Our research network is a fierce driving force behind therapeutic development and future treatment. Let’s find out what makes them so passionate about KIF1A! Each month, one of our invested members of the KIF1A Research Network will be in the spotlight. Michelle Tao is next up to share a bit about herself in this month’s Q&A.

michelle tao headshot

Michelle Tao

Therapeutic Development Associate, KIF1A.ORG

After an engaging and enlightening summer 2021 internship with KIF1A.ORG, Michelle has officially joined KIF1A.ORG’s team as the Therapeutic Development Associate, where she will help the team accelerate treatment for KAND. Michelle is a current student in the MA in Biotechnology program at Columbia University. She graduated from NYU Stern with a B.S. in Business (concentrations in Finance and Global Business) and a minor in Genetics. Subsequently, she worked in healthcare banking for 5 years. Michelle is passionate about breaking down human-made barriers to treatment in order to ensure equitable access to care.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

The power to control time! It’s our most valuable resource and greatest enemy in so many ways.

When did you know you wanted to be a scientist? Why were you drawn to this field?

I have known for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I was always wondering how things work and wanting to find ways to make them work better.

What do you love most about your job?

A classic cliché: I learn new things and new ways of thinking about existing problems every day.

What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

Resource limitations! In an ideal world, there are so many questions about KAND that it would be awesome to know the answers to, but practically some of these are “nice to knows” rather than “need to knows” as we race toward treatment.

What development are you most excited about in terms of KIF1A research?

It feels like our research network has been expanding to include folks from an increasingly wide range of disciplines. I’m excited and optimistic that this means we have even more angles from which to attack, including both basic and translational research!

I couldn’t get through a day at work without: 

All my monitors! I am a serial tab-opener, and I’m spoiled by the all this screen real estate — I can never go back!

I am most motivated by:

The potential to find unique solutions to challenging problems, especially being surrounded by people who have this vision.

When you are not working, what do you like to do?

Climb rocks, play volleyball, cook!