Inside My Lab: Lydia Finley

Go inside the lab of Lydia Finley from SKI's Cell Biology Program.

I think there is no better job in the world than being a scientist. What other job can you do where you get to wake up every morning and try to discover something that nobody else knows?

My name is Lydia Finley. And I'm an assistant professor of cell biology at the Sloan Kettering Institute.

Oh, nice. Big increase.

Inside my lab, we study metabolic pathways in stem cells and cancer cells. We're interested in understanding how cells make decisions. And we're interested in that specifically in the context of differentiation. So how does a stem cell decide to differentiate and become a more specialized adult cell? Or in the case of cancer, why does a normal cell dedifferentiate and become malignant?

Cancer is an incredibly challenging and interesting problem. But more importantly, it's a disease that touches everybody in one way or another. It's a problem that we all really care about solving. And that motivation really carries us day to day in our work at the bench.

Teaching Yuma how to do BCAs?

Members of my lab can expect a collaborative atmosphere, which is really oriented in team-based science. If we share our ideas, are generous with our time, are generous with our criticism, then we can all really start to make headway on the big challenges in biology.

So how did the cells grow?

They looked good after day one. I'm not going to do the count until tomorrow.

OK.

Watching members of your lab come up with ideas and test them is incredibly exciting. I like to let trainees show me what they need. Some trainees want to be mentored on a more hands-on basis. They want more day to day feedback. Other trainees want to be left alone to try to explore their own avenues.

What inspires us all to succeed is the desire to contribute something new to human knowledge. We are asking questions that we hope no one has asked before. And we hope that by answering these questions, we will better understand how cells work and, therefore, better understand why disease happens and, hopefully, make better cures for these diseases.