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Grad student has Wayne State in her genes

October 10, 2012

Emily Wood was destined to attend Wayne State University.

A third-year doctoral candidate in the WSU School of Medicine, Wood was born in the Woodbridge neighborhood, on the western edge of campus. Her mother, Mary Jane Heeg, is a crystallographer who retired as a faculty member in WSU’s Department of Chemistry in 2010, and Wood spent her childhood visiting her mother on campus.
“I was born on campus, and I’ve been here ever since,” she joked. 
Wood’s first job after high school graduation in 1999 was with WSU. She worked full time as an administrative assistant, using the school’s employee tuition reimbursement program to earn a bachelor’s degree with departmental and university honors.
She returned to WSU for master’s degree courses before joining the molecular biology and genetics doctoral program in 2010, with a computational concentration.
Just over two years in, Wood has already received international attention for her computational work on human genetics.  
“For a third-year Ph.D. student, Emily's activity and meaningful contributions to our international collaborations are absolutely stunning,” says her mentor Leonard Lipovich, Ph.D., assistant professor of Molecular Medicine and Genetics, and Neurology.
Wood says it was her mother’s positive example that made her realize a career in science was possible.
“I feel really blessed that I found something I really enjoyed.” 
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