be your new lab assistant.